Category Archives: Family

Exciting New Find: New Local Howard Artifact Discovered!

I met with a colleague, who kindly showed me this wonderful artifact.  Having read the story in the Winter issue of In the Hills Magazine – Illuminating the Past: Personal History he was interested to share it with the Howard family.  He kindly gave Treasured Collections his blessing to share it forward.

The item is a framed “illuminated” artwork created in April 1889 by Alfred Harold “A H” Howard (1854–1916 ). Presented by the townsmen of St. Mary’s, it celebrates the retirement Mr Robert Hillyard as Manager of St. Mary’s Branch of the Bank of Montreal. Measuring 15″ x 21″, it is set in an ornate gilded frame with acid free backing and archival-glass. The signature states, “A H Howard & Wilson Designers, Toronto.”

Among the artifacts by “A H” held in local museums, archives and by family members, there are several artworks of this nature, created for specific events, such as retirements etc., many of which were for banks.

How did he come by this commission? St. Mary’s is some distance from Toronto, but “A H” did have family connections to the Mitchell and Stratford area.  He was a founding member of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, or maybe “A H” was so well known for his creative illustrations, that he had became the “go-to” person for the whole area.

Photograph by Frank Cooper, London, Ontario, circa 1880

After his retirement from the bank in St. Mary’s, we understand that Robert Hillyard (1822-1893), moved his family to Toronto.

The artwork was discovered during research into one of Mr Hillyard’s daughters – Caroline “Carrie” Learoyd Hillyard, (born 1866) who became an established artist, known for her portraits and landscape paintings.

Evidently, “Carrie” died with no decedents, and her many paintings were left to the housekeeper to disperse. It is believed that after Robert died, Mrs Hillyard moved to Montreal and lived beyond 100 years. There was information about a niece among the research, and connections to Oakville. The Oakville Museum held an exhibit in 2002 – Returning Home: A Carrie Hillyard Retrospective.

In time, it is hoped the artifact will join the collection of St. Mary’s area museum. For now, we are grateful to my colleague to be able to share another wonderful piece of art created by “A H” Howard.

 

 

It’s All About The Artifacts!

We are thrilled to see that the winter issue of our wonderful local In the Hills Magazine sports an article about a project recently completed by Treasured Collections!

Treasured Collections is all about the artifacts, learning their story, noting the provenance (who had owned them, where were they from), and supplementing their story with supportive documents and photographs.

As with all our projects, it was hard to know where to start and stop. In this instance our client Robin had such a broad array of wonderful artifacts from many different members of her family.

There are artwork examples, miniature sketch books, original letters, poems, published plays, paintings and more. The earliest item dates back to 1843 and each item has its own history.

A ‘honeymoon’ booklet made in 1906, a lace christening bonnet, plus many paintings, designs and illumination examples by AH Howard, similar to those held in local and national archives and museums.

When we met with In The  Hills Magazine writer Kira, none of us knew where the article would lead! How best to narrow down this meandering story that has filled more than 100 pages of photographs and artifacts, covering so many talented family members. It was a challenge.  Kira listened, and jotted notes, next we met with photographer Pete Paterson and editor Tralee with the artifacts laid out before us. The result is truly amazing, the story weaves together a handful of artifacts, producing a heart-warming feeling for all to read about this well-known Toronto gentleman, his family roots, and a Caledon stone house (or two).

“Read about The Howard Collection”

Thank you to client Robin for the opportunity to ‘meet’ her family and thank you to In The Hills Magazine team for sharing a small part of it with the community!

From time to time, I give talks at clubs and groups. Let me know if this is a subject your organization would like to hear about.

Similarly, if you have some special family objects, that you wish to catalogue…. and don’t know where to start, drop me an email or give me a call 519-940-4877.

Digitize Your Artifacts!

Have you ever brought your wedding dress or bridal gown to the dinner table to show your friends? Likely not…. perhaps it is neatly wrapped in box and tissue, and stored in a wardrobe, quite unseen?

Treasured Collections specializes in grouping connected artifacts, documents and photographs together within a digital document.  A wedding dress is not much different.  My wedding wasn’t long ago, but in the 1990s, I wore a classic suit of the era, from one of the well known dress shop. Imagine how fabulous it would be if your grandmother’s dress was documented in this way?  In time your great-grandchildren may be interested to see this detail.

The document might include a wedding photo, the location, a picture of the dress, with close-ups of accessories and details.  Add to this a scanned wedding certificate, picture of the wedding rings, flowers, cake and more – whatever has survived in your memory box!

The digital document can be shared with friends on your iPhone, tablet or as a printed paper booklet.

Packaging artifacts in this way, can show the relationship between the artifacts and provide a neat summary of the occasion for your children and their descendants.

