Friday, 31 July 2015

The Hall Of Frame

The trusty picture frame is often a neglected partner to its painted focal point, but the Frames in Focus: Sansovino Frames exhibition at The National Gallery, running until 13 September 2015, hangs the frame as its main attraction, celebrating the most elaborate and beautifully crafted ones.

  Early-baroque style frame. Image from the National Gallery

The collection of 30 frames concentrates on one particular type, the Sansovino, which gained its name in the 19th century from the Italian architect and sculptor Jacopo Sansovino, (1486–1570). Sansovino was responsible for some of Venice’s finest Renaissance buildings, including the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana. The design of the frame marked a change in the way they were conceived, as frame makers experimented with traditional architectural forms, carved overlapping scrolls, garlands of fruit, masks, broken pediments, and cherubs, comparable to Sansovino's own elaborate style. These works show us that, in fact, the frame itself is a work of art in its own right.

The Biblioteca designed by Jacopo Sansovino

At Alfies we have our very own skilled picture frame craftsman, William Campbell of William Campbell Fine Frames and Framing. William is an artisan with an infectious passion for frames and framing, an uncompromising eye for detail and a comprehensive knowledge of the subject. He has been at Alfies since 1992 and has a wide collection from stunning period gilded frames to more vintage designs with simple lines and block colours.

19th century carved and gilded Florentine frame. Offered by William Campbell

18th century carved and gilded Louis XV frame. Dating 1725 to 1760.

Late 19th century carved oak folk art frame.

Not only do Alfies' dealers offer beautiful handmade picture frames, we also have a stunning range of gilded, beveled and Art Deco mirrors, antique embroidered, wooden and glass photo frames, and vintage illuminated and perspex frames.

A selection of mid century sunburst mirrors. Offered by Louise Verber Antiques

A detailed vintage micro mosaic picture frame. Offered by Hayman & Hayman

1970s pair of Italian mirrors framed in brass with coloured mosaic tiles. Offered by The Moderns

Italian perspex and metal table back-lit mirror 1950. Offered by Thirteen Interiors
A beautiful Art Nouveau mirror with silver mounted frame, Birmingham 1906. Offered by Goldsmith & Perris
An early 20th century easel back gilt wood mirror. Offered by Louise Verber Antiques

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Flutter By Alfies

Butterflies have always been considered creatures of beauty from their majestically designed wings to their grace in flight. The ‘Sensational Butterflies’ exhibition at the Natural History Museum allows you to appreciate these beautiful creatures up close this summer. Today the sight of a butterfly is a lot less common than it used to be. This exhibition gives people the chance to see a large number of different species in one place and learn about one of nature’s amazing life cycles.

In the world of fashion, butterflies remain an object of beauty. You may have seen jewellery shaped like a butterfly but have you ever wondered if it is a real butterfly? Butterfly wing jewellery has been a popular form of accessory since the 1920s. The style involves painting exquisite pieces of art on the reverse side of a butterfly wing. The most desirable images include crinoline ladies, children, or birds, as well as tropical paradise scenes. They are most commonly found on bracelets, brooches, pins, and pendants. You can grab yourself a small pendant for less than £10 at a vintage market!

Lovely Butterfly Wing Pendant Charm featured on Ebay 

Many of the vintage pieces here at Alfies also let butterflies take center stage. Butterfly jewellery, such as brooches and pendants, is a prominent feature with vibrant colours and interesting shapes. Butterfly prints can also be spotted, some even featuring real butterflies, just like the butterfly wing jewellery.  

Below is a selection of a few of the lovely butterfly pieces Alfies has to offer to make your summer just that little bit more colourful: 

20th Century Butterfly and Floral Print Cup and Saucer Sets. Offered by Beth Adams and Horner Antiques

Genuine Antique Butterfly Print, over 100 Years Old. Offered by Moe Heidarieh

Victorian Butterfly Brooch with Stunning Floral Detailing. Offered by Naneen Brooks

Beautiful Vintage Enamel Butterfly Brooch. Offered by June Victor  

'Boys Catching Butterflies' Vintage Plate. Offered by Horner Antiques

Butterfly and Floral Print Bow Octagonal Dish c.1760. Offered by Janes Antiques

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Cricket: The Ashes

Held biannually, the Ashes are hosted by England and Australia on an alternating basis. The Ashes Series for 2015 kicks off today at Lord's, with the five tests being played between July and August. 

