Thursday, 27 August 2009

First Floor in Alfies

This week's blog is the first of three parts on the first floor in Alfies. The first floor, in my opinion is the most varied in terms of different types of dealers and antiques found here. With items ranging from Art Deco furniture to African textiles, there really is something for everyone!

Starting in the corridor we find Castaside which specialises in theatre ephemera; posters, programmes, brochures, leaflets and flyers, all late Victorian to current and mainly West End. This is a real treasure trove and a must see for any theatre fanatic.

1983 'Marilyn' musical based on the life of Norma Jean/Marilyn Monroe.

Next to Castaside is Tycho Andrews, specialising in collectable Antiques and Modern Design. Tycho has exhibited on numerous occasions at the Olympia Antiques Fair and also this year at the Grand Designs exhibition at Excel and Circa at the Truman Brewery. He also hires to the film and television industry.

Very unusual 1950s Danish armchair in cow hide, with back in black leather. Solid teak legs and arms.

Stephen Lazarus deals in 20th Century decorative objects and furniture incorporating Art Deco, industrial, painted furniture and a whole range of lighting. I love Stephen's stand, it's got some truely unique and interesting items


Gloria Sinclair, has been in Alfies since 1978 dealing in English and continental porcelain, objects and jewellery.

Duncan Clarke specialises in the hand woven textile traditions of West Africa and supplies distinctive vintage fabrics to major museums, decorators and private collectors. This stand is really special and well worth a visit!

Asafo flag, Fante peoples, Ghana

Peran Dachinger's Fine Art, beside Duncan Clarke's stand. Previously trading at Portobello Market, Robert came to Alfies in 1995. His stock includes 18th, 19th and 20th Century oil paintings and watercolours. Robert has an international client base comprised of interior decorators and notable private clients. He is now joined by Peran Dachinger.

Cuzco school, 20th century oil on board.

Lastly is Manley J Black, Manley specialises in unusual and decorative objects and has been in Alfies since the 1980's. His stock ranges from French Armoires to Battersea snuff boxes.

Stay tuned for the next two entries about the first floor as there are lots more dealers to follow!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Telling Tales

The exhibition Telling Tales at the V&A is just brilliant and is definitely worth a visit. A selection of furniture and product designers are let loose with the theme of the dark and rather eerie side of fairytales and story telling. What results is a combination of furniture and objects that you would only dream of existing in real life - the question is, is it art or is it just amazing furniture?

The whole exhibition seems to revolve around blending the boundaries between art and design. It is an issue that is almost impossible to resolve and that seems to throw up more questions than answers. Here are a few pieces from the exhibition:

'Heatwave' Radiator by Joris Laarman. This radiator was playfully based on a Roccoco fireplace from Winchester House in London from about 1750.

This chair and ceiling lamp named 'The Divine Comedy' by Niels van Eijk has been etched with the story of the same named poem by Dante, with thieves suffering in hell depicted on the chair and angels from heaven on the lamp.

The 'Rubber Baron Table' by Studio Job was my favourite piece of the exhibition (aside from the slippers made out of moles!) It is based on the 19th Century industrialists whose affluence and power was unequalled.

Wandering though Alfies there are always objects that make me think of storytelling and whisk my imagination away to distant lands.

Colin Thompson on the second floor at Alfies is the perfect place to start the search for fairytales. He has a large range of storybooks for both children and adults. Stuwwelpeter is one of my favourite books, by German author Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann.

This re-upholstered chair from The Upholstery Workshop is fit for a princess. As is this gorgeous 18th Century Swedish sofa (with pull-out bed and the original horse hair cushions) from Christopher Hall. It would make anyone feel like a real life sleeping beauty.

Have you ever visited the second floor mezzanine? It feels like you are stepping into a glass wonderland. The impressive chandeliers by Vincenzo Caffarella with their incredible shapes and forms would easily transform any room into a magical place.

Francesca Martire on the first floor also has some stunning chandeliers like this one below made from hundreds of white glass flowers.

Something that really caught my eye this week was this very unusual Danish cow hide chair from Tycho Andrews.

I'm not sure what sort of history could be attached to this but in my opinion it would make an incredible story telling chair. Imagine on a dark winter's evening in front of a crackling fire, the children gather round ready to be scared stiff and delighted by the old tales their grandfather tells them... or is that just me?!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Alfies Great Treasure Hunt - 5th September

Join Alfies Antique Market on Saturday 5th September and take up the challenge to navigate its labyrinth of dealers and be part of Alfies’ Great Treasure Hunt to raise money for St John’s Hospice.