Sharing Bygone Art and Craft Skills

This ‘silver paper picture’ created by my mother Joyce (Bake) George (1924-1999), Portchester, Hampshire, England. It hung in my brother’s bedroom from the early 1960s.

When browsing through some family photographs, I spotted more than one picture that had been created by my mother.

Silver Paper Pictures

An art form all of its own.  My mother produced wonderful pictures to sell at the school fundraising bazaar or Christmas Fair. By the mid-1960s it was a family affair, my brother, sister and I joined in the activities.

How is was done?

In our household all coloured ‘silver paper’ sweet (candy) wrappers we collected and smoothed flat. Quality Street offered, green, purple, silver, gold and more. On the farm boy’s shirt you can see the textured pattern from a strawberry sweet. Easter eggs, provided particularly large pieces of coloured silver foil papers.

On a piece of glass, usually the size of windowpane from our lead-light windows, a simple outline image was drawn or traced from a from a children’s book. This was done with a dip pen and black Indian ink.

When it was dry, the background was painted with black oil-based craft paint.  Working from the back, the image would be reversed when complete.  Within each section foil pieces were glued in place using a strong clear craft glue. Then the edges were carefully sculptured and folded back to be contained in the section. As each layer was filled, the final piece could be placed over the whole image.

The back was covered with card. Brass hanging rings pushed through the card and pre-gummed Paspatoo tape was folded to give an even finish from the front, then dampened and used to secure the edges.

My pictures usually featured ballet dancers, animals, or clowns.

Follow this blog to see more skills from the past!

 

Look A Little Closer….

harmonica-p-c-george-1938

There are many ways to find out the age of your family artifacts.  Photographs and documents are often dated, many have name references too.

Objects are a little different.  On occasion you might be aware who had owned an item, and possibly where they got it from. Sometimes items have a date on them, such as this souvenir spoon from the 1967 International and Universal Exposition, the “Expo ’76” World Fair, held in Montreal.

montreal-1967-spoon

A stamped, or printed mark on the object by the maker can help you research the age of an item. You can discover how long was the maker’s business was in operation, and possibly view catalogues to identify the specific design.

The internet can lead you to lists of companies and dates, for lots of types of objects – ceramics, metal, wooden, glass.

Hallmarks on gold and silver are particularly interesting. If an item was British-made, a precise date can be discovered including the maker and the place.

This Echo-Luxe harmonica was made by M. Hohner, Germany. It was in my brother’s china cabinet for many years.  Now it has come into my possession.  The only thing I knew about it, was that it had belonged to my father – Peter Colin George (1926-2008).

Research tells me that Matth. Hohner AG is the oldest and largest producer of harmonicas in the world.  Based in Trossingen, Baden-Württemberg the company was founded in 1857 by Matthias Hohner (1833-1902). In the 1920s the chromatic harmonica was introduced and production of harmonicas hit 20 million.

So, how to pin down the date of this very popular, well-used harmonica which is still in its original box?

Look a little closer……

Within the box lid, handwritten in a pencil …. “Form 2B, P. George”. This identifies the harmonica as pre-WWII, circa 1938. It was used by my father while attending senior school –  Portsmouth Grammar for Boys (founded in 1732)!

harmonica-lid-p-c-george-1938

 

 

Identify Your Treasured Collections – Medals

Military Medal Named Boxes

If you are lucky enough to be the keeper of precious family artifacts, why not take a moment to clarify who they belonged to?

I am easily able to identify my two sets of family military medals (Royal Navy).  I have a keen interest in both family history and historical artifacts.

But to save these memories and pass them along to future generations, the information has to be clear.

The miniature medal set belonged to my Grandfather Harry Michael George (1899-1961) who joined the Royal Navy at age 15. He became an ERA (Engine Room Artificer), retiring from the Navy as a Chief ERA 2nd Class. His medal set consists of : WWI – British War Medal, and Victory Medal. Long Service Good Conduct Medal 1933, and WWII – Defence Medal and Second World War Medal.

The full size medals belonged to my father Peter Colin George (1925-2008) the son of H Michael George. He also joined the Royal Navy as a boy. Retiring after his fifth-five as Chief Petty Officer, Engineer, RN Fleet Air Arm. (He worked on planes on air craft carriers).  His medals include: Defence Medal (1939-1945), WWII Medal (1939-1945), and Long Service Good Conduct Medal.

Each medal set, is housed in a box and marked with the name of their owner.  I chose to buy the boxes in the UK during a trip, to have the Royal Coat of Arms emblem included.

