Wednesday, April 6, 2011

BIRDCAGES - Flights of Fancy

I bought this cage at a fancy antique show in St.Louis. I was kinda poor at the time and I didn't want my partner to know  I was spending the money, so I had the person I was buying it from cary it out one door, while I went out the other. It is a French Wire cage and I just love it. 

This cage has 3 sections and was used by some one who raised birds.  Males had to be seperated from the females after the fact. And when babies were born they had to be in a seperate  pin as well. So that is why there was three sections.

        Birdcages have inspired artisans and delighted bird keepers for centuries. There is something about the requisite form,the necessary aireness of bird cages,that gives them essential beauty. The history of the
 bird cage is tied to the adoption of birds as pets. Birds were caged for their beauty and mystery nearly four centuries ago in ancient Egypt. Doves and parrots were favorites of the Egyptians and are depicted often in hieroglyphics. Original cages were crude and made  perhaps of  wooden twigs,rope mesh,.reed or bamboo. Some say that Alexander the Great was given a parakeet by one of his generals and the Alexandrine Parakeet was named in his honor. Ancient Romans kept and held birds as well and it was considered the duty of a slave to care for domesticated animals. By the Middle Ages only the wealthy kept caged birds.
I always wanted to put real Doves in this cage in my garden. I have never had the nerve as I have always been afraid they might get to hot or to cold or to wet.

I had this in a little weekend home, when I sold the weekend home to buy, My Old Historic House, I sold this to my friend. Latter I cried and she sold it back to me. I just have a problem getting rid of these cages. I might need professional help.

This one is Brass, but it looks like a French wood and wire one. I let a neighbor buy this one and after I begged he let me buy it back as well.

I just love this pink paint. I should re-paint it white, as it is on my screen porch, which is all blue and white, that is, except for this pink cage.

     When Western  traders brought back spices and textiles from the East, they also brought the exotic birds as pets.Birds were much beloved pets in the American Colonies. Bamboo and wooden cages were seen in many kitchens in the New World. Often hung by an open window.
    Through the Victorians were the first bird cage collectors,the hobby of bird keeping and the craft of cage making are probably as old as civilization itself.We know that the ancient Greeks keep sparrows,magpies and starlings as house pets and during the heyday of the Roman Senate,talking parrots were all the rage. The Chinese,whose birdcages remain among the most beautiful ever created, were making cages as early as the 3rd century.

I have another problem, that is sea shells, I just have to buy them when I see them for sale. Since I don't have birds in my cages I often fill them with my piles and piles of shells. Any one know a good doctor?

Love,love,love the flowers painted on this one.

I found this beauty in Atlanta  at the Scott Market Antique Show. I bought it for the shop. Of course I priced it very high. When I bought,My Old Historic House, I had to bring it home with me. I was kinda bad, as I had the legs made taller. I guess it was ment to be displayed on a table as a centerpiece. Didn't work for me, so I just  had ir fixed right up.

    The French too, were establishing themselves as cage-makers-indeed. France was the only nation to boast a Royal chartered cage-making guild.But it wasn't until the 18th century that the art of cage making saw its first inflorescence.Suddenly no great house could be constructed without an aviary and no man or woman of fashion could resist the temptation of an ornately carved cage. Both Louis XV and XVI, commissioned elaborate cages that were placed among the orange trees in the gardens of Versailles.
    For the first time in history,the cage itself began to take  precedence over the bird inside..  By the 19th century,the bird cage had become almost an essential furnishing in well-to-do homes,across Europe. Under Napoleon III,the French produced birdcages that were wonders of miniature architecture, and the rest of Europe fallowed suit. Behind turreted walls and balustered windows,it was sometimes nearly impossible to spot the birds inside. But the cages were glorious The English took the mania for birdcages to new heights. By  centurys end,no middle class English parlor was with out it's pet bird and in the houses of the wealthy an extravagant birdcage was likely to be the centerpiece of the drawing room.19th century Americans were equally enamored of birdcages,which replicated everything from Native American homes to sailing vessels.

These are on a wall  on my screen porch. I will be opening the porch soon and that will be another post. check back latter.

