Loading...

2016 July

IMG_8217

The Parma antiques fair is always an interesting experience. It’s a melting pot where antique dealers from all over Europe set up stands in noisy multilingual confusion, as international professional buyers try to make sense of it all and find a treasure.

The fair doesn’t officially open until day 3, by which time all the buyers have left. Confusing? That’s the Parma fair.

The size of the fair is astounding, as is the diversity of merchandise (antiques would only cover half of it) including: old master paintings, garden furniture, oriental porcelain, slot machines, baker’s racks, watches, jewellery, front of Parma Duomo fur coats, stuffed animals and supposedly Roman statues – all treated with the same irreverence amongst the shouting and gesticulating.

After 8 hours of trawling the aisles, asking prices with a scattergun approach because you should never assume that something is going to be too expensive, I decide to call it a day and make my way back to town. In all the years of going to the Parma fair, I have never taken the time to visit the famous Duomo with it’s cupola painted by Corregio, mainly because I’m too tired and I put it off till next time. So I decided that tired or not, today was the day – and I was completely bowled over.

Corregio's Cupola

The relatively plain Romanesque entrance is guarded by two massive Byzantine marble lions sculpted in 1281, and the interior is one of the best examples of 16th fresco painting that I have seen (perhaps excluding the Sistine). The nave and side chapels are completely covered in beautifully depicted biblical stories, although you have to put 2 euros in the slot to turn the lights on! When I got to the famous cupola, or dome, painted by Corregio in the late 1520’s,Santa Maria interior

I stared in awe for 20 minutes (4 x 2 euros for the lights).

It was famously stated by Titian, who was the most celebrated artist in the world at the time, that such was the technical ingenuity of this work of art, that the cupola filled with gold would be a fair price to the artist for such a feat – he wasn’t wrong.

Still dazed and blinking from the splendor I had just witnessed, I decided to pop into the relatively modest Santuary of Santa Maria della Steccata, which I must have walked past more that a hundred times over the years, casually appreciating it’s baroque architecture alongside all the other wonderful buildings. A relatively small church, the interior is covered by flamboyant baroque magnificence, with the fresco paintings by the famous Pamigianino (the little one from Parma) amongst others.

That will teach me not to be casual about Italian churches.


Kevin

52472I have always loved Textiles old and new, but once I started working at Guinevere (centuries ago!!) My love of all textiles grew.

Beautiful vegetable dyed yarns, woven into tapestries. Reminding us of time gone by in castles and mansions. Cold, windy, wet days with barely any light, warmed up visually by the rich yet muted colours, and exciting us with a story.

Tapestries have been out of fashion, but I bought some recently because I love them and I was thrilled so see that some of our clients agree with me. They are wonderful pieces of history. Our most recent acquisition is an early 18thC Flemish tapestry. With a rich border, where the colour has remained, the central section filled with gorgeous flowers, food on plates, a bow and arrows, crossed swords at the top and blue parrots at the bottom.

Unknown-2
Setting the scene in the middle is a cascading waterfall and a grand house in the distance to give depth. Framed buy trees, the colours of which are amazing. Leaves of every shape and oversized to give an element of drama, with colours ranging the spectrum of blues and greens. The tree trunks are a medley of warm browns and terracotta.

Unknown-1
The characters are all in dramatic positions, arms up, feet pointing to show movement. Their clothes are swaying too. Not to mention, the main attraction of Perseus having just cut of Medusa’s head triumphantly. He is keeping her eyes well away from the crowd, no-one wants to turn to stone.

Thank you to all of you who, like myself, love a bit of drama and colour, tied together with history. Long my we continue to find them!!

I have trawled the internet and found some other excellent examples of these beautiful fragments of history.

1074500_lNazmiyal Collection
18th Century Flemish Tapestry Pastoral – “Combining Romanticism, classicism and Baroque artistry, this spectacular antique Flemish tapestry is a quintessential example of this highly evolved art form that flourished in Dutch-influenced Flanders throughout the 18th century”

T3F0273a_org_z Mallet Antiques
Flemish Tapestry Depicting the Crowning of Esther, late 16th-early 17th century, probably Oudenaarde.

1da1eefb_295a_4cb0_8c09_236675629b1a_z Robuck
17th Century Flemish Tapestry, “Rescue of the Nymph Io from the Giant Argus” The scene depicting a well-known Roman and Greek Myth: Hera, wife of Zeus has turned his lover, the nymph Io, into a cow and has cast her out of the heavens to earth and the garden of Nemea and ordered Argus, the all seeing Giant, to watch over her.

Heather

One of the great things about working at Guinevere is the opportunity to meet interesting people. I had heard about mud larks, usually poor children of the 18th and 19th centuries who scavenged in the Thames mud and shingle for anything of value that they could sell for money. It transpires that one of the directors, Florence Evans, of the Weiss Gallery (location of the Guinevere Pop Up in Mayfair) is a modern-day mud larker. Really!? And she agreed to take me along to show me what it was all about.

We met at Barbican Station, crossed the bridge and climbed over a locked gate to get to the foreshore. We were a bit late for the lowest tide, but we had plenty of shoreline to scavenge. It takes a while to develop an eye for the small pieces lurking in the mud and shingle. I despaired until I spied my first piece.

And this is some of what we found:

The bowl of a clay tobacco pipe and a myriad of pipe stems: Photo 1
Photo 2

These pipes were sold pre-packed with tobacco and then were thrown away.
The stems of these pipes are everywhere along the foreshore, but intact bowls, less
so…particularly this smaller bowl variety, which dates from the early days of tobacco
use, between 1580 and 1610. Tobacco smoking became quite a craze, and perhaps Sir
Walter Raleigh smoked this very pipe!

