Margaret started collecting button hooks to commiserate her youngest child starting school. It was $4 and over 30 years ago. Since then she has acquired over a hundred from family and friends for birthday, Christmas presents and hunting in local antique and second-hand shops.
Button Hooks were created to lace up gloves and shoes, and were popular from the second half of the 19th Century to World War 1. The history is what draws Margaret into collecting them. The thought of people lacing up their boots and gloves, the variety of materials, sizes and decoration ensures Margaret still covets her collection. Fair enough too, it’s impressive in variety, quantity and in how it’s displayed.
The materials vary from silver, green-stone, mother of pearl through to tin, but Margaret’s favourites are the brass button hooks. In fact, her favourite piece not only laced up shoes and gloves, but could also pick out the hooves of horses.
Set in an ornate gold embossed frame, the button hooks are a captivating feature, “a work of art” Margaret comments proudly. Visitors are entranced by the pieces and are a real conversation piece. Especially as many people have never seen or know what a button hook is. As the collection grows, Margaret has shown restraint in only buying those button hooks that she hasn’t yet found in her collection. Hard to do right? I guess that is what makes it a visually beautiful collection. The ‘chosen ones’ have found their way to the wall, and there is no point buying others to store away where no one can see them.
As a collector, do you show retraint? For me it depends on the collection……..the husband has commented that if I bring one more jacket into the house he will divorce me.
Websites of interest: http://www.thebuttonhooksociety.com/mainpage.php