Saturday, 29 August 2015

Let's Party- London's Notting Hill Carnival

Join in the party this weekend, with a sea of stunning colours, dazzling costumes, floats and sparkling street performers, as the Notting Hill Carnival celebrates London's multicultural past and present. Whether you want to join in the fun and dancing or simply watch the parades, this bank holiday weekend, August 30 to 31 2015, the streets of Notting Hill turn into Europe's biggest and best street festival.

Image sourced from Hello Magazine

Since 1964, the capital's Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions at this two-day festival of fantastic live music, dancing, performances, floats, steel bands and an array of delicious Afro-Caribbean foods to try.

The first carnival in Notting Hill was to showcase the steel band musicians who played at Earls Court each weekend. When the bands performed around the streets of Notting Hill their music and celebrations reminded the residents of the Caribbean homes they had left behind. This then became a yearly tradition and to the vibrant street party it is today.

The origin of the carnival dates back to the early 19th century Caribbean carnivals, in particular Trinidad's, which celebrated the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. Having been forbidden to have festivals or celebrations of their own during the times of slavery, the people of Trinidad took full advantage of the new freedoms and there was a strong aspect of parody in the songs and dances performed.

The bright costumes have become a vital part of the street celebrations and at Alfies we have an abundance of colourful bags, spectacular costume jewellery and vintage clothing perfect for the weekend's festivities.

1950s green glass and plastic bead carnival necklace. Offered by Tony Durante

1950s American blue floral hat. Offered by Carole Collier

1950s American Sacs 5th Avenue clutch bag with compact mirror and silk purse. Offered by Carole Collier

A stunning vintage belly dancing costume made of silver wooden beads and green jewels. Offered by Tin Tin Collectables

1920s rock crystal 18ct diamond earrings. Offered by Pari's Jewellery

1980s gold disco earrings. Offered by Tony Durante

An early 20th century Japanese decorative head dress. Offered by Tin Tin Collectables

A beautiful 20th century statement necklace. Offered by Gloria Sinclair

Friday, 21 August 2015

Joseph Cornell at the Royal Academy of Arts

Wanderlust is an exhibition currently showing at the Royal Academy of Arts showcasing Joseph Cornell's finest work. Cornell was an artist and sculptor who was greatly influenced by the Surrealists. His limitless imagination resulted in some of the most original art of the 20th century.

Cornell's most characteristic art works were glass-fronted boxed assemblages created from found objects, sourced from places such as Manhattan's antique bookshops, junk shops and dime stores. He was fascinated by the fragments of once beautiful and precious objects, relying on the Surrealist technique of irrational juxtaposition and on the evocation of nostalgia for his appeal. These boxed assemblages reflected his various interests, the series included: The Soap Bubble Sets, the Medici Slot Machine series, the Pink Palace series, the Hotel series, among others.

In the late 1930s Cornell began his Aviary series, one he would work on until his death. His aviary series of boxes depicted colourful cut out birds mounted on wood, they were often starkly juxtaposed with hotel paraphernalia, foreign newspaper clippings, European advertisements, theatre and dance programmes.
Untitled (Cockatoo and Corks) c. 1948
Untitled (The Hotel Eden) c. 1945
Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery 1943
Untitled (Pharmacy) 1943

At Alfies we have objects that we think Cornell would have gladly added to his collection to create a surreal masterpiece. Here's what we found...

Italina Murano perfume bottle c1950, offered by Travers Antiques

Morphine apothecary’s bottle, offered by Atomiuim

A selection of vintage hotel cocktail stirrers. Offered by Renato

A corner of Paola & Iaia's shop

Victorian Massi livestock rotating numbers branding tool iron stamp, offered by Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary

1960s Valve Television Set, offered by Eclectic Antiques & Contemporary

Joseph Cornell Wanderlust
The Royal Academy of Arts
4 July — 27 September
Saturday – Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm

Friday, 14 August 2015

Time For Tea

Afternoon tea, the perfect British pass time. If ever there's a rainy day, put the kettle on. Any problem big or small - a nice cup of tea will make it better. Tea has been a firm favourite with us Brits since the 18th century, and we have the world's greatest tea consumption per capita! To celebrate our love for the beloved hot beverage, this week - Monday 10th to Sunday 16th August - it is National Afternoon Tea Week.

National Afternoon Tea Week. Image by

Between 1720 and 1750 the imports of tea to Britain through the British East India Company more than quadrupled, making it a highly valuable item to trade. Again, between 1872 and 1884 the supply of tea to the British Empire increased with the expansion of the railway to the east. From 1884 onwards, due to it's growing popularity, the prices dropped and the drink thus became a choice not only for the upper classes but for people of all backgrounds to enjoy. London became the centre of the international tea trade and with this came a large increase in the demand for porcelain from tea cups, pots and saucers.

At Alfies we have a number of dealers who specialise in fine china, oriental porcelain, silver teapots and everything in between. Here are just a few we have to offer.

A 1930s Sadlers car teapot. Offered by Beth

1930s Japanese tea set, decorated with Moriage detailing. Offered by Horner Antiques

1920s boxed and signed Murano gilt glass cups and saucers decorated with cherries. Offered by Nadine Okker

1790 English silver teapot, with one of the rarest marks on English silver,
Peter and Jonathan Bateman, sons of Hester Bateman. Offered by Janes Antiques

A selection of Art Deco Shelley trio sets. Offered by Beth

1930s Wade Heath Disney house teapot. Offered by Beth

1970s Japanese blue and white shallow teapot. Offered by Horner Antiques

1935 Art Deco platinum ring Royal Doulton tea set, casino pattern. Offered by Robinson Antiques

If this has whetted your appetite for a delicious afternoon tea, then be sure to visit our fantastic Roof Top Kitchen who offer a range of superb teas, coffees and homemade cakes.

Friday, 7 August 2015

A Royal Welcome at Buckingham Palace

Visitors to Buckingham Palace this summer will receive a royal welcome as part of a new exhibition, A Royal Welcome. See first-hand how the Palace copes with the 62,000 guests it entertains each year during state banquets, investitures, garden parties and private audiences.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the state banquet: a table is set up just as it was for a state visit by the President of Singapore in October 2014. For the first time, tourists will be allowed to enter the State rooms through the Grand Entrance, following in the footsteps of kings, queens and presidents. 

While in their current incarnation state banquets are largely a 20th-century innovation, Queen Victoria wrote in her diary about entertaining Napoleon III of France in 1855, ‘in the usual dining room’. The following year, after vast renovations, she added a new Ballroom, having appealed to Prime Minister Robert Peel for ‘a room capable of containing a larger number of persons whom the Queen has to invite in the course of a season’. State banquets have been held here since 1914.

At Alfies we came across a few beautifully ornate antiques that wouldn't look out of place in the Royal residence...

Limoges Porcelain Centre-Piece & Stand, offered by Nadine Okker
1893 Fruit cutlery set, Sheffield silver plate with pearl handles by Charles James Allen & Sidney Darwin, offered by Goldsmith & Perris
Italian Capodimonte vase with cover, classical scene, c1920, offered by Gloria Sinclair

A beautiful early 20th century silver horse riding trophy by D & M Davies. Birmingham 1921, offered by Goldsmith & Perris

A pair of W. Adams & Co. Cattle Scenery vegetable dishes. 1891-1903, offered by Horner Antiques

Overmantle mirror with semi-reflective glass. Probably mid 20th century European. Offered by Matt Mitchell London

A Royal Welcome will run until 27 September, 2015.

Opening times 
25 July - 31 August 2015
Open daily, 09:30-19:30

1-27 September 2015
Open daily, 09:30-18:30
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