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 10.37.51

Bellarmine Potsherd 17th c. (right, sample of intact face from Jug). Also known as a Bartmann jug – German for ‘bearded man’ – it was a type of stoneware from the Cologne region manufactured in the 16th and 17th centuries. It always incorporates a bearded man on the neck of the vessel.






Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 10.45.44

Brass dress pins, Tudor – 18th c.

Neolithic flint flake (definitely made by human hands fashioning tools).



Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 11.02.42

Green glaze shards, possibly Medieval



Piece of Roman Marble



Photo 9

Shard of combed slipware pottery. The unfired pot was dipped in liquid clay (the slip) to coat it. And then a pattern of dark lines on top of the slip was ‘combed’ in, like the icing on a Bakewell tart.





You have to keep an eye on the tide though. A few hours later, the area we covered is under water again.

Photo 10



Leslie

Piazza Plebiscito

I had the good fortune to spend the day in Naples to view a collection of Attic style vases, which were made in this city in the 18th and 19th centuries as tourist’s mementoes for visitors doing the European “Grand Tour”. The richest visitors invariably bought the ‘real thing’, as many Attic and Appulian vases were being uncovered back then and sold to the highest bidder. The canny Neapolitans knew that this was a limited source of supply, so started making gorgeous copies of these vases for the more modestly wealthy visitors. Anyhow, vases appearing soon at Guinevere hopefully.

Spaccanapoli

I didn’t have the luxury of making a long weekend of it, so it was the 6am flight out for me, followed by the
evening flight back – Oh the glamour! Still, I knew that my business would be concluded by lunchtime, so I planned a leisurely stroll through the Centro Storico and Spaccanapoli areas, finishing with a tour of the Capodimonte museum, which I had never visited before, and is home to Caravagio’s Flagellation of Christ – considered to be one of the most influential paintings of the late Renaissance, and a work that I have wanted to see for a long time.

I started my stroll at the Piazza del Plebiscito , a grand public square which is very un-Neapolitan in its scale and sense of space – surrounded by imperious colonnaded buildings including the Royal Palace.
Suitably impressed, I wandered up the insanely busy Via Toledo, flanked on the left by the Spanish Quarter with it’s narrow streets which lead tantalizingly up to Castel St Elmo and San Martino – The Spanish Quarter has a difficult reputation due to it’s historic ties to the Camorra, and it’s still not a good idea to wander around there looking too ostentatious!

I was beginning to feel peckish, and I had spent a lot of the previous weekend researching where I was going to eat my lunchtime pizza. Pizza in Naples is a bit of a religion – it is said that the worst pizza in Naples will be better than the best pizza anywhere else in the world, and I think I agree. Also, Neapolitans think that five euros is expensive for a pizza, and actively boycott posh pizzerias – so, you get to eat one of the best snacks on earth for the price of a moldy London sandwich – not bad. Anyhow, all my research went out the window as I spied a few outside tables by a pizzeria in Piazza Carrita, plonked myself down and ordered a Margherita and a beer – it was predictably sensational but set me back 8 euros! I obviously wasn’t blending in.

Marble table

A little further up Via Toledo, I turned right up the succession of streets which make up Spaccanapoli, which is one of the three historical Greco-Roman roads which run east to west across the city. This was chaos on a grand scale – absolutely barking. The street is impossibly narrow, with some of the higher floors looking as if they’re about to touch balconies. Traditional shops, pizzerias, cafes, pasticcerias, butchers, fishmongers and plenty of shouting occupy the street level, sometimes housed under grand arches, but always a bit grimy, not at all sanitized. I was tempted to go for another pizza but knew that I would not make it up the hill to the Capodimonte with two pizzas on board.

Porcelain room

The Capodimonte is a grand 18th century Bourbon palace with towering views over the city. It’s surrounded by tranquil gardens, and is built around a traditional central courtyard. The famous old masters collection includes works by Titian, Masaccio, Mantegna, Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini etc etc reads like a role call of Neapolitan renaissance artists – and some who were just passing through. It really is a fine setting to see these extraordinary works, and I had the place pretty much to myself – no crowds with noisy guides and no selfie sticks!

Judith and Olophernes

There are some astounding staterooms with mind boggling furnishings and works of art including “The Porcelain Room” which is entirely constructed from 18thC Capodimonte porcelain, including the walls and ceiling. My favourite was the Camuccini room which is centered by an enormous (about 12 foot) circular marble table – supported by Roman marble legs excavated at nearby Herculaneum, and the top is inlaid with exquisite Roman mosaics. I was now having to watch the time as my return flight beckoned, so I hurried through the second floor, pausing to gawp at the disturbing Judith and Olophernes by Artemesia Gentileschi, which depicts two women calmly sawing the head of the Greek general Olophernes – they look serenely detached, as if they were preparing lunch.

So finally, I turned the corner to see…a blank wall.
There was a guard snoozing by the blank wall. “Dove è la Carravagio?” I ask.
– “Monza” he replies, and resumes his forty winks.

I should have had the second pizza.

For this years London Design Festival, we are holding a Dhurrie Exhibition at Guinevere. The exhibition, which is currently open at our showroom on the Kings Road, celebrates the variety of patterns and colours of dhurries, and is accompanied by text, which explores the history, manufacturing techniques and symbolism behind the different dhurrie designs.

In India, dhurries play an important role in everyday life. These flat-weave cotton carpets are functional and decorative. The variety of colours and the simple designs make dhurries very appealing.screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-12-11-52 They are suitable for use in classic or contemporary schemes, and are extremely durable.

