Friday, 27 February 2015

A Beautiful Selection At Adire African Textiles

At Alfies we have a large and varied selection of wonderful antiques, collectables and vintage textiles. We are proud to be the home to dealer Duncan Clarke's gallery, Adire African Textiles on our first floor, which has an exquisite selection of vintage hand woven African textiles reflecting the textile traditions of sub-Saharan Africa.  

Vintage African Textiles

There are a large variety of different styles and techniques used to produce African textiles. From the traditional indigo dyed vintage cotton fabrics, made in various parts of West Africa, to beautiful brightly coloured Ewe kente cloths, to rarer and more obscure styles such as the embroidered Akunitan cloths, meaning 'cloth of the great', and worn only by senior chiefs and kings. 

A selection of vintage African textiles

Adire translates as tie and dye and is the name given to indigo dyed cloth produced by Yoruba women of south western Nigeria, who use a variety of resist dye techniques to produce locally woven hand spun cotton cloths, much like those that are still produced in Mali today.

Indigo was the foundation of many textile traditions throughout West Africa. Long before the introduction of synthetic dyes, the art to transform everyday white cotton into beautiful deep blue cloths was a mysterious and highly valuable skill which was passed on by specialist dyers from generation to generation. 

Adire hand woven cloth from south western Nigeria. Circa 1960
Ewe kente cloths are greatly valued by collectors of African textiles due to the advanced skill used to make them and the variety of styles they display.

Selection of beautiful hand woven vintage cloths

Ewe Kente cloth with figurative motifs framed by pairs of weft faced blocks. Circa 1930s to 1940s

Akunitan cloths worn only by senior chiefs and kings display spectacular designs and creativity. They include intricate motifs depicting proverbs and royal imagery such as this superb Akunitan cloth below which is embroidered with a peacock, tortoise, fish, chameleon, lion, elephant, porcupine, crocodile, and an umbrella with guns. All are motifs representing proverbs and ideas about Asante power and chiefly regalia.

Circa 1960.

Adinkra cloths from Ghana are unique fabrics, hand printed with black dye patterns using stamps made from calabash.

Large man's adinkra with stamped motifs on a white background. Circa 1960s.

Vintage West African cloth strips.

13-25 Church Street
NW8 8DT London 
T: 07710791497
For more information visit 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

London Fashion Week: Stay ahead of the trends at Alfies

Unless you've been hibernating for the past fortnight you'll know that London Fashion Week is upon us for another season, showcasing over 250 designers to a global audience of influential media and retailers. Most of the fashion squad will be congregating at Somerset House as usual, and key trends for the season seem to be the 1970s, texture and fringing, monochrome and floral. Ahead of the action - which runs from tomorrow Friday, 20 February until Tuesday, 24 February 2015 - we look at the trends for SS15 and some #LFW inspired pieces available here at Alfies.


Pair of Black & White 1950s Table Lamps. From The Moderns.

1930s Cream Vellum Suitcase. From Tin Tin Collectables.

1970s/1980s German Phillips Wall Clock. From Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary.


1970s Dress by Lee Bender at BUS STOP. From Tin Tin Collectables.

Decorative pansy design brooch 1930s to 1940s. From Moe Heidarieh.

Floral Design Brooch from the 1930s/1940s. From Moe Heidarieh.

Best of the 1970s

1978 Ant chairs designed by Arne Jacobsen. From Francesca Martire.

1970s glass bead necklace. From Velvet Atelier.

1970s helmet color television. From Thirteen Interiors.

18c Gold and Pearl earrings and ring set. From Gareth Brooks.

1970s David Rowland 40/4 Stackable Chairs. From Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary.

1970s Dress by Sharons Shoppe. From Tin Tin Collectables.

Friday, 13 February 2015

A Vintage Valentine's at Alfies

Saint Valentine's Day, also known as Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine sees card shop sales booming and men all over the world rushing out to late night garages for a bunch of less-than-fresh roses. 
14th February first became a celebration during the Roman Empire and was started by one of the earlier Christian saints named Valentinus. Popular legend says that Saint Valentine of Rome was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell. Today, Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion, as well as in the Lutheran Church.
Geoffrey Chaucer first linked the date with romantic love in the Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Then, during 18th-century England, the day evolved into an occasion when lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). 
Nowadays Valentine's Day symbols are hearts, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
It's certainly a time of year where everyone gets soppy again. Still, your Valentine's gift needn't be a cliché! Alfies offers a variety of weird and wonderful items that would make the perfect gift this St Valentine's Day. Here's a selection of the staff at Alfies' favourites:

Welsh Love spoon - these spoons used to be carved in one piece by the boys for their sweetheart, offered by Paola & Iaia - The Originals

Pair of 1950s earrings. Offered by Paola & Iaia - The Originals

Early Victorian or late Georgian cut steel hair comb set on a tortoiseshell comb. Offered by Gareth Brooks

1940s Italian micro-mosaic pendant with tiny pieces of glass intricately arranged into mosaics. Offered by Paola & Iaia - The Originals

1960s Disney Valentine's cards, from Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary

9ct Gold Victorian Cufflinks. Offered by Gareth Brooks

Metal & celluloid ornament - usually called No Trump and used by Bridge players
in the 1930s - offered by 
Paola & Iaia - The Originals

A selection of Limoges heart boxes, offered by Hayman & Hayman.

Finish off your gift shopping with a heart shaped scone in Alfies' Roof Top Kitchen. Aww!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Royal Doulton, A Fine Figure

At Alfies we have a beautiful collection of Royal Doulton figures offered by our dealer Chris of Janes Antiques. 

Royal Doulton started in 1815 producing tableware and collectables. Operating originally in London, its reputation grew in the pottery industry, where it was a latecomer compared to Royal Crown Derby, Minton and Wedgwood. There are some little known facts about The Royal Doulton Company, below are some of our favourites.

During the 1840s the company saw considerable success and was said to have made a small fortune by manufacturing and supplying products that are vastly different to those which they're known for today: sewage pipes!

The 'HN' on the serial number represents the initials of one of the figurines' painters, Harry Nixon, which started to be used as part of the labeling system way back in 1913.

Although Royal Doulton figurines look rather fragile they are actually quite strong as they are made from cornish stone, china clay and calcined bone ash.

Here is just a small selection of what there is on offer from Janes Antiques:

'Autumn Breeze' HN 194.

'The Laird' 1970, with 'Hunting Dog With Pheasant', HN 1029

'Rowena' 1950, HN 2077

'The Parsons Daughter' HN 564

'Fleur' 1967 HN 2368

'Thank You' 1982, HN 2732

'Good King Wenceslas' 1952, HN 2118

'The Wardrobe Mistress' 1953, HN 2145
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