Smith's new discovery
It was a quiet Saturday in Ottawa and for some reason I decided to go to my button shelf and pull out a button reference book – and randomly pick a page. The book was "The Button Collector's History" by Grace Horney Ford, 1943. And I was struck by the way the illustrations were placed inside the book. They are actually on a separate colour sheet pasted at the top of the page with the reference or description of each row printed on the page underneath.
Suddenly I realized that one button seemed to jump off the page. "Hey, that is a button I have." Then it took about 10 minutes to look for it, as I always remember I could not put it in a category, so just left it in my “to be sorted storage tray." It seemed to be a unique construction, but not all that interesting.
Illustration description "6th row" (2) Pierced gilt metal over paper, set in a composition back and covered with think bevelled glass.
Then on 171 is the full description:
"Imitations of 18th Century Buttons: "Among the Victorian initiations of the 18th century buttons are to be found many interesting items. In particular there are many rather thin flat buttons about an inch and a quarter in diameter made with more or less ornate collets and framing some subject under glass or celluloid. Bits of grass and weeds are covered with celluloid to imitate those earlier delicate gardens under glass, and pieces of silks and ribbons are framed under glass. One really beautiful button is made by laying a think pierced piece of brass or gilt metal over a piece of paper printed in soft colors, covering both with glass and mounting the whole in a composition back. Were it not for the material of the back of the button could almost pass for an 18th century one"!
I found the button and now realize it is missing its “glass cover”. But it is a fine example of 17th century reproductions buttons, say. UPDATE: Evelyn Davies, a studio button artist, made a glass cover for my button by finding a perfect match. My button is now complete!