Sunday, November 24, 2013

The horned helmet of Henry VIII

The horned helmet dates from 1511–14 (Austria, Innsbruck). This helmet originally formed part of the court armour of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and was made by Konrad Seusenhofer. Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I presented Henry VIII with the armour that included this extraordinary ‘Horned helmet’ in 1514. This helmet was chosen as the symbol of the Royal Armouries in Leeds because of its extraordinary appearance and association with Henry VIII.

The full armour from which the ‘Horned helmet’ originates was one of three of similar design. Only the armour given by Maximilian I to his grandson, the future Emperor Charles V, survives intact and it is now in Vienna.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The object of the day: Silver & ivory Victorian launching axe

Rare silver & ivory Victorian launching axe (1873 London)
Barnard Brothers, London (1830-c.1910)

Silver and ivory

Signed/Inscribed/Dated 1873 and 1879

Dimensions 6.00cm wide 20.20cm high 1.90cm deep
Condition Excellent, original condition.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Antique Chinese sleevebands

The splendid Chinese exhibition, The Three Emperors 1662-1795 currently at the Royal Academy, London, will no doubt renew and stimulate interest in all things Chinese. Chinese textiles and costumes are still an underrated area compared to paintings, ceramics and the other decorative arts, but perhaps the balance will be addressed in the UK after this exhibition.
In 1644 the Manchus, a nomadic horseriding people from NW China overthrew the Ming dynasty and gradually gained control over the rest of China , doubling the size of their empire, their rule being called Qing (pronounced Ching).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The object of the day: A Red and Gray Parrot, and other Exotic Birds, 18th century

A Red and Gray Parrot, and other Exotic Birds (18th century Netherlands)

Anton Henstenburgh (1695-1781)

Gouache and watercolor, over black chalk, with traces of gum arabic, on vellum, within black wash framing lines

Signed/Inscribed/Dated Signed in gray ink, lower right: AHenstenburgh. fec= (AH in monogram)

Dimensions 29.10cm wide 36.70cm high

Description / Expertise
Anton was the son of Herman Henstenburgh (1667-1726), one of the most skillful and scientifically precise still-life watercolourists of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century tradition. Like Johannes Bronkhorst, who was his teacher, Herman worked as a pastry cook in Hoorn and practised his art as an amateur. Like his better known father Herman, Anton Henstenburgh worked in Hoorn as a painter of bird and flower gouaches.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Antique wristwatches

The very first wristwatches were developed during the First World war as a more convenient method for soldiers to tell the time than by trying to consult a pocket watch on a chain while out in the field. Just after the war, small fob watches were converted to wristwatches by having strap fittings attached to them. It was during the 1920s, after the pocket watch became redundant, that the manufacture of wristwatches really got underway.

Elgin antique wristwatch
It was also during that period that the British watch-making industry, reluctant to modernize its outdated working practices, went into a steep decline, leaving the Swiss companies to lead the way in Europe. They were able to produce wristwatches of every quality in numbers large enough to satisfy the public clamouring for this latest method of timekeeping.
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