30 November 2017

London Mithraeum: An Ancient Temple in the Heart of London

A new exhibition at Bloomberg SPACE reconstructs an ancient temple and explores the most mysterious religion of the late Roman Empire: The Cult of Mithras, the bull slayer.

Permanent display at the London Mithraeum, Bloomberg Space. Tickets are Free but it is advisable to Book Online.

In post-war London, archaeologists discovered a subterranean river laid bare by the ruins of the blitz. Next to the river they unearthed a Roman settlement.

The conditions of the marshy ground had preserved a wealth of objects such as tablets, jars and rings but most significantly - the head of a young, masculine deity, identified as Mithras.

The god Mithras originated in Persia and first appeared in Roman worship around the 1st century AD. Evidence of small underground buildings dedicated to him, known as ‘Mithraeums’ have been discovered in Rome, Ostia, Numidia, Dalmatia, and along the Danube.

These would have been dark claustrophobic spaces, lit by torchlight. Only the names of higher ranking members of society are associated with the cult, and worship involved complex and mysterious initiation rituals. Exact details of their practices remain obscure…

The original discovery has been reconstructed for the new exhibition. It aims to create a multi- sensory experience combining traditional display with theatrical effects.

Visitors will descend seven metres underground into the temple amid mist, haze, and chanting voices.

Inspired by the spirit of discovery here at Grays (which boasts its own underground river, a lost tributary of the Tyburn) we've selected some of our finest antiquities from the Ancient Roman period...

Roman Male Head, 1st-2nd Century AD. Available at Antique Choices 

Roman Bronze in the Figure of a Bull, 2nd Century AD. Available at Armin Antiques


Micro- Mosaic based on original Ancient Roman Design from the Capitoline, Rome. Available at Peter Szuhay


Terracotta Rhyton in the form of a Bulls Head, 4th Century AD. Available at  Antique Choices

Ancient Roman Cameo of Medusa 4th Century, set in 19th Century Gold Mount. Available at Peter Szuhay

Roman Iridescent Glass Jar, 2nd Century AD. Available at The Solaimani Gallery


24 November 2017

Louise Dahl- Wolfe: 'A Style of Her Own' Exhibition

Louise Dahl-Wolfe: 'A Style of Her Own' is currently exhibiting at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, until the 21st January, 2018. The exhibition is the first major retrospective of her work to be shown the UK.

Image of Suzy Parker by the Seine, Costume by Balenciaga, 1953. Photograph by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. Image courtsey of Its Liquid
Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895-1989) was regarded as one of the most important women fashion photographers of the first part of the 20th Century who defined the image of the modern independent post-war woman.

Dahl-Wolfe often photographed on location in exotic locations such as Cuba, South America, Spain and Mexico. Her work appears dynamic and spontaneous but was always meticulously planned. The exhibition features over 100 photographs focusing on three decades from the 1930s to 1950s and presents the work of couture designers Chanel, Balenciaga and Dior.


The exhibition also hones in on Dahl-Wolfe's 22 years as leading contributor to Harper's Bazaar from 1936 to 1958, and highlights the influence she had on photographers Horst P. Horst, Richard Avedon and Iving Penn. Furthermore, the museum will also be celebrating Bazaar's 150th anniversary by displaying other photographic highlights. 


Liz Giubbons as photographer, 1938. Photographed by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. Image courtsey of The Guardian

Image of Evelyn Tripp, 1952. Shot by Louise Dahl-Wolfe for Harper's Bazaar. Image courtsey of High Low Vintage
Image courtesy of Louise Dahl-Wolfe and Harper’s Bazaar. Image courtsey of Its Liquid

Photgrapher Louise Dahl-Wolfe , 1958. Image courtsey of High Low Vintage
Mary Jane Russell in evening gown by Balenciaga, cover by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, December 1951. Image courtsey of Pinterest.



If you're feeling inspired by the past, then why not come and visit us here at Grays where you can see our gorgeous selection of vintage items waiting to be discovered.

1950s American Metal and Lucite Handbag. Available at Linda Bee

1950s Pearl Clip Earrings. Available at Gillian Horsup

Faux Plastic Crocodile Look Alike 1950s Handbag in Red. Available at Linda Bee
1950s Gold Charm Bracelet. Available at June Victor


Tea Feather Hat, c1950. Available at Gillian Horsup
1950s Pearl Three Stand Bracelet with Rhinestone Blue Clasp. Available at June Victor

Mid 1950s Pichine Bronze Hat. Trimmed all over with ostrich feathers. Available at Gillian Horsup

16 November 2017

Old as Time Antiques

Gifts Available 
from 

The last quarter of the year is a time when gifts are hunted down for birthdays, anniversaries and religious celebrations, or just to accompany a special moment.

