Collecting: Remarkable Vintage Toleware


Now that we have extolled the virtues of midcentury modern decor, we are going to throw you a curve ball. Fear not - remember this is a journey in eclectic modern. That means, we don't have to be faithful. We can be promiscuous decorators! And with the eclectic approach, we can look for special finds and irresistable bargains outside of our comfort zone, to great results. We recently added two pieces of vintage Italian Toleware wall sconces (the type that hold candles) found through Etsy (The Petite Market) to the ongoing apartment design and these amazed us with their versatility and the way they fit right in, while being amazing stand alone pieces - true statement pieces that "finish the room". This was a lucky gamble.  We were lucky enough to move into a freshly painted space and we placed one, multicolored, unrepainted tole ware sconce in the bathroom (it matches the image above), and the other is the only real decoration in our master bedroom.  It feels like this one piece of decoration is all that is needed, with or without candles (so far, without, but one could try adding some old looking, burned out, stubby white candles for effect).

Examples of Toleware looks, as featured here in some favorite types of pieces, can be found in original condition, repainted long ago, repainted in an attempt at the original style, or totally refinished. One can appreciate equally the old, and, also, the nice examples seen here that have been revived with a fresh white (or bright!) coat of paint. A staple of "Shabby Chic" (or, more currently, "French Country"), for years, this style is something that a new collector can very easily afford and delivers a great impact for the investment.  The high quality/durability of old iron and other metal works can take add to the appeal.  We like the idea of having something old, French, or Italian in our humble Canadian home but now that the collecting bug has bitten us, we would surely snap up small, affordable pieces of any provenance, as well as mutts, strays, rusty junk at garage sales, and newly repainted ones, which look entirely different but equally wonderful.  The many configurations of design and selection available in the marketplace can easily turn a collection from two into a few and onward quite happily.

The perfect place for Toleware wall sconces is over a hall table or console, in a grouping of like items or alone. One big piece above right is all that is needed above the bed and the room looks really "done".  I think it works well "down the hall" from more modern and clean pieces but in only 700sq feet of space, you may be surprised how eclectic you can get.

As eclectic collectors, we go by feeling and relative affordability and am not as concerned about claims to authenticity. However, if a price tag is very high end (perhaps $500 and way above, we would suggest you check on ways to verify the piece and that price's justification, as with any antiques.) There seems to be a good deal of material for comparison and it seems clear that the majority of pieces are quite old, quite distinct, and quite worth evaluating on their own merits. Do you like it? Are you comfortable with the price? If yes, then get it because it will always be fairly unique and special to your collection.

Along with the pieces here, there are many types of  Toleware decorative pieces such as trays, tables, wall hooks, (to name but three) and great little pieces for a girl's room, powder room or guest room. The prices range quite a bit, but certainly one can get a little collection started, as shown here, for under $100.

Click to visit each shop and to see more of these  amazing vintage collections for sale. Featured in first grouping (clockwise): Set of two pieces byVintage Goodness, My much loved Bedroom Focal Point 3 Candle Wall Sconce from The Petite Market, a beatifully muted hanging chandelier from Vintage Goodness. Featured in second grouping (clockwise): Hot Pink Hollywood painted wall sconce: Fabulous Mess, "Meet Me in Paris" Restored Vintage Tole ware mirror/ chalkboard by Shabby My Fabby, Vintage Tole Cup/Jewellery Holder from Taking Shape. All photos for this story are copyright the shops indicated/linked here.

More amazing, unique pieces from vintage and antique resources:
Vintage Italian Tole Lamp Birds and Roses
The Petite Market Delectable Bird and Flower Lamp
vintage tole rose s huge chandelier shabby chic birdcage white yellow fabulous
Gorgeous Large Birdcage Chandelier from Vintage Chic Furniture

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