Thursday, November 29, 2012

The object of the day: Disney Studio, The concept painting for Pinocchio film, 1940

An original concept painting by Gustaf Tenggren of Pinocchio trapped in the birdcage with the shadows of other marionettes hanging by their strings, black ink and watercolour on heavyweight paper, inscribed Pinocchio to upper left corner in watercolour in an unknown hard; accompanied by the document concerning the provenance.

Dimensions: 25 x 34 cm
Estimated price: GBP 35,000 - 45,000

Gustaf Tenggren was one of several European artists hired by Disney in the 1930s to provide inspiration sketches for his feature films and heavily influenced the style of early Disney's films. Although he left Disney Studios early on, Tenggren produced several preparatory sketches for Pinocchio.  These works, which were used to produce a general atmosphere to the film, brought a macabre North European feel to the film's imagery.

The painting is the part of Pop Culture: Entertainment Memorabilia at Christie's
Thursday 29 November 2012
85 Old Brompton Road, London

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Novelty clocks

The earliest surviving working novelty clocks were German automata made in Augsburg in the 1650s involving mechanical figures, either of human or animal form, which performed as the hour struck. They include dogs, and, most extraordinary for the early date, cockerels which flapped their wings and opened and closed their mouth, often making a crowing sound. The earliest novelty clock in history is the celebrated crowing cock of the Strasbourg Cathedral clock, made in 1354 and now preserved in the Strasbourg Museum.

Bradley & Hubbard, Meriden, Connecticut, cast iron novelty Blinking Eye clock, signed, movement with porcelain dial and beveled glass door. Patented July 14, 1857.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Captain Bligh coconut bowl, cup and bullet

This bowl was used by long-suffering seafarer Lieutenant William Bligh (1754-1817) after the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789. The bowl is carved from a smoothed and hollowed coconut shell and inscribed with Bligh's initials, the date, and on reverse side the phrase "the cup I eat my miserable allowance out of". This cup was used by Bligh to during the boat voyage from Tofua to Timor in the 'Bounty's' launch - about 3, 900 miles. The bowl is today the part of the collection of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Heart Book, Denmark 1550’s.

The Heart Book is regarded as the oldest Danish ballad manuscript. It is a collection of 83 love ballads compiled in the beginning of the 1550’s in the circle of the Court of King Christian III. Shown above is the beginning of ballad no. 43, Store længsel, du går mig nær (Great Yearning, thou touches me).

A later reader – the otherwise unknown Christen Masse – has added some notes, i.a. this pious hope: “gvd ende oc vinde alle mit er lende til en god oc gledelig ende amen” (may god end and turn my misery into a good and happy ending amen).
We do not know who compiled the ballads and instigated the writing of the Heart Book. All ballads except one – no. 66 – have probably been written by the same hand.
19.5 x 15 cm.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The object of the day: The Queen Victoria Drawing Room Chair

The Queen Victoria Drawing Room Chair, 1851

Walnut, carved and inlaid, inset with a Worcester porcelain plaque, with an embroidered satin seat.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Given by Mr L. M. Eyles, in memory of his brother, William Sidney Eyles

The chair was made as an homage to the Queen Victoria upon the opening of the Great Exhibition in 1851. The maker, Henry Eyles, described this piece as “a drawing room chair.” Inspired by the popular styles of Eighteenth Century French furnishings, the chair features a “shaped back” and cabriole legs—a style which was considered quite appropriate and fashionable for drawing rooms in the 1840s and 1850s.

With its pale color palette and embroidered seat cover, such a chair would have been intended for the use in a lady’s drawing or reception room.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pink Lustre pitcher from Sunderland Pottery

Pink Lustre pitcher from Sunderland Pottery with image of Susan and William

Dated: c. 1835 Sunderland
Dimensions: 6.75 inch high
Medium: antique pink lustre luster pottery

Antique pink splash lustre pitcher with underglaze transfer prints and a hand painted anchor motif under the spout. The transfer prints have figures of Susan and William ( the sailor) and an image of a sailing ship title William IV.
The transfers are decorated with enamel colours and the pink luster is strong and vibrant.
The reference to the portrait figures of Susan and William relate to an old sea poem written in 1723 the first two verses give a gist of the topic.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The object of the day: Wombwell's Menagerie

Wombwell's Menagerie, 19th century Staffordshire pottery
Pearlglazed earthenware with overglaze painted decoration
14 5/8 inches
In private collection

Wombwell's Menagerie was a travelling circus that doubled up as a zoo between performances, travelling the length and breadth of the country. In 1835 it visited Wolverhampton and it is possible that Stoke potters made the trip south to see the extraordinary assembly of caged, wild beasts and were inspired to model them. traditionally, these groups depicting the Menagerie are attributed to the factory of Obadiah Sherratt, who is also credited with a number or arbour groups showing subjects such as The Blacksmith of Gretna Green and the Tithe Pig, and The Teetotallers and Dr Syntax, an 18th century caricature of a cleric. Sherratt's work is rare and keenly sought after both in Europe and America. 

