Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Samplers: The voyage through the stitches

Lounging in the window seat of her country house circa 1780, 12-year-old Elizabeth is working on her half finished sampler. Made using costly, brightly-coloured silk thread on linen, it is a fashionable scene of a shepherdess and her flock, beneath a verse from the Bible, an alphabet and rows of symmetrical patterns. Elizabeth is pleased with it, as is her governess, who has been employed to teach her the skills deemed suitable for wealthy young woman of the time.

Beautiful antique inkstands

Unlike the disposable ballpoints we are used to today, in the first half of the 20th century a fountain pen was a truly precious possession - and often one that had been passed down through the generations. "You can add a personal flourish to your letters y using inks in vibrant purples, reds or turquoises," suggests Amaya Cerdeirina, fountain pen expert and owner of Penfriend in London' s Mayfair. But the main role in this article plays inkstand, the most beautiful and desirable item on any writing desk.

Cider mugs collection

When ceramicist and academic Kate Wilson moved to Somerset seven years ago, she knew cider would play a part in her life. “You can’t be here long without becoming aware of the ‘cultural activities’ relating to cider,” she laughs. But what she didn’t realise was just how big a part it would play.
“I’d just finished my masters in ceramics when I heard that Gaymers (now the Shepton Mallet Cider Mill) had a cider mug collection,” she says. “I got in touch with them, hoping it might inspire my making – but as soon as I saw what they had, I realised it would make the most fantastic research project.”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tinplate, trains and celluloide toys

Horse-drawn carriages, boats, submarines, cars and even airships are just some of the plethora of tinplate toys made during the late 19th century which reflect contemporary developments in transport. German toy companies led the field in the manufacture of tinplate toys and those made by well-known firms such a Bing, Marklin and Lehmann are famed for their accuracy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The object of the day: A Charles II stump work mirror

A Charles II stump work mirror 
(England c. 1680)

62.00cm wide (24.41 inches)
75.00cm high (29.53 inches)
6.00cm deep (2.36 inches)

Description / Expertise
A fine quality late 17th century stump work mirror, having an 18th century replaced mirror plate with silver thread braid trimming within a brightly coloured stump work border with arched top worked in silk, wool and coloured glass beads on a cream coloured background depicting a seated lady, most probably Queen Catherine of Braganza, at the top, flanked by birds and flower motif with female figures Faith and Hope either side, and a garden at the bottom, again with the queen in the centre, having a seated lion and leopard in each corner, all within a conformingly shaped rope twist silvered frame with later extension in depth and later protective glass insert.

Note: Some of the stump work unfinished.

Private Collection, USA.

Price: £50,000 +

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The object of the day: 13 British aquatints

Record of British Valour (England 1815)
75.00cm diameter ( 29.53 inches)
Description / Expertise
A set of thirteen aquatints, published by Edward Orme in 1815, recording the events of key battles of the Penninsular War under the command of Arthur Duke of Wellington.
To one side of the disk is an aquatint and to the reverse is a narrative of events. All contained within a stamped bronze "Picture Medal."

GBP1600.00 (Pound Sterling)

The Thimble collecting

A thimble is a protective shield worn on the finger or thumb generally worn during sewing.
While collecting thimbles became popular in the mid 1800 as a result of the special thimbles that were made for the Great Exhibition held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, the earliest known thimble was Roman and found at Pompeii. Made of bronze, it has been dated to the first century AD. A Roman thimble was also found at Verulamium, in the UK. and can be seen in the museum there.
The first thimble made in England was in 1695 by a Dutch metal worker named Lofting. It was called the ” thumb-bell,” because it was worn on the thumb when in use, and shapped like a bell. The shape eventually changed, but the name, softened into thimble, still remains.

The object of the day: The King George V toby

The King George V toby is the largest, most desireable, of a numbered set of World War I leaders made by the Wilkinson Royal Staffordshire Pottery Company, and was limited to 1,000 sets.

