Thursday, 26 July 2018

Summer Garden Party Style

Summer is in full swing and with scorching temperatures set to continue- there’s no better way to celebrate than with a garden party!

Earlier this month, the Queen hosted the annual Summer Garden Party at Holyrood Palace. Each summer, the Queen hosts three Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace, and one at the Palace of Holyrood House in Scotland.

Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860s when Queen Victoria hosted what were known as ‘breakfasts’ (though confusingly they took place in the afternoon).

Historically, the annual garden parties were very much high society events with the presentation of debutantes and attendance of nobility.

From 1958 onward the parties  departed from their haute monde beginnings and evolved into a way of recognising and rewarding public service.

Though rooted in royalty, the British public has embraced the tradition of the garden party which has become an essential facet of the summer social calendar.

With so many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, we’re making the most of it by getting dressed up.

So whether it’s a relaxed BBQ or an elegant soiree, we’ve rounded up a selection of elegant  jewellery available here at Alfies that will add that extra special touch to your summer party outfit…

Circa 1900 French Platinum Diamond and Enamel Pendant. Available from Kieron Reilly

Victorian Gold Scarf Clip with Natural Pearls. Available from Gareth Brooks
A Victorian Silver, Amethyst and Moonstone Brooch. Available from Arabella Bianco

Victorian 18ct Emerald Pearl and Diamond Brooch, Circa 1880. Available from Kieron Reilly

Victorian Natural Sea Water Pearl and Diamond Ring, Circa 1890. Available from Kieron Reilly
Trifitail Gold Plated Bracelet with Faux Pearls. Available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Linda Bee: I love quality but I am not a classicist

Linda Bee has been trading with Bennie Gray’s businesses for most of her life. She has been part of Alfies, Barrett street market, Grays Antiques, and now she is back in Alfies and has joined forces with the Vintage Modes ladies.

Linda Bee in her stand

I asked her about her early days in the vintage trade.

I was very shy as a child and when I changed my school from Soho to Victoria my new teachers said that I should go to Art School. I wanted to but I did not want to leave my friends. I was creative and I wanted to do creative things, but mostly get involved with fashion. I wanted to go into hairdressing or design. Instead I ended up working in an office. However, soon I was running a hat shop. That experience changed my life. It was the seventies. I moved to Chiltern street. There were all sorts of interesting shops there and the Chiltern Fire House was still a working fire station.

I was working for Diane Logan and my life changed overnight. Diane Logan was the sister-in-law of Andrew Logan, the artist. Through them I met fascinating people and glamorous personalities of the London art scene, Andrew Logan the artist, Pauline Stone the model, Fenella Fieldings the actress, Derek Jarman the film director, Divine the actor. At the time Diane (Logan) would love going to jumble sales and bring back things into the shop to sell. It was all sorts of extraordinary objects.

In my break I used to go to Barrett Street, near Oxford Street, which was a market owned by Alfies' founder Bennie Gray. It was very similar to Alfies, but there were also stalls outside on the street which people could rent very cheaply. Then I could sell my findings from the market in the hat shop. I was desperate to become a dealer of vintage fashion and I had this boyfriend who said to me "Bee you can be anything you want to be!". He really encouraged me to explore my passion for fashion, so I rented a unit in Alfies as soon as it opened, he built it for me. I was there the very first day Alfies opened. I was located near the entrance, on the ground floor. But I was inexperienced and didn’t really like it. A friend of mine offered to buy the stall and I moved my new business to Barrett street. I carried on trading there until Bennie sold the market and all we moved to Grays Antiques. 

I don’t have any difficulty choosing stock. It’s more a matter of having the resources to expand my collection the way I like it. When I was little and my father wanted to take me out to the park, I always wanted to go and look at the shops on Bond Street. When I read Collette this phrase impressed me: "The shop windows of Paris are my changing museums, and although I love museums, I find that shops reflect life more. They inspire me".

My collection is multifaceted. If you are artistic you can’t be limited. I am inspired by all artistic expressions in art and design. I love interiors and dressing people. I would describe my collection as eclectic and very theatrical. I like quality and haute couture, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Dior. But I especially like anything that catches my eye, which could be inexpensive 1950s but with great design. My customers are themselves people of the theatre, other dealers, Americans, Europeans, people who appreciate glamour. I am just not a classicist!    

We had a browse around Linda's shop and spotted lots of covetable objects, see below...

Linda Bee at Vintage Modes | Second Floor, S048/49 | 07956 276 384 |

Written by Titika Malkogeorgou

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Pavlos S. Pavlou: I was born a collector

One of our new dealers here at Alfies is also one of our long established numismatics dealers that came from Grays Mews. A global authority on coins of European and Middle Eastern origin, encompassing the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, Pavlos is well known in the numismatic world. I started our interview by asking him some questions about the origins of his becoming an antique’s dealers.

