This is the fireplace in my living room, non working unfortunately. The drawing was our Christmas card one year in the 70ís. The little Christmas tree belonged to my wifeís grandmother, Lydia,† and we put it on the mantle every year. The sleeping peasant was carved by my motherís boss, Raymond Eisenhardt, in the 50ís or 60ís. He ran a research and development company which had been responsible, among other innovations, for the square milk bottle. Before this improvement milk bottles rolled and probably broke if they ended up on their side. The soup tureen is from the Hotel Kaiserhoff in Godesberg and was brought from Austria by my Great Uncle Neil who was the last of my Motherís close relatives to be drafted in World War II, the oldest of that group, the only one to see action and the only one wounded. The Coat of Arms above the mantle is, I believe, the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom. Either that or the Order of the Garter. In any case it was made, probably in the 20ís, by my wifeís great uncle. It is a representation done in postage stamps. It looks quite striking and you donít realize the medium until you get close to it. Whatever value the stamps would have is supposedly lost by the fact that he trimmed the perforations. The family story is that it would have been sold during the Great Depression but this and a companion piece were kept because collectors werenít interested in the stamps. Some of the stamps are quite old. We opened the frame once to find a few pages from an old New Britain newspaper, I think from the 20ís. We added the front page of the New York Times and closed it up again. My wifeís grandfather and the uncle who made this collage had fled Armenia during the genocide of 1915. He ended up in the Canadian army in France during World War I and met my wifeís grandmother while on leave in England. She was a Street Car Conductor in Hastings, England.


The cube consists of parts of an old pocket watch embedded in Lucite. The steins were groomsmenís gifts from friendís weddings. The coffee pot is from a hotel in Quebec. The little glass also belonged to my wifeís grandmother.

Close Ups

Hereís what the fireplace looks like now. I attached the decorative pieces on the front after the drawing was done and the hanging art has changed at least twice.

If they were exactly the same it would be a photograph.

All material copyright 2016 Neil Borrell

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