We will ask you to make a voluntary donation of £1 to enter the hunt, while Alfies dealers will also make donations. All proceeds raised will go to St John’s Hospice, which provides invaluable support and care to anyone in Central and North West London suffering from a terminal illness.

Taking part in the treasure hunt will give you the chance to win a myriad of prizes from Alfies. There will be something for everyone who enters as a thank you for their donation, as well as the opportunity to win a mystery gift.

Alfies Great Treasure Hunt is a wonderful chance to explore Alfies from head to toe, you may chance upon such wonderful items as:

a 1930s hand-painted Burleigh pottery egg-cruet set

£65 by Beverley

a stunning 1930/40s ring with aquamarine and diamonds

£1000 by Connie Speight

or an egg shaped French Limoges box with a photo frame hidden inside

price on enquiry by Hayman & Hayman

So join Alfies and its dealers on the 5th of September to unearth some treasures and help raise funds for a great cause.

Alfies Great Treasure Hunt: Saturday 5th September, 10am-6pm.

Nearest tube: Marylebone or Edgware Road.

Admission free with a voluntary donation of £1.

For more information please call 020 7723 6066 or visit

For more information on St. John's Hospice visit

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Art Noveau Enchantment

Art Noveau is one of my most favoured art styles, the free-flowing shapes and beautifully designed items from this era have an elegant and light quality. Artists from the Art Noveau period are famed for breaking free from the repeated rigidity of earlier eras and they were highly inspired by organic forms, which spurred exciting intertwined designs. These liberated flowing shapes of Art Noveau were a bridge between the old and the new, and lead design into the 20th century.

Staircase, Emile Tassel House, Brussels, Belgium and Art Nouveau female by Alphonse Mucha

The name Art Noveau itself was taken from a gallery called Maison de l'Art Noveau opened in 1895 by Samuel Bing in Paris.

Entrance to Samuel Bing's gallery in Paris

Bing was an experimental art collector and he wanted to defend the applied and decorative arts and started exhibiting the avant-garde work of contemporary artists, such as Camille Claudel, Fernand Khnopff, William Degouves de Nuncques, Edward Munch, Auguste Rodin, Victor Rousseau, Paul Signac, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, amongst others. As Art Noveau spread throughout Europe, the style took on country specific names: Jugend in Germany, Arte joven in Spain, Arte nuova in Italy and Nieuwe kunst in the Netherlands.

Other noted artists and designers of this era are Gustav Klimt, Charles Rennie Macintosh. Alphonse Mucha and Rene Lalique. In the
UK, the style of Art Noveau was spurred by the Arts and Crafts Movement. Artists such as Aubrey Beardsley commanded the form of Art Noveau in excellence and his delicate patterned drawings contain many of the characteristics of this era.

Images from 'La Morte D’Arthur and Venus from 'The Yellow Book'

Beardsley's stunning cover to 'Salome - a tragedy in one act'

The free flowing organic shapes of Art Noveau can be found in objects at Alfies such as this beautiful mirror with silver mounted frame, Birmingham 1906,
and the magnifying glasses, all from Goldsmith & Perris

From left to right:
Ivory handle and silver bands, Sheffield 1897

Silver handle, Sheffield 1905
Mother of pearl and silver plated, ca 1900

This ornate silver card case, made in Birmingham 1900, shows the organic shapes of Art Noveau, also from Goldsmith & Perris

Floral patterned glass inkwell with silver overlay, ca 1900, from Magna Carta Antiques

A slightly more stylistic interpretation of the organic design can be seen in this Liberty pewter fruit bowl with new liner. Designed by Archibald Knox, ca 1905 from Robinson Antiques

Women’s accessories took on new shapes and designs when the organic forms of Art Noveau were coupled with jewellery, like this French Art Nouveau 18 ct gold heart locket with rose cut diamonds, from Pari’s jewellery.

Other exciting new shapes were these six silver buttons with Art Nouveau ladies, complete with box, hallmarked 1908, from Connie Speight, they show the beauty, elegance and flowing forms of the era.

Or this English evening clasp bag made with painted mesh and nouveau frame, from Sheila Cameron

In its heyday, Art Noveau became more than the aesthetics of art and design, it became a life style where freedom and elegance was incorporated into daily life. Live by this motto and find exquisite items at Alfies to enrich you!
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