Thursday, 26 June 2014

Beautiful Objects

William Morris once said 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.' We totally agree with him.

If this is your mantra, make sure Alfies is top of your list for aesthetically pleasing objects. Alfies dealers stock a wide array of beautiful furniture and homewares.

Here's a sumptuous selection:

Sculptural chest of drawers by Christian Maas with original certificate.Offered by Sambataro Decorative Arts

A selection of wooden boxes from the Victorian period to the 1930s. Offered by Paola & Iaia.

A beautifully detailed iron peacock door stop. c1900s. Offered by Good Time Antiques

Large gothic style chandelier attributed to Gaetano Sciolari, offered by Design Sect

Stunning antique picture frame decorated in blue enamel, offered by Hayman & Hayman

A Pair of Maison Jansen lamps, offered by The Moderns
A single chair completely rebuilt and reupholstered in red silk by the Thirteen  Upholstery Workshop
Cloisonné style Minton by Christopher Dresser cup & saucer, with family crest and motto, c1870. Offered by Nadine Okker

Thursday, 19 June 2014

After Hours Shopping at Alfies

Friday 4th July Alfies will be keeping its doors open later than usual for some special after hours shopping in conjunction with the Antique Young Gun of the Year Awards. As well as being able to browse our many shops up until 8pm, we will also be offering our customers a glass of Pimms, to toast this special event!
Open since 1976, Alfies has firmly established itself as a leading centre for antiques, vintage textiles, 20th century design and collectables. We will be charting the history of Alfies in a special exhibition, from its humble beginnings on Church Street to where we are today; a 75-strong cluster of independent specialist dealers and four floors brimming with unique treasures and iconic designs.
So come and join us on Friday, 4th July when our doors will be open from 10am until 8pm to celebrate this rich and diverse community and raise a glass to the Young Guns of the trade. 

RSVP on our Facebook event page here!

Please note: Access to the Young Gun of the Year Awards, held in the Rooftop Kitchen at Alfies, is strictly by invitation only.

Antique Young Guns of the Year

Last year's winner Timothy Medhurst

Alfies is proud to be hosting and sponsoring this year’s Antique Young Gun of the Year Awards on 4th July, when last year’s winner Timothy Medhurst will be handing the baton over to this year’s new champion.  An impressive judging panel will be making this difficult decision, which will include the three founders of the Antiques Young Guns website and five well known antiques personalities; Judith Miller, Anna Brady, Sarah Percy-Davis, Pippa Roberts and reigning champion Timothy Medhurst.

The moment has arrived where we can finally announce the 17 finalists who will share an array of exciting prizes: 

Alys Dobbie, Brighton,, Amanda Pickett, Perthshire, Scotland, Daniel Larsson, Helsingborg, Sweden, Edd Thomas, Royal Wootten Basset, Wiltshire , Henry Saywell, Lillie Road, Fulham, London SW6, , James Gooch, Bedfordshire,, Jason Clarke, Reading, Berks,, Jon Irvine, London, , Lily Trunfull, Lewes, Sussex, , Marika Clemow, London, , Matt Goymer, Birmingham,, Matthew Wise, Lillie Road, London SW6, , Oliver Leggett, Suffolk, Paul Jones, Cheshire,, Robyin Alston, Bedforshire,, Serhat Ahmet, Portobello Road, London W11,, William Potts, London,

Watch this space for this year’s prestigious Antique Young Gun of the Year winner!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The London Antique Markets - 1964-2014

Bennie Gray was just 26 when he opened the Antique Supermarket on Barrett Street.  Just around the corner from Selfridges in an old printing works, it quickly became a hub for the trading of antiques.

Bennie Gray outside the Antique Supermarket, 1964
 At that time there existed several antique markets operating one day a week and there were many specialist antique shops but, before the Antique Supermarket opened in 1964, London did not have a permanent indoor market where antique dealers had the opportunity to trade all year round without having to dismantle their stock at the end of the day.

The concept proved popular and, with the exception of a few poison pen letters received from some of the more traditional members of the trade, the Antique Supermarket was soon filled with a variety of antique dealers.  After a quiet start, with all the energy put into the opening, the word spread and the centre's popularity grew to eventually establish a star studded clientele. 

Antique Hypermarket - Kensington High Street
Antique Hypermarket - Kensington High Street

In 1968, off the back of the Antique Supermarket’s success, Bennie Gray opened the Antique Hypermarket on trendy Kensington High Street and, a few years later, Antiquarius on the Kings Road, Chelsea in 1970.  Bennie eventually sold these markets and each continued for a time.  Antiquarius was sold again in 2009 and the building has now become US store Anthropologie.

Antiquarius - King's Road, Chelsea
Alfies Antique Market came next in 1976, named after Bennie’s father, jazz musician Alfie Gray.   Bennie Gray was born on Cosway Street, just around the corner from Alfies, and when the dilapidated Edwardian department store, Jordan’s, came up for sale he jumped at the opportunity.

Alfies Antique Market in the 1970s

At the time the deteriorated state of the building was echoed along Church Street, where what had once been a thriving working class community fell into the familiar pattern of inner city decay with shops boarded up and vandalism rife.

Alfies opened to become an unpretentious, un-daunting antiques experience, eventually welcoming a younger, design-led crowd.  Bennie is justifiably proud of the impact Alfies has had on Church Street. Some 20 independent dealers also now line Church Street, many of whom started out with a stand at Alfies. 

In 1976 Bennie opened Grays, at 58 Davies Street.  The Edwardian Grade II listed building was originally built for John Bolding & Sons, a manufacture of sanitary equipment.  Bolding had the building commissioned to house a showroom on Davies Street and workshops at the rear in Davies Mews. 

Work begins on Grays Mews, 1978

Grays Mews opens in 1978

A year after Grays opened work began on the rear workshops to become Grays Mews.  For a time the basement was continually flooded and architects found the source to be part of the underground river Tyburn, a tributary to the Thames.  This water was channelled to create a water feature that can still be seen today.

Today Alfies Antique MarketGrays and Grays Mews are London’s largest permanent centres for antiques and are collectively home to over 250 small businesses.  Open all week, the key to the success comes from the antique dealers themselves, their passion and dedication to finding and trading in beautiful objects and passing on the unique histories that accompany them.  In a world of internet shopping, this personal service is becoming a rare find.  All three centres are full of experienced specialists, each with their own area of knowledge and expertise.  Here's to another 50 years!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Father's Day Gift Ideas

This year, for Father's Day, why not avoid the high street and visit Alfies for that something special? Alfies is full of potential gifts to suit every budget. Our dealers have a wealth of knowledge of their stock and are at hand to give you expert advice. To make thing's a bit easier, we've compiled a selection of wonderful items your father would appreciate...

A selection of garden tools from the Victorian period to the 1940s. Offered by Paola & Iaia.

Pocket watches, offered by Pars Jewellery.

Trench art made entirely from empty shell cases. c1930 -1940. Offered by Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary

1950s novelty cork screw. Offered by Good Time Antiques.
Large 1950s desk lamp with diffuser, offered by Design Sect.
Art Deco 18ct platinum cufflinks, offered by Kieron Rielly
Kent Pure Badger, hand made shaving brush, offered by W & L Antiques.

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