Last “First Friday” – October 3rd

The last “First Friday” of the 2014 season is coming up this Friday, October 3rd.

There are lots of planned activities out an about in Annapolis Royal: pony rides for the kids at the Fort, treats and music at the market and, of course, stores open late for some early Christmas shopping!

We will have our usual gang of musicians here and hope to see you in Town!


The democratization of art: PBNs

You know that Jane and I love the vintage Paint-by-Numbers and enjoy selling them in our shop.

But did you know there is a Paint-by-Number Museum on line where you can research and find the ones in your collection ?

When we get a “new to us” PBN, we always go to : and use their search engine to find the one we are researching. There we can find the title of our PBN, the date the kit was manufactured and the number of oil colours used in the kit.

PBNs were the democratization of art in the 50s. Anyone could paint a masterpiece. People had more leisure time for a creative experience

According to the article “Every Man a Rembrandt”, the Palmer Paint Company and artist Dan Robbins conceived the idea and began distributing the kits in 1951. By 1954, Palmer had sold over 12 million kits under the Craft Master label.

Critics pooh-poohed the mindless conformity of the kits calling those who used them “number filler inners”.  One critic said that more “number pictures” hung in American homes than original works of art. But the public – young and old -loved them. Retailers welcomed the kits as transition items and estimated that as many as 10% of those doing PBNs went on to purchase traditional art supplies. And many had their PBNs professionally framed – creating a boom in that business.

And many “artists” made the PBNs their own by eliminating a detail here and there or changing a colour, thereby learning something of art in the process.

One amateur artist wrote in 2001 that “paint by number introduced me to the smell and feel of “real” paint that still thrills me today”

You can read about other remembrances at:

Now isn’t that fascinating?

Here are the PBNs we have in the store right now.

"The birches" PBN from 1960. 40 oil colours $35

“The birches” PBN from 1960. 40 oil colours

Lovely large still life Paint-by-Number from 1973. 40 oil colours. $55

Lovely large still life Paint-by-Number from 1973. 40 oil colours. $55

"Autumn Haze". 1969. 22 oil colours. We have the pair. $40/pair

“Autumn Haze”. 1969. 22 oil colours.
We have the pair. $40/pair

"Tranquil reflections" 1969. 40 oil colours. $60

“Tranquil reflections” 1969. 40 oil colours. $60

Our favourite! "Age of innocence" by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Masterpiece series. Signed by the "artist". M. Butler 1969. $75

Our favourite!
“Age of innocence” by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Masterpiece series.
Signed by the “artist”. M. Butler 1969. $75

Thornton-Smith vanity chair

We have a very lovely pale blue vanity chair in the store this week.

The chair was beautifully made by the Thornton-Smith Company of Toronto in 1940.

Mabel Cawthra Adamson, who was the first president of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Canada in 1903, founded the Canadian franchise of the Thornton-Smith Compnay, a British interior design firm, in 1905.

This company was a legendary influence on Toronto interiors. They sold custom furniture, fabrics, rugs and drapery. They decorated  the Royal Alexander Theatre, parts of Massey Hall and even the Senate Chamber in Ottawa.

We are pleased to be able to offer this delightful swivelling vanity chair with such an interesting history attached.


Beautiful Thornton-Smith vanity chair from 1940. Excellent condition. It swivels! $140

Beautiful Thornton-Smith vanity chair from 1940. Excellent condition. It swivels! (SOLD)

Getting your fireplace ready!

We hate to think about it in September but the cooler weather is coming!

And we have some great fireplace accessories in the store right now to help you face the winter in style.

The metal four panel screen is very elegant and is $125

The sturdy  Edwardian coal scuttle is $95.

The andirons are $40/pair.

The very nifty small scale fireplace tool set is $125.

Fireplace accessories

Fireplace accessories

Rousseau metal chairs

I very recently purchased four vintage metal bridge chairs at a sale. They are really strong, fold-up chairs in a black finish and with their original green vinyl seats.

Luckily, they still have their original labels on the back reading “Rousseau Metal, St-Jean Port Joli, Quebec, Canada”.

So, I did a little research – as per usual – and found out that the company still exists. I wrote to them on the off chance they might respond.

Well, Direct Marketing Agent Rebecca Dube of Rousseau Metal very kindly answered me back the very next day with all kinds of interesting information and photos on our chairs.

Turns out they were made in the 1950s and were part of bridge sets produced by this company which was founded in 1950 with three employees in a 15,000 sq. ft factory! They manufactured a variety of products including all types of multi-purpose cabinets, some for Canada Post, mailboxes, electric meter boxes and… bridge tables and chairs!

Rousseau Metal now uses cutting-edge technology in their 183,000 sq. ft facility in the same place supplying companies with”workspace and organizations solutions for almost 60 years”.

Isn’t that fascinating?

Please have a look at the photos that Rebecca kindly sent!

We have actually decided to keep the chairs and not sell them in the store. We are going to use them for our musicians who come and play here every First Friday – they are really comfortable!

Many thanks to Rebecca for the information and permission to use her archival photos.

Roussea Metal label

Rousseau Metal label

One of our Rousseau metal chairs.

One of our Rousseau metal chairs.

Original Rousseau Metal bridge table and chair set from the 1950s.

Original Rousseau Metal bridge table and chair set from the 1950s.

Freshly painted bridge chairs on the factory floor.

Freshly painted bridge chairs out of the oven.


Carlo of Hollywood oil painting

A Carlo of Hollywood original oil painting on masonite!

Artcraft was Carlo’s studio and was located in the Lincoln Heights Station area near Los Angeles. He painted in the mid 50s.

Apparently his art was sold in department stores and was bought by contractors as gifts for new homeowners!

Rumour on the net says he may have designed sets on the I Love Lucy show.

When I first saw our painting, I thought it was of a golf course! However, it is actually a lake with a couple of boats and a sand bar. The colours are fabulous!

Carlo of Hollywood oil on masonite painting. $575

Carlo of Hollywood oil on masonite painting. SOLD

Artcraft label

Artcraft label