Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Queen's Birthday

Happy birthday to Queen Elizabeth II who will turn 92 on April 21st! Whilst this is her date of birth, the Queen's official birthday takes place in June. All British sovereign are given the option of choosing an 'official' birthday to celebrate. This tradition dates back to 1748 when King George II decided to celebrate his birthday twice - once on his date of birth in November and again in the Summer, having decided that Autumn wouldn't be an ideal time for public celebration because of the weather.

On her birthday in April, the Queen will celebrate privately but the occasion will be marked by gun salutes in London at midday - a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. For her official birthday in June, a parade will take place in central London.

Here are a few fun facts about a hugely interesting figure in British history, Queen Elizabeth II -
  • She is the only person in the UK who is allowed to drive without a licence
  • She is the longest reigning monarch ever in Britain, beating Queen Victoria
  • The Queen first sent an email in 1976
  • She has seen 12 Prime Ministers come to power
  • Her favourite dog breed is the Corgi
  • She is a trained mechanic after having joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II
  • She has sent around 50,000 Christmas cards to date, and counting..

In celebration of Her Royal Majesty, we took a look around Alfies for a few objects dedicated to her:

A Royal Worcester 'Queen's 8th Birthday' figurine. Available from W & L Antiques

A selection of memorabilia mugs, c1950s. Available from W & L Antiques

A Silver Jubilee swim costume by Speedo, 1977. Available from Tin Tin Collectables

A selection of memorabilia mugs, c1950s. Available from W & L Antiques

A set of tea forks with the royal insignia, 1937. Available from Goldsmith & Perris

A Silver Jubilee stationary set, 1977. Available from W & L Antiques

A Silver Jubilee scrapbook, 1977. Available from W & L Antiques


Friday, 13 April 2018

Antiques for Animals!

It's National Pet Month, 1 April - 7 May 2018, which gives us a wonderful excuse to share our favourite animal themed items at Alfies! National Pet Month raises awareness of responsible pet ownership through educational campaigns, it also celebrates the benefits of our pets and encourages fundraising for the nation’s needy pets. It's a great thing to get involved with!

If you are a fan of both vintage jewellery, and our furry friends, you'll love these top animal picks currently in-store at Alfies:

Art Deco brooch, available from Gloria Sinclair

Butler & Wilson diamanté dog and bone brooch, available from Gloria Sinclair

Vintage cat and dog figurines, available from Gloria Sinclair

Limoges rabbit trinket box, offered by Hayman & Hayman 

1960s cat brooch, set on 18ct gold, available from Zeeba Jewels

1960s cat brooch, set on 18ct gold, available from Zeeba Jewels

1960s dog brooch, set on 18ct gold, available from Zeeba Jewels


1950s Cat on shells "Personal Ashtray", available from Dream Retro

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Diamonds are Forever

The birthstone for April is the show stopping diamond, said to be a girl's best friend, we have plenty on display around Alfies.

Almost every civilisation has had some form of lore surrounding diamonds. In Ancient Greece warriors wore diamonds because the stones were thought to strengthen the muscles and bring invincibility. They have also been considered the adornment of winners and were worn as a talisman by many leaders including Julius Caesar, Louis IV and Napoleon.

Throughout history the diamond has also represented eternal love, possibly symbolic of one of the diamond's key features - strength. Diamonds have the hardest structure of any gemstone, are believed to be the hardest substance known to man and can only be cut with another diamond. For all of these reasons, the diamond has become the traditional gem used for engagement rings. However we believe that diamonds look good on everyone!

A 1960s platinum and diamond leaf brooch. Available from Kieron Reilly

An onyx and diamond ring, c1930s. Available from Kieron Reilly

A Victorian silver and diamond brooch. Available from Pars Jewellery

An onyx and diamond ring, c1930s. Available from Kieron Reilly

A pair of Art Deco diamond earrings. Available from Kieron Reilly

An Edwardian platinum and diamond brooch. Available from Pars Jewellery

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Spring has Sprung

This week Spring has officially begun. With the arrival of March 21st, so too comes the arrival of the period that marks the start of seasonal rebirth. Following Winter - which symbolises death - Spring is viewed as the resurrection and represents rejuvenation and renewal. These symbolic representations are long standing and can be seen throughout culture in poetry, literature, theatre and art. Common depictions of this season are flowers, baby animals, and vibrant shades of yellow and green.

With this in mind we took a look around Alfies to find some Spring like representations of our own..


