31st August 2020

Barbola

Definition of barbola work from the Webster Dictionary: The decoration of small articles (as of wood or glass) with colored models of flowers, fruit, or other ornamental objects made from a plastic paste.

The Telegraph (Brisbane), 13th June 1931 page 12.

1939: Suggested designs for Barola buttons.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 14th February 1934 page 14.

The craft is mentioned from 1924 til 1956 in Trove. It was all the rage in the 1930-40s for decorating picture frames, mirrors, vases, jewellery and the like. Items were moulded then painted and varnished once dry. Barbola paste was made in England from French clay, and sold in tins. By 1947 an Australian made version was on sale. Could this be the substance (or similar) out of which buttons were being made by a firm in Melbourne? Could it be what Carol’s collection of ceramic-type buttons are made from?

Carol

carol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back of a button I own. It is some kind of glazed and fired material, but softer than ceramic as I can scratch a white powder from the unglazed section of the shank.

 

The Herald (Melbourne), 19th April 1950 page 18.

A similar type of button is found on some c.1950 Beauclaire buttons:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “31st August 2020

  1. Rachel Boyce

    Hi Cathy.

    I reckon I have a few of these Barbola buttons. I was unsure what they were made of – plaster? ceramic? But this makes sense. I have a few that are the same as Carol’s and a few different ones. It’s good to have an idea of what they may be made of now. Thanks. Rachel

    Reply

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