They became popular in Europe after the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in London, 1851. This major industrial exhibition promoted manufactured products and international trade. In the Indian Pavilion a huge ‘tile’ design dhurrie was hung up on the wall. We have examples of this design on display.
As British influence grew in India, dhurrie manufacture entered a new phase and thus, the period between 1850-1930 was the finest and most creative era of dhurrie production_dsc3481.

Our stylist Dean (aided by the muscles Raffi and Julian) transformed one of our rooms by covering as much floor, wall and ceiling space with a patchwork of striped, geometric, floral, pictorial and medallion dhurries. A fabulous 19thC Anglo-Indian ebonised four poster bed, some beautiful sari covers, cushions and lampshades, different coloured mosque lanterns hang from the ceiling, and an Indian painting of a Jaisalmer Lady . The room now looks like explorers have come back from India with all of the colour and patterns you would expect.

We love it! – and it is a great way to display the dhurries, which are usually all rolled up. The exhibition encourages people to touch and interact with the dhurries; to feel the different texture and softness of the weave and the surprising weight of the carpets. _dsc3477

For the exhibition, we borrowed a selection of really special and unusual antique dhurries from private collections. One of my favourites is this pictorial dhurrie, from northern Deccan, c.1910, which is composed of dark blue peacocks, light blue peahen and parrots. Highly decorative dhurries, such as these, would have most likely been commissioned by a wealthy family. In the centre of the dhurrie a peacock looks out directly at the viewer, displaying his plumage in an act of courtship ritual. The fertility symbols in the design implies that this dhurrie was part of a dowry, and its size suggests it was a bed dhurrie. Definitely worth a visit in our opinion….

Maisie

Coromandel Screen

Coromandel Screen

We have always loved the versatility of Japanese screens. Despite their age, they manage to look timeless, chic and almost modern when placed in a variety of different interiors, even the most contemporary. The unsung hero of the art world. They can be used as both a full impact piece of art, or a one off room divider that can adds a touch of drama. It is no wonder that their popularity seems to be going from strength to strength.

51955

Like many Japanese arts and crafts items, the folding screens we see today originate from Chinese design. Unlike the Chinese equivalent of Coromandel screens; heavy wooden structures intricately decorated and not intended for much movement, the Japanese equivalent is light; a wooden frame with decorated paper, and even uses paper hinges.

51956
The number of folds varies according to the screens function. A two-fold screen, such as the picture to the left, would have been used during tea ceremonies.

While a larger screens with up to eight folds were used during dancing events and large parties. The late 19th century saw a massive upsurge in import of Japanese screens to the West. This was the first wave of true popularity. With the screens being incorporated into home design.

I have always found it slightly confusing as to why the screens have such a strong Chinese influence and often use Chinese characters as opposed to Japanese, upon research it is clear to see why. Heavily influenced by Chinese design and subject matter. Whereas Coromandel screens were historically saved for the elite, the Japanese equivalent were much more common and accessible to the masses.

Unlike the heavier Coromandel screens which are richly detailed and often darker in colour and tone. The Japanese equivalent sees a lighter pattern, often depicting cherry blossom, nature, animals and figures, they are much more sparsely designed, an aspect that lends them so beautifully to a modern and simplistic interior for that subtle flash of colour and design.


Anna

Ckhh83tWgAERTVE

Parties have a strange effect on people; the pre party nerves can be a killer.

For the Chelsea Design Quarter Summer Street party we had pre ordered the champagne and popped the first cork bang on the dot of 6.Ckh7Y_uWkAAk3fg Marc stood patiently waiting for the first throng of eager visitors, the street was starting to get a buzz about it and the weather for once, when you have plan, was ice meltingly glorious.

During the quiet before the storm, I went on a little wonder to see what everyone else was doing. Many shops seemed to be doing the same, patiently waiting for invited parties and people in the know to arrive, some showrooms, Villaverde springs to mind, had gone all out with photographers and an outdoor set where you could get you photo taken, Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 14.30.41
all very luxe. There was a good atmosphere throughout and actually the Kings Road closures for once was of benefit, with quitter roads, it seemed almost like we had been cordoned off just for this event. How special.

The theme was the Queen, and her 90 years. The men on stilts, as always, were a sight, literally head and shoulders above the rest of the entertainment. Marc had a great time with them as can be seen. A magician and a brass band also joined the party.

People arrived in waves, but always quite big waves, old faces and new faces in equal measure, which is always a treat. Drinks were flowing and nibbles were nibbled (and not only by the Guinevere staff), overall a very enjoyable event.


Anna

Dear Diary,

My alarm went off at 5 am this morning. I hate early mornings. I have had too many of them recently. Message to self: Cancel early mornings!!

We are off to the airport. Once in the plane I remember how much I like flying. It forces me for a short while to sit and do nothing. Although my body is still, my mind is still whirring.

What jobs need doing? My mind quickly goes through a very long list.

For those who do not know, Marc and I have been building a house in Fulham for the past two years. It seems to be a never-ending project. Not one to take on lightly.

Unknown
In fact another message to self: don't build another house please.

Something occurs to me while sitting here, that as I scan the house in my mind with fabulous 3d vision (in truth the house is currently a building site) that so many things for the house come from Fulham. What a great place!

Our builders,Plan Build, have their offices around the corner in Cooper House. It takes us just minutes to get to their office. They have been great and now that the important part is happening (finishing touches) our site foreman is so on the ball. He really does have the worst job in the world with us working next door as Marc and I are always keeping an eye out on what is going on, and constantly just 'popping in'.

imgres-1

Our kitchen contractor (Uber Kitchens) also works out of Cooper house. The whole process so far has been easy. We are now waiting for them to install. Can't wait, think it will be cool.

