Beautiful Backgrounds for Buttons: The Landscape Alphabet

Charles Joseph Hullmandel's "Alphabet Landscape"

I came across a stunning alphabet made of landscapes created by 19th century lithographer Charles Joseph Hullmandel. Hullmandel was a major lithographic printer and publisher in London where he opened a press in 1818. He was responsible for numerous technical developments, including lithotint and color printing.

What captured me about these images was what a wonderful background they would make for a button display! These images are owned by the British Museum, but they make the images available for your use if you register with them and tell them what you will be using the image for. You can see the collection here and register to use an image here.

Note the two little figures on the lower left corner of the letter “B.” Are they fishing?

New Online Resource for China Buttons

China Buttons Galore

Many years ago, a group of dedicated china button collectors created the China Exchange, an online resource to share information about china buttons from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The site now has a new home located at  

Visit the site for news in the china button collecting world, to read about a new calico book in the works, to tour the Bapterosses Factory Museum in Briare, France, to view simply stunning china buttons, to discover a list of reading materials, and to uncover places to shop for china buttons.

Inga Ladd and Thomas Skovronsky have a goal of publishing a new calico book and need high resolution scans of about seventy-two rare calico patterns to make this calico book a reality.   Read about The Calico Project for more information and to help.

In Loving Memory of NCSBS Member and Innovator Paul Rice

Paul Rice

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Paul Rice on Friday, November 8, 2013. Paul was a member of the Georgia and North Carolina state button clubs and a member of the National Button Society.

Paul became involved in buttons when he inherited his grandmother’s button collection. As a retired Navy engineer, his keen mind sought order and organization and he would ultimately establish one of the most comprehensive online button resources available today, Button Country. This website, free to the public and now managed by the National Button Society, gives visual representation to over 6,000 buttons classified in the Blue Book. One of its most stunning features is the ability for the viewer to “roll over” each button and see it flip to reveal the back of the button.

Paul served as the National Button Society Division IV Chair, researching and categorizing button-related specialties such as buckles and clasps, button covers, shoe button covers, button hooks, costume trimmings, links, studs, netsuke and Obi Dome. He directed a 60-member group effort to review and revise Division IV and his articles in the National Button Bulletin on each of the sections provide valuable historical background.

As a very active member of the Central NC Button Club, Paul routinely drove 3-4 hours to join meetings in Charlotte and Greensboro. He created and managed the NC state website. He wrote numerous articles for the North Carolina State Bulletin and created posters, advertising pieces and attendee programs for the state show. He also took pictures of the trays and the events at the state show and gave the main education program several times. I will never forget his presentation of the “Mikado.” Interspersed with well-researched facts about the Gilbert & Sullivan show, Paul treated us to music from the Mikado, explaining the story, the characters and the origination of the buttons produced at the time. He researched button patents and devised new mounting methods for Division IV button-related specialties. His mind was never at rest, and he seemed to have more energy than all the rest of us put together.

Paul is sorely missed by button collectors both here and abroad. He loved working with the Junior collectors, he loved collaborating with other collectors and he had a tremendous commitment to making collecting accessible to everyone.

Paul is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mary “Gene” Rice, in Evans, Georgia, a son, a daughter, six granddaughters, and one great-granddaughter.

You can read the National Button Society Memorial for Paul Rice here, which includes comments from collectors who knew and loved him.