They were designed by Carruthers Gould, whose signature appears on the base, but are generally referred to as Wilkinsons. 
This one is 587A (the A designates that it is King George V).

12.5-inches high
5.75-inches wide
6-inches deep

The short history of sewing machines

The first sewing machine was invented in 1790 and patented by the British inventor Thomas Saint. Some time earlier, in 1755, Karl Weisenthal, a German inventor, devised the first sewing macine needle, but did not produce a complete machine. Saint's machine, which was designed to sew leather and canvas, mainly on boots, used only a single thread and formed a chain stitch. Instead of a needle, an awl was employed to pierce a hole through the material being sewed. Another mechanism placed the thread over the hole, and then a needlelike rod with a forked point carried the thread through to the underside of the work, where a hook caught the thread and moved it forward for the next stitch.When the cycle was repeated, a second loop was formed on the underside of the cloth with the first loop, thus forming a chain and locking the stitch. Saint's machine, however, never progressed beyond the patent model stage. And it overlooked the Weisenthal needle design.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The object of the day: Silver stirrup cast in a shape of fox head

An exceptional cast stirrup cup realistically modelled as a fox head (London 1864)
George Fox (1860-1895) / Charles Thomas (worked from 1860)
4.75 inch deep (12.06 cm)
2.50inch diameter ( 6.35 cm)
GBP 14 500.00 (Pound Sterling)

Leather fire buckets

Painted leather antique fire bucket

A spread wing eagle with red, white and blue shield holds a banner in beak “Columbia Eagle Fire Society” with a name that is partially obscured on bottom banner.
Above top banner is “No 2”.
Original leather handle is present.
Impressed mark on each side of seam is not decipherable.
Size: 13” h without handle.
Condition: Breaks in handle, cracks and missing paint. Decoration is still visible.
Sold for 1,000 USD

Antique painted leather fire buckets are more and more valuable each year. Unfortunately, leather is especially vulnerable to the ravages of time, and fire buckets in good conditions are growing rarer.
The good news is that much of the damage a fire buckets endures can be restored with expert care and dedication to historic authenticity. Whether your fire bucket has lost its handle, developed a hole or suffered considerable paint loss, our restoration studio can bring new life and value to your bucket.

Where and when to buy chinese rug

There are several different types of retail outlet in most countries in the West, far East and Australasia, each of which offers its own slight advantages and disadvantages to the prospective buyers. No one type of outlet has a monopoly on quality or value for money, and genuine bargains may be found in each, so always shop around. As in any other business, there is often a wide discrepancy in the knowledge, helpfulness and integrity displayed by individuals in every type of outlet; and, if you know and trust one particular dealer, you might be advised to stay with them, providing they have the right rug at the right price. Some retail outlets allow you to take a rug home for a few days so that you can see it in context; this is a precaution that cannot be recommended too strongly.

Remember that contemporary Chinese rugs are produced in different grades, and, although two rugs may look almost identical from the front, there can be considerable gulf in quality and price between the two. Therefore always ask the outlet to tell you the grade (i.e. whether it is a 90-line closed-back or 90-line open-back, for example), as well as the type or range. Outright deception is rare, but less scrupulous dealers have been known "imply", or fail to correct a buyer's assumption, that the rug belongs to the higher grade, or price bracket, than it actually does.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The object of the day: Gabriel the Archangel (c1820)

Gabriel the Archangel 
(Spain c. 1820)

15 inch high (38.10 cm)

Description / Expertise
A 19th century representation of Gabriel the Archangel with silk and metal thread garments, the angels head of carved ivory with back-painted glass eyes and human hair, the hands also of carved ivory. Gabriel's wings and book have details punched into the metal and he wears a metal visor. The feet are of carved and painted wood.

GBP1950.00 (Pound Sterling)

Designer: Gabriel Argy-Rousseau

Joseph-Gabriel Rousseau was born in a small village outside of Chartres to a farming family, Rousseau became interested in drawing at a very early age. He was also intensely interested in physics and chemistry, first attending Ecole Breguet, and in 1902 Ecole de Sèvres, where he meet the son of pâte-de-verre pioneer Henri Cros.

