15 May 2015

The Great Spring Show


The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 will take place between 19th-23rd May at the Royal Hospital, London. The show was originally called 'The Great Spring Show', however the name 'The Chelsea Flower Show' rapidly eventually caught on. The event is a five day show is visited by 157,000 guests every year with extensive coverage on TV by the BBC.

Today the shows exhibitors display their gardens inside a pavilion, with all the Show Gardens constructed from scratch in only nineteen days. Until 2000, the Show Gardens were housed under a large marquee that was hence honoured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's biggest tent. The old tent was then transformed into 7,000 bags, aprons and jackets.

The land committed to show gardens expanded consistently from 1970 to 2000 and the show has turned into a critical venue for flowering trends. New plants are frequently exhibited at the show, while more established plants are revered under the spotlight of the agricultural world. Strangely until 2013, Gnomes were banned from the show – however exhibitors would regularly attempt to sneak them in to their gardens.

In 1947, to help fill the space left by exhibitors recuperating from the War, a portion of the marquee was devoted to flower arrangements for the first time. Since that point flower arrangement has turned into a customary highlight. In 1956 it was apportioned its own tent, referred to today as the Great Pavillion.

To celebrate The Chelsea Flower Show we have selected some of our favourite floral items at Grays.


Brooch and earring set available from Tings Jewellery Box

1980s white and champagne coloured rhinestone brooch available from Linda Bee

Gold and turquoise flower brooch available from Alfred Toro
Sterle gold flower brooch available from Nigel Norman

Vintage gold tone and emerald glass flower necklace available from Arabella Bianco
Victorian silver necklace available from Tings JewelleryBox

7 May 2015

Royalty

On 2nd May, the United Kingdom celebrated another Royal birth. The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton gave birth to a girl, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, and within hours of her being born, members of the public began buying Royal memorabilia to mark the occasion.

This memorabilia will be bought by hundreds of thousands of people; trinkets to commemorate her parents Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding were purchased to a grand total of £163 million!

Some older memorabilia being sold today is as odd as it is valuable. For example, a piece of Queen Elizabeth's wedding cake, which is 63 years old, was auctioned earlier this year for £1750! 

No matter how beautiful or ridiculous the memorabilia becomes, both of Prince William's children, George and Charlotte, will have a lifetime of royal memorabilia created to mark the milestones in their lives.

A bookmark, marking the dates of Queen Victoria's reign from Gillian Horsup
A 1937 brooch for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth from Gillian Horsup

A powder compact celebrating the silver jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary by Gillian Horsup

A small mirror the crowning of Queen Elizabeth I from Unicorn of Vintage Modes

2 May 2015

The legend of Cerberus

In mythology, dogs regularly serve as pets or as guard dogs. Within Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed guard dog who watches the entryways of Hades. He watches the passageway of the Greek underworld to keep the dead from getting away and the living from entering and is highlighted in numerous works of antiquated Greek and Roman writing.

Cerberus' depiction is most prominent in writing; various references to Cerberus have showed up in ancient Greek and Roman arts, and can be regularly found in archaeological ruins generally on statues and in buildings. The writers and poets of ancient Greece and Rome agreed mostly on the physical appearance; most sources depict Cerberus with three heads, however a few others demonstrate Cerberus with two or even only one.

Classical critics have distinguished one of the earliest works of Cerberus, a Laconian vase made around 560 BC in which Cerberus is indicated with three-heads and with lines of serpents covering his body and heads. In many works, the three heads represent the past, present and future, while different sources propose the heads speak to conception, youth, and maturity.

Here at Grays we have a great selection of antique pieces inspired by the form of the dog. Here are our favourites:

Rosenthal Putto with Borzoi by Max Fritz, 1937 available from Serhat Ahmet
1920s Bulldog Cigar Cutter available from Jack Podlewski
Meissen Pair of Pugs, c.1850 available from Serhat Ahmet
1980s Gold Terrier Broach available from Michael Marks
Victorian Meissen Pug group available from Martin Harris

1900s Black and White Terrier Dog available from Maraid McLean


23 April 2015

Georgian Jewellery

The Georgian period, 1714-1837, was defined by the four Georges from the Hanoverian Monarchs of the United Kingdom. This period of time, being most of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, was a time of rapid and intense societal change, where eccentric and fascinating individuals and events began transforming the world.