Pavlos in his stand, S011

Pavlos, please tell us how did it all start? 
I started full time in 2003. I used to catalogue coins for Bonham’s Auctioneer’s for 15 years.

How did you become involved with Bonham’s?
I was always interested in coins. I was working in banking for 29 years and during that time I was basically a collector. So when I was made redundant I became employed in the numismatics. 

Is this how your passion for coins started?
My passion for coins started in 1965. I was already a collector of coins by then, but 1965 is my benchmark. My father had a shop and I was helping out sometimes. I remember an incident which marked me; it was when I gave this old lady a Churchill crown as change. She threw it back at me because she thought I was cheating her. The Churchill crowns were commemorative as they had just come out after Churchill’s death. That experience shocked me because I thought coins were beautiful. 

My father owned an Import Export Company. So he travelled a lot for work. Whenever he came back from abroad, I used to take all his change. I was totally fascinated by the different styles and designs. I remember him coming back from Italy and seeing those coins. The images on them looked like Greek goddesses. They were Roman Goddesses of course. But I collect stamps too. And I collect paper money. I was born a collector. 

How do you source your stock?
I am known in the numismatic world. I buy at auctions and from other dealers. I also go to Fairs and I belong to clubs. I am a member of the Royal Numismatic Society.

Would you like to say something about your favourite pieces?
I studied History of Art, History and Latin, and my stock reflects my interest in Ancient Greek and Roman coins, Byzantine and European Medieval collections. I am also a specialist in Ancient Egyptian coins.  As a matter of fact I started with Egyptian, because they were cheap at the time. Now the tables have turned and they are the most expensive. I collect and deal in Ptolemaic and Roman Egyptian coins.

Could you point to an item in your collection that is very special to you?
Well, I love the coins of the Crusades and of the Byzantine Empire. I see them as my heritage. In particular the period since Anastasius I, who, as you know, is a Saint in Greek Orthodox Church, is very important to me. And I specialise in Armenian coins too. My paternal grandmother is Armenian you know, and so I have a particular attachment to the Amenian culture and heritage. It’s a romantic thing. I am a romantic at heart.

BYZANTINE EMPIRE. Phocas AD 602-610. AV.Solidus

CRUSADER STATES. CYPRUS. James II AD 1460-1473. AR.Gros.'Coronation issue'

ARMENIA. Levon I AD 1198-1219.AR. Double Tram. (5.67g, 27.1mm, 3h)

ITALY. VENICE. Nicolo Tron (1471-1473), Silver Trono (or Lira of 20-Soldi)

Pavlos S. Pavlou | S011 | Second Floor Gallery

Written by Titika Malkogeorgou

Friday, 6 July 2018

Art Night, 2018

Art Night 2018 on Saturday 7th July

Untitled. Image courtesy of Art Night London

Hayward Gallery. Image courtesy of Art Night London
Battersea Power Station. Image courtesy of Art Night London

Art Night 2018 is London's largest free contemporary art festival. This year it falls this weekend, Saturday 7th July, from 6pm to 6am.  Each year the festival partners with a leading art gallery and curator, focusing on a different area of London to discover its unique identity, culture and architecture though a variety of art forms.

The focus of this year's festival is transforming the Thames riverbank between the South Bank and Battersea Power Station, via Vauxhall and Nine Elms, showcasing iconic and off-the-beaten venues with artworks and pop up performances in over sixty locations.  All 12 events in the programme are curated by the Hayward Gallery and are free and open to all without tickets. Please note that all of the 50 plus events in the Art Night Open are free, but that a small number are ticketed. The programme will feature a range of contemporary art, ranging from immersive multimedia installation and visual reality to interactive experiences, special screenings and live music.

Inspired by one of the biggest art events this summer, then look no further and come and visit us here at Alfies where you will find a wonderful array of fine art, paintings, prints, sculpture, decorative pieces and more waiting to be discovered..

A lesson in wasted morals, oil on canvas, early 19th  century. John Cserny at Alfies.

An abstract painting by James Arnold Martin, contemporary, British. Mark Eaton at Alfies.
Large silver hollow lidded pendant, 12th century, Afghanistan. Marko Pollo at AlFayez, Alfies.

16th century Iznic border tile. Ottoman, Turkey. Antique Choices at AlFayez, Alfies Antique Market.

An English landscape with figures, oil on canvas, 19th century. John Cserny at Alfies.

Mid century painting  'Exhausted Nanny'. Diplomat Treasures International at Alfies 

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