Friday, 11 August 2017

Festival Fashion

The festival season is still upon us, and if you're attending one  this summer we think it's a good excuse to dress up - it's all about escapism from the rat race and your usual attire. Festival fashion in the 1960s-70s was the most creative, especially with the come-as-you-are ethos of the era. 

Woodstock set the trend for festival fashion. On 15 August, 1969, Woodstock began in a field near Yasgur's Farm at Bethel, New York. The three-day concert featured 24 rock bands and drew a crowd of more than 300,000 young people. The event came to symbolise the counter-culture movement of the 1960s.

The fashion of those times continues to influence modern culture and the Woodstock style beat goes on!

A Woodstock reveller

The fashionable crowd at Woodstock

Alfies is the ideal place to buy your statement outfit, here's just a small selection of vintage fashion reminiscent of Woodstock...

1960s Bohemian shirt, handmade in Lebanon, from June Victor at Alfies

Gordon Clarke Simpson dress, from June Victor at Alfies

Radley of London dress, from June Victor at Alfies

1970s dress, from June Victor at Alfies

Seventies linen dress with beaded belt, from June Victor at Alfies 
1960s gold statement earrings from Dream Retro

Thursday, 3 August 2017

A Few Of My Favourite Things: Horner Antiques

This week we spoke with Michael Horner of Horner Antiques to gain an insight into some of his most valued items of stock. Michael chose five pieces from his collection within Alfies that either have a story behind them, or are of particular historical interest. Horner Antiques can be found at stand G012-13, on the ground floor beside reception.

From left to right: Japanese Imari plate (one of a pair), Japanese Heisen bowl, Ku-Tani vase (one of a pair), Chinese brush pot, Ku-Tani vase (one of a pair), Chinese teapot, Japanese Imari plate (one of a pair)

A pair of Imari plates – Imari is actually made in the Japanese town of Arita but is named as such because traditionally when wares were being exported to Europe, the crates in which items were stored were stenciled with 'Imari' relating to the port it was departing from. During this time, in Japan only nobles and certain ranks of soldier were permitted to ride horses and so the items would have been transported to the port of Imari by bullock drawn cart. Richly decorated with trees in blossom and butterflies, these plates would have been made around 1880/1890 and made purely for export to the West. Due to a lack of knife marks, it is also believed that these items have never actually been eaten from and are purely decorative.

A Haisen bowl - This piece would have been made in Arita around 1860-1880. Traditionally used by a Geisha for rinsing sake or tea bowls and decorated in traditional blue and white with stylised dragons and a Greek key pattern which was popular in the ancient world and travelled through the old trade routes.

A pair of Ku-Tani vases -  Ku – tani was an area in Japan, similar to that of England pottery areas which were originally known as the five towns and now Stoke-On-Trent. Ku-tani is a mix of two worlds which translate as 'nine valleys' and is where the white clays, feldspar and pigments were found to create the colour that is now known as Ku-Tani. These vases are from around 1890 in the Meiji period and decorated with classical figures in n a country scene.

A Chinese brush pot – Bearing a mark of the emperor Kangqhi, this piece was actually made during the late Victorian period under the emperor Juangxhu. As with a lot of Chinese pieces, the mark and period don’t always match. A traditional custom in China was to put an older mark on a piece as a sign of respect to one's ancestors. The decoration to the pot is Confucian, and in reference to the teachings of Confucius is depicting a fish holding up the world. The Chinese believed that there was heaven and middle earth (China) and then everything else. The potter responsible for making this piece gave the brush pot one final go on the pottery wheel and has lightly raked with a comb to create slight ridging, making it easier to lift. Fish at this time were used as entertainment in the form of ponds and fish bowls and people would have bred and sold their own fish.

A Chinese teapot - This piece was made around 1770 during reign of emperor Qianglong, who reigned from 1735 to 1796. The teapot would have been made for export to European trade and would have gone to a very wealthy family. At some point during the reign of Queen Victoria the porcelain handle was damaged and restored with a replacement handle. This was a rare occurrence at this time because people took care of their possessions - items were expensive and difficult to replace. Hand painted with figures fishing and the knop is in the shape of a peach, which in eastern folklore is a sign of longevity.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

July's Birthstone: Ruby

Rubies, the birthstone of July, are often used to represent love, health and wisdom and are widely considered to be the king of gems. To this day it is still the most valuable gemstone with the value increasing based on colour and quality. 

Traditionally, it was believed that wearing a ruby would bestow good fortune upon its owner, making all those born in July a very lucky bunch indeed.

Alfies isn't short of these lucky charms, read on to see just a small selection of our favourites.