In the past, military tailors such as Gieves & Hawkes, in Queen Street, Portsmouth would provide these boxes. Alas, no longer, the company still specializes in military uniforms, in Savile Row, London, but no store remains in Portsmouth.

I sourced these boxes via… Worcestershire Medal Services.

medal-boxes-b

Take a moment to identify your family artifacts!

What to avoid using in your antique vase!

When re-arranging some dried flowers, I discovered an issue.  Florist putty used to hold the flower in place had become old and extremely sticky. Once carefully removed (some residue oil still remains), I researched the vase that was once of my Nanna’s favourite.

Constance Spy Mantle Vase Fulham Pottery, London circa 1940
Constance Spy Mantle Vase Fulham Pottery, London circa 1940

Passed to me by my paternal grandmother Irene Evelin (Symes) George (1903-1996) it’s warm cream colour, low profile and elongated shape makes it perfect to create unusual flower arrangements.

Made by The Pottery, Fulham, London, originally founded by John Dwight in 1672. The Pottery, famous for Salt Glazes Stoneware was located at the junction of Kings and Burlington Roads in Fulham in the London Borough of Putney.

A cute paper label with my Grandmother’s handwriting allocated it to me. I have sentimentally left it in place.

Maker's stamp, The Pottery, Fulham, Made in England. FMC.
Maker’s stamp, The Pottery, Fulham, Made in England. FMC.

Research from the stamp and cream coloured glaze leads me to understand that this item is a Constance Spy Art Deco vase designed in the 1930s. Noted as Spry Fulham Pottery Vase (R/0117/ET / LA52215) it was likely made in the 1940s.  The maker’s initials inscribed are FMC.

The frog appears to be the original, the metal is in tact but the centre rubber piece has become hard and brittle.

Flower Frog 1940s

So, although we encourage everyone to use and enjoy their family heirlooms, may I share a little advice of what NOT to use in your special antique vases… avoid florist putty!

 

A Gift For Seniors…

Are you stuck for ideas on what to buy parents and grandparents for Christmas…. then read on!

Seniors have collected and gathered wonderful items throughout their lives. Now they are surrounded by many precious items. They often say, “I don’t need anything!”  They have have all the ‘things’ they need.

However, among their collection, are likely a few very special items that have been passed down the family – family heirlooms. A vase and brooch that were Great Grandmother’s,  a quilt that she made. Military artifacts that belonged to Great, Grandfather etc.

Why not give a gift of having these few special items photographed and their stories gathered and ‘provenance’ documented.  The resulting booklet can be shared with grandchildren, can be in digital format or printed on paper.

If this is something you would like to arrange for your loved one. Contact met today. alison@treasurecollections.ca

WWII Woman's Land Army Arm Band
Documented – WWII Woman’s Land Army Arm Band

Share Your Family Bible

Family Tree and Genealogy
Leather-bound family Bible for Carnegie  family circa 1880

If you are lucky enough to be the keeper of your family Bible, wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to share its content with other members of your family?

Or maybe you know who holds your Bible, and they can share its contact with you?

Usually within the centre pages these large heavy leather-bound Bibles have family information handwritten by family members. Pages include Family Register, Parents Names, Children’s Names, Marriages, and Deaths.

Photograph the Bible from the outside, then each of the pages within.  Save the contents as an image. The images can then be packaged into one document ready for sharing, in paper format or in PDF by email.

Take a moment to verify the data contained. Cross check the information with your family free. Make a note any additional dates, missing information or incorrect spellings.

The family Bible in my possession features my Paternal Great Grandmother’s parents and grandparents.  The hand-written details  start with Frances Mary (Warner) Carnegie (1846-1928) daughter of William Warner (no dates included) and her husband Alexander Carnegie (1845-1892) the son of James Carnegie (1916-1892).

The family tree information notes he died 4 September 1891 the Bible states 14 September 1892. This mis-match of information will need to researched and clarified.

My Great Grandmother, who I was most fortunate to spend time with during my childhood,  is featured on the Children’s Names page.  Elizabeth Frances born Sept. 5, 1872. She lived until she was age 93 in 1965.

carnegie_family_bible

Treasured Collections – What Do We Do?

The word is getting out there.  I have been joining various groups around the community to spread the word to explain what exactly Treasured Collections does!

We offer a service to catalogue family heirlooms, sports memorabilia, military artifacts or historical business objects. We create a ‘package’ which includes photographs, description, background information along-with supportive archival documents. This digital or paper document can be shared with generations to come.

Join my upcoming interactive-talk – Preserving the Stories Behind the Artifacts – at Bolton Branch of Caledon Public Library. Click to Register

Thank you to Patti Foley for helping to spread the word … this month’s newsletter in Caledon JustSayin‘  featured Treasured Collections.