Monday, June 27, 2011

Libby's Collection......

I went into a dark damp cave that belongs to a woman who has collected treasure for 70 years.  I was in awe.  The smell was exciting.
Hand Painted Japanese Kites

Best Kitchen Ever seen.

My favourite, the colours are amazing.
There was treasure on every wall, in every corner, it reach out to me and beckoned for me to explore all it had to offer.  I am extremely jealous that my cousin in law lives in this house and gets to explore it's secrets everyday.  She gets to delve into Libby's mind to hear of her adventures. Sigh.
When Libby was a teenager her mother encouraged her to learn the domestic duties that were expected of young girls.  Libby was not interested and her father encouraged her education.  She studied at Summerville House and met other girls like herself.  Girls that wanted adventure.

A statue from a now defunct Buddhist temple
Libby went on to be a teacher, then the first woman High School Principal in Queensland.  She later left that career and travelled to Japan, learned the language and her specialty field became Japanese children's stories.  She started to collect Asian artifacts, long before it came chic.  Libby travelled to many other Asian countries collecting Buddha statues from temples that have since been torn down.  Temple doors, hand painted Mexican artifacts.   It is mind bogglingly beautiful.
A small section of her library and a great chair

A 1930's tapestry
Lesbia, or Libby, as I know her has only ever let a few people into her render clad 1930's Queenslander home.  This was the first time she has let treasure leave with someone.  Her house is dark, there is not a wall that is not covered in pictures, there are books everywhere.  I feel supremely lucky to have been let into this world and to have been allowed to take things home and give them a new life and a  new story.
A 1970's wooden Japanese doll

A few of the 100 soldiers and bricks from the demolition of the Ascot cinemas.

Upstairs was amazing.  Downstairs was mad.  Books everywhere.  I founds art magazines from the late 1800's.  I felt awful touching them with my dusty fingertips and made Jo put them somewhere high and dry.  Some books looked ancient.  One title "Dante's Decent into Hell", was massive, spooky and ancient.  Apparently Libby sold some art works to buy it.  Oh it gave me chills.
I was allowed to go through massive piles of home decorating and fashion magazines and here is a taste of what I bought home.
McCall's 1936 pattern magazine

Vogue pattern books from the 60's

A pile of mostly 60's Vogues

A pile of Harper's Bazaar from the 60's

Fashion Books

As well a all the inspiring books and magazines I got the singer sewing machine Libby's Mother bought her and Libby never used.  She is a beauty, so neat and inconspicuous, folding into a little table.  Ah, I love it.

 Next weekend Jo and Libby will go through her many trunks and hunt down all her fabulous dresses from bygone decades, for me!
Stella loved the books and all the curiosities as well and came home with a few Roald Dahl books that she doesn't have in her collection yet.

What an interesting woman and an interesting life and what a mammoth story her collection tells.
A portrait of Libby as a young woman by Margaret Ollie.

1 comment:

  1. It's truly amazing what some people have stashed away, isn't it?? And she's an old Somerville girl like myself, obviously a bit before my time though! Why does she hardly let anyone in her house??