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Art and Beauty Bizarrities

Turkish Copperwork from the Ottoman Empire

These Ottoman Empire copper pieces were hand hammered by skilled craftsmen to tell stories and evoke emotion.

Turkish Copper

Large and ornamental but made for use, this ewer, pitcher, and urn have stories to tell and speak loudly when you enter a room.

 

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Art and Beauty Bizarrities

Marshland Meadow by L. Regalski – Oil on Canvas

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This painting is both compelling and detailed and transports the viewer to the destination when one looks at it. This painting is masterful and relatively modern by L. Regalski.

 

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Art and Beauty Bizarrities

Oil on Canvas Painting of Mill by R. Popping – 1942

R. Popping Oil Painting of Mill

This painting was done at the height of the Nazi regime during World War II, it’s stark industrial lines are in sharp contrast to the earth tones and pastoral imagery, and yet, when one looks at the long shadows of the trees and the orderly progression of the painting from left to right, symbology becomes clear. Little is known of the artist but his work has sold in major auctions at top auction houses.

 

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Bizarrities Rugs

Avakain Brothers Persian Heriz Rug

Persian Hafiz Rug

A stunning Avakian Brothers Persian Heriz style area rug made in Iran. This beautiful piece is hand-crafted from 100% virgin wool pile and boasts an intricate design in shades of red, blue, yellow and green with all natural dyes. The back has original tag (slightly faded) “Avakian Brother Inc. Made in Iran 100% Virgin Wood Pile”. There is wear to the rug and it shows signs of age, but no holes or fabric missing. This rug was purchased from the original Avakian Brothers Rug Shop in New York City in 1924 and has the label to prove it. . It is 12′ x 10′ and family legend has it that this carpet was purchased from the estate of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels in 1969. There is no documentation to back this claim up, but one can easily imagine such a large fine carpet gracing the famous socialite and activists home on Knob Hill.

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Bizarrities Furniture

Deer Hide Chair Attributed to Sarah Boone (sister of Daniel Boone)

deerhide chair

This deerhide chair comes from the Wilcox Family, a family directly descended from Sarah Boone, the sister of Daniel Boone. Sarah is most famous for having shot a Native American through the eye as he rode at high speed swinging an axe towards her husband John Wilcockson. The chair is an early pioneer type chair with a deerhide seat.  It was brought from North Carolina by members of the Wilcox family who settled on Knob Hill just after the Gold Rush. The chair was purchased by Captain Vapoor in 1912 for his Bizarrities exhibitions. Famous gunmen, Indian Chiefs, and story tellers – including Mark Twain were said to have spoken of the Pioneer times while seated in this chair.

 

Boone's Deerhide Chair

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Bizarrities Nautical

The Wheel of ‘We’re Here’ Presented to Captain Vapoor by Rudyard Kipling

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Rudyard Kipling and Captain Preston L. Vapoor had made an acquaintance that blossomed into a lifelong friendship in Lahore, India in about 1885. Legend has it that Captain Vapoor brought American bourbon with him and the two bonded over drinks with Kipling’s editor at the Civil and Military Gazette. In 1889, Kipling arrived in San Francisco and attempted to mend his broken heart (he had fallen in love with a Japanese geisha named O-Toyo en route in Japan) with bouts of heavy drinking and debauchery – accompanied by Captain Vapoor and a motley crew of roustabouts. Kipling was so appreciative of the Captain’s introductions and friendship that before leaving San Francisco for Portland, Oregon, he bought one of the old schooner ship’s wheels from a salvage shop – unfortunately the name of the ship is lost to history – Kipling however, never one to let facts get in the way of his fictions, assured Captain Vapoor that it was the wheel from the ship We’re Here – a fictional vessel which he 8 years later celebrated in his novel Captain’s Courageous. When one looks, it is easy to find allusions to Kipling’s old friend Vapoor in the novel.wheel of we're here

 

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Bizarrities Rugs

Buffalo Robe Purported to Have Been Killed by Yellowstone Victor Grant Smith

This beautiful large buffalo robe was purported to have been one of those killed by Victor Grant Smith, the famous champion Buffalo Hunter. Smith was one of those characters who seems to have been written for the old west.

yellowstone-vic-smith

First a trapper and then a pony express rider, a great buffalo hunter, and even has been rumored to have traveled and performed with Buffalo Bill in his Wild West Show. One thing is certain, he was a great storyteller and was a frequent speaker at the Bizarrities shows in San Francisco in the late 1800s. This magnificent large buffalo hide is said to have come from him. It wouldn’t be surprising if it did since in 1881-1882 he killed more than 107 bison in a single hour! Smith killed over 5000 bison in a winter in Montana and when they were nearly extinct, he expressed his remorse saying “I wish my aim hadn’t a been so good.”