A pair of 1980s natural ruby and diamond earrings set in 18ct gold. Offered by Kieron Reilly
A Victorian cranberry glass vase. Offered by Sheila Cameron

A 1950s paste brooch. Offered by April Antiques
A Whitefriars ruby glass molar vase with controlled bubble details. Offered by Robinson Antiques
1940s natural ruby and diamond brooches. Offered by Zeeba Jewels
A 1950s Japanese lacquerware sherry glass and tray set. Offered by Horner Antiques

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Sculpture at Alfies

Frieze Sculpture is currently underway at Regent's Park, which will run until 8 October this year. The green landscape has been transformed into a unique and exceptional spectacle, which encompasses art, culture, learning and fresh air! The exhibition brings together 24 new and significant works by 20th-century masters and leading contemporary artists from around the world.

Alfies is just a short walk away from Regent's Park, so why not extend your cultural tour and pay us a visit? You'll discover a treasure trove of art and sculpture as well as sculptural lighting and decorative objects. Below is just a small example of what we have on offer at the moment... 

1970s Abstract Brass Sculpture by Alan Chervet | Available from The Moderns 

Tommaso Barbi ‘Rhubard’ Floor Lamp | Available from Cupio Gallery

Woman, 20th century, pottery based | Available from Robert McKoy Fine Art

Neolithic Disc | Available from Duncan Clarke

1930s bronze and marble sculpture | Available from Diplomat Treasures International 

Below is a little taster of what to expect at Frieze Sculpture 2017...

Miquel Barcel√≥ | Gran Elefant Dret | Bronze

Urs Fischer | Invisible Mother 2015 | Cast brass and enamel 

KAWS | Final Days 2013 | Afromosia wood 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Pride in London

The Pride Festival has been taking place in London since Saturday 14 June, with this coming weekend marking the main events and culminating in the big finale that is the Pride Parade Saturday 8 July. Starting at 1pm on Regent Street and taking a 1.4 mile route through the capital, this year is set to be the biggest yet with over 300 groups marching and more floats included than ever before. The aim of Pride In London is to spread the message of equality and challenge prejudice whilst providing a celebration of LGBT+ life.

In recent years the rainbow design which is now associated with the LGBT+ community has become one that is instantly recognisable, and fairly clear in terms of it's message of diversity and inclusivity. Taking inspiration from this design we took a look around Alfies to find some colourful items that would fit within the rainbow spectrum!

From left to right: A wedgwood shell plate, c1900s. Offered by W & L Antiques; A Doric and Pansy design in aquamarine tea trio (part of a set), c1938. Offered by Robinson Antiques; A jadeite sugar bowl in a shell design, c1960s. Offered by Robinson Antiques; An Italian bottle vase, c1965. Offered by Robinson Antiques

From left to right: An English Bristol Blue glass vase, c1950s/60s. Offered by Renato; A Victorian piano leg stand in blue glass. Offered by Renato; A Murano glass cube table lighter, c1960s. Offered by Dream Retro; A candle holder, c1930s. Offered by W & L Antiques

From left to right: A cranberry glass oil and vinegar bottle, c1930s. Offered by W & L Antiques; A Whitefrairs ruby textured glass belly vase, c1965. Offered by Robinson Antiques; A Scandinavia cased vase, c1965. Offered by Robinson Antiques; A cranberry glass bottle, c1940s. Offered by W & L Antiques; A cranberry glass miniature jug. Offered by W & L Antiques

From left to right: A Whitefriars tangerine bark vase (middle size), c1970s. Offered by Robinson Antiques; A set of four Jersey Pottery table coasters, c1970s. Offered by Robinson Antiques; A painted glass vase, c1950s. Offered by W & L Antiques; A Murano tangerine glass dish, c1970s. Offered by Robinson Antiques

From left to right: A Whitefriars style miniature glass jug, c1960s. Offered by Dream Retro; A bakelite catalin buddha, c1920s. Offered by Diplomat Treasures International; A Chinese glass snuff bottle, 19th/20th century. Offered by Diplomat Treasures International; A European glass vase, c1960s. Offered by Dream Retro

Thursday, 29 June 2017

New Dealer: Dream Retro

Retro enthusiast, Jeniffer Jackson, turned her passion for the 1950s into a full-time business. Her love for vintage isn't limited to the 1950s, her stock also includes standout pieces from the 1930s to mid 1960s. Visit Dream Retro on the second floor at Alfies for all things kitsch and slightly quirky.

We spoke with Jeniffer to find out more... 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you specialise in?
I specialise in vintage handbags and compacts, plus barware. I enjoy the glamour and the lifestyle of the Mid-Century.

A view of the Dream Retro stand

A view of the Dream Retro stand

How did you become a dealer?
A long time fan of the 1950s and a love of early Hollywood films, turned into a passion for buying/collecting and eventually selling in Portobello market, Camden and Walthamstow. Plus collecting handbags and clothing to wear to the '40s and '50s clubs began to takeover my home! I needed to start trading in order to buy more items and escape the 9-5 rat race.

Your shop is called Dream Retro, 'retro' is a word  that seems to be underused these days, what does it mean to you and why did you choose 'retro' over 'vintage' for your business name?
Retro for me is a way of living, whereas vintage seems overused - some items referred to as vintage are not that old.