We have also ordered a huge sofa for our sitting room. The area where everyone will hang out. This too has been purchased over the road from us from a fabulous shop, called Camerich sofas.

The Shutter shop has also made all the shutters for the front of the house. Now installed and looking fab. Their office is just before the bend.

On the way back from them towards us we pop into the flooring shop. Floor Seasons. They will be supplying our oak floor, in a lovely honey colour.

If I am saying how great Fulham is then I must mention our canteen L’Antico. Delicious Italian pasta. Franco and his lovely daughters are always so welcoming even when we over stay our welcome by staying too late.

Dear Diary. Last note to self: Love Fulham x

GIANT WINE POURER
Last week, Anna and I went to Christie’s to see ‘Incredible Inventions and Curious Collections’.

On the first Tuesday of every month, Christies has a late night opening with art and wine, who could resist?! This was ashamedly my first time visiting Christies, and so when Anna suggested it, I had no option but to go.

The evening featured an array of unusual and unique objects. There was a demonstration of a one-and-a-half-metre-high mechanical corkscrew and wine-pouring machine. This gargantuan beast seemed to me a bit unnecessary however obviously a feat of engineering. If push came to shove…I would have no clue how to use it!

img_20160906_184640

My favourite item was a modern Novelty ‘Dragon’ Clock by Alexander Mushkin. Made from over 1,000 individual pieces, including spoons, forks, car engine parts, brass wire, candlesticks, and many other random things.

img_20160906_184423

Anna, for some reason, loved this Giant Stainless Steel Fork by Mark Reed… She claims it was because it was big and shiny, but I think the wine may have taken affect.

We also went to a highly informative and interesting talk by Dr Michael Pritchard, Director General of The Royal Photographic Society speak on the history of Leica cameras. Unfortunately we missed the game of mini golf that took place at some point during the evening.

We finished the evening with an Aperol Spritz at a nearby bar and then a delicious pizza at Franca Manco’s.

I love the idea of being able to view all of these amazing one off pieces especially combining it as a social event as opposed to what I had always imagined could be a very intimidating venue. Same again next month? Apparently, there will be a special Antiques Challenge – I wonder what the prize will be!?

Maisie

A brief look into Paul Evans and a few of my favourite dining tables.

Considered by some as the wild card of modernist furniture Paul Evans created some truly unique and striking pieces of furniture and sculpture in the mid 20th Century.

Evans started his career creating smaller items, accessories and metal sculptures. In 1959 Evans collaborated with Dorsey Reading, this partnership created the indisputably recognisable “patchwork” cabinets, incorporating organic/biomorphic forms and abstract motifs clad onto wooden carcasses. An early client of Evans cited that he was “not interested in making a quiet statement” the furniture created (often bespoke) was made to challenge the audience in terms of taste and produce a profound effect.

In 1964 Evans moved on from his partnership with Reading to forge new alliances with the Directional furniture company, this altered both the scope of the work and the nature of his furniture production. This relationship would last and flourish for 15 years. The first delivery of furniture to Directional included six steal base geometric design coffee tables that sold out within one week.

Evans grew and grew in popularity with Directional. Creating the cityscape collection, a very different look to the earlier pieces, the heavily textured surfaces of earlier work were replaced with prolific lines and smooth reflective surfaces. He also created a range called “Corrugate” for the young individual who had an eye for design but wasn't ready to commit in life be it to furniture, lifestyle, or a partner. Corrugate was disposable functional and aesthetically pleasing.
In 1979 Evans parted ways with Directional in order to pursue a line of furniture made from malleable aluminum composite. His parting from Direction was the start of much more Avant-garde furniture design, which proved to be significantly less commercially successful.

4 Of the Best Styles Of Paul Evans Dining Tables

0955-562x562

Paul Evans dining table (PE 23) epitomizes the artist’s distinct approach to creating innovative forms and highly sculptural studio furniture pieces. Made of welded steel, the table base features braised brass decoration, throughout. From Tod Merril

51388_z

Our example of a rare Paul Evans olive ash burl wood and polished brass extending dining table, circa 1973. Designed as part of the burl and metal 400 series by the Directional furniture company, USA. From Guinevere

75099_l

Stalagmites were the design inspiration for the base of this Paul Evans’ dining table, named after them. On the sculpted bronze serpentine stalagmite base rests a thick plate glass top, that seems to float over a sculptural, organic inspired base. Designed by Paul Evans for Directional. From Galerie L'Eclaireur Paris

3108862_z

Paul Evans designed faceted dining table base from his faceted 300 collection for Directional, USA, circa 1970. From Talisman London

Anna

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 12.31.15
One of the best things about working at Guinevere is the fact that we are constantly surrounded by a large selection of ever-changing eclectic and beautiful objects –predominantly antique but also some contemporary pieces.

Some of my favourite items in the showroom are by the contemporary artist Paula Swinnen, whose work is inspired by natural forms of flora and fauna. Not only are the objects functional, they are also works of art; engaging, quirky and unique.

Paula Swinnen discovered her passion for the arts at the early age of fourteen, which led to her studies at the Fine Arts Academy in Brussels. Twenty years later, Paula’s interest and experience has developed and she is now a highly successful self-taught sculptor. Using the ancient lost-wax technique, Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 13.09.08

which enables the artist to capture exquisite detail. Paula has mastered every stage of working with bronze, from the casting to creating the patina.
Although working in a field largely dominated by men, due to the huge physical effort involved, Paula has become a prominent figure, creating truly expressive and personal works. Paula is a great friend of ours and we have been lucky enough to represent her since 2011.

It’s always exciting when a new piece of Paula’s comes into the showroom from Brussels. Each piece always has a new element or special twist, which displays the artist’s constantly developing personal style. What piece of furniture will she create and which animals will she choose to incorporate into them? A snail creeping up a banister perhaps, or a lizard or dragonfly perched on a branch of a candelabra?

