Monday 24 November 2014

Advent calendars

If you are in need of an Advent Calendar I would urge you to
visit, either in person or online, The Medici Gallery.
It was Frances who so kindly escorted me to this shop
on her recent visit to London.
This is typical of the generosity of spirit that shines from her blog
City Views, Country Dreams and it was a pleasure 
to be able to spend some time with her at the nearby V&A last week.

The selection was truly sumptuous.
The shop is crammed with cards and calendars
and you would be sure to find something to your taste.
What made the whole experience so much more fascinating
was that I got into conversation with a smiling lady called Christian,
who was also choosing Advent Calendars for her eleven grandchildren.
It emerged that she was not just any shopper,
but a descendant of Eustace Gurney, who with Philip Lee Warner
founded The Medici Society in 1908.
As we browsed she told me more about her 
family's involvement with the business.

When still a young woman, her grandfather sent her to Berlin
where, if I have this right, she unearthed two Rembrandts
which the company then had reproduced for sale to the general public.

They also had to rights to reproduce Dame Laura Knight's work
and I have a very early print of Spring, labelled the Medici Society
by appointment to the late King George V.
I wrote about it the mystery attending it here.

As a small child she loved to visit the house of Muriel Dawson in Invernesshire.
There were animals to play with and Muriel would sketch her for her paintings.
She thought that this one, which we found in the rack,
might well have been her.

One of their most popular artists was Margaret Tarrant.
So much so, that she was made a shareholder in 1938.
To my delight I found a poster of one of her paintings
which I had on my wall as a child.

I used to count these fairies instead of counting sheep
if I couldn't get to sleep.
And now it is reframed and ready for my grand daughter.
Luckily at the moment she doesn't seem to have any trouble
getting to sleep.


  1. I'm delighted that yourself and Frances got together and had such a rewarding excursion. No better duo and no more fitting destination for some comradely culture.

  2. What lovely things you found. I've always like Medici Society cards and postcards.

  3. Beautiful baby - but then all babies have to do to be adored generally is simply to be (or to sleep). Glad you enjoyed your time with Frances and thank you for the tip. My grown up children still enjoy receiving a traditional advent calendar card every year and they are becoming increasingly hard to find.

    1. Sadly the online selection isn't nearly as extensive as the shop's. I hadn't checked.

  4. What a fascinating story - so glad you enjoyed your meeting with Frances. The fairy picture is delightful and I am sure your grand daughter will love it as much as you when she eventually wakes up.

  5. Oh Lucille, didn't we have a grand day!

    Thank you for posting the photograph of the Medici window. Somehow during my stay in the neighborhood, I never remembered to take a picture of the fabulous array of Advent Calendars.

    I'm so glad you were able to meet the descendent of the founders of MG. She really sounds like an interesting person.

    May I also tell you how much I like those vintage paintings. I can see how counting those fairies would lead to an easy entry to the land of nod.

    (Isn't Mise kind in her comment...maybe someday we'll have a chance to meet her, too.)


  6. I too had a Margaret Tarrant print in my bedroom as a child but it's long gone. I suppose my parents must have thrown it away when I got bigger.

    Beautiful baby!

    1. I'd love to know which one you and Elizabeth had. There are lots in the online catalogue.

  7. Came to you via Frances.
    I'm English and certainly loved all things Medici Society -and I had a splendid Margaret Tarrent reproduction in my bedroom as a child.
    Greetings from NY!

  8. What a delightful turn of events. Precious little granddaughter.

  9. Lovely Margaret Tarrent picture . A splendid antidote to the hideous Monster High dolls that a little acquaintance is busy collecting at the moment !