The term 'Ashes' was first used after England lost to Australia - for the first time on home soil - at The Oval on 29th August 1882. A day later, the Sporting Times carried a mock obituary of English cricket which concluded that: "The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia". The concept caught the imagination of the sporting public.

The Sporting Times’ mock-obituary that gave birth to the Ashes
The captain of the English side, The Honorable Ivo Bligh, promised to bring the 'Ashes' home the next winter, embracing the term that had created by the newspaper. The original trophy, a small terracotta urn, is said to contain the remnants of the bails from the first series and is currently held in the MCC Museum at Lord’s.
Original cricket 'Ashes Urn' pictured at Lords cricket ground in London
At Alfies we have a wonderful selection of Cricket related items, here's a small pick of what our dealers have on offer...

1950s Cricket bat tie bar, offered by Robinson Antiques

1930s Cricket hat, offered by Nadine Okker

The Cricketers of Vanity Fair, late 19th century, offered by Moe Heidarieh

1950s silk scarf by Jacqmar designed by their in house designer Arnold Lever, highlighting the rules and etiquette of cricket, offered by Tin Tin Collectables

Cricket flannels, 1938, offered by June Victor

Antique hand-stitched cricket ball, offered by Paola & Iaia - The Originals

Monday, 13 July 2015

Newly Open - Atomium

A warm welcome to Tom of Atomium, who has recently moved into the Second Floor Gallery. You'll find an incredible range of antiquarian books and an eclectic mix of vintage objects such as furniture, posters, jewellery and glassware, dating from the Victorian period to mid century. Prices range from £5 to £500.

Tom's personal favourite item in his shop is Tabatha
"a tailor's dummy from Selfridges, so she's posh!"

"All items are carefully chosen (or occasionally randomly selected), especially the books, where it's always best to be eclectic. The First Editions are always popular."

When it comes to buying vintage, Tom advises to "buy what you like, even if you paid too much, at least you like it". This could be our new mantra!

Unit S008 
Second Floor Gallery

Tel: 07905 271 082

Friday, 3 July 2015

An Ace At Alfies

Wimbledon is well under way and with the sun shining, strawberries ripe and champagne flowing, who will be crowned champion this year? 

The Championships Wimbledon, also known as Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It has been held at the AELTC, the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, since 1877 and to many is widely considered the most prestigious tennis competition. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the others being; the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Since the Australian Open shifted to hard court in 1988, Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass.

The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and early July, culminating with the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Singles Final, scheduled for the second Saturday and Sunday respectively. Five major, junior, and invitational events are held each year. Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code for competitors, the eating of strawberries and cream by the spectators, and Royal patronage.

At Alfies we have plenty to cause a racket about, and you will love the wide range of antiques and vintage collectables we have to serve for your Wimbledon experience - from champagne coupes and picnic baskets to rare tennis rackets.

 The official 'The Championships Wimbledon' logo

Two 1940's tennis rackets with original Dunlop stretchers and carrying bag. Offered by Paola & Iaia - The Originals

A vintage Whipshaft tennis racket. Offered by Paola & Iaia - The Originals

A 1930s La Belle and early 20th century Queen's tennis racket. Offered by Paola & Iaia - The Originals

A collection of vintage tennis books from the 1960s and 1970s. Offered by Paola & Iaia - The Originals

A collection of tennis brooches. A silver 1950s tennis racket and ball brooch, a 1950s metal double racket pin and a 1960s Léa Stein colourful pair of tennis rackets brooch. Offered by Paola & Iaia - The Originals

Come rain or come shine, it's one of the signs that the English summer is here and Wimbledon would not be the same without its iconic strawberries and cream. The tradition of the red fruit remains part of the tournament so much so that 28,000kg of them are eaten each year. The most likely explanation of the tradition seems to be a combination of circumstances - as strawberries were in season at the time of the tournament - and the fact that during the Victorian era they were the fashionable thing to eat. They were part of afternoon tea, a daily ritual, and that carried over to Wimbledon.

A pair of mid-century carved coral strawberry and jade leaf earrings with gold wires and half pearl stones.
Offered by Gareth Brooks

A 1950s single wheel cut champagne coupe with strawberries. Offered by Robinson Antiques

A 1950s picnic set. Offered by Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary

Be sure to enjoy one of our delicious home made afternoon teas at our Roof Top Kitchen and enjoy the sunshine on the roof terrace.

Wonderful hand made cakes available at the Roof Top Kitchen on our 3rd floor at Alfies

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