Thursday, 28 April 2016

Alfies Celebrate 40 Years!

This year marks Alfies Antique Market’s 40th year in business... and we're celebrating!

When Bennie Gray bought the building, that was previously home to Jordan’s Department Store, in 1976, he had a clear vision of creating an unpretentious indoor antiques market. He quickly launched Alfies – named after his jazz musician father – and the centre went from strength to strength. Originally occupying just one floor of the building, Alfies Antique Centre today covers 35,000 square feet over four floors, complete with over 70 dealers and a charming roof-top café and terrace. Over the years, Alfies’ dealers have spread out on to the surrounding Church Street, opening shops and turning this corner of Marylebone into a destination for antiques, decorative items and high quality design.

Alfies in the 1970s

Alfies on opening day, 1976


To celebrate this impressive anniversary, Alfies and the Church Street antiques area are hosting a week of pop-up shops and activities in collaboration with this year’s London Design Festival, between 20 and 24 September 2016.

Alfies’ main attraction will be an occupancy from London Glassblowing, which was established by Peter Layton in 1976 and also shares its 40th anniversary with Alfies. Ahead of its time, London Glassblowing was among the first hot-glass studios in Europe and is now known as having a particular flair for the use of colour, form and texture.

Peter Layton in his glass blowing studio, 1979

Black Paradiso by Peter Layton

Peter Layton in his glass blowing studio

Alongside this, Church Street will be hosting an array of antique, art and design focused pop-up shops, with more details to be confirmed.

In-store, Alfies will also be holding talks and demonstrations from experts within and outside of the centre; Alfies is particularly proud to be welcoming Mark Hill for a talk on 20th century glass; co-founder of the Antiques Young Guns, Mark has also presented on both the BBC Antiques Roadshow and Collectaholics programmes.


Mark Hill

Find out more about our celebrations in September here


Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Queen's Birthday

Festivities are taking place around the country today to celebrate the UK's longest-serving monarch's 90th birthday. Although April 21 marks the Queen's actual birthday, she has a second "official" birthday on a Saturday in June. Traditionally, official celebrations to mark a sovereign's birthday have been held on a day other than their actual date of birth, particularly when the actual birthday has not fallen in the summer. The tradition is linked to the unreliable British weather because the royal family want to hold the grand birthday parade in the summer. This year, Queen Elizabeth's "official" birthday, will be celebrated on 11 June. 

In honour of Her Majesty's birthday, we have rounded up a few royal related items and memorabilia, available at Alfies.

A vintage postcard of Queen Elizabeth, driving to the state opening of Parliament, offered by Mark Eaton

Queen's Coronation souvenir spoon, offered by Naneen Brooks

Queen's Coronation 1953 wine taster souvenir, silver plated, English. Offered by Horner Antiques

British made bunting, used for the Queens Coronation, offered by Tin Tin Collectables

Vintage Union Jack flag, offered by Tin Tin Collectables

Vintage dress, offered by Tin Tin Collectables

Queen Elizabeth II, Silver Jubilee souvenir crystal ashtray, offered by Tobacciana Collectibles

A painting of Windsor Castle, offered by Mark Eaton


Various postcards featuring Windsor Castle, offered by Mark Eaton


Friday, 15 April 2016

Spring Into Alfies - 'Dutch Flowers'

Spring has finally started to blossom. The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and the days are growing longer. At Alfies spring is our favourite season, and we are excited to visit the National Gallery as it celebrates spring too with a new exhibition, honouring Dutch floral artists, showing from 6 April to 29 August, 2016.


A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, 1609-10

The exhibition runs alongside the wonderful flower shows currently showing at Chelsea and Hampton Court and is the first display on this scale in over 20 years. Originating from the early 17th century to its peak in the late 18th century 'Dutch Flowers' delves into the floral still life paintings by renowned artists such as Ambrosius the Elder Bosschaert, Jan van Huysum, and Paulus Theodorus van Brussel, and celebrates their exquisite works and attention to detail, showing the interest around the time in horticulture and the 'phenomenon of tulip mania in the Dutch Golden Age', as quoted by the National Gallery.

At Alfies we are proud to have our own fine art gallery on our first floor. Have a look at our beautiful collection of Dutch and floral paintings we have on offer:


Mid 20th century oil on board, signed M. Norman, available from Mark Eaton

Mid 20th century large oil on board, signed poppies still life, available from Mark Eaton

Red roses, mid 20th century, oil on canvas, available from Mark Eaton


An early 20th century signed still life of flowers, available from John Cserny Fine Arts

An early 18th century Dutch painting of the Admiral Cornelis Tromp, oil on panel, available from John Cserny Fine Arts 

A late 19th century Dutch school still life, available from Robert McKoy Fine Arts

Roses in Bowl oil on board, available from Mark Eaton



Thursday, 7 April 2016

Coffee Culture

The sixth annual London Coffee Festival kicks off today. It is the UK's largest coffee and artisan food event. There will be tastings and demonstrations, interactive workshops, street food, coffee-based cocktails, live music, DJs and art exhibitions - a complete social hub of all things coffee related!