Price could reach £10,000 - 15,000

Antique glass decoration techniques

Many techniques may be applied to glass objects to produce different types of decoration, both internal and external. We will mention here some principal types of decorations.

Internal decoration

Cased. When one layer of glass is applied over another, or when three or more layers are fused together and then outer layer or layers cut away (cameo).

Acid cut cameo glass vase
Simple coloured tint. The glass is mixed with a metallic oxide while still in powder form.

Latticinio. Clear glass embedded with white glass threads giving the appearance of spiral fluting. The threads are woven into the semi-molten metal.

Lithyalin. Opaque glass which shows visible striations of various colours and, when polished, gives the appearance of agate.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

British and American Studio Wares

The reaction against the mass-produced pottery and porcelain of the early Victorian age came to a head after the Great Exhibition of 1851. Inspired by the writings of John Ruskin, small groups of artisans formed art union groups and thus paved the way for the Arts and Crafts Movement. Led by William Morris in England, its members sought to return to the values of the medieval guild system where hand-made objects were produced in small numbers by groups of dedicated craftsmen.

Early Lambeth Doulton 
On the whole, their ideas proved commercially unworkable, but many art potteries that started up at this time proved more successful and continued producing throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. Probably the largest commercial enterprise making hand-decorated stoneware and pottery was the Lambeth studios of Doulton.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The object of the day: Royal Doulton loving cup

Royal Doulton loving cup, Captain Cook
designed by Charles Noke & Harry Fenton. Issued 1933 
limited edition of 350.

Size: 9.25"H

This loving-cup commemorates Captain Cook's landing on Botany Bay: on one side a party of crewmen are stepping ashore from a longboat, on the other Cook surveys the interior accompanied by his officers. The handles take the form of coconut palms.

Most of the loving cups produced featured many of the characters who were later portrayed as character jugs, many of which reflecting Noke's interest in literature, particularly the works of Dickens and Shakespeare. Folk heroes, whether real or fictitious, are inevitably colorful characters and thus eminently suitable as subject matter for these lively jugs. It is the attention to detail and overall presentation that enhances this range of prestige jugs, and together with skillfully modeled decoration and rich colors schemes, makes them admired among collectors today. These cups were produced for a brief period during the 1930s by Charles Noke and Harry Fenton, before the successful launch of character jugs. They were released in limited editions of only 300 to 1,000 pieces, some of which were never completed, making them highly collectable and difficult to find. These were the very first limited edition pieces produced by Royal Doulton.

Price: $6,000.00 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Reed & Barton antique silverware

Reed & Barton are known for their quality silverware. They started in 1824 in Taunton, Massachusetts, when under the name of Babbitt & Crossman they began making a type of base metal also known as pewter or Brittania (which was used to create the Oscar statuette). They later specialized on silver plated pieces and this was well before changing their name to Reed & Barton in 1840.   

Reed & Barton were well established as Silverware production company by the end of 1840s selling a large number of their silver plated pieces, including trays, bowls and pitchers to Rogers Brothers in Connecticut that in turn placed the now famous hallmarks on those items. At the same time, they were involved in the production of weapons for the Union Army soldiers and officers in American Civil War along with a growing range of silver plated products, many of them depicting animals such as dogs, cats, horses and sheep by the turn of the century. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The object of the day: Victorian copy of Milanese barbute

Victorian copy of Milanese barbute c. 1455

Height :11 7/8''
Price: $2450.00 

Elegantly formed one piece skull with rolled lower edge and riveted reinforcement around the facial opening. Complete and in typical condition for genuine examples, most of which come from a small number of find places such as the Venetian arsenal at Chalcis, are preserved in condition relatively uniform for their respective groups.
A few genuine examples in comparable complete and unrestored condition have surfaced in the past half century and are currently valued in the $200,000 range. This example almost certainly was made as a forgery and lacking modern photographic technology, would easily have deceived the many wealthy collectors of the 19th century.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Costume collecting

Collecting period costumes is very satisfying in the sense that gives us a lot of information about history and customs of certain periods in modern world. From the grandest ball gown to the simplest hand-embroidered smock, the clothes and accessories that have covered the human form throughout history provide a fascinating insight into its changing needs and desires. So much costume survives that many pieces can be bought for small amounts and do not fluctuate widely in value.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Car boot sales

The car boot sale has become one of the most popular forms of weekend entertainment on both sides of the Atlantic. They range in size from several dozen stalls in a local school playground to several acres of land in the countryside. The larger, more rural ones tend not to operate during winter months, but local newspapers carry announcements of forthcoming sales usually one week in advance, although few include a contact telephone number. In larger towns and cities, many now take place in multy-storey car parks under cover. Head for one of these if it looks like rain.

