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What Is Christmas Without Carols! Brief History of the Christmas Carol; Detail of a historiated initial 'C'(antate) of angels singing, at the beginning of Psalm 97. Origin: England, S. E. (London)


 Once upon a time, Christmas was quiet

There was music around, but some wouldn't try it

 One Bishop so fine in 129 suggested a Hymn for the singing

But not much is said 'bout what 200-ahead years would be bringing

Could be one day a few monks started to hum -

Tried it with Psalms - all hundred-fifty - of 'um!

Like David of old they knew they'd struck gold

And the church decided to 'buy it' - kind of


Twas in Latin for 800 years more - chanting fine lessons and lore

And of course for their much-desired blessin's

Until someone said 'RHYME'!  It was wa-a-ay past 'high time'!

Like turkey to go with the dressin'!

Then St. Francis, bless his heart, said why don't we start

To sing like we talk -- things then turned round on a dime!

But these were for pleasure - not a church measure

They were sung in the streets by Wassailers on 'feets'-

So for years yet to come, secular treasure...


Still 400 years 'nother the Brits thought them 'vulgar'

Dismissed them entirely to the world of the 'other'

But the Lutherans were comin'!  They took to the hummin'

Soon carols continued to beats set to strummin'


Twas nigh 200 years more before songs of 'adore'

Hit the rectories and churches abounding

In eighteen and eighteen, on a Christmas Eve snowy

'Silent Night' was first sung with guitar below it

Penned by the preacher and sung by the teacher

Soon the whole world would love it and know it

And on Christmas Eve, of eighteen and eighty

Sweet carols of love for a Child and Lady

Were sung in church walls way down in Cornwall

BY ALL -  from the 'quite tall' to 'too very small'  ...

With both 'Rhyme' and melodies so resounding! 


So join in the spirit, no one need hear it

Just hum right along....as we 'borrow' this song.....


.... So let's all begin -  with some gusto - and whim -

with just a few of ....  


My Favorite Things, from the 1959 Broadway musical and 1965 movie "The Sound of Music"


Rare Early Bow Famille Rose Large Punch Bowl, England, c1753

George II Pierced Steel & Brass Trivet (Footman), England, c1750



"Bow porcelains" remain my personal choice of all ceramics.

Not only do Bow early British porcelains retain a touch of the baroque

in both slightly heavier forms and surface decorations -

but they have the most wonderful and rather "sexy" glaze - almost a bit oily to the touch!

Before my fireplace, I have long kept a Good Trivet : like heated car seats - "quick  warmth"!

This c1750 trivet is among the loveliest I have seen - of steel with brass top, and applied shells to the pierced frieze.


Queen Anne Gesso & Giltwood Overmantle Mirror with original gilt girandoles, England, c1710



British mirrors from c1700-1770 range from Queen Anne / early Georgian solid gilt and gesso examples,

 to the George II "architectural" mirrors, on to mid-century elaborate pierced versions.

For me, the early gilt and gesso form possesses a simplicity and warmth that is almost intimate. 

It whispers, rather than shouts - so easy to live with - even in a contemporary setting. 

This Queen Anne overmantle mirror retains the original gilt and gilt girandoles - c1710, 48" Long



Fine Silver-Mounted Carved Mahogany Snuff Box in the form of a horse's head, England, c19th century


Delightful Carved Coquilla Nut Snuff Box, formed as a man with a cape and cap, France c1790


18th Century Carved Crowned Hunchback with Ruff, possibly Richard III




There is a pure delight that continually draws me to these small carved snuff boxes. 

They aren't made of an extremely valuable material - nor do they perform any essential function.

They just make me smile each time I look at them.

As well, they hold the fingering of all their past owners, not cleaned away as they are on silver.

There's sheer magic in that.

Left to right : A silver-mounted mahogany horse; A coquilla nut gentleman with lopsided eyes in a cap and cape;

A fruitwood crowned hunchback, possibly Richard III of England, who was

recently found, being buried under a Salisbury parking lot for 500 years. We call him 'Little Richard'.





Bow Porcelain While Chocolate Cup and Saint-Cloud White Trembleuse Saucer

George III Fruitwood Apple-Form Tea Caddy, England, c1790-1810



Again it's "Bow porcelain" - but this time left in the white -
wherein form alone plays a far more important part than with painted surfaces.

White porcelains, in imitation of imported Chinese porcelains with applied decoration,
comprised an important early period for several British manufactories,
And, of course, the favorite "fruit-form tea caddies" -- what's a rectangular box compared to an apple?

Many copies were made in 19th century Germany.  Even more have been made in the 20th century.

  This softly faded apple caddy is English c1790-1810, and retains traces of the original foil lining.


 Theresa Ferber Bernsten, Sunny Path, Central Park 1917, oil on board, exhibited Grand Central Galleries, NYC



This small painting is extraordinary by any standards. 

Besides just delighting the eye and senses, the painting extends into masterful in

 the execution of the figure with deftness and accuracy;  the excellence of brushwork; and vibrancy of color. 

