We thought we were buying bookends that showed specific California Missions, but we were mistaken.
The bookend on the right has a number of Mission features: four mission bells, a wooden door with huge strap hinges, an adobe brick wall covered with plaster, and a tile roof. Unhappily, not any of the twenty-one California Missions closely match the appearance of this bookend. It is a combination of features creating a beautifully romanticized Mission bell tower, although it is possible that it matches a Mission in Texas or Arizona. However our research didn’t find one.
The bookend on the left has a partial identity. The bell tower matches that of Mission San Diego de Alcala, but the staircase from the rear of the tower has been brought forward to the front, and the well and the path have been brought from an enclosed garden to the front of the bell tower.
The Golden Mission bookends are marked Progressive Art Products, 1967. Progressive Art Products of California, located in the Los Angeles area, produced decorative bookends in the 1960s and 70s. All we have seen have been quite large, made of plaster, and very well painted. We included a decorative pair of large Clown Heads and a patriotic pair of Heroic Eagles by this company in BOOKEND REVUE, published in 1996 by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.