Friday, 2 October 2015

A Cockney Knees Up! London Cocktail Week 5-11 October

This year's London Cocktail Week, will run from Monday, 5 October to Sunday, 11 October. Cocktail connoisseurs will be spoilt for choice with over 250 of the finest bars in London all taking part, all have been cherry-picked for their exceptional liqueurs and welcoming atmospheres.

Image and logo from London Cocktail Week

Throughout the week, London's most favoured drinking spots will be opening their doors and providing cocktail tours for gin lovers, whiskey sippers and champagne poppers alike, in much loved areas such as Shoreditch, Soho, Notting Hill, Mayfair, Covent Garden and Clapham, to name just a few.

At Alfies, we're quite partial to a fancy beverage ourselves and not only can we provide everything you would need to host a grand cocktail party, including shakers, glasses, crystal ice buckets and more, our dealers also have a beautiful range of stunning vintage dresses and accessories to complete the party. 

See below a selection of our finest offerings available from our dealers.

Assorted brass pineapple ice buckets, 1950s - 1960s. Offered by Louise Verber Antiques.

Beautiful 1930s Whitefriars glass set. Engraved with Art Deco stylised musicians by Barnaby Powell and William Hogan. Offered by Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary.

1930s Dunhill travelling cocktail set. Offered by Goldsmith & Perris.
Selection of Art Deco cocktail accessories and silverware. Offered by Robinson Antiques.
A late 1940s to early 1950s signed French champagne holder. Provenance Taillevant restaurant, Paris. Offered by Louise Verber Antiques
Bohemian liqueur glasses, tray and decanter. Offered by Nadine Okker.
Victorian to Art Deco champagne coupes and cocktail glasses. Offered by Robinson Antiques.
A superb quality Bohemian cut glass vase with gold plated rim. Offered by Travers Antiques

For any cocktail party, a dazzling statement piece of jewellery or crystal encrusted bag is a must!

Art Deco platinum sapphire and diamond ring. Offered by Kieron Reilly.

This 1940s cocktail ring is guaranteed to cause a stir. Studded with diamonds and gold bands. Offered by Pari's Jewellery

1940s brown felt embroidered and sequinned tilt cocktail hat. Betsy-co-Ed U.S.A. Offered by Carole Collier.

  A 1950s crystal pink amethyst paste evening bag/compact case and an orange Art Deco Bakelite clutch bag. Both offered by Tony Durante.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Robin Day - Chair Man To Modern Design

Robin Day is recognisably one of the most influential furniture designers of the 20th century. In 2015 he would have celebrated his 100th birthday, and with a remarkable career spanning almost seven decades it is almost impossible not to be aware of, or have sat on one of his designs. Most globally known is Day's 1963 polypropylene stacking chair, seen in almost every school or office worldwide.

Born 25 May 1915, Day grew up in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, known for its furniture making. He attended the High Wycombe Technical Institute and had close links with the local furniture industry. Being gifted at drawing, Day progressed to High Wycombe School of Art in 1931 and won a scholarship to study design at the Royal College of Art in 1934.

On graduating the Royal College of Art in 1938, there were no suitable openings in the furniture industry, so he made architectural models and took a teaching post at Beckenham School of Art, where he developed an innovative, groundbreaking course in 3D design, where he also met fellow design lecturer Clive Lamiter. Day's 'big break' came when he, together with Lamiter, won first prize in the 1948 International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design organised by the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA). Their ingenious concept for a range of multi-purpose storage units, composed from a tube of preformed moulded plywood, received international acclaim. This led to the start of a world acclaimed career in furniture design and to his collaboration with the London furniture manufacture Hille.

1963 Polypropylene chair. Image from

In 1951, Day was approached and commissioned by the Festival of Britain to design all the seating for London's Royal Festival Hall. His prolific work for Hille included 1950s ranges in moulded plywood and the incredible polypropylene chair created in 1963, which to date has sold in tens of millions. Designs for other clients included seating for the Barbican centre, televisions and radios for British company Pye, and the interiors for aircrafts for the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).

To celebrate his centenary year, the Victoria and Albert Museum is showcasing a display dedicated to Robin Day during the London Design Festival 2015 with the Day In London exhibition, a series of events all across the capital.