The boot sale is the environmentally friendly way of getting rid of your unwanted clutter, and what may be rubbish to you might give someone else enormous pleasure. If you are selling, arrive early, preferably by 6 am. Take a strong torch and be prepared to deal with a particularly persistent and voracious type of small time dealer who has a tendency to dive into the boot of your car before you have had a chance to unpack your goods. It may suit you to do a deal and sell him or her a large proportion of what you have, but if you are determined to sell to the public, you will have to stand your ground and tell them firmly to leave you alone to unpack.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The object of the day: Carved and Etched Australian Cow Horn

An Unusual and Curious Carved and Etched Australian Cow Horn
(1800 to 1900 Australia)

Cow Horn

Literature Captain Arthur Philip established a colony of Europeans at Sydney Cove in 1788 and a trading seaport soon followed and it is possible that a sailor from Sydney who had also visited the Admiralty Islands on a voyage made this horn.
Kangaroos were once plentiful in the Sydney area and aborigines were observed using a variety of methods for hunting them, but although the young colony needed a supply of fresh meat, kangaroo flesh was not popular with Europeans. The Emu is one of two flightless birds in Australia and was once hunted widely. Their inquisitive nature was often their downfall as the hunters would mimic their call attracting them close enough to club or spear.
Wiped out in the wave of settlement that followed 1788 the aboriginal people in the area surrounding Sydney were gone so quickly that their culture had sunk without trace almost before anyone noticed.

Description / Expertise An Unusual and Curious Carved and Etched Australian Cow Horn
Decorated with an emu, a kangaroo, the figure of an Admiralty islander and two stylised armourials surmounted with kangaroo heads
Early 19th Century

Size: 38cm long – 15 ins long

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Standard British hallmarks

Great Britain operates the most rigorous system of hallmarking anywhere in the world. The first statute governing standards was passed in 1238, but the proper system came into operation with the introduction of the leopard's head mark in 1300, to be struck on both silver and gold throughout the realm. The standard set for coinage (92.5 %) was also used for silver objects. In 1363 a further statute was passed by which every gold and silversmith added his maker's mark to pieces (at this time in the form of symbols as few could read or write) to counteract the widespread practice of forging the leopard's head mark on substandard wares. in 1478, the third mark was added in the form of a letter. 

From this date all work had to be taken to Goldsmith's Hall for testing and marking by touchwardens (hence, Hall Marks). This was to stop gold and silversmith from bribing the touchwardens who had previously come to their workshop to do the testing and marking. Substandard wares had been marked, accepted by the Mint and converted directly into coinage which led to a loss of confidence in the currency. But with this third mark, originally called the Assay Master's mark, the Assay Master or touchwarden could be identified if a marked piece was found to be substandard.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ceramic glaze

A glaze is a glossy or glassy film that is fused to the ceramic body during firing. It is usually formed from powdered minerals added to water and washed or painted over the object. A glaze can be shiny or matt, hard or soft
After application, the ceramic is fired, and the powdered coating melts into a hard, glass-like coating. A ceramic glaze is usually for decoration or protection and most glazes can be considered specialised forms of glass.
Glazing is functionally important for earthenware vessels, which without it would be unsuitable for holding liquids. In addition to the functional aspects, aesthetic forms include a smooth pleasing surface, the degree of gloss and variegation, and finished color.
Ceramic glazes can also enhance an underlying design or texture which can be the natural texture of the clay or an inscribed, carved or painted design.

A glaze is a glossy or glassy film that is fused to the ceramic body during firing. It is usually formed from powdered minerals added to water and washed or painted over the object. A glaze can be shiny or matt, hard or soft
After application, the ceramic is fired, and the powdered coating melts into a hard, glass-like coating. A ceramic glaze is usually for decoration or protection and most glazes can be considered specialised forms of glass.
Glazing is functionally important for earthenware vessels, which without it would be unsuitable for holding liquids. In addition to the functional aspects, aesthetic forms include a smooth pleasing surface, the degree of gloss and variegation, and finished color.
Ceramic glazes can also enhance an underlying design or texture which can be the natural texture of the clay or an inscribed, carved or painted design.
A glaze is a glossy or glassy film that is fused to the ceramic body during firing. It is usually formed from powdered minerals added to water and washed or painted over the object. A glaze can be shiny or matt, hard or soft
After application, the ceramic is fired, and the powdered coating melts into a hard, glass-like coating. A ceramic glaze is usually for decoration or protection and most glazes can be considered specialised forms of glass.
Glazing is functionally important for earthenware vessels, which without it would be unsuitable for holding liquids. In addition to the functional aspects, aesthetic forms include a smooth pleasing surface, the degree of gloss and variegation, and finished color.
Ceramic glazes can also enhance an underlying design or texture which can be the natural texture of the clay or an inscribed, carved or painted design.

