I recall many a sunny morning, sitting in our yard with our beagle, Duchess, and watching butterflies flit by. It seemed they were everywhere, many of them monarchs in vibrant orange and chocolate browns. There were others in yellow and black, or blue and black, or white and yellow, but I don’t know their actual names. I have always admired them.
Fast forward to last week when an antique show booth netted me a few treasures, also with wings. In a booth that specialized in jewelry, one of my “addictions,” I found a necklace and earring set. They have a vivid background, almost a cobalt blue coloring, and a miniature beach scene with palm trees and a sunset. Upon further inspection, I noted that the backings were actually pieces of butterfly wings. The trees were reverse painted on the bubbled glass. I just had to have this set. I recognized what these were made of at once because I have several pieces: a fantastic framed picture with young ladies, and also a small pin dish.
Once I purchased the necklace and earrings, I realized that I just added another collection (rule of thumb, three items equals a collection.) But I was not done yet. Further along was another piece of butterfly wing art. This one was a small dish, functional anywhere. It is stamped on the back “made in Brazil.”
While I would not wish to be the one who destroyed the butterfly’s life, I firmly believe in the antiquing mantra “reuse, recycle, repurpose.” By displaying these lovely bits of art, I am allowing them to spread their wings in another manner. I believe the pieces in my collection are from the early part of the 1900s, since insects were very popular back then. You could readily find stylized dragonflies, bees and butterflies in high-end and costume jewelry.
A trip to an Internet site taught me that butterflies have been popular in art for many, many years. It appears they have been appreciated since 1350 B.C., found on a tomb painting in Thebes, Egypt.
You can find numerous examples of these butterfly wing creations for sale in antique shops or on the Internet. None are very expensive and they add a “pop” of color to any room!