Monday, 2 July 2012

The rocking chair

Our old American rocking chair came to us via unusual circumstances. We lived for several years in Northumberland, a beautiful county bordering Scotland to its north.
The River Croquet on a frosty morning
Allendale
Some new neighbours moved near us from America. They were a lot older than us, and this was the first move they had ever made. They had lived their whole life in Rochester, New York State, and they bought virtually everything from their old home over with them. They were our neighbours for about 3 years, but then learnt that they were being moved to Belgium. This was another huge undertaking for a couple nearing retirement, and the wife could not bear the thought of packing their entire household up again. She offered us several of their things, and that is how we acquired the old rocker that had once belonged to her grandmother.
It was painted a rather dull green, the paint having blistered where it had sat out on the porch over many years. Since I have had the rocker, it has gone through several reincarnations. It is interesting how taste changes. Many years ago I liked a touch of the imperial, so an offbeat purple it became. Then, unbelievably, I decided that a dash of bright red in a room was fetching, rather like the great painters, such as John Constable, would put a small amount of red in their pictures. Until the last couple of weeks it was painted in a Shaker colour, I used an American paint, made by Old Village, called Cupboard Blue. 
With the fine weather I felt like a change, and decided it was time to give the old chair a new colour. This time round I was influenced by our visits to Norway, and my love of Carl Larsson the Swedish painter, whom I wrote about here.
A couple of images from Norway taken whilst visiting eldest son and family
Carl Larsson's dinning room and his  paintings 
Mrs Dora Lamm and her two eldest sons
One of Larsson's models writing cards
The Larsson's kitchen
A Name day celebration at Larsson's home
The colour I have chosen is Scandinavian Pink. It is made by the paint colourist, Annie Sloan. She lives, and has her main shop in Oxford. She has an international reputation for her chalk based paints, which if waxed, give a very hardwearing and lasting finish.
Scandinavian Pink
On the paint pot it states - No priming or sanding necessary. No removing of old wax, paint or varnish. This paint will stick to most things including plastics, stone, bricks, concrete and metal.
This is girls' paint (but boys can use it too!). 
Absolutely great, just the sort of paint product I have been dreaming of. I have not waxed the rocker, the paint seems more robust than I thought it would be. I imagined it would be slightly darker, perhaps it will darken if I wax it. I will leave it as it is for the moment and, if necessary, wax it during the winter months. 

Northumberland and Carl Larsson images via wikipedia

42 comments:

  1. A chair with a wonderful history. It looks great Rosemary, especially with the checked cushion. Your photos of Norway are stunning, must have been an amazing visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Karen - we love having our son and family living in Norway as it is such a beautiful place to visit. It is a 2 hour flight away so easy for us to visit. I just happened to have the checked cushion and luckily it fitted, and I felt it added a little to the Scandinavian theme.

      Delete
  2. A beautiful result - I love Scandinavian colours. My problem is keeping my "touches" of red low key enough, much to Mr. N's despair! I think Carl Larsson's rooms achieve the perfect balance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nilly - I am pleased that you think it works. I was rather fond of the blue, and when changing things it takes a bit of getting used to. It is almost impossible to replicate another countries style, perhaps something to do with the surrounding countryside and the light, but no harm in giving it a go. I love everything about Carl Larsson, his paintings, lovely home, and his joy in his surroundings and family.

      Delete
  3. I love the chair, I love the story behind it, I love the Carl Larsson images I love the colour, and I must get some of this amazing paint. It sounds perfect. The chair is magnificent with its new look.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Janice - so pleased you enjoyed the post. If you have lots of paint jobs to do in your French home, then this is the paint for you. The brushes are washed in water, if you spill it, just clean it up with a damp cloth, it is brilliant. Importantly old brown furniture can be covered straight off without sanding or scraping down. It makes life so much easier. There are some delicious colours much suited to a French home, lovely chalky whites, greys, soft blues, and greens.

      Delete
  4. Dear Rosemary, What a great story! Love that particular red. I have always called it Chinese Red. I copied Carl Larrson's color scheme for our old cabin...green wainscoting and red shelfs on top.
    You might try brown shoe polish on top of your paint. Remove most of it and watch a beautiful patina emerge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Gina - I must take another look at your old cabin - I think that you showed pictures of the interior.
      I will do what you say, at some stage, and try a little corner to see how it looks. Thanks for the tip.