Robin Day display at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

At Alfies we are hosting our own London Design Festival event throughout Thursday, 24 September, from 10am to 6pm, and we are fortunate enough to have an original Robin Day 'Leo Chair' offered by Matt Mitchell of Matt Mitchell London. The 'Leo Chair' was designed in 1965 and famously used by Sean Connery in the 1967 James Bond film 'You Only Live Twice'. The chair and matching footstool are in complete original condition with two sets of different feet and upholstered in quality black leather.

1965 'Leo Chair' by Robin Day, offered by Matt Mitchell London

During the London Design Festival, Alfies hosts talks, workshops and displays including Thirteen Interiors Tin Tin CollectablesPaola & Iaia - The Originals, and Matt Mitchell London

Clockwise from top left: Matt Mitchell London, Tin Tin Collectables, The Originals and Thirteen Interiors

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The London Design Festival: Alfies and the Church Street Design Trail

We're excited that Alfies and the Church Street Design Trail will launch on Thursday 24 September, during the London Design Festival this year. This special day will consist of talks, exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops.

We have collaborated with the Church Street furniture shops to put Marylebone on the map, many of which stock covetable design pieces. A tour of these shops will be led by Leon Young of Young & Son, an established antiques furniture dealer and LAPADA member. Follow Leon as he gives a fascinating insight into the range of design pieces on the street and how many of these dealers launched their businesses.

Alfies dealers Emilia & Luis of Thirteen Upholstery Workshop will hold an upholstery demonstration; watch in awe as they work their magic touch on tired furniture, giving it a new lease of life. Leslie of Tin Tin Collectables will be hosting a talk about the influence of politics on fashion design through the ages, and Matt Mitchell London will have on display two iconic pieces by British furniture designer Robin Day, to coincide with his centenary this year.

1950s single Italian armchair reupholstered in yellow velvet, offered by Thirteen Interiors

1950s leather desk lamp by Jacques Adnet, offered by Matt Mitchell London

1950s style mobile by Manuel Marin, offered by Angry-Agent

Sam Gullam of Lacock Gullam will be discussing how he conceived the design for Church Street’s new market sign posts, which draws some inspiration from the modernist nature of pieces on offer at Alfies and Church Street.

Lacock Gullam Church Street sign post

Not only that we will also have complimentary bubbly on offer, plus tasty treats will be available at the Roof Top Kitchen, as usual. Do not miss out!

The London Design Festival runs from 19 – 27 September and is one of the world’s most important annual design events encompassing a wide range of design disciplines.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Let's Party- London's Notting Hill Carnival

Join in the party this weekend, with a sea of stunning colours, dazzling costumes, floats and sparkling street performers, as the Notting Hill Carnival celebrates London's multicultural past and present. Whether you want to join in the fun and dancing or simply watch the parades, this bank holiday weekend, August 30 to 31 2015, the streets of Notting Hill turn into Europe's biggest and best street festival.

Image sourced from Hello Magazine

Since 1964, the capital's Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions at this two-day festival of fantastic live music, dancing, performances, floats, steel bands and an array of delicious Afro-Caribbean foods to try.

The first carnival in Notting Hill was to showcase the steel band musicians who played at Earls Court each weekend. When the bands performed around the streets of Notting Hill their music and celebrations reminded the residents of the Caribbean homes they had left behind. This then became a yearly tradition and to the vibrant street party it is today.

The origin of the carnival dates back to the early 19th century Caribbean carnivals, in particular Trinidad's, which celebrated the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. Having been forbidden to have festivals or celebrations of their own during the times of slavery, the people of Trinidad took full advantage of the new freedoms and there was a strong aspect of parody in the songs and dances performed.

The bright costumes have become a vital part of the street celebrations and at Alfies we have an abundance of colourful bags, spectacular costume jewellery and vintage clothing perfect for the weekend's festivities.