As a result of the change in society, luxuries such as jewellery were no longer just owned by aristocracy and was now becoming more widely available for members of the middle class. With a change in their attitude to life and the extreme dedication to look stunning for social events meant that a great and competitive demand for jewellery was created, but even with the huge amounts of change in fashion between now and then, many cherished examples we have today are still timeless.

In the Georgian era however, certain styles of jewellery were designated to a certain time of the day. During the day, women would wear a necklace or a pocket watch on a chain with a cameo pin and very small coloured natural stone rings that matched their bracelets and earrings not forgetting the most important piece; the Chatelaine. This was a piece of jewellery that would be hung from a belt with chains covered in all kinds of coloured stones such as garnet, emerald and ruby. Middle class women took a shine to deep sea treasures, wanting coral and pearls matched with ivory and turquoise.

The gentleman's equivalent was a superb set of status advertising shoe buckles and buttons, which were studded with diamonds and gemstones.

An example of Georgian jewellery from Spectrum at Grays Antiques

The evening was a completely separate story however, with rose cut and mine cut diamonds stealing the show. The most popular way to showcase these delights were in a diamond riviere, or a "river of light" delicately set into a line of silver which was shined until it glimmered almost as much as the diamonds.

Another staple item was Girandole earrings. These beautiful creations were designed with a bow motif at the clasp, which would hold below it another stunning shape, which had a drop that lined pearls or stones to a chosen length. The evolution of earring style changed here, as the clip-on earring was invented so that women with un-pierced ears could enjoy the delicate pieces.

Sylvie at Spectrum has two stunning sets of Georgian natural pearl tassle/bell drop earrings on gold wires. These items can be found at Grays Antiques, or you can contact Sylvie at 020 7629 3501 or sylviespectrum@hotmail.com.



16 April 2015

Dolls' House Study Day

Dolls' house enthusiasts are in for a special treat this weekend. The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is holding an exciting event: Dolls’ House Study Day on Saturday 18th April. It promises a day of reminiscing about our childhood, filled with talks from expert speakers and a series of hands on workshops. If you can’t make it this Saturday though, there is still time to visit their exhibition: Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls’ House, presenting stories of 12 dolls’ houses from the past 300 years, until 6th September 2015.

Inside the kitchen of a doll’s house made by Dr Killer from Manchester,
1835-38, on show at the V&A Museum of Childhood.

While in town, pop over to Grays for some more dolls’ delight. Grays dealers are well respected experts in the field and you will be well impressed by their large collection of antique dolls.  Here is s quick selection of what’s on offer:

Pretty Jumeau doll 25”, dates around 1900. Offered by Glenda Antique Dolls
Lovely Jumeau doll 18”, dates around 1907. Offered by Glenda Antique Dolls
Victorian Jumeau portrait fashion doll 19''. Offered by Sarah Sellers
19th Century papier-mâché doll with Apollo hairstyle. Offered by Marlis Tabizel

10 April 2015

Antiques for Everyone

Celebrating its 30th year in 2015, Antiques for Everyone started on 9 April and will run until 12 April. Held at the magnificent NEC in Birmingham, you can rest assured there will be a vast range of items on offer comprising antiques, interiors and collectables. All items are vetted for quality, date and condition.

This event is the perfect place to source treasured items from well established antique traders, some of whom are our very own Grays dealers - Diem, Saul Greenstein, Second Time Around and Shapiro & Co.

It's rather apt that Cherish an Antique day was also on 9 April. Items from a bygone era hold so much history, yet have timeless appeal and were built to last, we think a day in homage to antiques is well deserved. Do you have a special antique that holds significant importance to you? The following items are offered by the Grays dealers trading at the Antiques for Everyone event. Could one of these items be your future 'Cherish an Antique' and heirloom for generations to come?

Art deco, French, 18ct gold and platinum diamond pendant.
Approximately 3 carats of diamonds. c1920, offered by Saul Greenstein

Jemima Puddle-Duck brooch set in 18ct gold. London 1962, offered by Shapiro & Co

Sapphire & diamond ring, c1940s, offered by Diem



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