A few weeks ago, we took a short trip to Phoenix, AZ. Which gave me another opportunity to explore some different shops than I have here in Southern California. My friend and I headed to a little enclave of antiques stores. Some specialized in painted furniture, others offered what my parents and now I would term just junk. In keeping with today’s trends, there even was a shop dedicated to “man caves”, featuring all things guys collect. However, that was not our favorite shop.
We felt like we had hit the mother lode at the first shop, which was charming without being overcrowded, and the items were very well priced; we’ll be going back! Both my friend and I made several purchases including old books to clever signs. My favorite find was a beautiful antique Victorian bird cage.
I had been looking at several bird cages that this shop offered; however, the proprietor had added to one cage what I’m sure she felt were improvements, but not to my eye. While I was contemplating how to remove all the chandelier crystals and old fringed paper and then the paint, my eye traveled to another cage with less requiring less work. I had pretty much decided on the second cage. However, when I headed upstairs, I spotted the beauty pictured here! Immediately I was reminded of great grandmother’s cage hanging in her kitchen. She had a bright yellow canary that sang the most cheerful song each morning when presented with his daily piece of toast. My kids fondly remember “Dicky Bird”.
While I considered adding a small bird to my cage, I thought better of it, when I considered how much entertainment or terror it might provide for my own Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird; so, I thought a plant would be a wiser choice.
The bird cage itself is solid brass with fine brass mesh around the lower portion to keep seeds from becoming a mess on the floor. The pretty harp stand was simply painted a gold, I’m sure to simulate brass. I decided that painting it black would be more authentic, and not distract from the beauty of the brass.
The cage bears a small brass plate above the door with the manufacturer’s name, “Hendryx”. A little searching online revealed that Andrew B. Hendryx moved his company to New Haven, Conn. in 1879, to continue his business of manufacturing fine brass products. My cage is a good example of a Victorian era cage that also bears a made in the U.S.A label.
I haven’t decided yet where I will place the cage— probably in my office— but there are many possibilities. I’m just thrilled to have found it and will enjoy many years of imagining its history. You just never know what you might find when you are not looking for anything in particular.