Coffee has always had social connotations. Coffee culture dates back to the 17th century when the first cafes and coffeehouses opened in Europe. In Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean they were perfect venues for artistic and intellectual meetings. For example, Les Deux Magots in Paris (founded 1812), now a popular tourist attraction, was once associated with the intellectuals Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in the 1930s.

Fifties London, saw an espresso revolution. By 1960, there were over 500 espresso bars, many of which were clustered in the West End, and Soho in particular. Numerous fashionable coffeehouses such as Le Macabre and The 2i's Coffee Bar were the spots to be seen at. The former was the most eccentric and wonderful coffeehouse to appear in London since the 18th century. The youthful, cosmopolitan clientele sat on black coffins, tipping ash into candlelit skulls, and listening to funeral music on the jukebox. The tar-coloured walls would be adorned with plastic skeletons and painted cobwebs. Its slogan: "Your coffee on a coffin". 

Left: 2i's Coffee Bar  Right: Le Macabre

The late 20th century coffee boom is largely accredited to nineties American television shows such as Friends and Frasier. A rise of coffee chains began to emerge around this period and were the go-to place for a catch up with friends. The resurgence of the independent artisan coffee shops was seen as a backlash against the big corporations, but they also brought back to the surface the true art of coffee making. All owe an unacknowledged debt to the espresso craze of the 1950s.

We found a few items at Alfies that would make ideal gifts for the coffee-holic!

Coffee cup and saucers: Left: Crown Derby, 1790  Middle: Worcester, c1890  Right: Geometric pattern by Paragon, 1930s. All offered by Beth
Japanese c1890 Kutani eggshell, set of 6 coffee cans, offered by Horner Antiques

Coffee bean spoons, boxed. Sheffield 1920 Cooper Brothers & Son Ltd, offered by Goldsmith & Perris

Coffee bean spoons, boxed. Offered by Beth
Coffee pots: Left to right: Mappin & Webb, 1930s; Elkington, Victorian. Offered by Goldsmith & Perris

Silver cocktail shakers perfect for Espresso Martinis: Left to right: Elkington, 1930s; French shaker, 1940s, offered by Goldsmith & Perris




Thursday, 31 March 2016

New Dealer- Tobacciana Collectibles

This April we welcome a new dealer to the Alfies team; John Halsall of Tobacciana Collectibles, our latest dealer to join the ground floor.

Stand G085/86 has undergone a Spring transformation, filled with a colourful collection of decorative and promotional ashtrays and jugs. Many made by iconic potters such as Moorcroft, Royal Doulton, Limoges, Sundry and other pub and bar related items.

A 1953 Queen Elizabeth Coronation ashtray

We asked John a few questions...

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your business?
I have been collecting ashtrays for many years and started to trade in the year 2000. I sell collectable vintage ashtrays and jugs, many of which are rare French blue ashtrays, German, Spanish and British.

What first interested you in collecting?
I was always on the look out on my travels and the French blue ashtrays always caught my eye, from there my collection grew and expanded to trays and jugs from all around Europe.

How did you first start dealing in collectibles?
Having gained a large collection I decided that when I reached my 70th birthday it was time to turn my hobby into a business.

Do you have a personal favourite in your collection?
Yes, the French blue ashtrays. I like the bright colour. Some are like pieces of art work with hand painted designs, many made by well established potters like Moorcroft and Royal Doulton.


Two classic French vintage ashtrays


What are the most collectable ashtrays?
The Royal editions are always popular, and so are the Heineken branded ones. There is a fan base around the world for Heineken and many collectors are always looking out for vintage collectables.

Here are just a selection of ashtrays available from Tobacciana Collectibles:

A rare Moorcroft pottery ashtray made for promoting Marston's beer, 1 of 800.


A Cruise and Atlantic liner QE2's own brand of malt whisky flask.


A Royal Doulton porcelain bar water jug, matching ashtray also available.


A Wade porcelain ashtray promoting Warwick's 'Milkmaid' stout.


A Monagesque porcelain (similar to Limoges) souvenir ashtray commemorating the
 marriage of Prince Rainer to Hollywood actress Grace Kelly in 1956.


John Halsall- Tobacciana Collectibles 
Stand: G085/86 at Alfies Antique Market
Email: jmhalsall@hotmail.co.uk

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Easter Inspiration

The Easter weekend is upon us - nice and early this year - and we are sure that lots of you are looking forward to your long weekend in, and away from, London.