Why are you fond of retro fashion?
Because I find it striking, artistic and so much better than what we have today. The quality of the items, the style and design is unforgettable.

How would you describe your stock?
I would describe my stock as colourful, kitsch and eclectic, even slightly quirky.

Do you have any personal favourites in you collection?
The Andrew Seller handbag, the black glass atomiser and the circular skirt pattern are all favourites of mine.

Personal favourite: Vintage Andrew Seller Bag

Personal favourite: Black glass atomiser

Personal favourite: Circular skirt pattern

What piece would you love to find?
A lucite glass handbag, this is sought after as one of the most beautiful handbags, they are still out there and I would love to own one.

Do you collect anything?
I still collect the more unusual bags, perfume bottles and other items from the retro era.

Dream Retro | Stand S042/43 | 07999 543 612 |

Thursday, 22 June 2017

New Dealer: Cupio Gallery

Cupio Gallery recently opened within Alfies, located within the hub of design that is the First Floor Mezzanine. Born out of a personal passion for design, you can expect to see a variety of Italian mid-century pieces from this dealer. We spoke with founder Matthew Moreton to find out a little more.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
In short, a forty-something singleton residing in Primrose Hill with the obligatory canine!

How did you become a dealer?
After a long-time passion for all things Italian (gelato included!) my interest in 1940s/1950s Italian design began. After many, extensive visits in and around Italy and Europe, I very quickly found myself craving the designs of Fornasetti, Ponti, Borsani et al - often struggling to bring my impulse purchases back home with me to Blighty! When an opportunity arose to have a showroom space here at Alfies, I seized it, sought a good shipper, and set about to satisfy my own retail impulses whilst helping others find their perfect pieces along the way.

How would you describe your stock?
An eclectic and refined selection of 20th century furniture, lighting and glass design which is predominantly sourced from Italy and Continental Europe. From the understated elegance of the 1930s, through to the flamboyant glamour of the 1970s, our hope is to source stylish and beautiful items that are both original and unique.

Do you have any personal favourites in your collection?
I’m loving the Fontana Arte ‘1462’ pendant that we currently hold. It was designed by Max Ingrand who was Fontana Arte’s artistic director for ten years. The simplicity of its design in conjunction with the use of high quality materials make this a special piece.

What piece would you love to find?
I’d love to have one of the large vintage ‘Eros’ dining tables in Carrara marble. Designed by Angelo Mangiarotti in 1971, the simple ‘gravity’ joint design for the legs looks completely unfussy, allowing the beauty of the marble itself to take center stage. I will have to save my pennies!

Do you collect anything?
I try not to as it can become an expensive past-time, however, I can’t seem to stop buying Murano glass picture frames. I particularly love the earlier ones from the 1940s by companies such as Venini and Barovier - this really was glass production at its best.

Do you have a favourite place to visit in London?
I love London and there are so many wonderful places vying for my attention - the Sir John Soane’s Museum, cakes at Ottolenghi, lunch at Cecconi’s and the Columbia Road Flower Market are just a few of my favourite haunts. For me, however, there’s nothing better than a simple stroll through one of the Royal Parks, we’re so fortunate to have these large green spaces in the middle of our city - a great place to unwind.

A Murano glass vase, Italy, c1950

A Murano clear glass frame, Italy, c1940

A pair of mirrored glass vide poche, Italy, c1970

A Fornasetti lacquered, metal tray with transfers of Greek mythological figures/constellation motifs in gold-leaf, c1950.

Bitossi ‘Rimini Blu’ vase, c.1980. A limited edition 'Rimini Blu' vase from Bitossi and Sons, numbered 127/199, Italy, c1980.

A Venini ’filigrana’ frame, Italy, c1940.

Cupio Gallery | First Floor Mezzanine | 07845 878 088 |

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Father's Day: Antique Gift Inspiration

Father's Day is almost here and for those of you who are yet to find a gift for your dads, we've compiled a list of our top presents for men from Alfies

Dads are usually difficult to buy for, and if you want to avoid another year of beer and wine gums, we suggest you buy vintage! Not only will buying an antique or vintage gift mean that it's completely unique, it's also the environmentally friendly option.

Here are our favourite picks:

A 1951 football trophy made from  aluminum on a marble base. Offered by Tin Tin Collectables.

A vintage, wooden box by Piero Fornasetti. The lacquered, metal exterior features coloured transfers with ‘pipe’ motif. Offered by Cupio Gallery.

Cigar cutter by Pfeilring, Germany. Unused, in original box. c1965. Offered by Robinson Antiques.

Five branded shot glasses on a drink themed tray, c1960s (tray sold separately). Offered by Dream Retro.

Fornasetti 1950s brass and red lacquered ice bucket. Offered by Cupio Gallery.

Murano glass 1960s table lighter. Offered by Dream Retro.

Ruby and diamond fox cufflinks, set in gold and silver. Available from Gareth Brooks.

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