I have been wanting to do a post on lady head vases since I started my articles for The Randolph Street Market Blog, I got a bit of a “let’s do it now” push when I saw the following photo posted by my friend Toni Canada, when I asked if I could use it she informed that her mother-in-law collected them and sent me an additional photo along with the note I’m sharing with you… is an absolutely fabulous collection!

“The collection of Marguriete Canada handed down to her son Rick Canada. Rick is now the “caretaker” of the collection.

My mother-in-law would put little notes inside each vase, where she aquired the vase; if she purchased it, how much she paid for it; if it was a gift, who she received it from….. very sweet 💗”. A Nena’s note…what an excellent idea let’s all start doing that with our collections, brilliant!

Thank you so much Toni for sharing these treasures, the photos and your beautiful note, with us.

I became enamoured with lady head vases as a little girl. Looking at me today you wouldn’t think I was very sick as a child, but I was (we won’t go into details here!). With each bout of something or another my wonderful Daddy would bring me a lady head vase filled with 13 sweetheart roses (I believe now referred to as growers roses). He got off the El at Howard Street, we lived in Rogers Park on the Northside of Chicago, there was a florist underneath the station. Actually the vases began by being commissioned by florists to sell with their bouquets. I probably believed they were made especially for me…I’ve always been a romantic. I amassed a huge collection and totally adored them. They, I am sure, helped develop my interest in the glamorous world, to my young eyes, of fashion!!

These charmers were always very proper in their attire, hats…of course…pearls…usually…gloves…sometimes and always, always beautifully made up with lush mascared lashes and ruby lips….I was in fashion heaven. Theses were two of my favorites….want to find them again. Both are signed pieces and from Betty Lou Nichols.

In doing a bit of research for this post I found out the origins of these nostalgic pieces that occupied a place in time in the mid-20th Century, they, (like so many other objects) fell out of favor, they are now highly collectible.

There were several manufactures who produced these lovelies in the 40s to 70s. Here are some company names that can help you identify your vase: US manufacturers – Betty Lou Nichols and Henry Holt and Japan manufacturers – Napco, Inarco, Lefton, Enesco, Relpo and Reubens. There was also a trend for celebrity vases such as Lucille Ball, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, etc.

Lucille Ball

One of many Marilyn Monroe interpretations this one a rare example….

Grace Kelly

A beauty definitely a 50’s glamour girl….

I am concentrating on Betty Lou Nichols pieces in this post because I am familiar with them.

Betty Lou Nichols was a talented California artist that created some of the most sought after head vases in the collecting world. I found that most, if not all, of my collection were hers. Wish I had them now. When collecting anything always look for a hallmark, a maker’s mark anything that can identify it as the real deal. Always, always engage the vendors in conversation they are experts in their collections and want to share their knowledge with you. You will learn so much more about what you already have or when you want to add items to your treasurers or you are on the hunt for something new that you didn’t know you really wanted but definitely can’t live without!!

A book, as always….

Here are some ways to display or actually use your vases, with flowers and other suggestions.

Love this collection and its mirrors…I am obsessed with mirrors, are you?!

Obviously on shelves….or

For your make-up brushes et al…..or perhaps pens etc. on your at-home office workplace…

Flowers, of course…..beyond charming…

Love this collection….wouldn’t it be fun to do at a shower, luncheon or tea to put at each guests place as a remembrance…start collecting now for future events.

I have fallen in love with lady head vases all over again, have I tempted you…hope so!

Originally written for The Randolph Street Market Blog, reprinted with permission.

All above photos, unless otherwise noted, from Pinterest photo credits unknown.

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