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.

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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

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


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


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


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


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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.

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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.


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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

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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.


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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.


Collection image courtesy of dufy-bianchini.com

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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.


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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.


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Working at Guinevere for so many years I have been spoilt by looking at gorgeous items on a daily basis. Every now and then something new is purchased which really over exceeds all our expectations and excites the senses. This week we have a stunning Pair of Russian Malachite tables with Silver mounts and hoof feet. They ooze elegance and would work in a truly modern space or a traditional one.
Indian Jacket
I am currently working from a Large Louis XV style Bureau plat in Kingwood with Ormolu mounts. It has great scale and a wonderful old leather top, which really tells a story. Not many people are able to work from a desk with so much history and character. Lucky me!

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 16.13.52 We are always shopping for the un-usual. Yesterday it was a cheerful red 1950’s English cigarette box in snake skin with bone edges. In all my years I have not seen one this colour.

Today I have been playing with the Antique textiles in the conservatory. Fabulous Block printed, hand quilted bed covers in gorgeous Indigo . All shades of blue are always a winner.

Otherwise the coat to wear this winter is the FUN coat made from Indian ceremonial throws. They are embroidered with bright coloured flowers with little mirrors. While everyone one else was wearing Black to an opening of an Art Gallery I wore one of these coats and was the ONLY person looking bright and cheerful. If nothing else I was different.

Tomorrow is another day….


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