Vintage Finds: Dressing Table Treasures

Monday, 5 March 2012

Today I thought I'd showcase some of the vintage finds I love unearthing in charity shops, at car boots and on Ebay and Etsy.


Sometimes objects are poignant and intimate; I own a woman's diary from the 1930s that chronicles a courtship (he bought her diamonds and furs for Christmas), which I couldn't bear to see tossed onto a car boot scrap heap. It cost just 20p to save. Sometimes items are a perfect fit; my wedding ring is a 'previously owned' Art Deco design that I knew had been waiting for me the minute I laid eyes on it. Most often I just find the history and romance of the past compelling. The husband grumbles that hours of his life have ebbed away watching me rifle through 'bits of s%*t.' Send me into a good flea market and I enter a trance. Truly I do. 

Beyond general retro relics, I'm also a keen collector of vintage cosmetics and will be sharing more trinkets in upcoming posts for those similarly inclined. But for now here are a few of my pink, black and gold powder-room pretties. Aren't they just charming.

From top left;

  • 'Springtime' portrait by Enid Elliot Linder - £4 from Cancer Research. This little image caught my eye in a charity shop window. I love the colour combinations (black, gold, pink and peach) and the whimsical illustration. Enid Elliot Linder was a talented artist from Torquay who began producing silhouettes in 1972. Her work can still be found in antique shops and on eBay.


  • Elizabeth Arden Ardena Powder from eBay & Sarah Coventry Pearl Magic Pendant from Etsy. Both appear to date from the 1950s or 1960s. The Ardena Powder is as new and has an unusual box compact design. The faux pearl pendant remains in its original packaging (the top of the case is clear plastic and faceted like a jewel) and is deceptively weighty. I plan to wear it on a long gold chain. For more beautiful vintage cosmetics and collectibles take a look at Rose Petal Curiosity Shop on Etsy here.

  • Boots La Question Face Powder from eBay. The La Question range was introduced by Boots in the 1930s/1940s. Still retaining its beautiful peach pigment and distinctive heritage scent (think Nana's), this powder pot is pure make-up history.
  • Minature Chanel No5 fragrance bottle (empty) and Max Factor Hollywood Face Powder in SUM'R TAN from eBay. These were purchased as props for use in a still-life set, although I ended up buying them myself. The Chanel bottle is definitely vintage but difficult to date; I would hazard 1980s at a push. The Max Factor Powder is unused and has the most fantastic description on the reverse that reads -
'Created by Max Factor Hollywood... Correct colour harmony shades to blend with individual complexion colourings.
Made from purest ingredients, superfine in texture, delicately perfumed to please the most fastidious tastes.
Guaranteed free from lead, orris root, and any other harmful ingredients.
 Its adherent qualities make it "stay on" and "cling" under the most trying conditions.'  

Are you hooked on the history of vintage make-up? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading x

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