I just love the fancy work on this cage.
  There is something very  appealing about having a birdcage around the house. Perhaps it's the classic beauty of a richly embellished 19th century mahogany dome or fantasy of a wood and wire Swiss Chalet.or it might be the soft patina of weathered paint on a tin cage. Today most bird cage collectors are not lovers of caged birds. They just like the cage as a decorative element around the home.No space is off limit. Some bird cages are found in the most formal spaces while others decorate a sun room or a back porch. Magazines of  all types love to feature them . The Shabby Chic look has brought the art of bird cage collecting back in strong force. The addition to any room of a bird cage is sure to bring a smile.
   I have had a love affair with bird cages for as long as I can remember. I never knew why,but it has always been there. Years ago my house was on a house tour and I had several bird cages on the wall in a powder room. One of the people who took the tour made a remark that the cages in the powder room were  the high light of her tour. That person and I have since then become best friends. We both love bird cages and have then in our shops and homes for years. Both of us have shipped them home from New York and carried them around at flea markets. It is a problem, but a good problem. I sell her one, buy it back in a few months. She sells me one and I sell it back to her at another date. Whats that all about??? I bought a big very expensive bird cage in St.Louis when I first opened my shop there. I wanted to show off with it. I put it in the shop with a big price tag and it sold. I never got over it. Latter the person that bought it was moving and wanted to sell it, so I bought it back and put it in the shop with even a higher price. Well- it sold again. I still say to this day, why did I ever sell that cage?Sometimes we just have to pay the bills.And ,I did and that's that!

  I have a few bird cages at My Old Historic House that I would like to share with you all today. They range in style from a shabby tin to a fancy gold leaf French. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Today pictures are not the best. I  am sorry, but it is one of those days where the camera wins and I loose. I promise to do better next time. Come by  anytime for a tour, I will leave the light on and Sissy Dog will meet you with a jump and a Kiss.
   I have cages for sale at  my ETSY shop.  Just click here.    Also more in my store, if interested just email me and I will send pictures. Feel free to buy them and if you get tired of them I will always buy them back. Just can't help myself.
   Have a beautiful day.Richard and Sissy Dog


Tallulah's Antique Closet said...

I luv you collection of Victorian cages! What a cool collection we have one Victorian birdcage I need to set up a vignette with it. Thank's for sharing your wonderfull collection.............TALLULAH'S

Curtains In My Tree said...

I love those cages. And especially like them on the outside brick wall.

After seeing your post around town I can't wait till I can make the journey to Clarksville Missouri up the river

Divine Theatre said...

I, too, have a fascination with birdcages. I abhor the idea of actually putting a bird in one, though!
I raised two wonderful baby Grackles in a birdcage I bought just for them after they fell from their nest 30 feet above. I named them Laurel and Hardy. Stanley was injured in the fall, right at the top of his little bird head. His feathers grew straight up! Oliver was rotund and bossy! I raised those two little angels until they were old enough to be on their own in an ornate, five foot tall cage. They used to come back and sit on my shoulder, but after a while they lived their lives as wild birds and I never saw them agin. *sniffle*
I kept that cage just because of the wonderful memories but I sold it last year. I figured you can't cage memories, they will always be free! I don't need a cage to remember Ollie and Stanley!

Kiss Sissy for me!


Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

I Definitely SHARE your passion for birdcages! I have MANY peppered around and NONE LIKE YOURS! I LOVE your little pink one AND I have an idea for you..."FILL IT with seashells that have pink on them and call it your Seashell cage! MAYBE you could find or make a little bird out of shells to perch on the pile OR on the top of the cage! My favorite is the triple one on the wall, "LOVE IT"!!! I can picture you buying the cage you couldn't afford and sneaking it out another door(Been there and Done that too)...Thank you SO much for your wonderful post...I must go back and study it more!
Have a wonderful week,

Anonymous said...

I thought I left a comment earlier. Must have clicked wrong!

I love this gorgeous post Richard. Birdcages are a favorite of mine.

lvroftiques said...

Yeppers I have a passion for them too Richard (quelle surprise *winks*) I don't keep any birds in them either, just love their forms. You have some real beauties (again quelle surprise!....NOT! Haha!) I don't think you should ever sell em *winks* Also I love the pink! So no painty please! Vanna

Glenda/MidSouth said...

I love the old birdcages - I just need more room. :)

Bohemian said...

Oh Richard you Bird Cages are Divine! And when you find a good Doc for Shell Therapy let me know, I will have to schedule an appointment... perhaps we can get a Group Discount? *winks*

I have a funny story about my large Italian Tole Birdcage that I HAD to have. It sits in our livingroom with candles in it, I love the ambiance of candles flickering in a cage and the shadows it casts through the wires. But I felt since it was a Bird Cage, I'd get some fake birds from the Craft Store to put in it too. At the time my Grand-Daughter, Princess T, was about 3 years old and had been observing some of my strange OCD with collectibles and trying to make sense of it I guess. *LOL* So one day she's looking at this Bird Cage and in a loud Stage Whisper she says to her Grandpa... "Doesn't Gramma know that she doesn't have a Bird... and that those Birds she put in there are DEAD?!?!??!" *Smiles* Yeah, I'm fairly certain these G-Kids will be lookin' for that good Doctor for Dear Gramma Dawn... *winks*... Dawn... The Bohemian

Bohemian said...

