Little cupids at the House of the Vettii in Pompei

I was instantly enamoured of this little hand painted picture when I came across it. Those naughty “amorini” (little cupids), so finely depicted in exquisite and vibrant colours captured my glance.

“Pompei – I Farmacisti” by M. Cirillo, inspired to the antique mural frescos at the House of the Vettii in Pompei

The subject is inspired to the antique Roman frescos in the hall of the House of the Vettii, in Pompei, Italy.

Isn’t in remarkable that Pompei was rediscovered in modern times after laying buried under ashes and soil for centuries? The frescos still display such elegantly vivid colours, as if those rooms were still inhabited.

The frescos in the main room of the Vettii house are superb and denote a forward-looking attitude in matter of style, as they transitioned from the previous Roman style to a new one. 

This little painting has just been listed on my Etsy shop VforVintageLondon.

Sustainable life and what else is going on

In knitting matters, I completed the sleeves and border on the mohair Sunday Cardigan. I’m debating on whether to add a contrast border along the vertical edges (akin to a button band). When I showed it to a friend, I don’t think he was very impressed with it – he muttered “fluffy” as a feedback, lol..

fluffy Sunday Cardigan

Another knitting endeavour, in a quest for a more sustainable life, is the making of dishclothes. To move away from disposable sponges that go to landfill waste, we tried coconut-made ones. They are ok but understandably tend to fall apart quite soon.

So we’re giving a try to dishclothes, which can be machine washed and hopefully will last long. These are made from cotton yarn I had in my stash, which was purchased from a charity shop (thrift store). I think I will make some smaller ones too, for washing smaller things like crystal glasses.

I finished the first one. The pattern is Checkerboard by Allison Griffith (free pattern).

The second one is WIP, using the free pattern Squishy Facecloth or Dishcloth by Rowan Watts.

Checkerboard dishcloth
Checkerboard on the left, Squishy Dishcloth on the right

In life news, a lot is going on at the moment – mostly things that need to be dealt with. Not much fun is happening.

Notably, I’m in the process of applying for British citizenship. I’ve been living in the UK for a long time and wasn’t contemplating applying until Brexit happened. I finally decided to put mine in. The application process is not straight forward, so is taking time and lot of work.

Yesterday one of my friends visited us to provide support as one of the referees. It was the first dinner with guest we had in the flat – where we have been for almost 6 years. It was a joy to have him around, chat and have a meal together. I cooked vegetarian lasagne – an improvisation on a loose lasagne recipe. I had never made lasagne and as usual applied a “freestyle” approach to the ingredients and instructions. Luckily it turned out rather fine. We had a lovely organic Italian wine, sipped in fancy vintage glasses.

I hope life is treating you well, and health is steady. Love & peace & salutations.

Old landscapes

I love vintage paintings and my collection counts many pieces. One section is dedicated to landscapes and nature.

The tradition of British landscape painting: views of sea, lakes, streams, mountains and trees. I can’t resist the pull of those wide spaces, the rugged solitary beauty, or the romantic serene scenes. These views evoke positive feelings – a sense of inner peace and well being.

I am now listing a few British pieces – some is vintage and some is antique artwork.

There is this little picture of a ruined castle near a mountain cliff by the shore of a lake, possibly depicting a Scottish loch. The location bears good resemblance with the ruined Kilchum Castle on the Loch Awe. The scene has a pretty and peaceful atmosphere, with warm tones.

Antique oil painting, 19th century English school
Very old canvas, with mark by Muller, an art provider in the City of London

Then there is this little charming vintage painting with beautiful colours and showing a marine view. A country cottage is perched atop a gentle hill, with dry stone wall and colourful front garden. Opposite, we have a wide view of the sea, with rolling waves, rocks, and a fluffy cloud sky. Close to the viewer, a wide bay with sandy beach. On the very far horizon a rain shower is hinted. This serene and gentle marine landscape depicts Runswick Bay, a little village near Whitby in Yorkshire.

Vintage painting of Yorkshire village by the sea, from the 1990s

What about this rugged mountain landscape with a solitary stream, perhaps an English dale, or a corner of the Scottish Highlands? Or is that a wild area in Wales? I love those majestic peaks in the far distance, and a handful of birds dancing in circle above scattered rocks. The earthy tones mixed with greens and teals. The grand and remote peace.

Are these the English Dales or the wild Wales?

The last painting is an antique oil of a Scottish Highland landscape and is one of my all-time favourite. The composition again depicts the countryside, this time less remote, with a river gently turning, its water flowing slowly across mountains and hills, with vegetation and trees. You would expect to see someone appearing from a little path in between the greenery. Does this view really exist or is it an artistic fancy? Where does the river flow into? How would it look in stormy weather? I very much like the old frame in which the painting sits, with its rich yet elegant motifs.

Do you like paintings? What’s your favourite style or subject? Do you hang or display pictures in your home?

Find them on my Etsy shops:

Vintage painting of Yorkshire village by the sea at V for Vintage London

Antique oil painting of ruined castle by a cliff at An Old Country House

Rugged mountain landscape will be listed at V for Vintage London

Highland landscape will be listed at An Old Country House

Visit VforVintageLondon on Etsy

Visit AnOldCountryHouse on Etsy

@vforvintagelondon on Instagram and Pinterest.

Sunday Cardigan in the home stretch

The Sunday Cardigan is almost done. And of course I lost at yarn chicken!

More or less it’s just the ribbing borders left to do, but the mohair yarn ran out.

The wool is a vintage, long discontinued, variety and nowhere to be had – I peeped on other knitter’s Raverly stashes, scoured the internet, searched eBay and Etsy. Nothing. Such is life.

Levelling my melodramatic tone, rest reassured that there is a plan B in my drawer.

My vintage yarn stash came to the rescue. There are a handful shades of mohair that could be paired to complete the cardigan. After retrieving them, I selected three candidates. I think I will go with the mid blue. I like the darker blue better but it seems to be too much of a contrast with the main off white background of the other mohair. The light blue is too light in comparison to the blue flecks of the main yarn.

What do you think?

Victorian botanical studies #1

Long ago I purchased a set of antique watercolours depicting studies of flowers and plants. I finally added this one to my antique shop An Old Country House.

This picture is finely drawn and hand coloured, and represents four types of wild flowers. Pictured from top to bottom and left to right, these are:

– Chinese Arrowhead (aka Sagittaria Trifolia)
– Irish Heather (a type of wild bell)
– Common Cowslip
– (Scotch) Burnet Rose

It’s an exquisite original artwork from 19th century English school. I find it so delicate and elegant. My favourite flowers are the Irish Heather and the Burnet Rose.

Irish Heather bell
Scotch Burnet Rose

Thanks to its fine quality, it easily suits both modern and period / traditional interiors.

I’m a bit reluctant to let this go, yet I have a great number of paintings and a small flat..

Find it on my Etsy shop:

Victorian Botanical Studies at An Old Country House