28 August 2014

Grays' Pop-Up Vintage Shop!

Today and Tomorrow - 28TH & 29TH AUGUST 2014

With our lower-ground floor having been closed for the past few weeks, our many Vintage dealers who are usually based down there, have been left without somewhere to show their extensive collections. To give their unique pieces the chance to be seen, Grays will be hosting a pop-up sale next door in The Music Room today 28th August and tomorrow 29th August. Vintage Modes; featuring Gillian Horsup, Arabella Bianco and June Victor, as well as Kitty Verity, Maria Kamon and Ting's Jewellery Box will all be hosting stalls so don't miss out on their fantastic assortment of clothes, jewellery, bags and accessories - recommended by Time Out London, there are too many beautiful items to be left in storage! 

Vintage Modes selection of coats and bags

Kitty Verity's selection of costume jewellery

Gillian Horsup will also be showing her more accessible collection of lower priced brooches and small pieces of jewellery, so there will be something in everyone's price range, and with payday tomorrow - who cares anyway?

Gillian Horsup's brooch collection

20 August 2014


Fine jewellery at Grays is superabundant. You will find birthstones of every month in the form of brooches, ring's, bracelets, earrings and cufflinks, making it the ideal gift for your loved one.

Peridot is the birthstone for the month of August, we have put together a selection of peridot jewellery available from our dealers....

Edwardian Double Heart Brooch set with Peridots & Natural Split Pearls, offered by The Antique Jewellery Company

Edwardian Peridot & Diamond Set Cluster Ring, offered by Wimpole Antiques

Art Nouveau Peridot & Pearls Necklace and Earrings Set, offered by Boris Sosna t/a C & B Gems & Antique Jewellery

Victorian Pearl & Peridot Brooch, offered by Emmy Abe

18ct Yellow Gold, Emerald & Diamond Ring, offered by Westminster Group

9ct Pink Gold, Diamond, Pearl & Peridot Fly Pendan, offered by Beaut

30 July 2014

The Horrors of War

The 4th of August marks the 100th anniversary of the German invasion of Belgium and the start of World War One. Many people are unaware of the true extent of atrocities committed towards innocent Belgian civilians by the German army.

Only recently, a series of etchings portraying the inconceivable plight that men, women and children suffered were rediscovered. These terrible events were known at the time as ‘The Rape of Belgium’.

The graphic illustrations were so horrific that when artist Pierre-Georges Jeanniot displayed his series of etchings, they were immediately banned by the police to avoid panic and public outcry. 

The Horrors of War is a set of  rediscovered etchings depicting the barbaric treatment of Belgians by German troops. A specially produced, illustrated, explanatory book by Mark Hill (pictured above) comes with the full set of ten etchings.

Almost one century since the events occurred, these historically important etchings can be seen again. Acquired by Mark Hill, the set of ten original copper etching plates were professionally restored and the illustrations subsequently published for the first time.

An exclusive numbered, limited edition of 250 sets are available to buy. Each etching has been given a title relating to an event that took place.

X – In The Church
III – The Massacre at Blamont

The Horrors of War series can be viewed in Mark Hill's shop at Grays Antiques, stand G23. More information can be found on Mark Hill's website here.

28 July 2014

Lost Bust of Shelley Acquired by Tate

A twice life size bronze bust of the poet Percy Shelley by Amelia Robertson Hill (1820 – 1904) has been acquired by Tate Britain from Horton Art and Antiques.

Exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1882 and highly regarded by critics in its day. The bronze then remained in the artist’s home until her death in 1904.

Amelia produced only sixty works during her lifetime – mainly portraits, busts and statues – consequently her work is generally less known to the wider general public.
She was one of the first female sculptors to be given a public commission; her most famous work, the statue of David Livingstone in Edinburgh.

Commenting on this recent acquisition, the Tate Director, Sir Nicholas Serota said “We are extremely pleased to begin Amelia Robertson Hill’s representation in the Collection with this work”.

The bust will be exhibited in Gallery 9 of the Tate from August 2014.