A glaze is a glossy or glassy film that is fused to the ceramic body during firing. It is usually formed from powdered minerals added to water and washed or painted over the object. A glaze can be shiny or matt, hard or soft
After application, the ceramic is fired, and the powdered coating melts into a hard, glass-like coating. A ceramic glaze is usually for decoration or protection and most glazes can be considered specialised forms of glass.
Tin glazed Italian plate

Glazing is functionally important for earthenware vessels, which without it would be unsuitable for holding liquids. In addition to the functional aspects, aesthetic forms include a smooth pleasing surface, the degree of gloss and variegation, and finished color.
Ceramic glazes can also enhance an underlying design or texture which can be the natural texture of the clay or an inscribed, carved or painted design.

Napoleon III side-cabinet

A Napoleon III Ormolu and Florentine Pietre Dure-Mounted ebony and ebonized side-cabinet

Third quarter 19th century

The breakfront grey-veined white marble top above a conforming case and vine-branch frieze, over a door centered with a fruit and flower-filled vase, the interior with two shelves, the sides each with a musical trophy, the angles with female busts, on shaped apron and block feet
47½ in. (120.5 cm.) high, 51¾ in. (151.5 cm.) wide, 20½ in. (52 cm.) deep

Estimate price
$2,500 - $3,500

Old manuscripts: "A" leaf from a folio Breviary

Isaiah, historiated initial 'A' on a leaf from a folio Breviary,
 in Latin, Illuminated Manuscript On Vellum
[Germany, probably Saxony, c.1435]

454 x 320mm, the initial 125 x 113mm. In the infill the prophet supports a book on the horizontal of the A, while a younger man beneath it holds a scroll, both those figures and the monochrome figures of Gabriel and the Annunciate Virgin in the staves point to Isaiah's prophecy of the Incarnation that continues from book to scroll; the foliate borders contain birds, a collared monkey, a pope, a cardinal and a wild man who holds a heraldic shield, azur, an imperial eagle or (marginal soiling, wear affecting figures in lower margin, some spotting, slight cropping, edges strengthened with paper strips on verso).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Vintage radios and televisions

The first radio broadcast in the world was made in England in 1922. Wireless preceded it but was used mainly for military purposes. By the early 1920s, crystal sets were the commonest receivers, used in the home by enthusiasts who spent long hours making and operating them. valve sets developed alongside them and by the 1930s, the radio was cased in wood or bakelite.

American Sentinel radio 284 NI, 1945, GBP 800 - 1500

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Antique clock dials and hands

By 1730, enamel dials were common on English pocket watches. There were sometimes produced in the 1780s for longcase clocks, but are very rare. More common are painted enamel dials on longcase and bracket clocks, fitted to high quality pieces. Enamel sections are most frequently found on French clocks. Often the dials are gilt, with the numerals set against enamel reserves. Enamel dials are extremely prone to cracking and chipping, so examine examples very carefully. Hairline cracks are often camouflaged by bleaching but you should be able to spot the differences in colour. Cracking crates a cobweb effect over the dial and if you come across this, the price should reflect the damage that has occurred.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Titanic's artifacts

Titanic was the ship of dreams, carrying aristocrats home to their American mansions and working-class emigrants toward new and better lives.She boasted luxury never seen on the seas before: Opulent suites, grand dining rooms, a sweeping staircase. The biggest ship of her time, she was said to be unsinkable.
Four days into Titanic's maiden voyage, the ship's captain received an iceberg warning. Then, just before midnight on April 14, 1912, the ship's lookout shouted the fateful words: "Iceberg right ahead!"  There was a monstrous jarring, and the mighty liner began to sink. Within hours, 1500 people had died and the world's most famous vessel lay on the ocean  floor.
Here are some artifacts offered on USA auction.

This key to the binoculars store on the Titanic fetched more than $170,000 when it was sold in April 2010. The key, marked with the tag 'Crows Nest Telephone Titanic' was not on the ship when she set sail from Southampton on her maiden voyage on April 10, 1912. As a result, the lookouts could not open the cabinet and had to rely on the naked eye as the ship navigated a treacherous ice field. A postcard (rear) sent home by a passenger on-board sold for more than $32,000 at the same sale. Photo: Henry Aldridge, AP

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Christie’s Hong Kong Spring Highlights 2012 Tour

Christie’s Hong Kong invites you to a preview exhibition of highlights from upcoming Spring sale series to be offered 25-30 May at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Spring Sales series this year will present a spectacular array of rare and exceptional collecting treasures ranging from Chinese paintings, ceramics and works of art, to iconic works by modern masters and cutting-edge contemporary artists throughout Asia, as well as fine wine, magnificent jewelry and important watches.