Swinnen Vignestable

Last week I was delighted to find a new ‘Vignes’ center table placed in the showroom. We had a similar design in a coffe table a few years ago, but the scale and intricacy of this piece is spellbinding. The legs of the table and the branches that spring from it are moulded as gnarled vines, patinated in a light brown finish. A great deal of attention is paid to the vine leaves, each one being individually shaped, adding a real sense of life and movement to the piece. P1170739 Delicate curling shoots and bunches of ripe grapes also issue from the main branches. The leaves, shoots and grapes are finished in polished bronze, with a lovely warm gold tone complementing with the brown branches.

When you look closely, you can spy two snails creeping along the branches. A freestanding polished bronze bird stands poised on top of the glass table top, with a crown on its head, surveying its kingdom, watching us work and looking out for potential buyers and a new home!

Maisie

13895548_1241779705854755_7467483386291513045_nMy week starts Sunday afternoon as I catch the train to Manchester in readiness for a Monday morning start. I had previously been to the shop on many occasions when staying with Marc and Heather. I have always been drawn to the wonderful items they have and so jumped at the opportunity to work there.

Day one was a quick introduction to everyone and then helping Natasha on a stock take.

Day two was a visit to the pop up shop in Jermyn Street and lunch in China Town with Marc. I started to feel more relaxed with everyone. The working atmosphere is very easy going and everyone is friendly.

Whilst at the pop up Marc ran through some antique terminology with Masie and I was asked to read descriptions. It’s all new to me and I made a few interesting mistakes:
Tocheres I pronounced ‘torturers’, candelabra became ‘candle a bra’, Rococo was ‘Morocco”, gilded to ‘glided’ and baroque said as ‘barrow key’.

Another days work involved going to the warehouse, where I managed to get lost at a roundabout for an hour until I was found! Working with Raffy and Julian our job was to unwrap and check for damage on 12 glass light fittings delivered from India, and then to wrap them up again! Although the job was long with over 300 pieces to do (which took one day and a half!), the time there was brilliant as we were told enthralling stories by Raffy of his time in Poland and France and marveled at the massive mountain of wrapping paper. It was all so well wrapped that you could have dropped each item from the top of a twenty-story building.

Overall, my working week as an intern was fantastic and to anyone who reads this I recommend you come to the shop and admire the brilliant items it has on show.

Sam

img_8461

I got to PAD at 12.15 in Berkeley Square, conscious of course that I wanted to squeeze lunch in-between the two fairs. I met my friend Geoff at the door and we decided that the best way to navigate this fair efficiently was to walk around the outside then do the alleys longways.

The first stand pictured was Chahan. Custom furniture in whites and greys and fantastic texture. A very cool and modern look. Chahan and Richard are longstanding friends and I have always admired their work.

img_8463

img_8464

Visiting the stand of Gallerie ALB, Antoine Broccardo, I came across this wonderful pair of shoes, carved wood to look like feet. I also snapped the stand because I loved the eclectic mix that had a warm and comforting feel. I love the screen on the back wall, reminiscent of the Japanese paper screens we have. Almost next door was Gallerie Rapin which had a wonderful pair of brass chests of drawers. Très Chic.

img_8468

And then came the inimitable Pinto stand. I love the considered and very up to date mix of elements. The pieces look casually placed, but you know its anything but. Top drawer.

My stomach was soon calling for a lunch stop, so we left Pad and decided to walk through Marylebone. Geoff suggested 28-50 Marylebone Lane, a restaurant he knew well. I had a delicious Sea Bream Ceviche washed down with a glass of White Douro. Excellent food and good wine reasonably priced. Recommended.

We then carried on foot to Frieze masters. Much further than we thought as we went first to the other Frieze. All in all, a 25 to 30 min march.

Frieze Masters is a serious affair. Right at the entrance is Dickinson Fine Art with their highlight offering of Magritte's L'Empire des Lumieres. My nephew Max is working there, didn't manage to catch a glimpse of him this time though.

1467393567_1422882385file6354_33

I felt there was less Fine Art there than before. I am however continually attracted to antiquities, and there were many dealers in this field. mask-smallI have always wanted a greek or roman torso in my front hall. Of particular note was a Pompeiian Bronze centre table on the stand of Phoenix Ancient Art. A one off.

Also there was a Gold Thracian mask at £1.4 million from Ariadne Galleries NY that caught my eye. And why wouldn't it?

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-15-03-33

The Weiss gallery had, as always, a particularly fine display of early portraits, but of particular interest was this late 17th Century portrait of an Italian Jesuit missionary in China by Michaelina Wautier. Definitely my favourite of the fair.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-15-01-25

The more I continued through the fair the more modern it became and so less my style. I got a black cab home and I snoozed. My phone told me I had walked 7 kilometres that afternoon…


Marc

51764-890x890

As the cold misery of winter starts to subside, and we hotfoot our way into spring, wedding season comes into its own. With the melodic ding of church bells also comes the need to show your love and support for the newly weds with a unique and useful gift.

51943-890x890

Aware that large department stores have the monopoly on such affairs hasn't held us back. Although that cutlery set is necessary, you might find yourself in search for something a bit more unique, something that hasn't been asked for necessarily, but that you know they will simply love and cherish forever, dare I say it, something with a bit more personality. This is where the humble antique comes into its own.

