Glass BoxesBohemian glass, or Bohemia crystal is glass produced in the regions of Bohemia and Silesia (now the Czech Republic). For centuries it has been internationally recognised for its high quality, craftsmanship, and innovative designs and is highly collectable.

The main fashion for colours came in the 1830’s glass was then coloured by layering or by colour stains and lustres. Usual colours were cornflower-blue and emerald-green. 51841 In the 1840’s green and greenish yellow glass came into fashion, was coloured with uranium and yellow glass coloured with antimony or silver chloride. Ruby glass coloured with copper was used almost exclusively for over-laying clear glass. A cut decoration that exposed the transparent layer underneath gave the glass a richly decorative effect. Gold was used for colouring the pinkish Rosaline glass that was made around the middle of the 19th Century by both the Harrach and Meyr glassworks.

The traditional techniques of engraving remained artistically in the forefront in Bohemia. In the traditional refinery region of North Bohemia only naïve mythological and allegorical scenes were engraved in the first quarter of the 19th Century celebrating loyalty, love and friendship, the ages of man, etc. According to the latest research it seems that the high standard of engraving was preserved in the first place by the engravers in Nový Svĕt, such as both Franz and Johann Pohl (1764-1834) who like the Silesian engravers engraved seals. Both Pohls are cited as teachers of the most famous engraver of the first half of the 19th Century Dominik Biemann (1800-57).52915 Biemann left a wide range of signed works in the first place excellent portraits on glass medallions and on Harrach beakers, which show his training in drawing at the Prague Academy of Painting. Biemann settled in Prague, but he seems still to have worked occasionally for the Harrach glassworks in Nový Svĕt.

52635Bohemian glass is shaped by the two principal activities of the region – deer hunting and health spas. The town of Carlsbad was established, according to legend, when King Charles IV’s hunting party chased a deer over a cliff. In their pursuit, the hunters descended into the valley and found a bubbling hot spring. The king established a town there and a statue of a deer is one of its symbols. By the 19th century, aristocratic visitors from all over Europe combined hunting trips with a spell of detox, drinking the water and bathing in the health-giving spas.

Glassmakers in Bohemia, led by Friedrich Egermann, responded with endless experiments. The secret of ruby glass that had been made from gold a hundred years earlier was rediscovered, along with recipes for rich blue and green glass. Whilst solid coloured glass was exciting, it wasn’t suitable for engraving as the carving didn’t show up. In order to overcome this a thin layer of richly coloured glass was applied on the surface.


Harriet

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IMG_20170119_105500It is very cold right now…I can tell you it is even colder at 5 am, and even colder still in Brussels.

Marc and I went on a whistle-stop tour on Thursday last week. Fortunately there was no snow or rain so I skipped along with a glass half full attitude, and an intravenous drip of caffeine. The first shop we went, we struck gold (I am told this isn’t always the case). We found a rather large 18th century Flemish Tapestry, with a far off chateau; recently Tapestries have been selling like hot cakes (hoping I haven’t jinxed that!), they provide a fantastic wall covering and add an interesting focal point to a room as well as a warmth, both aesthetically and literally. This one is winging its way to us this week!

I had never been to Brussels before so Marc pointed out what I think is his favorite area “chocolate square” and like small children starved of sweets we pressed our faces to the windows, but then like the consummate professionals we are, walked on by with out a second thought….

IMG_20170119_112229A few more shops and a beautiful harlequin set of Val st Lambert 50’s hi-ball glasses, which are probably my favorite purchase of the day, especially as Marc didn’t seem that impressed with this pair of diamanté encrusted candelabra suggested, there is no accounting for taste. Then to lunch, there is a certain novelty about being encouraged to have a glass of wine while technically at work, I didn’t even pretend to say no, the food was delicious, and the restaurant was warm, but alas we ventured back out into the cold. But not for long as we were on our way to BRAFA art fair.

IMG_20170119_164300 (1)BRAFA, if I had to compare to a London fair is a lot like Masterpiece, and one of the most easily navigable fairs I have ever been to, which was a bonus. I would be lying if I said that everything in there was to my taste, but that is life, the stands were impressive, well thought out and had a selection of very fine items. As with most fairs there was a healthy smattering of the very modern in contrast to the antique elements. We saw some beautiful works, with tapestries on the brain, of particular interest was the De Wit stand with some of the most impressive and beautiful examples of tapestries I have ever seen, Marc liked one of a cabbage leaf with an ornate floral and figural border, but I preferred “Separation of day and night” (Southern Netherlands 1585 – 1600) there is something both whimsical and fantastic about it, and it is a bit more out there than the usual landscape scene.



Anna

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15591515_1375798372452887_5153054349396038903_oComing up to London from the country on the slow train, I had a sense of trepidation as my first day at Guinevere approached. I was no stranger to antiques, my father being in the trade for many years. But what to expect from Guinevere?

I needn’t have worried; I was welcomed by all, as the most recent interloper in to this curious and exciting domain. It is fortunate that Natasha (‘oh wise one’ as I have phrased it), who was charged with training me into the job, was able to demonstrate patience, as question after question was fired at her as I attempted to find my feet. ‘It’s good you ask questions’ she said…

Familiarizing myself with this formidable depository of beautiful things, that the Tardis-like Guinevere has, was no mean feat. I was however assisted in this by Dean, Guinevere’s master of design, and his near photographic memory. Responsible for Guinevere’s famous window displays, this purveyor of style will notice anything, I mean anything, which is out of place. Displeasure can be signified with the raising of an eyebrow.

This, of course, went on under the watchful eyes of the partners of the business. Kevin, whilst giving advice and instruction, would also recount anecdotes of lost artworks, or the interesting history of an item, which brought life to many a moment.

I also began to understand the ethos of Guinevere. Antiques, is after all less a job and more a way of life. This, I believe is to be found in an understated sense of enthusiasm and dedication. It is a business of personalities, and many a varied and colourful one is to be found in this maze of valuables.

But don’t be fooled, there was plenty of hands on experience as well. Shouldering a weighty piece of furniture or scaling a step-ladder are all a day-to-day part of the job.

So, as I take the train out of London and watch the city slowly give away to countryside, I reflect on the first three weeks at Guinevere. I shall enjoy the break to the country, but now know that I have an Aladdin’s cave, in more ways than one, to which I shall return.



Will
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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.

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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.
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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
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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

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GIANT WINE POURER Last week, Anna and I whet 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

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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!

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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.





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Brass dress pins, Tudor – 18th c.

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



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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
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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



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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



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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

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