      Delete
  5. Dear Rosemary - Your posting touched me on several levels since my family was from Rochester, New York (though I never lived there myself). Your rocker has great character, and I think the color suits its New England origin. I'm thinking that it might date to the turn of the last century. The portrait of Mrs. Lamm is new to me - wouldn't it have been great to have been painted by Carl Larson!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mark - That is interesting that you have a family connection - I remember that their name was Sprague which seemed quite unusual to us at the time. I think that you are probably right about the age. They also gave us a small rocker that had belonged to the lady as a child.
      The portrait of Mrs. Lamm is lovely - it would have been great to have been painted by Carl Larsson, but personally I would have kept my clothes on!!!

      Delete
  6. oh rosemary......your rocker is perfect. i love how you acquired it. at first i was sad that it hadn't stayed the crackly blistered original paint.....i love that stuff.....but this carl larsson version is wonderful. the cushion and the colour are charming.
    one word about the wax....my friend just did her bed frame and felt the wax made it look blotchy. i love the dull matte surface.
    have a great week....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you, and was thinking that myself Annette. However, 35 - 40 years ago the distressed look was not at all in vogue. I have retained the markings caused by the blisters, as I think that is part of its history. Glad you like the Carl Larsson look.
      I will keep in mind what you have said about the wax. I would not like to undo my work as I am not that keen on painting furniture.
      Thanks for your comment, nice to hear from you, I know that you are a very busy girl.

      Delete
  7. Hello, Rosemary!

    I love your American chair... and I love rocking chairs, though I've never had one! Maybe I'll ask Santa to bring me one, next Christmas.

    Strange enough, in our house in NY, we have a red chair identical to the one in Larsson's kitchen, which my husband picked up, somewhere. It's very red and square, like the one in the painting. We also have (amongst French- not shabby chic, but authentic antique, and really beautiful-I'm not into shabby chic and painted wood)) two very old (old by USA standards!) chairs. They are covered in thick fabric which, overall, looks like something hand made, with gorgeous floral patterns. They are very big and beautiful.

    Now, to Carl Larsson. Well.. I love his paintings. I have done a bit searching and I must say: his stuff is really charming and sweet, in a kind of almost feminine way. I love his Christmas Eve painting! So sweet! And I know that some people might shrug their shoulders and say:" It's not French Impressionism!" which has been ever so fashionable for ever such a long time! But there is more, out there. My husband says that French Impressionism is superior to and more innovative than Pre-Raphaelism. I strongly disagree: in Victorian times, the Pre-Raphaelites where revolutionary and innovative, in a massive way!

    I love this movement and D.G Rossetti, in particular. I would consider "Bocca Baciata" a Manifesto. But I'm going to stop here, because I could spend all day talking about it.

    Thank you for another interesting post!

    ANNA :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anna - I wrote about the Pre-Rahpalite brotherhood a week ago, but you probably missed the post. Not in connection with their paintings but I showed the first stained glass windows made by the brotherhood in a church near where I live.
      I like Bocca Baciata too, and I am sure you know that the model was Fanny Cornforth. She is also featured in one of the windows I showed last week, and I pointed her out in the post as being one of Rossetti's favourite models. I have just noticed that it is in my Popular Posts on the righthand side bar entitled A Renaissance man from Walthamstow.
      I have liked Carl Larsson's work since I was very young. What I like about it is the joy of his family life that oozes from the paintings. His children, his home, and the countryside around him.
      I would not like to say that French Impressionism is better than the Pre-Raphalites or visa versus. It is possible to admire and like both, in the same way that I love paintings from the Renaissance too.
      Ciao

      Delete
    2. Impressionism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were almost contemporary. What my husband thinks (he's an artist, too!) is that Impressionism was much more adventuros and revolutionary than the Pre-Raphaelites. I don't think so. The fact that a prostitute (that's what Miss Cornfoth's daytime job was-or should I say Nigh time?) could be the subject of a painting, dressed in a velvet robe, masses of curly red hair down, luscious lips and adorned with jewellery and flowers, was revolutionary enough, at a time when people weren't even allowed to look at the legs of a table. No doubt about that!

      Sorry I missed the post you mentioned! What a shame! But I can still read it!