The chances of doubling up on such a gift are remote to say the least. In light of this we have launched a gift section, with free UK postage (what more could you want?!). From trinkets such as the beautiful 50's red snake skin box above, to the perfect frame to commemorate the occasion,DA155663-1 we can help you find that extra special something to put you head and shoulders above the rest (not that it's a competition of course…)

P.S We aren’t limited to just weddings, we have a smorgasbord of gifts for all special occasions! And we aren’t alone, Lorfords antiques have a pretty spectacular selection, I’m a big fan of these Dachshund Knife rest should anyone ever wish to know…

Anna

Valentine’s Day. Sunday 14th February.
A Cautionary Tale.

Once upon a time there were three brothers: Tom, Dick and Harry.

They were nice boys, well brought up and each quietly excellent, in his way.

Tom worked hard in the city and earned a lot of money. Most of the time he was stressed. He drove a top of the range Audi and, if he’d lost a little weight, could have been considered quite handsome. He had a lovely girlfriend who also worked hard in the city and earned a great deal of money. She was permanently exhausted and survived on coffee.

Dick was the best looking of the bunch, his career had never really scaled the heights, but he was ever hopeful & rather charming. He dressed well and he and his wife made enough money to take regular weekends to Ibiza & Formentera. Sometimes they asked if they were a bit old for partying but as they didn’t have kids yet, why not? She had a fabulous wardrobe of boho chic kaftans and he spent a lot of time on his abs.

Harry was generally regarded as the nicest of the bunch, quiet and unassuming he was secretly rather clever. He’d been dating a girl he really liked for quite a while and she really liked him. They both separately wondered if the other could be the one. Neither wanted to tempt fate by saying so.

As St Valentine’s day approached the three brother’s began to think.

19736_1

Tom thought about Paris, or maybe Rome? Deciding both were far too predictable he settled on Istanbul instead, until he realized there was no way his girlfriend could take a few days off. She was working every hour at the moment and about to clinch a massive deal.
In the end he brought her a spiralizer, she’d said she wanted one recently and was worried about how much take-out food they ate.
He proudly presented it on Valentine’s day morning. If only we were overlooking The Bosphorus, he thought.

“Hmm, that’s nice” she said, “how useful”.

Like a man who turns up at a smart party in a rented tux, he knew he had failed.

What she’d been hoping for was actually a weekend away, anywhere, as long as she could catch up on her sleep and have massages. It didn’t have to be a magical kingdom, just somewhere with no client meetings.

Dick couldn’t buy lingerie, he’d done that for Christmas, and as his credit card was a bit maxed out, jewelery was out of the question. The wicked florist said she couldn’t guarantee a delivery of flowers before 10am on a Sunday, so he went all the way to the market in a distant part of the kingdom and brought the biggest bunch of red roses he could carry. Worried he hadn’t spent enough he picked up a bottle of scent too, not her usual one, as that would have been too obvious, but something new. An hour in a department store sniffing testers just about finished him off & by the time he got back to the flat, he and the flowers had rather lost their sparkle.
He proudly presented it all on Valentine’s Day morning. By now the flowers had even less sparkle. He smiled hopefully, If he’d had a magic wand he would have waved it.

“Red roses, what a lovely surprise”, she said and not a bit like the diamond tassle earrings I wanted, she thought. And he doesn’t even know which scent I wear!

Like a man who puts all his money on red as the wheel spins to black he knew he had failed.

Now Harry and the girl he really liked had both left things to the last minute, but neither seem worried and oddly enough neither was free to spend Sunday with the other.

51833

Guinevere, a beautiful emporium on the Kings Road, famed for it’s selection of loveliness opened at 10am on Saturdays. Only five minutes walk from the tube station, Harry had enjoyed a coffee and avocado on toasted rye at a nearby deli before he walked through the doors about half past.

He looked at the array of things, all unique, before selecting a gorgeous Murano ruby glass casket , he considered a pretty shagreen photo frame but decided that could wait. If everything went as he hoped this weekend they were going to need to frame a photo to commemorate a special day.

50671

The girl he really liked spent the morning at the gym and as she knew that Guinevere, the beautiful emporium on the Kings Road, famed for it’s selection of loveliness wasn’t stuffy, like some places, she walked through the door in her gym gear with a post work-out glow just after after 12. She looked at the array of things, all gorgeous, before selecting an Art Deco silver mounted decanter (50671). She considered a cut crystal ice bucket but decided that could wait. If everything went as she hoped this weekend they were going to need something to put Champagne in when they announced a special day.

Harry and the girl he really liked didn’t wait until Valentine’s day morning to exchange their gifts.

Imagine their surprise and delight as they exchanged their smart packages wrapped in Guinevere boxes and ribbon that very evening! Sometime love can’t wait and it’s reassuring to know that the one you think you love has excellent taste.

Much later, sat at her dressing table, the ruby red casket taking pride of place, she looked up and in the mirrors reflection saw Harry at the end of the bed, he had poured drinks from the Art Deco decanter.

“Perfect” she smiled and he smiled back. He was the one.

Like a man who buys his Valentine a gift at Guinevere, he knew he hadn’t failed.

Guinevere is open from 10 until 5.30 Saturday 13th February.
Gift wrapping free of charge.
Fairytale ending up to you.

Dean

We decided that we would make a quick hop to Brussels on the day of the preview for Eurantica.IMG_3123
This is a large antiques fair that is staged once a year and was previously held in Brussels in one of the beautiful halls of the Heysel exhibition park. This is conveniently located in Brussels itself and you can get there on the underground. This year they have moved to a new hall in between Brussels and Antwerp.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 11.51.00

We took the first train out on Eurostar, the 6.50 am which gets us to Brussels around 10 am. At least we are in the city centre and its 10 minutes ride to the Sablons where many of the antique shops are situated. The train is late and so we don’t start looking around really till near on 11 am.

