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Gifts to Myself

I love to collect early Nineteenth Century prints, especially architectural prints, and I had a wonderful friend, Tony Wallace, who loved to feed my habit. I knew Tony through his wife, Susan with whom I traveled to Rome and Venice to visit her brother who worked for the US State Dept. there. That 1998 trip is a story for a different time. This is about Tony.


Tony had been a distinguished Foreign Service officer and later a professor in George Mason U’s School of Public Policy, but I knew him best as a collector, a collector of stamps, of books, and also of antique prints. Much of his collection of prints had come from his father, also a fine collector. The first time I went to their house, I noticed three prints of the Battle of Waterloo. Originals!! I was in AWE.

Several years ago Tony was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and last Sept he lost his well-fought battle with the disease. When he’d been well enough, Tony had spent his time selling off the parts of his collections that held no sentimental value to his family. I missed the chance to buy those Waterloo Prints, but Tony did sell me several other prints and books. Last month when I visited Susan, she offered me some more prints, which, of course, I felt privileged to purchase.

I thought I’d share a few with you.

This one is Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 1828!

Here’s Drury Lane Theatre.

I was nearly insensible with excitement when I saw these theatre prints. I’d written about both of these theatres.

These next prints are of Edinburgh Scotland, a place I visited in 2005 and would love to go back. Having been there, I could almost imagine walking these streets.

This print is “Waterloo Place, The National and Nelson’s Monuments, Calton Hill, Edinburgh.”
The year is 1829

This one is “George Street, St. Andrew’s Church, Lord Melville’s Monument” Also 1829.

This is “Edinburgh, from Calton Hill”

I have several more, a gift to myself, an early Christmas present to me.
All these prints are hand tinted. Susan also has a folder of about 200 similar prints that are not tinted, more of Tony’s collection. When she gets those appraised I might buy those as well, if I can.

I love these prints because of how close they were to the Regency. Even more, though, I love them because they remind me of Tony, my very favorite collector. I’ll miss him.

What items do you own that “capture” a memory of a special person?

What present have you purchased for yourself?

Come visit my website and see my snowflakes! And enter my new contest. Also visit the Wet Noodle Posse. We’re blogging about the holidays and I’m giving away one copy of Mistletoe Kisses, my 2006 Regency Christmas anthology.

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Deb Marlowe
13 years ago

Hi Diane!

Those are fabulous presents to yourself. I started something similar when my cp came back from London and gave me a lovely print of a linen draper’s office and said it reminded her of my first book. Since then, I’ve tried to find one print that captures the flavor of each book. I have a great one of the head of Young Memnon in the British Museum for AIA. It was one of Belzoni’s biggest and most famous finds.

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Diane, what a beautiful post. Brought tears to eyes. You’re such a good friend.

In the past two years, as Emily “Dee” Hendrickson was selling off her research books, I was buying them. I love each and every one them, just because they’re Dee’s. I treasure her margin notes as well as her manila folders of cut-outs and notations.

Off to comment in Deb Marlowe’s post from Sunday.

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Hi Deb. Both of us were typing in at the same time. 🙂 I’m off to comment on your interview here and also at the Banditas.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Not that you are obsessed by Belzoni or anything, Deb. *grin!*

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Keira,
I was buying Dee Henderson’s books too! Kalen, too. So you must have gotten some that we missed! I got some treasures from Dee.

Joanna Waugh
13 years ago

Wonderful prints, Diane! I’m hooked on nautical lithographs from the early 19th century. My most prized one is actually a map of Toulouse, France’s harbor. I bought it thinking it might come in handy someday with one of my books!
The walls of my office are covered with bookshelves and framed nautical prints.

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

Oooh, lucky Divine One to have such a wonderful friend and for his wife to think of you when she got ready to sell some of those gorgeous prints.

And all of you were lucky to get those research books from Dee and Kalen. Research books are my addiction.

For myself I would buy a copy of Laudermilk’s Regency Companion if I could find one! Or maybe A to Z of Regency London.

Now those prints could get me started on a whole new addiction!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

Those prints are gorgeous, Diane! And even more wonderful that they came from a friend.

A very good friend of mine (who I met when we were 13, a horrible age! Yet we were friends until she passed away when we were 29) made jewelry. I have a set of garnet, amethyst, and amber jewelry she made, and it makes me feel good whenever I wear it.

I also have a print from the 1840s of a “prize-winning” Pug that someone got me for Christmas a few years ago! I would love to have more.

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

Those are lovely prints, Diane. I have my dad’s research books–all in the effort to help me with Regency stuff–in my library now, with all sorts of notes stuffed everywhere in his handwriting. I am not a research person, but I like seeing what he picked out as being particularly important. Plus I’ve got a kickass library.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

I have to testify, Megan DOES have a great library. 🙂 I was supposed to help unpack books when I visited her last spring, but ended up being no help at all. I just sat there and looked at books. 🙂

LadyDoc
13 years ago

Your new prints are GORGEOUS!

