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.

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