Category Archives: 1920s

Aloysius, The Brideshead Bear


Aloysius with Ben Whishaw in the film adaptation of Brideshead Revisted
Aloysius the bear with Anthony Andrews as Lord Sebastian Flyte, and Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder, in the acclaimed television adaptation of the novel (1981)
Aloysius is Lord Sebastian Flyte's teddy bear in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited (1945).
Similar model Teddy Bear, Ideal Novelty and Toy Co c.1910 (V&A Museum of childhood)
Aloysius, and in particular his representation in the acclaimed television adaptation of the novel (1981), is credited with having triggered the late-twentieth-century teddy bear renaissance. He was depicted by a teddy bear named Delicatessen, who was owned by the actor Peter Bull.
Delicatessen aka Aloysius in the Brideshead Revisited TV series
The inspiration for Aloysius was Archibald Ormsby-Gore, the beloved teddy bear of John Betjeman, Evelyn Waugh's friend at Oxford.
The original Archibald Ormsby-Gore (left)
The original Archibald Ormsby-Gore (left), better known as Archie, was John Betjeman's teddy-bear, and the inspiration for Aloysius, in Brideshead. He was his lifelong companion together with an elephant known as Jumbo(right) .
Betjeman at Oxford
John Betjeman brought his bear with him when he went up to university at Oxford in the 1920s, and as a result Archie became the model for Aloysius, Sebastian Flyte's bear in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited.

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ARCHIBALD

The bear that sits above my bed
A doleful bear he is to see;
From out his drooping pear-shaped head
His woollen eyes look into me.
He has no mouth, but seems to say:
'They'll burn you on the Judgement Day.'

Those woollen eyes, the things they've seen
Those flannel ears, the things they've heard -
Among horse-chestnut fans of green,
The fluting of an April bird,
And quarrelling downstairs until
Doors slammed at Thirty One West Hill.

The dreaded evening keyhole scratch
Announcing some return below
The nursery landing's lifted latch,
The punishment to undergo
Still I could smooth those half-moon ears
And wet that forehead with my tears.

Whatever rush to catch a train,
Whatever joy there was to share
Of sounding sea-board, rainbowed rain,
Or seaweed-scented Cornish air,
Sharing the laughs, you still were there,
You ugly, unrepentant bear.

When nine, I hid you in a loft
And dared not let you share my bed;
More aged now he is to see,
His woollen eyes have thinner thread,
But still he seems to say to me,
In double-doom notes, like a knell:
'You're half a century nearer Hell.'

Self-pity shrouds me in a mist,
And drowns me in my self-esteem.
The freckled faces I have kissed
Float by me in a guilty dream.
The only constant, sitting there,
Patient and hairless, is a bear.

And if an analyst one day
Of school of Adler, Jung or Freud
Should take this aged bear away,
Then, oh my God, the dreadful void!
its draughty darkness could but be
Eternity, Eternity.

John Betjeman
Note: Archibald Ormsby-Gore, better known as Archie, was John Betjeman'teddy-bear.

Together with an elephant known as Jumbo, he was a lifelong companion.

Betjeman brought his bear with him when he went up to university at Oxford in the 1920s, and as a result Archie became the model for Aloysius, Sebastian Flyte's bear in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited.

In the 1940s, Betjeman also wrote an illustrated a story for his children, entitled 'Archie and the Strict Baptists', in which the bear's sojourns at the family's successive homes in Uffington and Farnborough are fictionalised. Archie is here described as a member of the Strict Baptist denomination, riding a hedgehog to chapel, and enjoying amateur archaeology, digging up molehills, "which, he considered, were the graves of baby Druids".

Archie and Jumbo were in Betjeman's arms when he died in 1984.

Downton Abbey: Lady Violet Style Paper Mache Table


Lady Violet on Downton Abbey seated next to her decorative Papier Mache table. This table appears throughout the series as a key piece of furniture in the Dowager Lady Violet's drawing room. Her servant bell is usually seen on this table which she uses to great effect to both summon servants and dismiss guests as the whim takes her.

Paper Mache Table
English Victorian Paper Mache Tilt Top Table

Here is a similar table seen on eBay this week - click on the picture to view the detais - just the conversation piece to impress your guests. You can be sure the Dowager Countess would approve.

Holiday Collectibles: Add to your collection of Downton Abbey pieces from Dept 56

The holiday season is a great time for displaying Department 56 village collectibles and Downton Abbey fans who missed out on the now retired Downton Abbey pieces from Dept 56 can still find them for sale on the secondary market. The pieces are carefully designed as we can see from the Video clip below.