Following his graduation in 1906 Rousseau took the title of “engineer-ceramist” and worked in a research laboratory developing dental porcelain before devoting his focus exclusively to the art of pâte-de-verre. In 1913 he married Marianne Argyriadès, a highly cultured woman of Greek descent who fueled Rousseau’s interest in Greek and Classical art. After his marriage Rousseau added the first four letters of his wife’s maiden name “a-r-g-y” in homage to her cultural, emotional, and domestic support, signing his name “Argy-Rousseau” for the remainder of his artistic career.
In 1921 Argy-Rousseau met gallery and glass works owner Gustave Moser-Millot and established the Société Anonyme des Pâtes de Verre d’Argy-Rousseau. The firm developed their pâte-de-verre technique for 6 months, built extensive new workshops and furnaces, trained 20 workers, and in 1923 began producing regular commissioned work.

Gaudy Welsh pottery

The name Gaudy Welsh entered the pottery collectors vocabulary and the antique world when Professor Howard Williams mentioned it in his 1978 publication. He also standardised many of the names ascribed to patterns we now associate with Gaudy Welsh Pottery. Gaudy Welsh, a name which describes perfectly the hand-painted decoration applied primarily to tea sets, bowls and jugs,

Made in both England and Wales between 1820 and 1860, the earthenware, creamware, ironstone and bone china is decorated in charming patterns picked out in underglaze cobalt blue, often in panels, rust or burnt orange and copper lustre, while floral decoration often included pink lustre, green and yellow, all on a white background.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The object of the day: A book Portraits of the Famous and Infamous

Book : Portraits of the Famous and Infamous (England 20th century)

Description / Expertise
Portraits of the Famous and Infamous ; Australia , New Zealand and the Pacific , 1492 - 1970
By Rex Nan Kivell and Sydney A Spence
Privately published by Kivell & Spence , 20 Cork St , London 1974
Folio hardback with original printed wrapper
Fine original condition
Similar Books always sought after - (collections/libraries or single copies)

Bureaux, antique writing furniture

There are many different types of “writing furniture”, but perhaps the best known is the bureaux, basically a desk with a hinged flap that folds up when not in use.
Made in quantity from the 18th century, bureaux are generally oak, walnut, pine or mahogany, some lavishly decorated with lacquer or marquerty. They were often combined with bookcases and cabinets to become bureau bookcases or bureau cabinets.
Like ordinary cabinets, these were as much to display the wealth of their owner as for any practical purpose. Many have a strong architectural feel, designed to co-ordinate with the architecture of the rooms in which they stood.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Antique & vintage objects at Henry Gregory antique shop

Henry Gregory (82 Portobello Road, London) selling Victorian to Vintage quality antiques priced from £50 – £15,000. On their stock one can find decorative objects, silver, sporting and luggage, all sourced by Henry Gregory himself, who has been buying all over the British Isles for the last 40 years.
The shop changes continuously as they sell and ship to clients from all over the world including private buyers, decorators and dealers.

The object of the day: Chinese porcelain ox-head

A superb Chinese export porcelain ox-head tureen and cover, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period, c1760, 
vividly painted in the `famille-rose' palette with full blown peony flowers in various shades of pink and picked out in gilt, the eyes delinated in black enamel, the naturalistic horns washed in grey

32.00cm wide (12.60 inches)
31.00cm high (12.20 inches)
Portuguese private collection
The collection of Mrs C. Hickman Nesle, sold at Sothebys Park Bernet, New York, 16.10.69, lot 100.
some restoration to the ears

A quick quide to periods

The age and style of antiques is usually described in terms of reigning monarch or ruling house. This is fine for people with a detailed knowledge of the British or French history for example - but for people from abroad (or for those whose schooldays were a long time ago) it can become confusing.

