Purses may not fit some people’s idea of a decorative accessory but this one is so eye-catching and iconic it could easily be displayed as an art object. This purse was made by a company named “Betsy B of Florida” which was owned by a creative lady named Elizabeth Beemer in Fort Myers, Florida, who was also the company designer. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, her company turned out resort wear and accessories for women. Mrs. Beemer passed away at the age of 89 in 2012.
This handcrafted purse has a woven body, made of very thin strips of painted and varnished wood. The trim and swing handle are faux leather, as is the latch which attaches with Velcro. The lining is a thick beige linen; there is a small mirror on the inside lid and the bottom is covered in green felt with four brass tack feet, one of which has been replaced. Although it has lost its foil label, there is no doubt that this purse was made by Betsy B.
The real focal point is, of course, the beautiful lid. A pair of Carolina chickadees perched on leafy branches are decoupaged onto the lid; the birds were raised up and given a three-dimensional effect. The lid was then varnished or lacquered to protect it and give it a lovely gleaming finish. The bag is 10 1/2 inches long, 10 1/2 inches tall including the handle and about 7 inches without. From front to back it measures about 6 inches.
This purse has been used; there are some marks on the body, trim and lid edge and the liner has ink and dirt marks. The lid, fortunately, is in great condition.