On this panel, executed in 1917, and exhibited at Grand Central Galleries in 1988,

Ms. Bernstein created with sure impasto brushstrokes an entire Scene of Central Park, with ease and energy,

brilliant light and shadow -- and 23 figures - some in the background, others standing, some seated on park benches. 

Included are a mother - baby in arms, and another mother with a child and perambulator at her side

No effort is felt.  All is flawless.  It sings. 


Good Staffordshire Blue Pigeon Form Tureen & Cover, England, c1815


"BIRDS on their nests with BLUE colored WINGS...."

To Memphis (TN) history the blue pigeon brings a singular attraction!

Since the 1800's, thousands of pigeons have resided year-round in downtown Memphis at 'Court Square'.

 'Feeding the pigeons' has become a Memphis tradition when visiting the square, with its park and fountain.

Most Memphians recall their youthful pleasure of saving sandwich crusts to share with the rather 'expectant' birds.

On the attached page are 1917 and 1936 photographs of the "Memphis pigeons".....





Pair English Delft in Manganese and Polychrome, Bristol, 1740-50 Pair English Delft in Manganese and Polychrome, Bristol, 1740-50 English Delft Woolsack Charger in Manganese and Blue,  Probably Liverpool c1745-55 Pair English Delft in Manganese and Polychrome, Bristol, 1740-50, and a English Delft Woolsack Charger in Manganese and Blue,  Probably Liverpool c1745-55



The white dresses are pretty - but there's something very special in the manganese -

the brownish purple used on Delft in the late 17th and early 18th centuries . 

There is an inviting warmth and richness to the color itself -

then the added beauty when combined with wood and silver or pewter - almost made for one another!

The 9-1/8" pair shown above with a good 14-1/8" Liverpool "Woolsack" charger, c1750 -

also one of my favorite things.



"TEAPOTS" that traveled from "FAR-AWAY LANDS"

London painted Chinese teapots, I am told, have become "the flavor of the month".
Three nationalities
were likely involved in making this class of porcelains : 
the ceramic, China, c1690-1750; the painters, likely from The Netherlands; and the locale of decoration London
In the 1600s, the Dutch learned to imitate the imported Chinese porcelain painting on their Delftwares -

then took their skills to England c1700.

(Above left), Kangxi, c1715, i
llustrated in European Decoration on Chinese Porcelain, among others

 (Above right) Yongzheng, c1740, a fine and highly collectible Limehouse Class example


Two South Staffordshire Enamel on Copper Scent Flasks with Original Cut Glass Stoppered Bottles, c1775



 Just a whiff of a wonderful aromatic can calm all the senses.

During my many years as a painter, I burned incense sticks to relieve the occasional tensions that mounted  -

Gonesh #2 in a gold foil box.

I would love to have had these small scent flasks - instead of cleaning up the incense mess!

"Scents" have long been used for health (both mental and physical),

 and as romantic gifts (due to their other mysterious attributes). 

These c1775 enamel on copper flasks were made about the time America was fighting for independence,

and despite all, retain their original stoppered vials - now falling into the category of "luxury".

Who knows what their contents have engendered!  Provenance - Manheim NYC





Unusual Georgian Pierced and Engraved Hearth Trivet with a dog biting the hoofs of a deer from a fanciful scene, possibly taken from an early tapestry

Chinese Export Silver-Mounted Famille Rose Chocolate Pot, the body painted with insects and flora, late Qianlong, Jiaqing



(An Unusually Pierced Brass Fireplace Footman).......(Chinese Export Silver-Mounted Chocolate Pot)

When I'm feeling sad


 And then I don't f-e-e-l....so bad!"



Woodcut, detail of a page from Horae, Paris, 1506


Many carols actually sprang from the tradition of "wassailing" from house to house.

Wassailers were groups of singers who traveled from house to house -

often after the blessing of the orchard trees for a better harvest. 

They sang carols in exchange for gifts, food, money or a drink from a large bowl of Christmas wassail

 - a bit like 'trick or treat'.

The word "caroling" originally meant dancing - usually for joy and praise  -

this dancing done at the Pagan Winter Solstice Festivals on the shortest day of the year



"My Favorite Things", from the 1959 Broadway musical and 1965 movie "The Sound of Music",

was written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein. 

It was first sung by Mary Martin in the role of Maria, and later by Julie Andrews along with the "von Trapp children". 

Although the song was originally a positive way to overcome fearful situations,

 it has become an international favorite at Christmas time, having appeared on 36 Christmas specials. 



Please click on the above illustrated images, titles, or underlined text

for fully illustrated pages.



To View This Year's Other Christmas Catalogs, Please Click Below:


Santa Baby, Tuck a Little Table Under the Tree - for Me

What is Christmas Without Carols - Santa Baby


Children, Go Where I Send Thee


God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen!

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen!


A Man Singing, from 6-volume Gradual, tempera and gold leaf on parchment, Italy, c1460-1480, J. Paul Getty Museum



901-761-1163 (gallery) / 901-827-4668 (cell)



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  What Is Christmas Without Carols / "My Favorite Things" / M. Ford Creech Antiques & Fine Art