Further problems arise when a designer like Adam or Hepplewhite gives his name to a wide range of items made in his particular style - and when styles and objects are imported from other parts of the world.

Here is a short guide to periods, a simple timeline to help you classify the millions objects for sale on markets. Bare in mind that is a list of British and French styles only, but they are the most usual in furniture and decorations on the market, and frankly could be most confusing.

Tudor                       1485 - 1603
Elizabethan             1558 - 1603 
Jacobean                1603 - 1688
Stuart                       1603 - 1714
Louis XIV                 1643 - 1715
Cromwellian           1649 - 1660
Mary and William   1689 - 1702
Queen Anne           1702 - 1714
Georgian                 1714 - 1820
T. Chippendale       1715 - 1762
Louis XV                  1723 - 1774
A. Hepplewhite       1727 - 1788
Adam                        1728 - 1792
T. Sheraton               1751 - 1806
Regency                   1800 - 1830
Empire                      1804 - 1815
Victorian                   1837 - 1901
Edwardian               1901 - 1910
Art Nouveau             1890 - 1910
Art Deco                    1920 - 1930

The short guide how to date antique Minton pottery

Thomas Minton founded his factory in around 1796 in Stoke-upon-Trent.

Minton from 1796 and during its nearly two hundred year history is a very important Stoke firm that has traded under various styles.
Herbert Minton, succeeded his father as head of the firm, and it was due to him that he was able to develop the firm and gain it's reputation. He also enlisted the services of many skilled artists.
After Herbert Mintons death in 1858 the Minton name continued as the Company name but no Minton family member has been connected with the firm since.
The first products of the Minton factory were blue transfer-printed wares. In 1798 bone china (porcelain containing bone ash) was introduced, with much success. In 1836, when Thomas Minton died and his son Herbert took over the business, the factory's main products consisted of practical and unpretentious tablewares in painted or printed earthenware or bone china, following the typical shapes and decorative patterns of the period; figures and ornamental porcelains were made increasingly from the 1820s.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The object of the day: Victorian desk chair

A very fine quality Victorian mahogany and hide desk chair or library chair recently restored and professionally re-upholstered.The chair has an open horse shoe shaped and padded back upholstered in a chestnut hide. It has four well turned supports and the arms terminate in bold scrolls.

The chair has a very attractive shaped generous seat with a curved front and is is buttoned and pleated with a border of brass studs.The chair stands on turned front legs terminating in brass and white ceramic cup castors. The back legs are swept back and have similar white ceramic castors.

Date: c1860
Price: £1,650

Jacobean style furniture

Jacobean is a term used to cover all English style furniture from the reign of King James I to King James II. However, throughout this span of time Jacobean furniture showed markedly different influences. The earliest Jacobean furniture was influenced mainly by Elizabethan (1603 -1688) styled furniture. Commonwealth Style (1649-1660) marks the middle of the Jacobean Period, when the furniture was of simpler design and undecorated. The late Jacobean Period is that of the Carolean period, named for King Charles II. In this period, the furniture was influenced by Flemish Baroque design…

 Jacobean furniture was very sturdy, massive in size, notoriously uncomfortable, and made to last. The furniture pieces that were produced consisted mainly of chests, cupboards, trestle tables, wainscot chairs, and gate legged circular tables.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The object of the day: Daguerreotype of Crimean War hero (c1854)

Daguerreotype of Bryson 2/1/54 a Crimean War Hero. The uniform is that of an officer in the 49th Foot. and he is wearing the Crimean War medal with two bars. Resealed in full case.

Status: For Sale
Condition: Excellent.
Year: c1854
Country: England
Maker: Ordish, London
Height: 3.25 in. (8.26 cm)
Width: 2.75 in. (6.98 cm)
Materials: Daguerreotype in full leather case
Price: $2,750.00 USD

The Bisque dolls

Bisque dolls ,with heads made from unglazed, tinted porcelain, are among the most elaborate and valuable of all collector’s dolls. The finest French bisques, made by leading makers such as Jumeau, Bru, Gaultier and Steiner, were expensive status symbols even when first made, and remained very much the province of pampered children from the most affluent homes.

The earliest French Bisques resembled fashionable ladies and came equipped with wardrobes of elaborate clothes, based on fashion plates of the day.

High Victorian Gothic

The mid Victorian period saw the culmination of the Gothic Revival which had been progressing in a rather sporadic fashion since the 1750s. In the 18th century, interest in a Gothic was  the dilettante hobby of aristocrats and the rich.Under the influence of romantic novels by writers like Hugh Walpole, who owned an early Gothic Revival home, and Sir Walter Scott, men like William Beckford and Sir Roger Newdigate planned homes in the Gothic style. for these patrons, this style was a picturesque diversion rather than an exercise in historical veracity. Like Scott's Waverley novels, these buildings were to their owners places where they could escape the realities of business and politics and dream of chivalrous time of medieval knights and paeants.

At Goodrich House in Herefordshire, Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick employed Edward Blore to create his "Hastilude Chamber" in which to house his famous collection of armour.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The care of antique glass

The most usual problem related to the use of period glass is staining of decanters. Stains are of two kinds. If dark, it should be possible to remove them by manipulation of a good bottle brush (perhaps with a tuft at the tip) fed well with warm water and perhaps a little proprietary cleaner such as Cif or Astonish. However this may reveal the presence of a milky stain which is caused by acids in wines and by leaving decanters wet. In this case the decanter needs professional buffing. It is thus imperative that decanters should be dried after use.

Minor chips on wineglasses can be eliminated but only by reduction of the glass; so this practice is restricted to glasses of comparatively low value. Chips on important period glasses can normally be filled with a colourless resin which renders the damage inconspicuous. Again, professional help is required via a specialist dealer.

As to washing: virtually all glass should be washed in water as hot as the hand will stand with the addition of a little detergent such as Fairy Liquid. Rinse in water of the same temperature and dry with lint-free cotton cloth (such as cotton sheeting) while the glass is hot. The heat of the glass will do most of the drying.

The British Antique Dealers' Association (BADA)

What is the BADA?

The British Antique Dealers' Association (BADA) is the trade association for the leading antique dealers in Britain. Since its foundation in 1918 BADA has set the standard for trading in the antiques business. Its main aim is to establish and maintain confidence between its members and the public, both in buying and selling.

Disney and Animation at Philip Weiss Auctions in Oceanside, N.Y.

At Philip Weiss Auctions in Oceanside, N.Y., will be shown important Disney items (to include the complete and original 1953 Disneyland prospectus, drafted by Walt Disney himself and outlining his ideas for the iconic theme park in California). The auction will be held the weekend of Dec. 16-18 in the firm’s showroom at #1 Neil Court.

The Disneyland prospectus is one of only three printed and probably is the only one that has survived intact and complete. It comes with maps and the words and images of Walt Disney and artist Herb Ryman. The information contained in the prospectus would be used the following year to break ground on Disneyland, one of the most famous and visited family amusement parks in the world. It remains as a monument to the vision of Walt Disney, along with Disney World.

The object of the day: French Art Nouveau ceramic vase

A French Art Nouveau ceramic vase by A. Debain, featuring a muted blue, red and yellow glaze, seated in a silver holder.


French silversmith Alphonse Debain (1883-1911)

Circa: 1900

Dimensions: 9 1/2 inch high

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Troika pottery

Troika Pottery is a really something. It was initially met with great scepticism when it was first established in the Cornish coastal town of St. Ives. The failure for the new venture was immediately predicted, giving it just three months to survive. The company’s unconventional ceramics, which design was opposite the fashion of the time have a things to think about, but concerns were proved unfounded when Troika was snapped up by discerning London stores such as Heal’s and Liberty’s, and became world-known.
The company was founded in 1963 by sculptor Leslie Illsley, potter Benny Sirota and architect Jan Thompson, who chose the Russian name ‘troika’ to represent the team of three. Despite initial successes, Thompson walked away from the enterprise after two years, leaving the other two to build the business.

Designer: Omar Ramsden

Omar Ramsden (1873-1939)

English silversmith born in Sheffield. He spent some years in Illinois, USA, before being apprenticed to a firm of silversmiths back in Sheffield. In 1890 he attended evening classes at the Sheffield School of Art where he met Alwyn Charles Elison Carr and then both had summer classes at the Royal College of Art. Ramsden specialised in the design of silver and gold presentation and ceremonial pieces, including plates, wine cups and masers.

His design is associated with Art Nouveau.

They set up a studio together in Chelsea in 1898 and shortly after moved the workshop to Fulham. Ramsden had the public relations flair while Carr provided the financial backing. The partnership was dissolved in 1919. Ramsden had up to 20 assistants working for him during the 1930's but he never worked on a piece himself.

A short history of batik

Distinctive patterned and dyed fabric from the East Indies, brought to Europe by the Dutch in the 16thC. In the batik process, melted wax is applied to parts of the design not intended to take colour, and the cloth is then dyed. This is repeated as necessary for other colours, the wax being washed out with hot water after each dyeing. Some batik is also hand-painted. The process was used in the 16th and 17thC Europe for dyeing expensive facbrics such as velvet, but the bold batik colours and patterns were printed on cotton and dyed by other processes from the 19thC.

There are several steps to make batik. Apply melted wax to cloth, then dipped in dye. To Make any shape within it, use tjanting. Tjanting is the tool used for applying hot wax by hand. The tjanting is made of two element: a copper bowl with a spout, and a bamboo holder into which the copper part is inserted. Tjanting with fine spouts are used for the most delicate lines, while a wide spouts allows the wax to flow quickly over background areas. Rosettes of five or seven dots are made with a tjanting which has multiple spouts. The other tool used for create design is tjap, or wooden or metal designed block which is used as the stamp on textile.

Batik or fabrics with the traditional batik patterns are found in (particularly) Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, China, Azerbaijan, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, and Singapore.

Batik makers in the first half of 20th century

Caring and protecting of paintings, prints, photographs and other works on paper

It is very important in caring and keeping it in good condition of the antique paintings, photos and any printed material how and where they are displayed. Photographs, books and stamps, also benefit from proper display, storage and constant care.
Always hang a painting or picture securely, in a spot that is absolutely dry, never above a fire or radiator, nor in too bright a spot (directly expose to sunlight).

Air circulation is crucial so make sure that they lean away from the wall. The good trick how to do it is to glue cork pads to the lower corners of the frame for extra insulation.

Victorian Era basket weave bonnet

This antique Victorian Civil War era natural straw cane basket weave brown silk spoon bonnet dates from the 1860s. It is made of a stiffened white buckram linen cloth lining the inside, covered with a tri-color natural straw cane woven basket weave frame. There is brown silk moire ribbon bow trim on the back and ribbon ties for securing under the chin. 
This beautiful bonnet has long curving sides which come to a point at the bottom and a high tall brim. It is unadorned giving it a classic simple plain style. The bonnet measures 21 inches around the front opening and is 6 inches deep. It is in excellent wearable condition and is a rare early find.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The object of the day: NY Yankees team autographed baseball

1927 NY Yankees ‘Murderers Row’ World Championship team-autographed baseball
Athlete-signed Yankees equipment includes a 1966-67 Mickey Mantle game-used and autographed bat; and a coveted 1927 “Murderers Row” World Championship baseball signed by the team whose lineup of batters is considered “the best…ever.”

The six hitters who struck fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers included Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Their signatures are written in blue ink and appear alongside those of their teammates on this ball, which opened with a $5,000 bid.

It is offered at Grey Flannel auctions and current bid is $6,050. 