Had to add... DON'T PAINT THE BEAUTIFUL PINK CAGE! *Gasp* Do you wanna give this Chippy Shabby Gal a Stroke by even suggesting such a thang?!?!?!?!?! *winks*

Dawn... The Bohemian

LydiaO said...

Love that birdcage that looks like a castle. Fortunately bird cages are mostly out of my price range. My dining room is getting crowded as it is LOL! The dining room is where all of my antique and vintage items end up.
I don't have any new posts on my blog, not until Saturday. I've been having fun finding all of my old, red stuff for Saturday's blog. I have more than I thought!

FrenchGardenHouse said...

I love your cages! The first one with the little flags is my favorite, but they are all wonderful. {One of my friends does have birds in your wall mounted cage that looks like a beehive, but we do live in California}

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful collection of bird cages!! The pink one is perfect just the way she is I think. I have 4 or 5 that I have picked up over the years though none as interesting as yours but you might just have me thinking about displaying them all together instead of throughout the house!

I'm following you back! Thanks for coming by

Brigitte said...

Hi Richard,
I am kind of late responding since we're finally having most of the snow melted and warmer weather so I am out in my rose garden cleaning up from our harsh winter.
Truly enjoyed looking at your treasures.This would be so hard to pick just ONE favorite,I am not surprised that you persuaded some friends/customers to buy them back after selling them.I just scrolled up and down several times and the one I am smitten by most is the very first one in your post.A very nice collection indeed !! I also like the way you're presenting/displaying them :-)
Take care,

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Oh Richard I love the glass dome one..but then I would..I have a collection in my barn of cages I need to do something with ha ha!! Of course I was buying them before peeps really wanted them..Love the one in the first photo WOW!! Glad you got it...Give Sissy some fur love from me..hugs and smiles Gloria

Katie@LeBeauPaonVictorien said...

You have some very lovely bird cages in your collection! I think I love the shabby pink one the very best, just because I've never seen one painted pink! Love it!!!
Thanks for your visits to my blog; I am now a follower and look forward to snooping around on your blog as well!

Marcia said...

Richard, I'm sure you do need professional help (don't we all), but I hope they don't ruin your sense of humor when they 'fix' you. I love walking the 'boys' (my grandogs) past your house and admiring your outside bird cages. You're the greatest.

Bohemian said...

Good morning Richard, thanks for stopping by... yes, my Friends Heidi and Tricia's creations are wild and wonderful... just like them. *winks* The Grand Opening of their Shop and Studio was packed and very well received so I'm Hopeful they will do quite well and it's not quite so demanding as taking it on the road all of the time. We're a band of Gypsy Souls but it is nice to have an Anchor Point to restore oneself and spend time creating Beauty where you can more easily be found! *LOL*

Have a wonderful weekend my Friend... Big Kisses to Sissy from me too... Dawn... The Bohemian

My Grama's Soul said...

Hi Richard....found you over at Dawn's...I love your wild collections of things. Restrained....unrestraint!! LOL LOL


Ann from On Sutton Place said...

Hey Richard...I just can't get over your collections. Another great post. I had to laugh at your story about your bird cage going out one door and you going out another! Your porch is wonderful...and please don't paint the pink cage.

xinex said...

Oh so lovely, Richard. I love the wicker furniture and your collection of bird cages...Christine

Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...

Richard, you never cease to amaze me with all your top-notch collections! Those birdcages are FANTASTIC! I love the larger ones, with multiple turrets and rooms. I wish I could afford such luxury, as I have always loved birdcages! But since I'm an animal lover, I would never keep a bird in one. I have purchased cheap decorative cages, removed a few bars, and placed them outside in the garden to hold bird seed. That way, the birds (and squirrels and chipmunks) can come and go! Thank you for sharing!


Sherry said...

You have a wonderful collection of bird cages. The French ones are so pretty! Thanks for stopping by so I knew to come and look this up! I had no idea birds were kept in cages this long ago. Have a great holiday weekend!

Tammy in Seattle said...

LOVE the birdcages! Absolutely fabulous! So many to ogle over! Love your collection. Amazing!
We had a pair of parakeets for our daughter, and she named them "Ralph and Alice" from the "Honeymooners." But she couldn't say it, and always referred to the as the "Moneyhooners!" Ha! We had them in a simple, regular cage from the pet store, not one of "MY" antique collection! Ha!

kelli aagard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kelli aagard said...

Can you tell me where I can find a bird cage like the one you have that hangs on the wall and looks like a beehive? I have been trying to find one just like it and am having a hard time. Thank You. Your collection is beautiful!

kelli aagard said...

Can you tell me where I can find a bird cage like the one that hangs on a wall and looks like a bee hive? I have been trying to find one. Your collection is beautiful.

Nancy Davis said...

Great bird cages.. love the antique one. Nice collections.

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