Although the weather may be a little gloomier than we have all hoped for, we are still feeling in the Spring mood here at Alfies. To inspire your Easter shopping - we are still open this Saturday, 26 March - and your Easter dressing, we have put together a selection of our favourite Easter and Spring inspired pieces in store.

Easter Bank Holiday Opening Hours
Friday, 25 March: CLOSED
Saturday, 26 March: OPEN AS NORMAL, 10AM-6PM
Sunday, 27 March: CLOSED AS NORMAL
Monday, 28 March: CLOSED AS NORMAL

1950s Floral dress, available from Carole Collier.


1950s Spring floral bonnet. Available from Carole Collier.


Chinese silk dress with winter lining. 1920s-30s. Available from Carole Collier.

1950s Cloisonné egg, available from Good Time Antiques.
Vintage bunny charm, available from Good Time Antiques.


French 1970s chick centrepiece for eggs, signed. Available from Gloria Sinclair.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

New Art Dealer Joins Alfies

This month we welcome John Cserny to Alfies, our latest art dealer to join the art gallery on our first floor.

Stand F050/51 has undergone a wonderful transformation, filled with a beautiful array of still life, landscape, portrait, impressionist paintings, and more! Ranging from the early 17th century up to the 1980s, John has a large selection of fine art works including many signed and important pieces.


A view inside John Cserny's shop

We asked John a few questions...

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your business?
I have been a professional art dealer for over 35 years dealing in fine art from the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

What first interested you in art?
I remember when I was about 6, my father, who always had an interest in art, asked my opinion on a painting. From then on it's always been an interest of mine.

How did you first start dealing in art?
Originally I had a career as a mechanical engineering designer, but in 1982 I decided to take a new path and pursued my love of art to become a professional dealer.

Do you have a personal favourite in your collection?
Yes, this one has always been my favourite;


I bought it a long time ago thinking it was a portrait of the Admiral De' Ruyter as it said so on the back, however it actually looks nothing like him and is in fact a portrait of the Admiral Cornelis Tromp, a Dutch navy officer who then became a Danish Admiral. He was quite a character, a ladies man and a heavy drinker. So much so that a lot of Dutch pubs are named after him. He was also very vain and at the time had all the best artists make portraits of him!

Do you have a favourite artist?
Yes, my particular favourite is the French painter James Tissot. I love his subject matters and how he conveys the Parisian party scenes.

Here a just a few from John's collection that he has to offer; 




Clockwise from top left: An early continental C20th still life of flowers, signed oil on canvas; C20th water colour and gouache 'New Years Day Show & All Fools Day Show' by Alexander Romanovich Levitsky, born 1940; Early C20th British school oil on canvas, 'Boys By The Sea'; Late C19th, oil on metal panel, 'Amorous Couple' by John Dawson Watson.


Clockwise from top left: C1700 Spanish school oil on canvas, 'Rescuing Souls From Damnation'; 1882, E G Black, oil on canvas of a girl gathering wood; 1950s signed water colour and gouache fashion design; C19th oil on canvas, signed landscape of resting wood gatherers.


Clockwise from top left: Late C20th, signed oil on canvas 'Chicargo Girls'; 1889 Italian signed oil on canvas painting of 'Venice By Moonlight'; Early C18th oil on panel Dutch portrait of the Admiral Cornelis Tromp; 1982 water colour and gouache by R P Lister, 'The Four Grey Ladies'.


Stand: F050/51 at Alfies Antique Market
Email: jcserny@aol.com
Website

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Mother's Day

This Sunday, 6 March is Mother's Day, when we celebrate and honour our mothers and grandmothers, as well as the concept of motherhood. Another celebration of the female is International Women's Day, taking place next Tuesday, 8 March. Hurrah for women! 

International Women's Day is an annual celebration of women in both history and society. The focus of the day differs throughout the world, from a general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women, to a discussion of women's economic, political and social achievements. There is also a tradition of choosing a theme for each year and this year the theme is; "Make It Happen - Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality".

Throughout March London is playing host to an event called "Women's History Month", which is a diverse programme of events and exhibitions centred around female artists, activists, performers, writers, community groups and organisations, and is curated by Alternative Arts

Here at Alfies we have a fantastic array of stock that would make great gifts, whether you're shopping for Mother's Day, or simply spoiling the woman in your life.



Gilt bronze photo frames c1880, from Nadine Okker.

1970s enamel abstract brooch, from Gloria Sinclair.

Jade Opaline Glass Murano Trinket Box, from The Moderns.

Late 19th century mercury glass gilded interior, with flora and fauna etching. From Louise Verber Antiques.

Ostrich egg lamp with gilt metal in pineapple design, MidCentury or earlier. From Louise Verber Antiques.

Antiques lace hanging decoration from Sheelin Lace.

Still life flowers, oil and pastel, signed Nigel Lyyton. Offered by Nadine Okker.

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