We have arranged to meet some friends for lunch at the Trosieme Act, a restaurant in the area where I have never failed to have a good meal. It is approaching 1pm and we have so far seen nothing of interest. Just before getting to lunch we come across Tom Desmet’s new shop. Tom has beautiful sculptures and works of art and impeccable taste. He has just moved into a large house which he is turning into a beautiful gallery. I took this picture of the front entrance hall.

IMG_3143

After lunch we realise that in order to get to Eurantica, we have to get going straight away. The new venue is an hour by car with traffic and roadworks. We get there just before 3.30pm. It is a prestigious fair, but they really have put it in the middle of nowhere.

It takes about an hour to walk around and the stands are well presented. They have good quality items and this is a fully vetted show.

Of particular note is Yannick David’s stand. Yannick is the husband of Paula Swinnen, the Belgian bronze artist whom we represent in the UK. He is also exhibiting one of her vine tables that we showed during our exhibition with the artist last year.

IMG_3144[4]

Also I loved this pistol chandelier on Bie Bart’s stand. I didn’t feel it was really Guinevere though.

Our train is at 7pm so we aim to leave the show at 5. Leaving an antiques fair is hard. On the way out you meet everyone you know. So we get to the car by 5.30.

Still, we arrive at the station at 6.30 and our train gets into St Pancras at 8pm. So we get home around 9.

It’s a long day just to see an antiques fair. If they stay with this venue next year I will either fly to Antwerp or stay at home. But at least we had a nice lunch, saw some old friends and came home with some delicious chocolates.

Marc

mad-men-don-draper-roger-sterling

20th century design has been fashionable in the Antiques world for about 15 years now, but the incredibly popular TV show Mad Men has pushed it even further into the mainstream, and what was once considered to be a rather austere aesthetic, is now ubiquitous. Design from 1920's Bauhaus right through to 1980's Post Modernism has revolutionised traditional approaches to interior design. Its uncomplicated, clean lines, specifically Scandinavian design, were originally inspired by the minimalism of classical Japanese architecture.

2558928691_8396d183e9_b

Paradoxically, the space exploration of the 1960's inspired many outlandish and innovative furniture designs, which were the antithesis of uncomplicated minimalism. For example, the Danish designer, Verner Panton, brought a futuristic style to 60's and 70's interior design, with his signature work, Visiona 2, a fantasy landscape constructed for the 1970 Furniture Fair in Cologne, Germany. The psychedelic organic forms, made from bright materials, captured the imagination of a free-thinking society where traditional norms, rightly or wrongly, were slowly being rejected.

11-25-15-Guinevere7355

This changing demographic and attitude has altered the trade somewhat, but for the cognoscenti, it is the 'soul' inside an Antique, 20th Century or earlier, which makes it uniquely special and something a home should never be deprived of.

At Guinevere, for over 50 years, the pioneering and groundbreaking philosophy has been to embrace beautiful, unusual and timeless items from all periods, and to demonstrate how they can be mixed in a unique and harmonious way, irrespective of ephemeral trends.

Tycho

It has been a while since I've been to Montpellier with Dad (AKA Kevin Weaver). It's supposedly because we need enough people left manning the shop but I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be down to the fact that with two of us along, that's twice as much food and wine. Wine possibly being the main issue.

That being said, we arrived the night before the fair and we went out to eat at a place he's been waxing lyrical about; L'Entrecote. As some of you might have guessed, the main thing on the menu is steak. I say the main thing… It's the only thing. That and 'allumette' chips. The only decision you make at this restaurant is how you want the faux filet cooked ('rare', 'medium rare' and 'what are you doing!?') and what kind of wine you are having. We ate outside, just off the main square with really delicious steak (cooked in butter… I could practically hear my arteries screaming at me) and endless refills of the most addictive chips you can imagine. Yes, I said endless refills.

IMG_8768

Moving on from my brief sojourn as a restaurant critic (yes please!), we were up at the crack of dawn the next day, or as some people call it, 6.30am, making our way to the fair in our strange little rental car.
With the sun already starting to make an appearance the two of us, along with the hundreds of other dealers streaming into the fair, began making our way around the stands, the dealers scrambling to get their pieces out on show in the hope of an early sale. Dotted amongst the usual fare were a few fairly odd pieces; at one point I thought a fox had decided to join the party, but was disappointed to realise that as it was stuffed, he wasn't going anywhere.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 16.03.38

After about an hour or so with nothing to show, we started wondering if we would find anything at all and were just beginning to give up hope when we came across some tapestry pilasters.

IMG_8772[1]

No, that wasn't a mistype, we really did see a set of four 17th Century tapestry pilasters, and having never seen anything like that before Dad thought they would be perfect for the showroom. I'm sure they'll be featuring on our Instagram and possibly twitter once they've winged their way over from France, so keep an eye out for that.

Soon after that a bar and pair of stools were spotted. Being for sale it wasn't stocked with alcohol and bar snacks but was still exciting enough for us to snap up before anyone else got to it first. Sadly it won't be going in my living room as I had originally hoped, but maybe with a bar in the showroom Dean might be inspired to create a whole bar set up; chairs to lounge in around low tables, with cocktail shakers and shot glasses scattered about the place. Maybe even a bottle of champagne waiting in an ice bucket for all the hard working antique dealers at the end of the day?

Natasha

une1

We recently came across a collection of Bianchini Férier designs in black, blue and autumnal watercolours. The designer's notes scrawled around the edges, a couple even had stamps charting their progress through different stages of approval, in the hopes that they might become one of the signature fabrics produced by Bianchini Férier. Not knowing much about the company, I began doing a little research, and started to realise what a huge part of fashion industry history these 12 watercolours represented.

