25 May 2012

As Seen on Downton Abbey

I’m feeling particularly triumphant and pleased with myself this week.  I watched the first episode of Series 2 of Downton Abbey and saw a whole bunch of the same type of things that I bought on our April buying trip featured in various scenes.  I always tape this show so I can watch it with my remote’s Pause button at the ready, the better to examine the jewellery, crockery, kitchenware and props in general. 

This time I had the added pleasure, having visited Highclere Castle during our October buying trip last year, in being able to identify the various rooms and know how they look in real life – not as good as they do in the show, I must say.  That hideous avocado green bath in the one bathroom in the entire place that I mentioned in one of my October trip’s Blogs still hasn’t been featured on the show, which is hardly a surprise because it must rate up there among The World’s Most Ugliest Baths.  I’m giving you the inside goss in letting you know that the nice white enamel claw-foot bath they occasionally show Her Ladyship bathing in is nothing like the real deal in Highclere Castle, which should have been ditched for something more elegant many years ago.

Edwardian jewellery is dang hard to come by, but I bought a couple of lovely pieces in April (that are already sold) that would have held their own with the pieces worn by the gels on the show.  It’s a pity I couldn’t get any more on this trip, but it’s beautiful and was massively popular and sought-after even before people started to see it on the series and want it.  A bit of television exposure always hikes up the prices, so my challenge is to think about possible trends before they happen and get in on the ground floor.  I’ll certainly be hunting for more during our September trip.

The excellent news from watching the series was the amount of Victorian and Edwardian stoneware items used in the kitchen scenes.  I bought up big on the stoneware front this trip, and it was an experiment and a risk because I’ve not bought these types of items before and therefore have no real idea of how they’ll be received.  So I was glad to see that such things are considered good enough to be used as props on Downton Abbey.  These pieces are going to make a great window display when they arrive, and I’ll team them with some French copper and colourful French enamelware I think.  With any luck it’s only about three weeks until the shipment arrives in the shop, and I’m already planning some spiffy looking window displays.

Meanwhile, this week in the shop window we’ve gone all green and orange.  Sounds an odd colour combination, but in fact the tones are muted and the materials range from kimono silk cushions, to Victorian green glass tumblers to French metalware and also a very nice old copper ship’s lamp.  The overall effect is quite striking, I reckon, and lots of people are already stopping to look at the display, which is always a good sign.  Or maybe it’s a sign that they think I’m horribly colour-blind.  But I prefer to think they are totally admiring, so we’re going with that.

I’ve started photographing a selection of stock for inclusion in the eShop, and boy what a job that is!  Makes you realise how much stock you have once you have to photograph every last thing – not that I’m doing that, but even a selection of stock is turning out to be a big job.  And I’m on a steep learning curve about the benefits of different background colours, how flash can help or hinder a shot and lighting in general, the right angle to best display an item, etc, etc.  It’s heaps of work already, as I anticipated and therefore resisted until now, but the time is fast approaching when we shall make our foray into cyberspace.

Calypso has been my totally-in-the-way photographer’s assistant today, and of course I couldn’t help but photograph her as well, so now I have to update her Blog photo.  She’s grown so much lately and is looking more beautiful all the time.  Tomorrow Klaatu is Shop Manager, and I think I’ll update his Mug Shot as well.  He’s always stealing the manager’s chair when I’m not looking, and he looks lovely with his glossy black coat and big amber eyes against the forest green of the chair, so I’m sure I can produce a handsome portrait of him as well.  Watch this space.

And when the new shipment arrives (and you shall be the first to hear of it) come and look at my Downton Abbey window, if you have the chance.

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