My most treasured pieces of art are two magnificent pen and ink drawings done by a patient of mine in the days when I was still in practice as an Optometrist. I diagnosed an eye disease in its early stages and he retained his vision through appropriate and timely treatment.

He was an intersting man who had always wanted to be an artist. His goal was sidetracked early by WWII. After the war he became a commercial artist in order to marry and have a family- but continued his own art work all his life.

I wish I could insert images here to show you these fabulous pieces. They are ink drawings on a yellow parchment looking paper. The scenes are Mont St. Michel and Monte Cassino Abbey; they were meaningful for him as he fought in both battles during the war.

They hang in pride of place in my living room. They are a daily reminder of my earlier career and of the good things that I could, and did, do then. They are also beautiful creations from a man whose talents I greatly admired.

Deb Marlowe
13 years ago

LOL, Diane.

Who me? Obsessed?

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

LadyDoc, what a great story to go with your beautiful paintings. I hope you’re able to take a photo of your images and share them with us here.

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Yes, Diane. Every time I was even an hour late in e-mailing Dee, the most interesting books were either snapped up by you or Tonda. She finally took pity on me, and sent me a couple lists first (mwahahaha), before sending them out to the group. tonda was prepared to drive out to Reno with a U-Haul. 🙂

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Keira,
Now you have me wondering what books I missed!

Louisa, There is a copy of The Regency Companion out there for $200 or so. I’ve seen it go up to $400. Yipes $600 (I just checked). Look at abebooks.com

Joanna, I haven’t done anything great with my prints, like frame them or anything. I should, though.

Megan, I love seeing notes in my parents’ handwriting. It must make you smile to find those bits of your father in his books.

LadyDoc, what a wonderful story and what a wonderful gift to have to remember your career.

Amanda, what a heartbreak to lose a friend at such a young age! I’m glad you have her jewelry to remember her by.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Omigosh, I just heard from Susan. Today would have been Tony’s 68th birthday!

Elena Greene
13 years ago

My husband and I collected antique prints while we lived in England, generally of places we’d been like Tintagel and Chichester Cathedral. So though not related to particular friends, they still hold memories.

The only item I link especially with a person is a sewing basket that used to belong to a grandmother who lived with us during much of my childhood and taught me to sew. When I moved out of my parents’ house, I just had to take it with me.

janegeorge
13 years ago

Beautiful prints. Nice snowflakes on your site, too. Quite snazzy.

Cara King
13 years ago

Lovely prints, Diane!

Cara

Ladyhawk
13 years ago

What beautiful prints! And an even lovelier story to go with them.

My LOTR collection is largely comprised of gifts from friends. I have several prints of paintings by a friend who does LOTR art. She gave me an original. (My first oil.) I’d planned to frame it at a local art/craft store, with a mat and glass. Living in the Southwest, I wanted to protect it from the dust. Fortunately, the store didn’t have the mat I wanted, so I ended up taking it to a professional. What a blessing. She nixed the glass, telling me that a feather duster would do. She taught me that oil paintings need to breathe, and if I’d covered it in glass, the paint would have eventually etched the glass and ruined the glass and the painting. She backed it with special paper that would repel bugs.

I also own a couple of gorgeous sketches by a friend who is a professional artist, but does LOTR art for the pleasure of it. I was introduced to her by another dear friend who writes breath-taking poetry, who was introduced to me by one of my dearest friends that I met because of our mutual interest in LOTR and ended up writing together. (She also introduced me to Diane!) Not to mention many other friendships developed because of the shared love of LOTR. The best part of my collections are the people who come along, too. 🙂

Thanks for a touching reminder of how friends, no matter how far away (one way or another), continue to touch one’s life daily.

~Judy

And the snowflakes are very pretty.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Ah, Ladyhawk, isn’t it marvelous how Lord of the Rings led you to such a special friend and then to me and the other Riskies and then to writing romance? I love how these things happen.

Ladyhawk
13 years ago

Better than “Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon.” LOL! It was also fun reading about Dee’s books!
~Judy

Caffey
13 years ago

Oh, beautiful pictures! I too, as my icon shows, love seeing regency pictures and so would love to have a print! I have one that is a poster from a showing at our our gallery on Degas. Its more of a promo poster but I was so thrilled they came and was my first poster that I have framed and put up. I’m going to be going to check out more of these posters from your dear friend.

I too have a photo frame of my grandma in her rose garden holding roes that she cut. She told me when I worked in the garden with her, that I was the color of yellow roses, her sunshine each day. I never forgot that and told my hubby. On our first anniversary, he gave me a yellow rose, then two on our second, etc. Recently we had our 25th anniversary in June. After the 20th year, he started by giving me a yellow rose each year (its expensive, LOL). I have a great hero.

Todd
13 years ago

The prints are beautiful, Diane! But it was sad to hear about your friend.

Todd

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