For those of you, like me, who didn't know, the silk weaving house of Bianchini Férier was founded in Lyon on the 23rd July 1888 by François Atuyer, Charles Bianchini and François Férier. After a few decades of successful partnership, in 1912 the artist Raoul Dufy (1877-1935) was contracted by Bianchini to design textiles for the company, which turned into one of the best known collaborations within the design industry at the time.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 15.06.48

It has been said that Dufy was poached from right under the nose of Paul Poiret, who he had been working with for just a year before being tracked down by Bianchini, however his designs were still used in Poiret's garments.

Over the course of his contract he produced over 4000 designs, and would see each one through from conception to completion. The firm continue to prosper after Dufy's contract came to an end in 1928 as planned,

IMG_2070

and continued supplying fabrics to the great fashion houses of the time, a practice which continued and expanded in the sixties to the production of designs for designers such as Givenchy, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, Laroch, Nina Ricci and Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few.

Much like the prints used in the fashion industry today, the simplicity and pared down colour scheme of the watercolour designs ensures a seamless transition from design to fabric.

These 12 'working' watercolour sketches have an immediacy that gives them a fresh, timeless look, which along with the insistent french notes in the margins (“And they had better be consistently engraved!”) to remind us of their origins, makes them the perfect addition to the Guinevere walls.

Natasha

Collection image courtesy of dufy-bianchini.com

935432_l
Lacca Povera, perhaps more commonly known as Arte Povera; which literally translates to poor art, is as term which you might be surprised to find associated with some of the beautiful European furniture of the 19th and 20th Century, such as these Venetian Consoles from Newel, left, or our Italian Commodes below. Far from showing a lack of wealth, however, this was a actually an incredibly popular finishing technique, often taken up by amateur hobbyists as well as professionals, based on the Chinoiserie craze of the time. It involved taking Asian concept and aesthetic, to some extent 'westernising' it, and recreating it in a less expensive and time-consuming manner.

52215-hi-res

As opposed to layer upon layer of lacquer being built up, along with labour intensive hand-painted designs that went into making pieces such as Coromandel screens, Lacca Povera was a much shorter process. It involved paper cut-outs, which were often purpose-made commercially printed images that might then have been hand-coloured, being applied using fish glue onto the already prepared surface. This was then varnished several times, making it difficult to distinguish the edges of the images from the surface of the object.

p3jTt

What once began as a less expensive, simpler version of chinese lacquer is now considered quite a rarity, often as or if not more valuable than some of the more readily available Chinoiserie pieces.
These Lacca Povera pieces lack the formality of traditional chinese decorative lacquerwork but retain the elegance of their inspirational counterparts.

Natasha

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 15.05.17

Red-eye from Los Angeles and noon touchdown at Heathrow the 28th of July, cab it into Fulham, shower, and make myself ready for the opening party of the Guinevere Pop Up Shop at Weiss Gallery in Jermyn Street. I have flown in from LA to work at the Pop Up for the six weeks it will be open.

‘Pop Up Shop’ sounds a tad casual for what I find when I get there. The gallery, styled by Guinevere’s resident designer, Dean Robinson, is looking gorgeous and luxe. Furniture, lighting and accessories are mixed together with specially selected paintings from the Weiss collection. The look is sumptuous, gold, red and ebony feature in the main room, and cream, soft green and gold in the long gallery.

16-07-25-Guinevere385

A crowd soon gathers, enjoying the hors d’oeuvres by the Imperial, the champagne, and, I notice, especially the Tom Collins with blood orange!

My favourite pieces from Guinevere are a pair of bronze statues of Atlas standing on plinths inscribed with quotations from Pliny the Elder’s Natural History.

One figure is holding up the planetary system, and the plinth is inscribed: ERRATIUM MOTVS LVMINVM CANONICA (The motions of the Planets and the General Law of their Aspects) Volume 1, chapter 12.
The other figure is holding up the planet Earth, with the inscription below: MEDIAM ESSE MVNDI TERRAM (That the Earth is in the Middle of the World) Volume 2, chapter 69.

My elegant Louis XV style desk here at the Pop Up is directly opposite a portrait of a Dutch lady who looks incredibly like Frances McDormand (the actress from Fargo). This lady is in formal court dress, a stunning black and gold gown, delicate lace at her neck and cuffs, ropes of pearls and a massive brooch on her bosom. Somehow I can’t see Frances in this outfit, but here she is, every day, keeping her counsel!

Leslie

IMG_20160520_101314

Very late in the day but the after effects of the delicious brunch, as provided by the ever excellent Everyday Fabulous food, has just worn off, that and the bellini's.

IMG_20160520_101834

About two weeks ago, Natasha, Dean and myself went on a magical mystical tour of Farley Hire. If we thought our showroom was big, we have been dwarfed and superseded to say the least.

We were lucky enough to be given a tour by none other than Mark Farley, and even though we thought we would be able to find our own way round I think we would never have found our way out, and also then we wouldn't have had the stories. Chandeliers that Kate Moss (among others) has swung from, a chair graced by Marilyn Monroe's derrière, not to mention all the Game of Thrones props (fan girl moment).

IMG_20160520_093101
I can not express to you the tardis like nature of the building, and also the amount of items it stores. Reams and reams of paintings, crockery, furniture, fabric, EVERYTHING.

IMG_20160520_093924

Mark has an exceptional eye with some pieces being reproduced as well as a vast quantity of antiques and originals. It is very interesting the difference between a prop hire and our showroom, everything is beautifully aged, and meant to be so. With even items that you may consider completely unusable such as this battered chair are requested.

As a girl who has always longed for a pony, the Indian section with its array of carved wooden horses really spoke to me.

Anna