24 July 2014

This Old Thing - Vintage fashion at Grays

Channel 4 programme ‘This Old Thing’ has sparked a resurgence of interest in vintage fashion, helping unsure fashion lovers broaden their shopping horizons. Presenter Dawn O’Porter has brought Grays under the spotlight by wearing – and dressing her protégés in – several outfits from Vintage Modes at Grays. As a regular shopper at Vintage Modes herself, she also featured us as a vintage shopping destination in her book ‘This Old Thing’. Thanks Dawn, we’re always glad to have someone looking fabulous in our collections!

From left to right: a 1970s summer dress by Jean Varon as worn by
Dawn O'Porter and 
Dawn wearing a silk Courreges jacket. Both
from Vintage Modes. 
 Grays mews is a veritable fashion destination for vintage clothing, jewellery and accessories and is regularly featured in magazines such as Vogue, Tatler and Stylist. On our lower-ground floor as well as Vintage Modes - a well established collective of fashion dealers whose expertise in sourcing on-trend and classic pieces over the years have made them a reputable name to fashion insiders and celebrities – you will also discover Kitty Verity; who at the age of 22, has an eye trained for bold vintage costume jewellery. More vintage finds can be had on the ground floor at Linda Bee, located just next to reception and boasting a wealth of quality vintage jewellery and accessories. Linda has been trading at Grays for over 30 years now and has amassed a fine collection; specialising in vintage handbags, cat related items, powder compacts and commercial perfume bottles, as well as a selection of vintage clothing and fashion accessories.

Linda Bee on the ground floor at Grays
Vintage Modes is a hidden boudoir; lined from floor to ceiling in red velvet, it’s easy to spend hours hidden among their rails of carefully curated fashion. All vintage clothing is sourced by fashion expert Susie Nelson and June Victor and each piece is scrupulously hand selected for condition and style. Gillian Horsup, Arabella Bianco and Lola of Unicorn adorn Vintage Modes with their stunning collection of costume jewellery such as Art Deco diamanté brooches, Egyptian revival jewellery, Bakelite and celluloid bangles, as well as key pieces from renowned jewellery designers such as Kenneth Lane, Miriam Haskell, Schiaparelli and Trifari.

The Vintage Modes emporium on the lower-ground floor

Arabella Bianco at Vintage Modes

Situated just opposite Bond Street Tube Station Grays couldn't be easier to reach. Visit Monday- Friday from 10am-6pm or Saturdays from 11am-5pm. Come on down for your unique vintage find!

10 July 2014

Royal Ruby

Diamonds might be forever but rubies are for eternity! Throughout history, rubies have been considered the “King of Gems” and the symbol of status and success. Associated with love, passion, power and royalty they were essential elements of royal insignia and a favoured jewel among many celebrities. 

This highest valued coloured gemstone is extremely hard and durable yet almost all naturally mined rubies have flaws tolerated as part of the nature of the stone. In fact, large eye clean rubies are extremely rare and can command higher prices than diamonds. Rubies can be found all over the world but the finest rubies were originally mined in Myanmar, formerly Burma hence the name Burmese ruby. 

Rubies are found in a variety of reds, ranging from pink to blood-red stones with the most desirable colour “pigeon’s blood”, a deep red with a hint of blue.  The red hue comes from traces of the mineral chromium.

Rubies represent the month of July and are also the traditional gift for 15th and 40th wedding anniversary. These eye-catching gemstones are very hot trend on red carpets and a popular choice for smart investors!

Whether you are a good investor or simply looking for that special gift for your loved one, we have a great selection of ruby jewellery at Grays:

3-stone ruby and diamond ring, c1900s. Offered by Robin Haydock
Ruby and diamond ring, c1900. Offered by Robin Haydock
Ruby and diamond ring. Art Deco French. Offered by Boris Sosna
Ruby, diamond and pearl pendant. Art Deco French. Offered by Boris Sosna
Victorian ruby cluster and diamond French bracelet. Offered by Boris Sosna
1950s Ceylon star ruby pendant. Offered by Shapiro & Co
1920s ruby and diamond ring. Offered by Leila in the Mews
Victorian ruby and diamond brooch/pendant. Offered by Wimpole Antiques

1960s Tiffany ruby and diamond brooch. Offered by Hallmark Antiques
1960s Burmese ruby ring by Oscar Heyman. Offered by DB Gems

For more information visit: www.graysantiques.com

27 June 2014

Blown Glass: From Sand to Craft

Today, the glass blowing technique is at the height of its powers for artistic and much experimental purposes. But it hasn’t always been about the art. Historically, it was the increase in shapes and in designs that the invention of glassblowing made possible which contributed to this method of glass forming becoming pre eminent. Soon after, the mold-blowing process developed as an offshoot of free-blowing and was used as an alternate method.