Event Date: 12 April - 21 May 2012

The object of the day: English 19th century painting

On the Scent (England c. 1860)

Edward Armfield (1817-1896)
Oil on canvas


50 inch wide (127.00 cm)
30 inch high (76.20 cm)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles

The graceful sensuality of Art Nouveau lasted a mere 20 years between the 1890s and the outbreak of the First World War. After the guns fell silent in 1918, the seeds of modernism, sown before the war, able to take root and flourish. The style of the 1920s and 30s became known as Art Deco, an abbrevation of L'Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes (The Paris Exhibition), which took place in 1925. Both were reactionary movements, Art Nouveau against the staid traditionalism and revivalism of the late 19th century and Art Deco against the curvaceous excesses of Art Nouveau. The former was probably the last great decadent style and the latter the first trumpet call of the truly modern age.

Whereas Art Nouveau took organic forms and used the writhing, sinuous shapes of plants, flowers, insects and birds as its inspiration, the straight, stepped, soaring lines and geometric shapes of Art Deco mirrored the exciting post-war developments in technology and mass production techniques. Art Nouveau designers worked with wood, glass and clay, as had their predecessors, but their counterparts of the 1920s and 30s took advantage of the new materials such as tubular steel, plate glass, concrete, plywood and even plastics.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Antique Japanese porcelain basics

Before the early 17th century, all the porcelain used in Japan was imported from China, but the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan wanted to be free of the Chinese merchants and, during raids carried out on Korea, captured their native potters.They brought them back to Japan and settled them inland at Arita, which became the main area of production after 1616  when the correct type of clay was found locally.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Antique English creamware teapot

English creamware teapot transfer printed with a ship and compass (England c. 1770)

21.50cm wide (8.46 inches)
13.50cm high (5.31 inches)
13.00cm deep (5.12 inches)

2cm faint edge crack to teapot body; restoration to tip of spout.
GBP950.00 (Pound Sterling)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Decoration techniques on antique silver

The type of decoration on a piece of silver can provide a good indication of its date, as styles varied in different periods. Pay special attention to the condition of the decoration as well as the overall condition of the piece as both have  a bearing on value. The main types of decoration are listed below:


This is a technique of decorating surface of the silver from the front, removing the metal by incising lines, patterns and portraits. As far back as the 3rd millennium BC it was done with flint, bronze and copper tools. Today, it is achieved by hand with a sharply pointed steel tool held on an engraver's block, or by machine.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The object of day: Painted St George cabinet

St George cabinet by William Morris1861-1862
The mahogany, pine and oak cabinet, with copper mounts was designed by Philip Webb and painted by William Morris (1834–1896). The painted scenes are from the legend of St George and the Dragon and include Morris and his wife amongst the characters depicted.
The highly decorated St George's Cabinet demonstrates Morris' love of romance. It was painted by Morris for the 1862 International Exhibition in London, to show the products of his new interior design company, Morris & Co. Although the press praised its 'true medieval spirit', the decoration of St George and the Dragon is a piece of pure Victorian romantic narrative.
Listen to the audio below for the views of different generations on the cabinet by Morris.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The object of the day: Japanese pattens

Wooden Japanese pattens

Pattens were worn to raise the walker above muddy or wet ground. They are worn with Japanese socks, or tabi, which have with one socket for the big toe. The socks are white for women and black and sometimes white for men. Japanese footwear has been designed so that it is easy to slip off, necessary in the country where footwear is removed before entering a house.

Presented by the Birmingham University Medical School.

Height:212 mm
Width:82 mm
Depth:100 mm

Saturday, February 18, 2012

William Morris "Fruit" and "Wreath" wallpaper designs

'Fruit' or 'Pomegranate' Design

This early wallpaper design by William Morris (1834-1896) is known as 'Fruit' or 'Pomegranate' and dates from around 1865. It borrows motifs from Morris's medieval-style tapestry work, displaying a historical influence that his early work in the decorative arts shares with the Pre-Raphaelite artists and with their supporter, the art critic John Ruskin.

