I am currently bidding on this lot of antique English lawn bowling balls and have had to explain to Bubby, that no, I have not lost all leave of my avian senses!

Apparently he was under the misguided impression that there was some kind of design strategy happening with the flat, and has now come to the realisation that, instead, the theme is just plain random ‘I like-y, therefore, I want-y’, with the belief that it will all tie in somehow in the end!
At my first car boot sale a few weeks back I saw a woman selling these for £8 each. She had them stacked in a big bowl, like below. They looked lovely.
Here are some more basket shots:
What a fantastically styled flea market stand! Yum.
They do seem to look better in a basket/bowl when you have enough to pile up on each other. This display below looks a little lonely.
images above via Velvet and Linen
Here are a bunch of mixed balls in a grouping.
If you only have a few, this minimal kind of display is more effective. The row of three looks quite nice.
A solitary minimalist one?

Or maybe a pair, like these two ‘nailed’ (or cloutées) antique French boules.

image via Home and Design

During my research on the different kinds of lawn bowling, from country to country, I discovered something interesting. The French balls are a little smaller than the English, and they frequently covered them in metal nails to make them stronger and also to repair cracks.

They developed an amazing array of techniques with different nails to cover them, some looking like fish scales, other like hob nailed little wonders. Of course, decorations began popping up and everything from numbers to initials were worked into the designs.

Here is a gorgeous old sign from a French Boules manufacturer in Paris via website on the history of boules, Les Boule Cloutées. You can see the star and circle designs that they would have done in the illustration.
The workmanship is absolutely stunning. Here is an real example of the star design:
An example of the overlapping ‘fish scale’ method:
It is pretty amazing to see the difference in before and after restoration of the boules.
Here is the rusted, neglected before:
And the carefully polished after:
images above via Les Boules Cloutées

How satisfying a project would that be?! Below are some boxes awaiting restoration. Would love to get my claws on these.
Some lovingly restored examples.
images above via Joy of Bocce

images above via Ruby Lane

What beautiful objects, with such a rich history!

It makes you wonder what will happen to this sport over the next few years as the few, older people still playing the game trundle off to aviaries in the sky.

Maybe it is time to take up a new, gentle on the joints, sport as we creep into our own old age?

Boules, anyone?

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