It’s been sad and truly heart-tugging, clearing out my late mother-in-law’s beautiful family home in the North of Scotland.
My husband’s grandparents bought the house back in the 1940s and it’s right on the banks of Findhorn Bay on the Moray Firth, about 30 miles from Inverness. A more beautiful spot you could not find, in Britain or anywhere in the world, but then I am biased.
If there has been an upside to leaving the house, it has been the fascination to be found through sifting through all the family possessions – not valuable stuff, but the stuff of life, old photos, postcards and books, and combs and brushes, and playing cards and bridge paraphernalia (which I do not understand).
Much of this stuff was in the attic, and lots of pieces unseen for decades and decades, maybe even as far back as the 1940s when the couple moved into their dream retirement home by the sea and packed away certain parts of their life for future consideration, or indeed for the curious consideration of future generations.
The dining room contained a glass-fronted cabinet that housed a number of tea sets, more pieces of which were later discovered in the attic, and I would love help identifying these, if anyone has any expertise. Sharon and I are taking part in the Rose & Brown Vintage Fair at Victoria Hall in Saltaire on Saturday November 29 and I will be hosting a stall called “Ella’s Attic”, in honour of my mother-in-law and her parents and the wonderful pieces I found at the Moray house. They had amazing taste, I think. Lots of the pieces remind me of the sort of props you might find in Downton Abbey, but more real and special.
Looking at the the hall stand, pictured above, is very sad. It used to be dark brown wood but I painted it white a few years ago. If my mother-in-law minded, she didn’t complain. I wish I could keep it, but our narrow hall is not suitable. It needs a large hall or porch, so I’ll be selling it soon.
There was this oriental tea set too, below – I’ve done a bit of digging on the internet and I think it’s 1920s’ eggshell and maybe Japanese. I’ll bring it to the vintage fair, but if you have any info, let me know asap on email@example.com.
There was a rather fabulous Deco sideboard in the dining room and this cabinet, below, was in one of the cupboards. I hunted about the house for keys and found one that fit and opened it. It seems to be a smoking cabinet, and it has drawers with ‘cigarettes’ written on them, containing silver and glass ashtrays, plus a little tag saying Harrods, so maybe that is where it’s from.
We are going to sell these items, although we would keep them if we had the room. I would like them to be bought by people who will love and take care of them, and the wonderful thing about selling prized items at vintage fairs is that this is exactly what happens. The Rose and Brown Home and Fashion Vintage Fair takes place on Saturday November 29 at Victoria Hall, Saltaire. Check out www.roseandbrownvintage.co.uk for more details.