Friday, December 4, 2015

Collecting silhouettes

Historically, silhouetteshave had a bad press. So 'cheap' was the art form considered in 18th century France that it was named after a famously stingy minister of finance, Etiennede Silhouette. Yet despite its reputation, the charming depictions won over not just the masses but noblemen and royalty, too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Scandinavian 20th-century glass

Over the past few decades, mid 20th-century Scandinavianglass has become increasingly collectable and valuable. Brightly coloured, mould-blown pieces are still fetching low sums because so many were produced, but the best handmade pieces by known designers can be worth thousands of pounds.

Nanny Still for Riihimäen Lasi Oy
During the 1930s, Scandinavian designers strove to produce glass that had a handcrafted quality despite being mass produced and affordable. The success of this initiative led to a boom in glass design, production and export, which, in turn, led to Scandinavian style becoming increasingly influental. Across the world the organically shaped, thick-walled, clear-cased pieces created in Scandinavia were imitated and adapted by a host of factories and designers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Papier-mâché and composition antique dolls

Hand made papier-mâché was used in France for dolls'heads as early as the 16th century. From c. 1810 the German Toy Factories at Sonneberg began to mass-produce moulded dolls' heads in the material using a pressure process that eliminated hand kneading. Papier-mâché dolls were popular until the 1870sand are now much-collected. Those with moulded heads were described as "milliners' models", for reasons that have not been established. 

Antique Papier Mache Doll Leather Body

Antique posters

The fascination with speed and technologyextended to poster design as to other media in the period. The most common subjects were ships, cars and trains: indeed , a thematic approach to collecting is a valid alternative to concentrating on the work of particular artists.

Alfred Leete poster for London Transport
The curvilinear extravagances evident in Art Nouveau poster design had vanished entirely by 1920. In their place came the use of cubistic and geometric symbols. The French artist Adolphe-Jean-Marie Mouron (better known as Cassandre) was the leading exponent. Another Frenchman, Charles Gesmar (1900-28), made posters for the Folies-Bergere and the music hall singer Mistinguett - the subject of many posters of the period.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Object of the day: Memphis Group "Super" Table Lamp by Marine Bedin. (c. 1981 Italy)

Fibreglass, enamel, steel and rubber.
Signed/Inscribed/Dated Metal Label to base.
Dimensions 42.00cm wide 30.00cm high 9.00cm deep (16.54 inches wide 11.81 inches high 3.54 inches deep)
Literature Lit- Barbara Radice “Memphis” London 1985. P.104
Description / Expertise Martine Bedin for Memphis.
“Super” Table Lamp.
Fibreglass, enamel, steel and rubber.
Metal Label to base.
Designed 1981
H 30 cms X W 42 cms x 9 cms

Lit- Barbara Radice “Memphis” London 1985. P.104
Price gbp 2400.00 (Pound Sterling)

Architectural antiques

Thirty years ago, the term architectural antique had yet to become part of the vernacular of the antiques world. Such items as Victorian fireplaces and chimney pieces, cast-iron jardinières, wrought-iron gates and garden seating were available in great quantity at low prices and generally came under the heading of salvage.

19th century bench with branch and snake pattern.  Made by Scottish iron founders McDowell, Stevens & Co, Glasgow 1840.
But with the passion we now have for recreating the past, all these objects have acquired value. Architectural salvage has become very big business and collectors are prepared to pay large sums of money for the right piece.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Antique settees and sofas

The settle, an elongated form of the wainscot chair, was the earliest form of seat furniture to accommodate two or more people. In England settles were made principally in oak and date back to c. 1500. Most extant examples date from the 17th and 18th centuries and are of joined and pegged construction. Settles were popular from c. 1700 in America, were pine and walnut were used as alternatives to oak.

Edwardian inlaid mahogany double chair back settee
The more comfortable chair-back settee evolved from the settle in the first half of the 18th century.Found principally in walnut before c.1735 and in mahogany through the Chippendale period, these were generally made in double or triple chair-back form, and in most cases their design corresponds exactly with that of chairs. The other main 18th century development from the settle was the fully upholstered,long seat or settee with a carved frame, where the wood was exposed (show-wood).

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Antique Chelsea Porcelain

The Chelsea factory was established c.1745 by Nicholas Sprimont, a Flemish silversmith. Coloured tablewares predominated. The fine soft-paste body was initially very glassy, becoming cloudier in the Raised Anchor period (1749-52). Chelsea porcelains highly esteemed and fetches high prices.

Chelsea porcelain asparagus tureen with a lid
The influence of contemporary silver was most strongly felt from 1745 to 1754. A number of moulded shapes were copied directly from silver originals in the Triangle period (c.1745-49), including the much-copied goat and bee jug. By the late 1750s the silver influence had become more generalized.
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