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.

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/cornell/cornell.cockatoo-corks.jpg
Untitled (Cockatoo and Corks) c. 1948

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/cornell/cornell.hotel-eden.jpg
Untitled (The Hotel Eden) c. 1945
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Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery 1943
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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 Afternoontea.co.uk

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

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
 

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