Thursday, 11 February 2016

St Valentine's Day

St Valentine's Day - hated by some, loved by others - is approaching again. Now associated with mass produced greetings cards and overpriced roses, this celebration actually has simpler roots. Popular legend tells us that there was once a Saint Valentine of Rome who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry, and also for ministering to Christians, at that time persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to the tale, during his imprisonment he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius, and before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.

The day was not recognisable as it is to us now until the Middle Ages, when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote 'Parliament of Fowls' containing the first reference to “Saint Valentine’s Day” as an occasion for romance. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "Valentines").

These days the 14th of February is whatever you make it and here at Alfies we advocate love all year round! However, for those of you who still like the tradition of giving gifts, here is our pick of romantic offerings at Alfies Antique Market:

1980s white and black diamond baguette ring, 18ct white gold, available from Pars Jewellery.

Victorian gold acorn earrings, offered by Gareth Brooks

18ct white gold earrings by "Asprey", diamond & aquamarine, offered by Gareth Brooks

Taittinger poster backed on linen, 46cm x 62cm, available from Dodo Posters.

Collection of  Wedgwood candle holders from 1967, available from Robinson Antiques.

Gilded bronze, enamel frame, 1890-1900, available from Hayman & Hayman.

Christian Dior silk gown, 1950s, available from June Victor.

1960s 18ct gold swirl ring with 0.5 carat centre diamond, available from Pars Jewellery.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Chinese New Year: Year Of The Monkey

Celebrate Chinese New Year With Alfies- Year Of The Monkey

Chinese New Year is the most important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional luni-solar Chinese calendar. This year it lands on Monday 8th January, the year of the Monkey. It is also known as the Spring Festival, which is the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Celebrations traditionally start on the evening preceding the first day and continue to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month.

The New Year festival is centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Regional customs and traditions vary widely, traditionally the evening after Chinese New Year's Day is an occasion for families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to clean the house, to make way for good luck throughout the year. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts with popular themes of good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other traditional celebrations include firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

Taken by Alfies staff at Longleat- Chinese Festival Of Lights Display

At Alfies we have a wide range of not only beautiful Asian antiques, but a wonderful array of animal themed collectables too, to suit your Chinese zodiac sign.

1860 'The Marmozettes' original print, available from Moe Heidarieh

A beautiful Chinese 1st Republic (1912-1920) double lidded pot for making soup, available from Horner Antiques

An unusual selection of 1920s silver marked monkey brooches, available from Zeeba Jewels
1860-1880 Buddha snuff scoop carved from cow bone, available from Horner Antiques

A wonderful carved wood African Monkey Dance mask, one of a pair, from Cameroun, available from The Moderns

Hand painted Imari vase made in Canton, c1825, available from Horner Antiques

Taken by Alfies staff at Longleat, Chinese Festival Of Lights

Taken by Alfies staff at Longleat, Chinese Festival Of Lights

Taken by Alfies staff at Longleat, Chinese Festival Of Lights

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse

A major exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts 'Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse' will examine how gardens were depicted by Monet and his contemporaries.

Floral masterpieces by renowned artists such as Édouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Auguste Renoir and Henri Matisse are abundant, however a quarter of the space is devoted to Monet’s work. It will include Monet's Agapanthus Triptych, the 42ft long piece he worked on from 1915 until his death aged 86 in 1926.

This exhibition positions him as the most important painter of gardens in the Modern period. Monet once wrote: ‘I owe it to flowers that I became a painter’.

Monet's Agapanthus Triptych

At Alfies, our dealers have a sublime collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist floral art. Below is just a small selection of what they have on offer.

Bueno, oil on canvas, Barcelona, offered by Diplomat Treasures International 

Impressionist flowers, oil on board, by Lucy Kemp-Welch, 1869-1958, offered by Robert McKoy Fine Arts
Still life by Janet Pritchard, oil on board, offered by Diplomat Treasures International 
Signed watercolour, early 20th century, offered by Thomas Fine Art 

Still life flowers, oil & pastel, signed Nigel Lyyton, offered by Nadine Okker

Flowers in a vase watercolour, English school, late 19th century, offered by Thomas Fine Art 

'Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse'  will be at the Royal Academy, London, from 30 January until 20 April.

Friday, 22 January 2016

A World of Pop Art

The Tate Modern is currently hosting 'The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop', which, finishing Sunday 24th January, is in its last few days.

The exhibition tries to veer away from Western Pop Art, and takes a look at the movement through the lens of the rest of the world. From Latin America to Asia, and from Europe to the Middle East, art from all over the world during the 1960s and 1970s is showcased, displaying how different cultures and countries responded to Pop Art during this period.

Delving into this colourful movement, you can see that Pop Art was about more than just Western consumer culture - it was also often used to remonstrate against many issues, including politics, the body and consumption. The unmistakable style is, in this exhibition, shown across an array of mediums, including prints and painting, sculpture and moving pictures.

To celebrate the last few days of this spectacular show at the Tate Modern, we've collected together our favourite Pop Art themed pieces from Alfies:

David Bowie, by Pure Evil. From Diplomat Treasures International.
Pop Art Tears, by Amy Preston. Available as a set of four colours. From Diplomat Treasures International.

Audrey Hepburn, by Pure Evil. From Diplomat Treasures International.

Table and Six Chairs by Ringo Starr and Robin Cruickshank. From Angela Ball.

Set of three 'Orbit' plates in ironstone, from Burleigh Ware. From Robinson Antiques.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Lumiere London - See the City in a New Light

London Lumiere is a free festival exhibiting 30 dazzling light displays in locations across London every night from 14 until 17 January, 6.30pm to 10.30pm. They include some of London's most iconic spots; King's Cross, Piccadilly, Mayfair, and Trafalgar Square. Enjoy a spectacular array of illuminations from animated projections, LED installations and giant animal sculptures, to beautiful multicoloured martyrs that decorate Westminster Abbey.

Garden Of Light by TILT
London by Janet Echelman/ Studio Echelman
Dresses by Tae Gon Kim
Neon Dogs by Deepa Mann-Kler

At Alfies we have an extensive range of beautiful and colourful lights available, with over 75 dealers to choose from. In honour of the festival we have picked out some of our favourite pieces:

Pair 1950s blue Val St.Lambert lamps, offered by Louise Verber Antiques
From top left to bottom right: 1970s German hand blown table lamp by Doria. A Vistosi Pipe Lamp, Italy 1960s. A large Mid-Century chandelier of brass and spun and lacquered aluminium, and a wonderful pair of 1970s fan-shaped lights of Italian Murano glass. All offered by Matt Mitchell London
From top left to bottom right: Holmegaard ‘Kreta’ Pendant mauve glass light by J. E. Bang for Fog & Morup 1964, Table lamp design by Aldo van den Nieuwelaar 1967, Danish 1950s orange glass ceiling light, and a 1950s chrome floor lamp. All offered by Thirteen Interiors
Pair of round moulded glass lamps, 1950s, offered by Steven Lazarus
Murano Lamp offered by Louise Verber Antiques
Stunning yellow, blue and red Murano glass horn shaped lamp from the 1970s/1980s.
Offered by Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary
Pair of Italian Black & White Glass Pendant Lights, 1970s. Offered by Thirteen Interiors
Pair of table lights Romeo, Italian 1970s. Offered by The Moderns

Stunning hand blown glass lamps designed by Tapio Wirkkala, produced by Ittala, 1957-1965. Offered by The Moderns


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