Seen on eBay:
Dept 56 Downton Abbey Village Series The Downton Legacy Continues 2 Figurines NE
Dept 56 Downton Abbey Village Series The Downton Legacy Continues 2 Figurines NE
Dept 56 Downton Abbey Dowager Countess  Young Friend 4044802 New No Box
Dept 56 Downton Abbey Dowager Countess Young Friend 4044802 New No Box
Brand New Dept 56 Downton Abbey Series Dowager Countess and Young Friend
Brand New Dept 56 Downton Abbey Series Dowager Countess and Young Friend
Department 56 Collectible 4044801 Downton Abbey The Crawley House
Department 56 Collectible 4044801 Downton Abbey The Crawley House
Dept 56 Downton Abbey A Lady  Gentleman Friend BRAND NEW Free Shipping
Dept 56 Downton Abbey A Lady Gentleman Friend BRAND NEW Free Shipping
Dept 56 Downton Abbey Dowager Countess  Young Friend 4044802
Dept 56 Downton Abbey Dowager Countess Young Friend 4044802
Department 56 Downton Abbey Series the Dower Light House 64 New
Department 56 Downton Abbey Series the Dower Light House 64 New
Department 56 Downton Abbey Series Lord Granthams Limousine Figurine 4043910
Department 56 Downton Abbey Series Lord Granthams Limousine Figurine 4043910
Department 56 Downton Abbey The Downton Legacy Continues set of 2 4036514
Department 56 Downton Abbey The Downton Legacy Continues set of 2 4036514
Brand New Dept 56 Downton Abbey Series Lady Crawley and Gentleman Friend
Brand New Dept 56 Downton Abbey Series Lady Crawley and Gentleman Friend
Department 56 Downton Abbey Series Crawley Light House 669
Department 56 Downton Abbey Series Crawley Light House 669
Dept 56 Downton Abbey Series The Dower House 4043909 New Free Shipping
Dept 56 Downton Abbey Series The Dower House 4043909 New Free Shipping

Downton Abbey: Mrs Hughes’ Pullman Lamp

Brass tripod Pullman lamp on Mrs Hughes table

If you ever wondered about the lamp on the table in Mrs Hughes sitting room you may be interested to know that it is a called a Pullman lamp. Pullman lamps were commonly seen on Pullman railway carriages in in the Edwardian era. The picture on the right above is an example of a similar brass tripod Pullman table lamp and is an original antique from the era . I see more like it on eBay occasionally. Click here to see the current selection.

Lady Violet’s perfume on Downton Abbey

Lady Violed on Downton Abbey with vintage perfume bottle,
Lady Violed on Downton Abbey with vintage perfume bottle,

A vintage Grossmith Phul-Nana perfume bottle with original box is offered on eBay this week :http://www.ebay.com/itm/PHUL-NANA-GROSSMITH-ART-NOUVEAU-ANTIQUE-FLOWERS-GLASS-PERFUME-SCENT-BOTTLE-BOX-/232105110727. The Dowager Lady Violet was seen holding one like it in a scene from Downton Abbey. I the scene Lady Edith is visiting Lady Violet following the episode where she has been jilted at the altar. She delivers the perfume to Lady Violet from her shopping trip and Lady Violet remarks on the price:"A guinea? for a bottle of scent? Did he have a mask and a gun?"

phulnana

Household Wants Indicator Available on Ebay

householdwantsindicator
The household wants indicatior is a much wanted Downton Abbey related collector item and this is one that is on eBay currently - click picture above to go straight to the listing on eBay.
Recent news about the Downton Abbey movie is sure to please fans and to heat up the demand for vintage collectibles again:
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/sep/19/downton-abbey-movie-maggie-smith

Downton Abbey Props: Sardine Dish

English Majolica Sardine Dish
English Majolica Sardine Dish seen on Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey, the PBS series, was set in the Edwardian era, however many of the original antique props were from previous eras such as this Victorian  Sardine dish, which is appropriate considering that household items in such a great house would have accumulated over years. Continue reading Downton Abbey Props: Sardine Dish

Travelling with Agatha Christie

Cream Tea with Clotted Cream and Scones - a favorite of Agatha Christie
Cream Tea with Clotted Cream and Scones - a favorite of Agatha Christie

I called in to Marks and Spencer yesterday to pick up some of their clotted cream - fortunately it was in stock - it is frequently sold out here in Ireland and hard to find anywhere outside of the UK,  appparently because it does not travel well. I began to appreciate traditional cream teas (the cream is not actually served in the tea but on the scones) after I read an account in Agatha Christie's autobiography about her taste for the local Devon clotted cream   Continue reading Travelling with Agatha Christie

Downton Abbey Style Finds

Vintage Desktop Calendar and Ink stand
Vintage Desktop Calendar and Ink stand

A vintage Desktop Calendar and Ink stand found on eBay.com remind me of the downstairs scenes of Mrs Hughes at her desk in her sitting room on Downton Abbey. A similar framed silhouette was seen on her wall in the early seasons.