An Oriental decorated vase. Available from Hongman Yang

A floral watercolour, 1934. Available from Moe Heidarieh

A Carlton Ware buttercup sugar shaker, c1930s. Available from Beth

Flowers in vase, oil on canvas, c1930s. Available from i Fine & Contemporary Art

A Chinese 'Famille Noire' brush pot, late Qing period, c1900. Available from Horner Antiques

An Edwardian glass and enamel trinket pot. Available from Beth


A Chinese dinner plate with painted design, Qianlong, 18th Century. Available from Diplomat Treasures International

A floral print, c1870s. Available from Moe Heidarieh

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Symbols of Ireland

Ireland has a very rich heritage along with old traditions and symbols. With St Patrick's Day fast approaching, we look into the meanings behind the symbols of Ireland.

Shamrock
Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. According to legend, the shamrock was a sacred plant to the Druids of Ireland because its leaves formed a triad, and three was a mystical number in the Celtic religion, as it is in many others.

Vintage shamrock charm, available from Good Time Antiques

Entrée dish with shamrock design lid, Birmingham 1910, available from Goldsmith & Perris

Spurrier & Co napkin Ring, Birmingham 1906, available from Goldsmith & Perris

Harp
The Irish harp was featured on the Coat of Arms because King James was not only the ruler of England but of Ireland as well. The harp has also been synonymous with Guinness since 1862, when it was used as a symbol on the first bottle label for Guinness. It is because of the harp trademark that Guinness named its first lager 'Harp' in 1960.

Harp charm, available from Good Time Antiques

Green
Green is the national colour of Ireland, which is known as “The Emerald Isle”. On St Patrick's Day, it is customary to wear shamrocks, green clothing or green accessories. St. Patrick's revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, who would pinch anyone not wearing green!

"Genie bottle" by Empoli c1960s, available from Robinson Antiques
1950s evening bag with matching headband, available from June Victor 

The London St Patrick's Day Festival 2018, a three-day cultural and community festival across London will kick off today, Friday 16. More details here.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Celebrating Women

Mother's Day is coming up soon, falling on Sunday 11th March, and is the perfect time to show your Mum the love she deserves. Today also happens to be International Women's Day, so it really is a great time to be coming together and supporting each other as females -  if you're looking for an event where you can experience this kind of atmosphere then the WOW (Women of the World) festival is currently running at the Southbank Centre until Sunday.

With all of this going on, it's worth celebrating the women in your life - what better way to do so than with a gift? Here's our pick of the bunch from Alfies:


A floral painting, oil on canvas, mid 20th Century. Available from i Fine & Contemporary Art

A pair of paste and enamel earrings, 1980s. Available from April Antiques

An Italian ceramic coffee pot and sugar bowl, 20th century. Available from The Originals

A silver baby pram charm, 1960s. Available from Good Time Antiques


A Victorian emerald, diamond and pearl brooch, English, c1890. Available from Kieron Reilly

A selection of Victorian cranberry and vaseline glass vases. Available from Beth

A vintage tulip brooch, 1950s. Available from April Antiques


A floral painting, oil on canvas, mid 20th Century. Available from i Fine & Contemporary Art

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style

From the mid-19th century to the late 20th century, the ocean liner revolutionised sea travel. Ocean Liners: Speed and Style at the V&A, explores the design and cultural impact of the passenger liner around the world, delving into the hidden design stories of some of the world's most resplendent liners, including the Titanic, Normandie, the Queen Mary and the Canberra. 

This exhibition revives the golden age of ocean travel, from ground-breaking engineering and fashionable interiors, to the lifestyle on board and their cultural impact on art, architecture, design and film. With over 250 objects including paintings, sculpture, ship models, fashion, photographs and posters. The exhibition will also feature works by Modernist artists, designers and architects inspired by liners.

Image taken from the V&A website

Image taken from the V&A website

Image taken from Riba Journal

Image taken from the V&A website

Taking inspiraton from this exhibition we discovered lots of luxurious items at Alfies that wouldn't look out of place on an ocean liner, reminiscent of the golden age of splendour.

Furniture and home accessories at Alfies

Cunard To Canada poster 1930s, available from Dodo Posters

Art Deco flame grained rosewood club chairs, available from The Moderns

Art Deco walnut table, available from Travers Antiques 

Decorative blue vase, available from Diplomat Treasures International
A selection of vintage suitcases and Louis Vuitton trunks, available from Tin Tin Collectables Luggage

Fashion

Those who went on ocean voyages filled their Louis Vuitton steamer trunks with finery. The decks resembled a red carpet of the latest fashions, with the rich and famous donning apparel by the world's greatest designers. 


Vintage tiara, available from Zeeba Jewels

1920s dress, available from June Victor


1930s beaded dress, available from Tin Tin Collectables

1920s Bathing suit "WESTOE LADIES - ASC - SOUTH SHIELDS", available from Tin Tin Collectables

1920s bathing suit with belt loops, available from Tin Tin Collectables

R.M.S. Queen Mary dining scene, Jacqmar London silk scarf, available from Tin Tin Colllectables

Ocean Liners: Speed & Style will run until 17 June, 2018 at the V&A
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