It also highlights his interest in naturalism and plant forms. At first, Morris tried to print his designs at his studio in Red Lion Square in oil colours from etched zinc blocks. The process did not work.
To overcome this failure, he ordered traditional pearwood blocks to be cut for 'Fruit'. Production was then subcontracted out to Jeffrey & Co. of Islington, which specialised in the production of hand-printed wallpapers. Although Morris's designs were prohibitively expensive and initially the preserve of the wealthy, 'Fruit' is one the most enduringly popular. It became a favourite with the design-conscious middle-classes of late nineteenth century, and is still available from the Morris & Co. division of Sandersons, who own
the original printing blocks.

The object of the day: 19th century leather fireman helmet

19th century leather fireman helmet
A fireman of the Birmingham Alliance Fire Office wore this helmet. At this time brigades were privately owned by fire offices and were employed to put out fires only in properties insured with the office. This helmet is made from brass and leather, with a peak made from tinned sheet iron. Until the mid-19th century firemen wore top hats. By 1866, Birmingham had five fire brigades and 12 engines. By modern standards, the equipment was poor, but a hand squirt could be effective in the hands of a skilled man who knew where to put the water and was not afraid to go near to the seat of the fire.

Height:25 cm
Width:30.6 cm
Depth:24 cm

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitefriars glassware

In 1720, a glasshouse was established on part of the site of the former medieval 'White Friars' monastery, situated south of Fleet Street. In 1823. the glasshouse was bought by successful wine merchant John Powell. The firm's name was changed to Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd only in 1919, four years before the firm relocated from the City to a new site at Wealdstone, Harrow, in 1923.

The new furnaces were lit using the flame from one of the old works furnaces. The flame had been carefully carried across London in a brazier. The company also had showrooms on Wigmore Street, and this attracted customers from both the domestic and window glass markets.
In spite of there long tradition of producing very fine art glass, the Whitefriars Glassworks is best known for its industrial art glass, which was made from the 1920's onwards and after Harry Powell had retired.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Oceanic Art at Bonhams', San Francisco, CA

Seasoned and entry-level Oceanic Art collectors will have plenty from which to choose at Bonhams’ inaugural auction solely devoted to the topic. The Feb.11 event will feature 150 lots of original, diverse works from the regions of Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Indonesia and Australia. The auction’s timing coincides with the 26th Annual San Francisco Tribal & Textile Arts Show to be held Feb. 10-12 at the Fort Mason Center.

Massim Splashboard, lagim, Trobriand or D'Entrecasteaux Islands, Papua New Guinea,
Estimate: US$2,000 - 3,000, € 1,600 - 2,300

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vienna porcelain

A Vienna Miniature Cup and Saucer c.1900

A Vienna Miniature Porcelain Cup and Saucer c.1900, the cup gilded inside, decorated with a central cartouche with finely hand-painted rural scene on puce ground and gilt.
Dimensions: cup 4.5cm diam x 2.5cm high, saucer 7cm diam. Marks:banded shield mark in underglaze blue.
Excellent condition.

Price: £115

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Colours in Continental porcelain and pottery

Certain colours are associated with particular factories or periods. Some rare colours increase value of the piece. Here are a few examples:

Bleu Celeste, Sèvres

The object of the day: Two 19th century cabinets by Henri Dasson

A pair of amboyna, mahogany and black lacquer side cabinets, by Henry Dasson, Paris, circa 1880. photo Sotheby's
Made in the manner of Weisweiller, each with a brocatelle d'Espagne marble top above a frieze drawer and a panelled door, stamped Henry Dasson. 105cm. high, 83cm. wide, 45cm. deep; 3ft.5½in., 2ft.8¾in., 1ft.5½in. Est. 20,000—30,000 GBP - Sold 22,500 GBP
NOTE: Henry Dasson (1825-1896) is amongst the most distinguished of ébènistes of the second half of the 19th century. He had a remarkable career establishing himself as one of the most sought after makers from relatively humble beginings. The son of a leather worker he commenced as a bronzier specialising in clock cases. The catalyst for him to widen his oeuvre seems to have been the purchase of the models and casts from the workshop of Charles-Guillaume Winckelsen (1812-1871). Winckelsen specialised in very high quality furniture in the Louis XVI style with very finely cast and chased bronzes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Queen Anne's dolls

A jointed body and carved face decorated with stylized eyebrows and brightly rouged cheeks characterize the "Queen Anne" style dolls. English woodcarvers and craftsmen began making these dolls in the 1600s which continued through the 1840s. Affordable only to affluent families, the vast majority of Queen Anne dolls where owned by women, who dressed them in the fashions of the time.

The dolls painted almond shaped eyes, changed to glass and porcelain in later years and limbs came to be made of fabric or leather. Some reports note that fewer than thirty 17th century Queen Anne dolls have survived.
Collectors call the wood dolls from England from the 18th and early 19th centuries "Queen Anne" dolls, which is somewhat confusing, since Queen Anne's reign ended in 1714! These dolls, in good to excellent condition, are extremely rare, and cost from about $1,500 for an early 19th century doll, to over $40,000 for dolls made in the late 17th century (very few have survived-less than 30 by some reports).