      Have a good evening!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
    3. Dear Anna - I would like to be a fly on the wall when you and your husband are discussing art.
      Why don't you write a post on Rossetti, there are so many intriguing aspects to his life? I am sure you must know the story about the opening of Lizzie Siddal's tomb in Highgate cemetery so that Rossetti could retrieve his manuscript of poems that he had buried with her.
      Did you know that Rossetti's tomb is in Birchington, Kent? My sister-in-law moved to live there, and when we visited them, the first thing I did was to find his tomb in the churchyard.
      We are both Pre-Raphalite enthusiasts.

      Delete
  8. Great chair, great story. Thanks for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marie - I think perhaps it is important to record the history of possessions such as this old rocker, so that my grandchildren will know the story behind it one day.

      Delete
  9. That image of the cottage in Norway is so charming, I love how cozy it is!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Marica - if you want cosy, charming, and wooden, then Norway is the place to go.

      Delete
  10. What a beautiful scenery and art. Great pictures.

    Greetings,
    Filip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the scenery and the art Filip.

      Delete
  11. Dear Rosemary,
    Great story and photos.
    Love your chair and the colour is gorgeous.
    I've always liked The Larsson's kitchen.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Mette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mette - glad you like the shade of the chair. When you change the colour of something it takes time to get used to the new look.
      I agree with you about the Larsson's kitchen, it looks so cosy and welcoming.

      Delete
  12. A heartwarming story, breathtaking pictures and a rocking chair that I envy you for! Christa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Christa - glad you enjoyed hearing the history of the rocking chair. It is a chair that all of my grandchildren have loved sitting in and having a good rock. I hope that they like the new colour when they next come.

      Delete
  13. What a wonderful story about a very special chair. I love the paint and wax information. Hope you have a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Lisa - I am pleased that you enjoyed the story about the rocking chair. If you are planning to do any painting in the future then I could happily recommend the Annie Sloan paint to you.

      Delete
  14. Dear Rosemary, your recent posts are lovely and I've much enjoyed them, but have no time to comment in depth nowadays until DH's mother goes home. Just not enough time to myself.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Perpetua - that is really kind of you to pop in and say hello. Lots of people are away, and generally I have the impression that blogs are quiet at the moment. Lots of time in the winter, I was going to say when the weather is bad, but that rather assumes that the summer weather is good!!!
      Thank you, glad you have enjoyed the posts.

      Delete
  15. Oh, a beautiful colour, Rosemary: and with such a pedigree. I love Larsson's kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kate - Larsson's kitchen has been a hit with everyone. He portrays a warm, cosy, and attractive family environment.

      Delete
  16. Beautiful chair and I think you just found a gorgeous colour to paint it. Those photos from Norway are amazing, so cheerful and bright. Thank you ! Have a nice evening, Rosemary !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Dani - glad you like the colour I used to paint the chair. Norway is a beautiful country which I love to visit. Thanks for your visit Dani.

      Delete
  17. How nice that you keep that chair up to date and part of your family, this last colour is wonderful, chic but subdued.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you like the colour. It would be nice if the family who gave it to us knew that we still had their rocking chair living with us.

      Delete
  18. This is an outstanding color for that rocker. I wish I could find that paint around here – no priming and no sanding, that does sound nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, but you can get it in the States, where I do believe it is very popular. If you put Annie Sloan into the internet you will find a way of purchasing it. She makes wonderful colours and the paint really is very very easy to use. Glad you like the colour.

      Delete
  19. How do you do it. Every time a not only beautiful post but also interesting one. Must be a supprise to your old neighbourghs walking in to your house and notice you still have the chair.
    Have a great evening rosemary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Marijke - that is very kind of you. Glad you enjoyed the post and also found it interesting. Sadly it is such a long time ago when we were given the chair, may be 35 years ago, and I do not know what happened to the people who gave it to us. If they are still alive they would be very old now. I would like to think that we have kept the chair safe.

      Delete
  20. Hi Rosemary,
    Thank you for finding me and introducing me to your lovely blog too. I shall enjoy following you.
    I love the story of your chair and the beautiful colour from Annie Sloan and the inspiration taken from your visit from Norway and from Carl Larsson.
    Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Sarah - thank you for visiting and becoming a follower too.
      Your post on Scotland attracted me very much as we lived there for several years when we were first married.
      Glad you liked the story of the chair and the inspiration for the colour.

      Delete

❖PLEASE NOTE❖ Comments made by those who hide their identity will be deleted

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them sometimes”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh