25 February 2016

New Dealer at Grays Antiques: Decart7 Collectables

New in this month at Grays is a wonderful showcase dealer, Decart7, who deal in Art Nouveau & Art Deco collectables. Decart7 source beautiful and interesting pieces, in particular bronzes, glassware, ceramics and silver from the 1920s and 1930s.

Some of the key designers, producers and sculptors of these periods include Claire Jeanne Robert Colinet and Joseph Lorenzl, both sculptors, Marius Hammer, enamel worker and Royal Doulton, producer of tableware and collectables.

Colinet
Claire Jeanne Robert Colinet was born in Brussels in 1880 and studied under Jef Lambeaux, moving to Paris where she studied and worked. She has always been regarded as one of the most gifted sculptors of the era and Colinet's figures are often very dramatic and caught in "action" poses.

Doulton
Charles Noke joined Doulton in 1889 as chief designer and modeller and went on to become Art Director in 1914. He was instrumental in the introduction of Kingsware from 1898.

Joseph Lorenzl
Joseph Lorenzl (1892-1950) was born and worked in Vienna, Austria. He created a large number of figures in bronze and in bronze with ivory. He is most famous for his figures of women; lean, tender girls caught in simple, elegant movements. In style he is similar to Stefan Dakon and in fact both worked for, or had their designs produced by, Goldscheider.

Below are a few of our favourite items of stock currently available:


'The Juggler'. 1920s cold painted gilt bronze by Colinet.

A signed Deco bronze with almost perfect patination and vibrant colour, by Joseph Lorenzl.

A signed bronze with strong colour on an onyx base. Finely cast. By Joseph Lorenzl.

A stunning finely enamelled and richly gilded pot, by Marius Hammer.

Swedish Silver & Enamel Casket, by Cohen & Charles, London.

"Gnomes and Munchkins" series illustrations by Arthur Rackham. Plate and tray set. 5 plates signed Noke. From Doulton.


Decart7
Showcase V23, Grays Mews
Tel: 07778 361 135

18 February 2016

Ancient Blue

Blue was a latecomer among colours used in art and decoration, as well as in language and literature.

Blue pigments were originally made up of minerals, typically either lapis lazuli or azurite, most notably it was used for the eyebrows on the ceremonial mask of King Tutankhamen. Lapis lazuli, a natural deep blue semi-precious stone mined from Afghanistan, was too costly because it had to be imported across the desert from Afghanistan to Egypt. Starting in about 2500 BC, the ancient Egyptians began to produce their own blue pigment referred to as "Egyptian blue", created by grinding silicon dioxide, lime, copper and alkali and is considered the first artificial pigment.

Egyptians associated blue with the sky and with divinity, a colour which might shield the dead against evil in the afterlife. Legend has it that the Egyptian god Amun would make his skin blue so that he could fly invisibly across the sky. In the Mediterranean it is still common to wear a blue talisman, representing the eye of God to shield them from misfortune.

Egyptian blue was used to paint wood, papyrus and canvas, and was used to colour a glaze to create faience beads, inlays, and pots. Blue glass was manufactured in Mesopotamia and Egypt, using similar copper ingredients as Egyptian blue pigment.

We have scoured the market to bring together a fine selection of Lapis Lazuli and Egyptian style pieces from Grays.


Art Deco snake bangle, available from Leila in the Mews

Vintage 'Egyptian Revival' faience scarab bracelet, available from Arabella Bianco

Egyptian lapis lazuli necklace, available from Ornina

Gold plated mogul box, available from Marko Polo
Lapis lazuli intact Athena brooch with 21 carat gold frame, available from Ornina

Late Bronze Age pennanular neck torque, available from Ancient Jewellery
Austria brooch with lapis glass stones, avaliable from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery






11 February 2016

St Valentine's Day

Myths and legends surrounding this well-known day of romance and love are numerous, and these are surprisingly not always of the romantic kind. It first originated from a liturgical celebration involving one or several of the early Christian saints, all by the name of Valentinus or Valentine.

Many stories were invented surrounding these various Valentines, but one of the more popular ones is the story of St Valentine of Rome, who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians. According to the legend, while in prison he healed and befriended the daughter of his jailer, later sending her a letter of farewell before his execution signing it "Your Valentine".

But it was not until the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished, that the day would be connected to the declaration of romantic love. The more modern traditions that we know and see today would not take shape until a few more hundred years later. Lovers expressing their affection for each other by presenting different gifts, such as flowers, jewellery and greeting cards, so called "valentines", would not be seen until this tradition's arrival in England during the 18th century.

Regardless of whether you are a true romantic or the more cool-headed type, St Valentine's Day is here and if you're still on the look out for a gift, Grays has a wonderful selection of fine jewellery, for men and women, trinkets, glass and silverware and ceramics. If you need that special present engraving, Grays' in-house engravers Bennett & Thorogood will inscribe on to precious metals and a wide variety of objects from gold and silver jewellery, to watches, tankards, napkins and umbrellas.

Doves of peace and love brooch by Chaumet with natural citrine set in 18ct gold. Dated 3rd June 1946, offered by Wimpole Antiques.



A beautiful Claddagh ring (heart-hand ring), offered by the Antique Jewellery Company.


A fine selection of vintage Valentine-inspired items. Ranging from Victorian to contemporary, with a Lea Stein heart brooch and a pair of Butler and Wilson 1980s faux pearl earrings. Offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery. 


Rare, Victorian 18ct gold heart shaped pendant set with a rock crystal inner heart and natural split pearls. It has a pretty bow top set with split pearls and a loop similarly set with pearls. Made circa 1890, offered by the Antique Jewellery Company.

Cartier ring with a platinum set brilliant cut diamond with diamond sides, offered by Anthea AG Antiques.


4 February 2016

Year of the Monkey

The Chinese animal zodiac, or Shengxiao, is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its reputed attributes. Traditionally these zodiac animals were used to date the years.

This year it's the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle. 2016 is a Fire Monkey year. Both the sign and element of your birth year are said to affect your personality and destiny. The characteristics of a Fire Monkey are 'ambitious and adventurous, but irritable'.

Monkey years are believed to be an unlucky years for people of the Monkey sign. “Monkeys” (who take Chinese astrology seriously) are particularly careful about their health, love lives, career, and investments in Monkey years.

Regardless of the bad luck associated with this Chinese zodiac sign, we often see monkeys as being cute and highly intelligent animals and significant in their impact on our culture.

In honour of Year of the Monkey, we have put together a selection of items in the form of this adorable animal.
Japanese Hirdo porcelain monkey, offered by David Bowden.



See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, wooden and crystal okinomo, 19th century, Japanese, offered by David Bowden


Japanese wood netsuke monkey, 19th century, offered by David Bowden.

18th Century bronze & cloisonné monkey God, Chinese. Offered by David Bowden.

Amber monkey sculpture, offered by Amber Fortuna

A selection of five 19th century figures from The Monkey Orchestra by Meissen, which was modelled in 1753 by Johann Joachim Kaendler. He created 21 pieces for the Orchestra in all. Offered by Serhat Ahmet Antiques.




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