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lucien Freud's rediscovered works on the auction at Christie's

Francis Outred, Christie's Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Europe: “'2012, the year of the Olympics, is a big year for major British artists in London, with David Hockney at the Royal Academy, Lucian Freud opening at the National Portrait Gallery in February and Damien Hirst at the Tate through the summer. We are delighted to be further celebrating this in our February auctions. Alongside the outstanding Bacon of Henrietta Moraes, we are presenting an exquisite canvas from a key period by Freud and two drawings which span his career, an incredible discovery from 1948 which fills in some previously missing biographical detail and a stunning study of Bruce Bernard from 1985. Also in the auction is a very unusual study of Henry Geldzahler, Hockney's great friend and champion, from the same period”.

Boat, Connemara is a meticulous and emotional drawing executed in 1948 by Lucian Freud, while the young artist was on holiday in the Irish countryside (estimate: £200,000-300,000).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hummel figurines

Hummel Figurines are finely crafted and rendered by the brilliant artist Berta Hummel borned in 1909. Berta’s creations were inspired by the sights and sounds where she grew up in her rural village of Massing Germany. Hummel Figurines are timeless, treasured worldwide and passed on from generation to generation.
In 1876, Franz Goebel started a porcelain firm near the town of Oeslauby, Germany. After several years of porcelain production in the factory, Franz's son, William expanded the Goebel product line and changed the company name to W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik. Convinced that the American market would assist sales, William developed a U.S. product line and sent his 16-year-old son, Max Louis, to America. By 1911, Max Louis Goebel returned to German to move the factory into the 20th century.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Object of the day: 19th century Chinese export nodding figures

Chinese Export Nodding Figures (China c. 1800)
External Dimensions: 10.50 inch framed height (26.67 cm)

Description / Expertise: Three painted pottery figures, Chinese export circa 1800, the two larger being examples of nodding figures. The nodding figures measure 11.5 inches high and 10.5 inches high, the third figure stands 9.5 inches high.

Nodding-head figures were imported into England, Europe and America from Canton in large numbers from the 1780's. The great interest in these figures in England is derived in large part from the personal tastes of the Prince of Wales as Regent culminating in the Oriental interior achieved at The Brighton Pavilion in 1802. For a pair of nodding figures similar to these see Christies sale No. 7899, Régence to Fabergé. An Apartment by Jed Johnson. 20 May 2010. London, King Street, and an acompanying account of these figures in the European interior.

Price: £3950.00

Monday, January 23, 2012

AD antiques, the dealer specialising in British art pottery

AD antiques was formed in 1997 by Alison Davey. Alison's background is not in the fine arts; she graduated from Edinburgh University in 1995 with an MA and thereafter practiced in the field of Criminal Justice. Her last appointment was at Edinburgh prison where she undertook risk assessments and therapeutic intervention programmes with long term prisoners. Throughout her training and employment she developed an interest in the decorative arts, and during this time she began "trading" at car boot sales. This quickly developed into a passion or obsession, and for several years used her annual leave to attend and exhibit at show-ground antiques fairs throughout the UK. In 2000 Alison decided that she had to get the dealing bug out of her system once and for all; she resigned her job, moved to Staffordshire and began trading full time.

During the early years, the business retailed all manner of decorative arts including glass, metals, jewellery from the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau Movements. However Alison developed a particular interest in British Art Pottery. The appeal comes as much from the social and political dimension that inspired the manufacturers, as to the aesthetic quality and originality of the ceramics. The designers and factories of the era were pushing the boundaries of creativity, chemistry and design. Many of these studios were actively rebuking the machine age and supporting the social philosophers of the day who were proposing the return to local crafts, the dignity of the worker and the movement away from elaborate ornamentation to simpler lines and design.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Object of the day: Still Life by Edward Ladell

Still Life With Fruit and Bird's Nest, Edward Ladell (1821-1886)
(United Kingdom c.1821 to c.1886), Signed, Inscribed, Dated
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 14.00 inch wide (35.56 cm),17.00 inch high (43.18 cm)
External Dimensions: 20.00 inch framed width (50.80 cm), 23.00 inch framed height (58.42 cm)

Description / Expertise
Edward Ladell was perhaps the best-known Victorian still-life painter. Little is known of his personal life. Born in Colchester, he spent his early teens working for his father who was a respected coach builder. After many years working in Colchester, he moved to the West Country, eventually settling in Exeter.
Although he was an entirely self-taught artist, he developed a very distinct style of still-life most certainly drawn from the Dutch tradition. Ladell’s paintings have a Victorian richness of colour, which makes them instantly recognisable, and his consistent high quality has ensured their continued popularity. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1856 to 1886.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Coleman gasoline iron

Coleman iron
Antique self-heating fuel irons can incorporate many unique designs and unusual patented features.  Gas irons were cutting-edge technology in their heyday during the late 1800's to early 1900's.  Electrics signaled their end, but Coleman was actually making gas irons in Canada up till the 1960's or so for the folks up there without electricity. Coleman irons are perhaps the best known of the gas or liquid fuel irons, but there are many other less frequently found antique and patented fuel irons to be found and collected.

