Je ne sais quoi

Jean Leader

Lacemaker and Textile Enthusiast

Je ne sais quoi

Robin, a friend of ours who lives in Lyon, France, enjoys exploring the bric-a-brac in second-hand shops and stalls, and recently found the ceramic box shown above, which he realized might be related to my interest in lace. He was able to buy it for €10 and gave it to me as a present.

The bobbins and pillow on the lid are clearly of the French type, and it looks as if it was designed to store bobbins, although the ones in the photograph are mine, and did not come with it. It has no manufacturer’s mark on the base, and the inscription on it — ‘Charpin’ — didn’t reveal anything relevant on an internet search. Ferdinand Charpin was a French actor (d. 1944), and Pierre Charpin is a contemporary designer, whose ceramic works are a little more avant garde than this.

Has anyone any seen anything like it before or has any idea when and by whom it was made? If so I’d love to hear from them. You can contact me by email .