I bought some copper miniatures from Elly's estate.  As they have some hammered surfaces, I assume they were made by Philippe Bordelet.  The way they are made also suggests they are by Philippe Bordelet.  However, the soldering and finish on them is really quite bad.

In the past I have bought copper miniatures from Philippe himself and they are nicely made even though his soldering could have been better.  So, maybe these were early pieces or he just didn't have his day when he made them.

Whatever the case may be,  I decided to clean up the solder joints a bit.


I started with the pitcher which had a lot of solder all along the outside of the spout, the joint in the back and the handle.  First I removed the worst of the solder with a file, then rubbed it with sandpaper, then buffed it with a buffing paste. 



 I didn't want to be too rigorous so there still is a little bit of solder showing, but I really like it now.  

The little pudding mould had a lot of bad scratches on top, as if someone had stepped on it while it was on the pavement!  How on earth that happened I don't know, but I managed to get those scratches out as well.  



Cleaning the copper really started because I have a new toy:  an ultrasonic cleaner.  Very useful for cleaning silver, copper and other small bits and bobs.  These copper pieces were my guinea pigs so to speak.  I only used water and a little washing up liquid but that worked very well. 


Next up for cleaning were these three pieces.  Again, Bordelet pieces and I hate to say it,  but they look terrible.  The lid on the coffee pot (?) is really poorly made.  You can even see the mark from where it hit the edge of the doming block.  If I would cut that off the lid would be too small so I will leave it.  Then there is the crooked knob, the handle, the solder...




The tarte mould had an ugly blob of pitted solder on it which removed.  As with the first two pieces, I filed, sanded and buffed, then put them into the ultrasonic cleaner and gave them a quick wipe when they came out.   So satisfactory to see the change.


Such an improvement!  The lid of the coffee pot could do with a little more work, but I will leave it as it is for now.  


Another thing I bought from Elly's estate was a small samovar.  I didn't think it was copper but some kind of cheap metal.  Such a pity I did not take a picture of how it looked before I cleaned it...

I started cleaning it very carefully as the material wasn't very thick.  It got worse before it got better, but it turned out to be copper and brass after all.  No files and buffing on this one, just very careful polishing.  It took a long time but again, what an improvement!  












After more than 10 months working on Elly's estate miniatures, I am very happy to finally return to my own work and miniatures.  I took a holiday which included visiting the Kensington Dollshouse Festival in London.  Such a wonderful show!  

Of course you can't visit the KDF without finding some treasure there...



Both of my canal houses have mainly been decorated in 18th century styles and later.  However, I couldn't resist this great merchants or counter table from David Hurley.  It is a piece I could fit into one of my rooms somewhere, as a piece inherited by one of the inhabitants.  The piece has beautiful carving and, quite unusual, horizontal linenfold panels. 



Next to David Hurley was Daniela Kiefhaber's table (Microdolls).  She had the most wonderful embroidered gloves and I just couldn't resist them.  These gloves were inspired by a pair depicted on the 17th century painting  'Portrait of a Woman aged 34 years' ( Louvre, Paris) by Dutch painter Pickenoy.  


Pickenoy was a contemporary of Rembrandt and actually his neighbour in Amsterdam for a number of years.  Pickenoy painted several (wedding) portraits of women holding embroidered gloves.  

In the 17th century Netherlands these richly decorated gloves were a symbol of wealth and status.  When a couple got engaged, it was customary for the man to present his fiancée with a pair of gloves.  


The designs of the embroidery all held symbolic meaning.  On the miniature gloves there are tulips, which, like the rose, represent love.  The marital state and fidelity is symbolised by the peacock, an attribute of Juno, the goddess of marriage.  The embroidered fruit bowls symbolise taste and the fruit, possibly pomegranates, symbolise fertility.   


The miniature gloves are made of the thinnest leather and the silk cuffs are embroidered with silks and antique gold thread.  They are lined with pink silk.  The silk and gold thread bows are finished off with tiny agate beads. 


The painting is by Elly Ypma (I bought it several years ago), an impression after the original painting by Frans Hals, Catharina Hooft with her nurse, 1619-20.  There is a little bit of a connection:  in 1636 Pickenoy painted the wedding portrait of the by then 19 year old Catharina Hooft.  Unfortunately there are no wedding gloves in that painting. 


The little 17th century silver wedding casket (knottekistje) was made by Jens Torp.  It has been in my collection for a while now, but it fits in here as the casket, filled with coins, was presented by a (wealthy) suitor to the girl he wanted to marry.  If she accepted the casket with coins it meant they were engaged to be married.  


So, a good pair, the wedding casket and the wedding gloves.