Such was the case when I ventured out to an estate sale with my garage-sale pal Ruth Handel. While in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, we headed up into the Pacific Palisades to a spot that was clearly the home of a couple who was very much in love.
Of course, I immediately went into a thrift trance when I entered a room packed with ephemera -- old wedding albums, love notes sent via Western Union, invitations to birthday parties printed out by a ditto machine in purple ink, negatives from handmade Christmas cards, photographs of the couple at a Washington nightclub in the 1940s, and the list goes on. The husband was a well known doctor and patron of the arts and his wife quite the socialite and local tour guide.
I could have spent hours weeding through travel guides from around the world, brochures from far-away places, notes, letters and priceless photographs, but here is a sampling of some of the items I brought home, for about $15.
Of all the things I found on that magical day, a standout was this catalog, "Treasures of Versailles." It dates from 1962 when the some of the palace's finest objects went on tour of the United States. The tour, which made its way to (as they were called back then) The Art Museum of Chicago, Toledo Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum and The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and was heralded as the largest collection ever allowed to leave France. The exhibition touched American soil at a time of disrepair for Versailles, and the French government was seeking ways to raise money for bringing the national treasure back to its former splendor.
According to an October 1962 Life magazine the offerings included "Gobelin tapestries, carpets, furniture, drawings, paintings and sculpture from the reign of Louis XIV to that of his descendant, Louis Philippe, 200 years later."
Almost 50 years later as I was preparing for my arrival in Austin chez LeAnn Stephenson, The Vintage Laundress, I thought this would be a fun gift for her, knowing that she, too, shares my love of everything French, especially the magical château where Marie Antoinette once lived. I wrapped my new treasure up in a Frenchy looking vintage scarf I found in a Long Island thrift shop, et voilà, one of my favorite gifts of thrift!
À la prochaine!
The Elegant Thrifter
Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!