Papa Bouilloire Chapter the last (almost)
Alas dear reader it is true. It is time to ring down the curtain on these, my fabulous adventures in Oxford, for this was the final day “where once I dwelt in marble halls” (or at least a very superior type of sandstone)
Thankfully, ‘though greatly oppressed by melancholia, I determined to make the most of my last remaining hours in this haven of culture and erudition.
Prior to retiring after my exhaustive tour of London (see Papa Bouilloire goes to London to read more), My Esteemed Colleague had told me that he was off to the capital again for the day and would be back on Friday in time to depart on the coach so I awoke in the knowledge that I would not impinge on his pleasures if I were to visit the Oxford Antique Market for the last time.
After a night of fitful slumber punctuated with bouts of deep misery I set out at 7 to ensure that the best bargains did not escape me.
Indeed they did not, for I had hardly arrived when I snapped up a pearl ware oval basket weave dish with hand pierced decoration of around 1790 for a mere 2 pounds. Its charming Willow Pattern sparkles even now on the shelf before me. Many of the stall holders, recognising my jaunty cap and Antipodean accent from the week before, offered me numerous tempting articles at excellent prices. However, conscious of the weighty Jeeves books already tucked in my case, I refused a very heavy silver and cut crystal perfume bottle and a French bronze jewel box despite its fleur de lis decoration.
A charming vendor noticed my interest in a few pictures she had on display and offered me a rummage in her boxes of ephemera as she was too lazy to put them out. I riffled through the boxes of prints and quickly discovered an original hand coloured Rowlandson engraving of Dr Syntax and the Gypsies, two engravings of plants and animals from the original Encyclopaedia Britannica of the 1790’s and several other French romantic etchings.
Finally I discovered the gem of the day, a beautiful pencil drawing of a lady’s head and shoulders that simply reeked of Pre Raphaelite. These, with a folio edition copy of “The Prince” she bundled together for 10 pounds and I felt very Machiavellian as I marched away with such splendid buys. The drawing is undoubtedly a Gabriel Dante Rossetti or Edward Burnes-Jones although it is unsigned and will feature in a future monogram entitled, “Rossetti and I” or “Pre-Raphaelites on the Pavement”
As I was leaving the markets laden with treasure I espied a large green glazed faience rampant lion supporting a castle turret in its upturned paw. It was so very Gothic, so very Magdalen that I suppressed my qualms about the weight and, after a brief haggle with the vendor who looked exactly like a pantomime gypsy, bought it for a song. I was astonished to find when I returned to “The Grove” that it is almost identical to a stone lion mounted on the wall of the Magdalen Cloister and that it is undoubtedly an early piece of Emile Galle faience from the late 19th century.
It is fortunate that my final letter shall is written via the medium of computer for surely it would be undecipherable had I been obliged to use ink, so besmudged by tears would it be.
Your materially better off though heartsore,