Estate sale traipsing is a favorite past-time in the Berkshires (Massachusetts, that is) for the locals, but also for whom we privately refer to as the “weekend warriors” (those who come in from NYC or Boston and operate at break-neck speed and shop, eat….. well, as a matter of fact, do everything frenetically). You can find some really unique one-of-a kind specialty items or simply the toaster you’ve been seeking, but haven’t wanted to shell out retail prices for. The wonderful part is the discoveries you can make, the very tragic is that once a person passes on, the family often just sells off family heirlooms as though they had no familial significance or personal value.
One such specialty item we happened to discover at the home of a recently deceased, beloved local community member are a pair of original print blocks. Having no idea what they were at first, a more knowledgeable, and significantly, older person informed me of their use. How they appeared to me were as a pair of ornate “stencil-like” pendent wooden slabs with hanging wire adjoined to the back. Upon closer, more careful examination, they did also in fact have two curious wooden cutouts on the back. There also was an aged inscription which I later did, in fact, read.
What appeared initally as simply decorative items later turned out to be very special indeed. They were hand-carved original print blocks used formerly in the intricate hand blocking of the fashion house of Bianchini Ferier. They were imported from Lyons, France exclusively by Lord & Taylor and were used to imprint the preferred design upon silks, silk velvet and metal brocades primarily, but also used otherwise to create wallpaper blueprints. Therefore, what was once functional is now decorative and with a hell of a terrific back story.
“There are too many souls of wood not to love those wooden characters who do indeed have a soul.”
(Please note, the photos used are not mine)
Attribution to iGavel Auctions