1950s green glass and plastic bead carnival necklace. Offered by Tony Durante

1950s American blue floral hat. Offered by Carole Collier

1950s American Sacs 5th Avenue clutch bag with compact mirror and silk purse. Offered by Carole Collier

A stunning vintage belly dancing costume made of silver wooden beads and green jewels. Offered by Tin Tin Collectables

1920s rock crystal 18ct diamond earrings. Offered by Pari's Jewellery

1980s gold disco earrings. Offered by Tony Durante

An early 20th century Japanese decorative head dress. Offered by Tin Tin Collectables

A beautiful 20th century statement necklace. Offered by Gloria Sinclair

Friday, 21 August 2015

Joseph Cornell at the Royal Academy of Arts

Wanderlust is an exhibition currently showing at the Royal Academy of Arts showcasing Joseph Cornell's finest work. Cornell was an artist and sculptor who was greatly influenced by the Surrealists. His limitless imagination resulted in some of the most original art of the 20th century.

Cornell's most characteristic art works were glass-fronted boxed assemblages created from found objects, sourced from places such as Manhattan's antique bookshops, junk shops and dime stores. He was fascinated by the fragments of once beautiful and precious objects, relying on the Surrealist technique of irrational juxtaposition and on the evocation of nostalgia for his appeal. These boxed assemblages reflected his various interests, the series included: The Soap Bubble Sets, the Medici Slot Machine series, the Pink Palace series, the Hotel series, among others.

In the late 1930s Cornell began his Aviary series, one he would work on until his death. His aviary series of boxes depicted colourful cut out birds mounted on wood, they were often starkly juxtaposed with hotel paraphernalia, foreign newspaper clippings, European advertisements, theatre and dance programmes.
Untitled (Cockatoo and Corks) c. 1948
Untitled (The Hotel Eden) c. 1945
Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery 1943
Untitled (Pharmacy) 1943

At Alfies we have objects that we think Cornell would have gladly added to his collection to create a surreal masterpiece. Here's what we found...

Italina Murano perfume bottle c1950, offered by Travers Antiques

Morphine apothecary’s bottle, offered by Atomiuim

A selection of vintage hotel cocktail stirrers. Offered by Renato

A corner of Paola & Iaia's shop

Victorian Massi livestock rotating numbers branding tool iron stamp, offered by Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary

1960s Valve Television Set, offered by Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary

Joseph Cornell Wanderlust
The Royal Academy of Arts
4 July — 27 September
Saturday – Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm

Friday, 14 August 2015

Time For Tea

Afternoon tea, the perfect British pass time. If ever there's a rainy day, put the kettle on. Any problem big or small - a nice cup of tea will make it better. Tea has been a firm favourite with us Brits since the 18th century, and we have the world's greatest tea consumption per capita! To celebrate our love for the beloved hot beverage, this week - Monday 10th to Sunday 16th August - it is National Afternoon Tea Week.

National Afternoon Tea Week. Image by

Between 1720 and 1750 the imports of tea to Britain through the British East India Company more than quadrupled, making it a highly valuable item to trade. Again, between 1872 and 1884 the supply of tea to the British Empire increased with the expansion of the railway to the east. From 1884 onwards, due to it's growing popularity, the prices dropped and the drink thus became a choice not only for the upper classes but for people of all backgrounds to enjoy. London became the centre of the international tea trade and with this came a large increase in the demand for porcelain from tea cups, pots and saucers.

At Alfies we have a number of dealers who specialise in fine china, oriental porcelain, silver teapots and everything in between. Here are just a few we have to offer.

A 1930s Sadlers car teapot. Offered by Beth

1930s Japanese tea set, decorated with Moriage detailing. Offered by Horner Antiques

1920s boxed and signed Murano gilt glass cups and saucers decorated with cherries. Offered by Nadine Okker

1790 English silver teapot, with one of the rarest marks on English silver,
Peter and Jonathan Bateman, sons of Hester Bateman. Offered by Janes Antiques

A selection of Art Deco Shelley trio sets. Offered by Beth

1930s Wade Heath Disney house teapot. Offered by Beth

1970s Japanese blue and white shallow teapot. Offered by Horner Antiques

1935 Art Deco platinum ring Royal Doulton tea set, casino pattern. Offered by Robinson Antiques

If this has whetted your appetite for a delicious afternoon tea, then be sure to visit our fantastic Roof Top Kitchen who offer a range of superb teas, coffees and homemade cakes.

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