Pictures of the Buffalo Robe Coming Soon.

 

 

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Bizarrities Furniture People

The Arch-Bishop of California’s Chairs – William Ford Nichols

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One of the more unexpected friendships of Captain Preston L Vapoor, was that which developed between he and the Episcopal Arch-Bishop of California, the Venerable William Ford Nichols – now, on the surface, it would seem strange that a world wandering mystic such as Captain Vapoor would become the boon companion of an Arch-Bishop – or vice-versa, but in truth Arch Bishop Nichols was a bit of a mystic adventurer himself – he even wrote a book titled Some World Circuit Saunterings in which he detailed his adventures in many distant lands and with many different people. Arch Bishop Nichols and Captain Vapoor were kindred spirits and spent many evenings telling stories by the fire while drinking (no doubt sacramental) wine in the Bishops house at 2515 Webster Street in San Francisco. In fact, when the Bishop passed away in 1924 – his memories of Captain Vapoor were so fond that he made sure to bequeath to him the chairs in which they passed so many enjoyable hours.

 

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Categories
Art and Beauty Bizarrities

William Tell’s Dilemma by Gustav Hauser

Gustav Hauser was a little known artist and political conspirator in Switzerland who worked hard with the socialist party to bring about constitutional change and end the proto-fascist rule of the Radical Party in the 1870s and the obstructionist tearing apart of Swiss democracy prior to 1891. This painting, attributed to him, was representative of his work – overtly political with the flame of the candle representing Swiss democracy and the apple harking back to the tale of William Tell, the Swiss hero who overthrew a tyrant. The painting was presented to Captain Preston L. Vapoor by Hauser’s daughter in San Francisco, CA. Hauser died a debtor in a Swiss prison in 1907 after seeing his dream realized. While a great political visionary, he was a lousy capitalist.

Bizarrities.com
William Tell’s Dilemma by Gustav Hauser

 

The legend as told by Tschudi (ca. 1570) essentially follows the account in the White Book, but adds further detail, such as Tell’s given name Wilhelm, his being from Bürglen, and the precise date of the apple-shot of 18 November 1307.

William Tell was known as a strong man, a mountain climber, and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri, and Tell became one of the conspirators of Werner Stauffacher, vowing to resist Habsburg rule. Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, raised a pole under the village lindentree, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before the hat.

On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son and passed by the hat, publicly refusing to bow to it, and was arrested. Gessler—intrigued by Tell’s famed marksmanship but resentful of his defiance—devised a cruel punishment. Tell and his son were to be executed. However, he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off of his son, Robert’s head in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow.

Gessler then noticed that Tell had removed two crossbow bolts from his quiver. Before releasing him, he asked why. Tell was reluctant to answer, but after Gessler promised he would not kill him, he replied that if he had killed his son, he would have killed Gessler with the second bolt. Gessler was furious and ordered Tell to be bound, saying that he had promised to spare his life, but instead would imprison him for the remainder of his life.

Tell was brought to Gessler’s boat to be taken to the dungeon in the castle at Küssnacht. A storm broke on Lake Lucerne, and the guards were afraid that their boat would sink. They begged Gessler to remove Tell’s shackles so he could take the helm and save them. Gessler gave in and Tell leapt from the boat at the rocky site, already known in the “White Book” as the “Tellsplatte” (“Tell’s slab”). Since the 16th century the site has been marked by a memorial chapel.

Tell ran cross-country to Küssnacht. As Gessler arrived, Tell assassinated him with the second crossbow bolt along a stretch of the road cut through the rock between Immensee and Küssnacht, now known as the Hohle Gasse. Tell’s blow for liberty sparked a rebellion in which he played a leading part, leading to the formation of the Old Swiss Confederacy.

 

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Bizarrities People

Introducing Captain Preston L. Vapoor

Bizarrities Founder
Captain Preston L. Vapoor
San Francisco, CA 1872

Captain Preston L. Vapoor was a sea captain, veteran of the Confederacy, and early treasure seeker in the Oregon Territory, California, and the Far East. He had a remarkable knack for collecting items that were imbued with what he termed ‘spiritual power’ and was instrumental in creating the ‘mystical revival’ in San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bay Area in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. His ‘Bizarrities’ shows were a staple in San Francisco theatres and offered early inspiration to the likes of Jack London, John Steinbeck, and many other influential California writers, artists, and musicians. It is said that his performances, spectacles, and speeches ended with the line “we are happy to have had you here this evening, ladies and gentlemen, to view these wonders in person, with the grateful dead.”