At A18, The Mews at Grays Antiques we are able to offer a selection of pieces which are not only unique but also have a history. 

These encompass timepieces, clocks, watches and barometers from the early 1800s to mid 20th century. These are all shop ready and have a 12 month support warranty.

Examples from our collection include:


Items from the early 1800s

Gentleman’s Pocket Watches

Japy Freres 8day 1/2hr Garniture Clock


Items from the late 1800s

Japy Freres 8day 1/2hr Mantel Clock
Fusee Wall Dial Timepiece
8day 1/4hr Mahogany Bracket Clock


Items from the early 1900s
   
Marble ‘Art Deco’ Timepiece

8day 1/2 hour ‘Art Deco’ Mantel Clock
                   
Glass Framed Art Deco Timepiece

8day 1/2 hour Mahogany Balloon Clock

WW11 Land Issue Gents Pocket Watch

Back of WW11 Land Issue Gents Pocket Watch


Items from the mid 20th Century
            
8day Skeleton Timepiece 
                       
Gilded 8day Carriage Timepiece

All of our collection can be viewed by visiting A18 in The Mews at Grays Antiques, near Bond Street Station, London, or viewing graysantiques.com where some of our collection of clocks and furniture are illustrated and fully described. 

Items can be purchased from ourselves at A18, or if we are not in attendance, by asking Reception to assist you in any query and/or purchase. Items can be shipped by arrangement with either Grays or ourselves.


Unit A18, Grays Mews
Open Monday, Thursday afternoons and all day Friday, or anytime by appointment.

Twitter: @OATantiques
01442 395761 
(ext 6 for the support staff)
oldastime@hotmail.co.uk


9 November 2017

Services at Grays

With  the wonderful Christmas displays popping up across the capital, now is the time for gift inspiration to take hold - with the long lead up to Christmas there's time to really make your presents extra special this year!

At Grays we have our very own specialist craftsmen; Bennett & O'Connell have been freehand quality engravers since 1965. They are highly skilled in hand engraving all precious metals, as well as a wide variety of objects from gold and silver jewellery and watches, to tankards, napkins and umbrellas. Their service now includes leather embossing - gold, silver and blind embossing or hot foil stamping of initials and messages on items such as photo albums, journals, diaries and note books.


Leather embossing by Bennett & O'Connell

Glass engraving at Bennett & O'Connell

Alfred Toro repairs jewellery, specialising in restoring antique jewellery. In addition, Alfred designs and makes his own jewellery and offers a fully bespoke jewellery design service allowing customers to purchase an item tailored to their own specifications. He is also skilled in the age old technique of wax carving - a fascinating way of making silver and gold jewellery by carving jewellery out of wax, then creating a mould to make a solid silver or gold version of the wax mould.

 A detailed wax carving of an animal by Alfred Toro
A bespoke piece by Alfred Toro


Bennett & O'Connell | Stand 109 | Tel: 020 7408 1880
Alfred Toro | Stand 104 | Tel: 020 7495 7068

2 November 2017

Día de los Muertos: The Day of the Dead

El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is a traditional Mexican holiday which begins on October 31st and culminates on November 2nd; when the souls of the deceased are believed to return to visit the living...



Young girls dressed for the Dia de Los Muertos parade in Mexico City

Parades, gatherings, and the preparation of offrendas (altars to the dead)  are designed to encourage these visits by honoring their souls.

The origins of the tradition can be traced back over 3,000 years to ancient Mesoamerican civilisations. Originally celebrated in the summer months, the ancient festival was moved to its current date by Spanish conquistadors to coincide with the Catholic celebrations of All Hallows Tide.

The best known symbol of this celebration is the mischievous skull (calavera) or skeleton, which inspires costumes and decorations. Other symbols include the marigold and the monarch butterfly, a native insect which arrives in Mexico for the winter around 1st November each year.

Whilst the holiday is uniquely Mexican, its customs have spread widely throughout South and Central America and wherever those with Mexican heritage have settled. The spirit of the holiday is one of celebration rather than of mourning; but the joyous festivities are part of a more serious reminder of the nature of life and the inevitability of death.

We've been on the hunt for some Día de los Muertos symbolism at Grays, to help us get into the spirit of this unique celebration...



Enamel butterfly brooch by David Andersen, late 19th century, available at The Antique Jewellery Company
Diamante encrusted skull brooch, contemporary, available at Tings Jewellery Box
Diamante encrusted skull brooch, contemporary, available at Tings Jewellery Box
Gold and black enamel Memento Mori ring with the engraving 'Gone Before, Not Forgotten', c18th century, available at Peter Szuhay
Cicada insect brooch, Art Nouveau. Available at The Antique Jewellery Company
Stag antlers skull with original gold loop, c.1860, available at Peter Szuhay
Black net lace, c.1900, available at Diane Harby - Deekoo

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