SFA's Cole Art Center to display Victorian Christmas ornaments d - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

SFA's Cole Art Center to display Victorian Christmas ornaments dating back to 1880

John Handley PhD, Director of SFA Galleries stands in front of a display that took him most of the weekend to set up.  (Source: KTRE Staff) John Handley PhD, Director of SFA Galleries stands in front of a display that took him most of the weekend to set up. (Source: KTRE Staff)
At least a hundred antique ornaments adorn the display. (Source: KTRE Staff) At least a hundred antique ornaments adorn the display. (Source: KTRE Staff)
The unique collection will be available to view throughout the holidays at Cole Art Center in Downtown Nacogdoches. (Source: KTRE Staff) The unique collection will be available to view throughout the holidays at Cole Art Center in Downtown Nacogdoches. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Some ornaments date back to 1880. (Source: KTRE Staff) Some ornaments date back to 1880. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Victorian ornaments reflect quickly a Christmas past. We can't go back in time, but a visit to the Cole Art Center in downtown Nacogdoches this holiday season will be the next best thing. 

East Texas News took a closer look at a very pretty and interesting antique Christmas ornament display.

It took Dr. John Handley, the director of the SFA Galleries, several hours last weekend to create a Victorian Christmas.

"I would say there is a hundred, at least, ornaments that date from between 1880 to WWII,” Handley said.

It was a time before mass production.

"The majority are glass, hand-painted produced Germany and later Poland for the most part,” Handley said. “I think what we're trying to do here is focus on the artistry of what went into making these fantastic old ornaments."

Some are dreamlike. Others are whimsical. All are unique - like the little handmade, cotton ornaments created by entire families to sell for income. 

"The parents would probably form the bodies, and then the children would adorn them,” Handley said.
They hang on table trees. This one over a hundred years old.

"They were handmade using goose feathers which are split on the spine and then wrapped around wire,” Handley said.

And there are discoveries under the tree, too.

"There are some antique toys, some antique mechanical banks,” Handley said.

Collectors surf websites and scour antique shops for their own special present to themselves. 

"After Halloween, they start making what I call the annual pilgrimage to all the shops, and they'll sometimes visit those stores every week hoping that somebody will have brought in some old ornaments that were found in an estate or in an attic,” Handley said.

And hopefully shared by a collector so everyone else can enjoy a Christmas past. 

The Christmas Past exhibit will open Tuesday  and remain for the entire holiday season, along with other art exhibits.

The Cole Art Center is on Main Street in downtown Nacogdoches. Admission is free. For more information on the Cole Art Center, click this link.

For more information on collecting antique ornaments, click here.

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