Patina Perfection




Brocante hunting is for me, as I’m sure it is for many of you, not a hobby but a passion!


Since our early years of holidaying in France, I have been unable to pass a Brocante or ‘depot vente’. Now I’m a full time resident here, my Dear Husband has decided to go with the flow and automatically does a U turn if we pass an open shop. Obviously he then fully assumes his long suffering martyr expression while I dash round quickly, searching for The One, truffling through boxes of household detritus for that one piece that calls out to me; the diamond in the rough. 


I say truffling because now I joke that I can almost smell a piece that is a treasure!


When I hold it I know if it’s right or not, and if I go against my instinct I will never like it and it goes straight into the Vide Grenier box when I get home. (French residents, and even professional brocanteuses, can have a clear out and sell their own possessions at Vide Greniers or ‘empty your attic’ car boot type sales without falling foul of the French rules.)


What makes a piece right? For me it is something that is well made, has a pleasing form and is made of an attractive material but above all shows the signs of its age and past life. A treasure to me is honest, timeworn and bears the scars of its history with pride (a bit like me really!).




“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris



I had a quick stop at a Brocante earlier this week, at the bottom of a box of new stock was a beautiful silver galleried tray - heavy, great decoration, perfect size and ...


... The patina! To die for! Years of use followed by years of storage had given this tray the most beautiful iridescent sheen, I could already picture it in a vignette with some hand blown bubbly glasses, a foxed mirror and candles' flickering light.


As it was new stock it had to be taken to the boss for pricing, so I continued my happy journey around he shop.


Arriving at the cash desk I was handed a shiny silver platter, whiffing of polish with a proud flourish, “Voila Madame!”


It’s still there in the shop, and I left empty handed, heartbroken and deflated. If I’d wanted shiny I could have had that brand new in a few clicks delivered to my door! Timeworn treasures are all the more precious through being a rare find!


So on to the next Brocante in search of patina perfection!


H x



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