Pottery restoration

Ceramic is one of the handicrafts that last very long and we can trace pieces far back in history. Its manufacture, whether utilitarian, architectural, or decorative has always follow  fashionable artistic movements of the time, and therefore, reflects any era in the past. Often the only surviving artifacts of earlier civilizations, ceramics are perhaps singularly the most important remnant to the archaeologist for dating, interpretation of technology, trade routes, religion and the simple reflection of daily routine. These interpretations could well be applied to ancient Mesopotamia, first colonies on North American soil, old China, or ancient Egypt.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The object of the day: 18th century chinese moonflask

The 18th-century Qing Dynasty Chinese vase
An elderly woman who took an old vase wrapped in a carrier bag to her local WI fair was stunned to discover it was a rare 250-year-old Chinese relic worth £500,000. The woman, who is in her 80s but has not been named to protect the artefact, inherited the vase from her late father, Edward Whittington-Ince, in 1976.
The vase, described as being of 'the highest quality', is painted with delicate cobalt blue designs of birds perched on a prunas branch - a popular theme for porcelain painters.

The Chinese porcelain moonflask which had been gathering dust on a shelf in the pensioner's Dorset home was identified as an ancient Imperial Qing Dynasty treasure from the 18th century.

Excited specialists have now advised the shocked woman to contact Asian art experts, after valuing the rare 11.5-inch piece at around £500,000.

Modern & Contemporary Prints, Bloomsbury Auctions, London

This fabulous Andy Warhol screenprint of Santa Claus (estimate: £12.000 - £15.000) could well be appearing on the Christmas list of many an art aficionado this year. it is from Warhol's 1981 "Myths" series, a portfolio of 10 screenprints, produced in an edition of 200. inspired by films and television, other images in the series (not in this sale) include the Wicked Witch of the West, Uncle Sam, Dracula, Mickey Mouse and Superman.  The last two are among the most desirable, usually achieving £80.000 - £100.000 at auction.

Andy Warhol "Santa Claus"

The miniature portraits

The miniature painting is considered as painting on a very small scale, at the first time manuscript illumination, and later miniature portraits, sometimes set in jewelled cases, and Islamic paintings. Hans Holbein the Younger introduced miniature portrait painting into English art, the form reaching its height in the works of Hilliard in the 16th century, and continuing to evolve well into the 19th century. There was also a very strong tradition of miniature portrait painting in France. Miniatures by Islamic artists flourished in India and Persia, their subjects often bird and flowers, or scenes from history and legend, rather than portraits as it is in Western arts.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The object of the day: Staffordshire figurine of Jim Crow

This rare Staffordshire figure portrays a perfomer in the role of Jim Crow, ca. 1830. Today the term "Jim Crow" has repugnant racial connotations, but in the 1830s Jim Crow was the talk of London.
Figures of Jim Crow are very rare. Staffordshire spelling was often erratic, but Jim was a contraction of James not in use in England at that time, and this probably accounts for the misspelling.
Thomas Dartmouth Rice (1806-1860) is the man who gave us Jim Crow. Born and raised in New York, Rice trained as a woodcarver but he preferred the life of an itinerant entertainer.
Rice performed his Jim Crow routine in blackface, thus creating a stereotype for black minstrelry that was to quickly become wildly popular.
Rice’s debut as Jim Crow at the Adelphi Theatre in London on 7 November 1836 was so successful that other plays were adapted to create a role for Jim Crow. Rice and Jim Crow became an international sensation and people of all classes capered to the ditty and printed images of Jim Crow proliferated.
Estimated prices can go up to 1500 pounds.

How to value your precious items

No keen collector enjoys contemplating the thought of losing a prized possessions, but unfortunately, an unpleasant aspect of collecting antiques today is the growing risk of burglary. One result of increasing number of art and antiques thefts is that most insurance companies now demand a professional written valuation to cover objects worth more than a certain amount.

If you are beginning to buy antiques you will certainly know what each piece is worth, and whether you need a valuating. Remember, although a valuation will involve some expense, if you don't have your possessions valued you could find that in the event of burglary or accident, you are inadequately insured and unable to replace your property.