As a novel glass forming technique created in the middle of the last century BC, glassblowing exploited inflation as a working property of glass. Inflation refers to the expansion of a molten blob of glass by introducing a small amount of air to it. Glass blowing involves three furnaces with the transformation of raw materials into glass at about 1,320 °C in the first stage and the transformation of glass from a pale white to bright orange. The glassblower would manipulate molten glass while still malleable and create patterns, handles, or flanges.

A pair of Islamic pale green glass bottles, 2nd century AD offered by Armin Antiques

A selection of Islamic and pre-Islamic glass offered by Antique Choices
There’s evidence that glass vessels have been produced in Egypt and Mesopotamia since the fifteenth century but their introduction into Europe didn’t happen until the 5th century B.C. By the time of the Roman Republic, glass is used widely in the Italian peninsula as table ware, and as vessels of all shapes and sizes containing oils, food, medicine and perfume. We don’t know why this is the case but it’s suggested that the Roman glass production came from almost nothing to become a complex and highly developed industry. Core-formed glass dominated the Greek world but blown glass came to dominate Roman glass production and Roman military and political expansion carried the glass production and distribution with it. At the height of its popularity in Rome, glass was present in every aspect of daily life and glass was being blown in many areas of the Roman Empire.

During the first centuries of Islamic rule, glassmakers in the Eastern Mediterranean continued to use the Roman recipe consisting of calcium-rich sand and minerals from Egypt. And in fact, Islamic glass did not begin to develop a recognizable expression until the late 8th, despite the wide spread of Islam across the Middle East and North Africa with the Eastern Mediterranean remaining a centre of glass production. The Roman and Mesopotamian glassmaking industries continued in much the same way they had for centuries earlier. But following the unification of the entire region, the interaction of ideas and techniques was facilitated, allowing for the fusion of these two separate traditions with new ideas and the creation of a distinct Islamic glass industry.

Islamic glass jug, 12th century offered by Bakhtar Art
Roman pale blue green glass vessel offered by Armin Antiques
Pre-Islamic glass offered by Antique Choices
The Crusades made the European discovery of Islamic gilded and enamelled vessels possible and on an unprecedented scale. During the Renaissance, Bohemia, part of modern day Czech Republic, became famous for its beautiful and colourful glass. With an abundance of natural resources found in the countryside, Bohemia turned out expert craftsmen who made Bohemian glass famous for its excellent cut and engraving.

Indeed Bohemian glassware became as prestigious as jewellery and was sought-after by the wealthy and the aristocracy of the time. Hand-cut, engraved, blown and painted decorative glassware ranging from champagne flutes accompanying dinner sets to enormous chandeliers adorning palaces, complex ornaments and figurines gave glass production anew dimension.

The fascination with glass is ever present and evolving as it allows for innovation and stylistic expression for the glass blower by turning technology into something close to magic.

Islamic glass bottle offered by Bakhtar Art
Roman glass bottle offered by Bakhtar Art
Roman pale blue green juglet offered by Armin Antiques
Roman glass, offered by Bakhtar Art

Bohemian tankard, offered by Mousa Antiques
Bohemian centre-piece, c1870-1880, offered by Mousa Antiques
Bohemian decanter, c1880, offered by Mousa Antiques

Pair of port or sherry glasses, Georgian, c1800, offered by Jack Podlewski
Bohemian vase, c1870-1880, offered by Mousa Antiques

Pair of Bohemian vases, offered by Mousa Antiques

Wine glass jug (sold as a pair), c1850, offered by Jack Podlewski
Bohemian goblet with lid, c1900, offered by Mousa Antiques
Glass vase, offered by Jack Podlewski
For more information visit www.graysantiques.com
Written by Titika Malkogeorgou

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