This antique gasoline fueled clothes iron was an advancement in its day, but still posed risks to the operator as evidenced by the scorched underside of the handle, where too much flame in the fire box below overheated the handle while warming the metal ironing surface below. Because of its history, replacing the Sad iron, and predating the electric, and with its remaining nice blue paint, this great industrial age household tool makes for a wonderful display along side your stitching creations, quilts, and textile art, or as a beautiful home decor.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The difference between the bone, ivory and celluloid


Westerners loved figures carved in elephant ivory. The elephant tusk is formed of dentine containing inumerable tubes filled with wax running the whole length. It is this wax that gives objects their polish. Another way to distinguish ivory is by looking closely at the lines within it. Cut along the tusk, these can be seen as light and dark lines. Cut through a cross-section, radiating lines crossing each other and making minuscule diamonds are visible.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Object of the day: Tibetan Buddhist Ritual Vessel

Tibetan Buddhist Ritual Vessel ‘Kapala’ 
(Tibet 1700 to 1900)
Bone, Silver, Coral, Turquoise
Description / Expertise 

A Tibetan Buddhist Ritual Vessel ‘Kapala’ the Human Cranium Mounted with a Silver Band Decorated with Four Silver Skulls set on panels etched with scrolling leaves and studded with turquoise. The interior with a central silver rosette studded with a section of red coral. Old smooth patination to the skull
The skull 17th Century, the silver mounts 19th Century

8.5cm high, 15.5cm wide, 19.5cm deep – 3¼ ins high, 6 ins wide, 7¾ ins wide

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vintage Toy & Collectible Auction #54 at Serious Toyz

As usual, Serious Toyz will offer an outstanding array of diecast vehicles, including literally hundreds of 1950s-1960s Matchbox cars, all MIB!

Coin-operated machines
include the 1930s "All-Win Deluxe" gambling machine, a 1960s "Health Garde" condom machine (with contents), 1933 "Select-Em" dice gambling machine, & a 1902 clockwork "Zeno Chewing Gum" machine. All work well and come with keys.

"Zeno Chewing Gum" machine, 1902
This auction is going on NOW and will end Friday, January 6th for Character / Classic Toys and Saturday, January 7th for toy vehicles. 
To see catalogue and prices see Serious Toyz website and bid online!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The object of the day: 7th century Chinese terracotta horse

Large terracotta Horse , Tang Dynasty (China 618 to 907)

Height 61 cm., 24"
Length 63cm., 24 3/4"

The painted pottery horse in a walking stance with a rare detachable blanket saddle .
The horse belongs to a group of grey pottery figures which are modelled around an iron armature and dating from the early Tang period, 7th Century
Shaanxi province


How to know if it is antique?

An antique, according to the dictionary, is "a piece of furniture, tableware or the like, made at a much earlier period than the present." It is not, however, necessarily out-of-date or oldfashioned. A chair that was built soundly from good hardwood around 1820 and is comfortable to sit on is never out-of-date. A 7 1/2-inch-high octagonal teapot of blue Staffordshire is monstrous in comparison to contemporary streamlined pots, but it makes as good tea as it did more than a century ago.

How many years old must a chair, a plate, a trivet, a fan, or a clock be to warrant its being called an antique without anyone's arguing the point? Some people insist on a precise number of years, such as 80 or 100. The 80-year span is justified on the basis of two generations, each one covering 40 years. Yet a watch that is only 75 years old is likely to look old-fashioned, and so perhaps it also is an antique. Certainly anything that is 100 years old deserves the label.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The object of the day: Handpainted silk trade banners

The unique handpainted silk trade banners were made to illustrate the various trade groups represented in the Maine association. Each year a special parade would take place, and members (blacksmiths, shipbuilders, printers, masons, butchers, etc.) would carry these banners - representing their trade.
The group of 17 banners was estimated between $125,000 and $225,000, and sold on James D. Julia Auctions for $125,350. The price was exciting news, but the buyer and the circumstances of purchase were even more newsworthy. The winning bidder was Richard D'Abate, Executive Director of the Maine Historical Society. D’Abate represented a consortium of many Maine historical institutions.
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