The object of the day: Duch Delft figurine

A Dutch Delft polychrome model of a cow
18th Century, marked for De Porceleyne Claeuw
Naturalistically modelled as a blue and white cow, standing fore square, looking to the side, its neck and back painted with flowers, its tongue enhanced in orange, the hoofs in manganese, the green-glazed rectangular plinth modelled in relief with leaves and frogs, horns and ears restored
16.3 cm. high

Estimate                                 Sold for
€1,000 - €1,500                     €1,750                           

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The knife and sword collecting

Antique Greece Crete sword
People are collecting various things. Some are collecting out of passion and love to those unique rare products or their historical worth, and others because of a search for some connection to the past. The knife and sword collectors are no less special then the things they collect, and usually the sword and knife collector will have a very deep passion and understanding of the articles he is collecting, their history, use in past time and importance in the development of swords and knifes.

Many factors make the collectors a new target on the antique and collectable markets, as the level of fake swords and knifes appeared on the market increases to a degree that is it almost impossible to spot a valuable piece. So as a buyer you have to be careful and use all your knowledge.

Auction house: Bonhams

An ivory netsuke of a shishi Kyoto, late 18th century
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further five throughout the UK.

Bonhams magazine is the world's premier auction house magazine. Launched in 2005 by its present editor, Lucinda Bredin, the magazine is published quarterly and highlights some of the star items coming up for auction in Bonhams salerooms. But it aims to do more than provide glossy pictures with long captions: with the help of world-renowned writers – past contributors have included William Dalrymple, Philip Pullman, Jeremy Paxman, Lisa Jardine, Brian Sewell, Robert Harris and Colin Firth – the magazine explores stories behind the works.

Victorian rings

Queen Victoria was young, energetic, filled with youthful vitality and very much in love. This was reflected in the taste of the court. Jewelry was bold and striking. It was gaudy, rich, lush and ornate. It was more a reflection of wealth than taste. Matching suites, cabochons of four or more pieces were in. Ivory, tortoise shell, seed pearls and coral were in demand.

Victorian Gold Tourmaline Mine Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Friday, November 11, 2011

The object of the day: Piguet & Meylan watch

Piguet & Meylan watch 

The Chinese court's interest in European clocks began in the late Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644)

In 2005, this circa-1820 18-karat gold, enamel and pearl Piguet & Meylan watch made for the Chinese market came on the block at Christie’s.

The watch carried a top estimate of HK$550,000 and sold for just over HK$3 million.Each season, Christie’s presents a range of 19th-century timepieces made especially for the Chinese market.

Not surprisingly, these tend to be popular with Chinese buyers.

A piece of history in your pocket

Having a huge collection of old coins takes time to complete. Hard to find, and the rarity of the coin are the factors why coin collecting is considered one of the most valuable collecting of all time.

It is the simple fact that old coins were often made from precious metals, such as gold or silver. Old coins can often be worth more melted down than they would if they were spent like regular change. However, the fact that they are still stamped coins makes them even more valuable. And their value is only enhanced even more by the fact that they have been around for a while.

If the old coin is rare its value is much higher. The fact that coins are old tends to make them rarer. The older a coin is, the more likely that people have exchanged it for more modern currency and the more likely that the government has gotten a hold of it and melted it down. In fact, most governments have specific legal requirements to destroy old coins in order to keep the money supply modern, making it more difficult for coin collectors to find old coins.

Titanic artefacts on New York auction

On 1st December 2011, 10:30 AM & 3:00 PM, Swann Auction Galleries in New York will offer Titanic lots including a deck plan of first-class suites ($12,000 to $18,000) and a fragment of a music box in the form of a pig ($1,500 to $2,500) that the fashion writer Edith Russell clung to during her rescue. Legend has it that the pig’s tunes cheered up survivors on the lifeboat. The catalogue is available for $35.

Mon., Nov. 28, 10-6
Tues., Nov. 29, 10-8
Wed., Nov. 30, 10-6

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