31 January 2018

The Power of Purple

The Pantone Color Institute has forecast the shade it believes will be favoured across fashion, interiors and design over the next 12 months. 2018 is the year of 'Ultra Violet', a vibrant shade of purple. 

Purple has long been synonymous with feminity and dignity - it was the dominant colour of the Suffragette movement. Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, editor of the weekly newspaper, Votes for Women, wrote: 
'Purple as everyone knows is the royal colour, it stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity...white stands for purity in private and public life...green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring.'
Its association with artistic visionaries made it symbolic of counterculture; Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix all wore purple, the ideal colour for making a statement! 

Shop this enigmatic shade at Grays, here are a few of our favourite purple picks...

Amethyst Suffragette brooch, c1900. Available from Shapiro & Co

1940s powder compact, available from Jacqueline Jacoby

Vintage YSL clip on earrings, available at Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

1930s beaded glass necklace, available from Tings Jewellery Box.


Huqqa base, late 19th century, avalable from Mousa Antiques

Amethyst and diamond cufflinks, French c1910. available from Nigel Norman

26 January 2018

Monochrome: Painting In Black and White Exhibition at The National Gallery

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White is currently exhibiting at The National Gallery, until the 18th February, 2018. This is the first major exhibition to explore the history of painting in black and white from the 12th to the 20th centuries.

Jean-Augste-Dominique Ingres. 'Odalisque in Grisaille,' c.1824-34. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Image courtesy of The National Gallery


It also looks at the radical approach in which artists through the eras have replaced the use of colour in their paintings - some of whom are famed for their use of colour, such as Van Eyck, Rubens and Boucher - and questions why artists have chosen to paint without colour throughout the centuries.


'The Miracle of St.Walburga, by Peter Rubens, Circa 1610. Image courtesy of Wikiart
The exhibition starts in the Middle Ages, at a time when colour was regarded for some as the 'forbidden fruit' and prohibited by religious orders for devotional purposes. In the 12th Century Cistercian Monks created grisaille stained glass, which served as another means of creating colour and light in church. This new method became hugely popular and as a result became known as 'de rigueur' in many French churches.

Stained Glass Panel with Quarries and a Female Head about 1320-4. Victoria and Albert Museum. Image courtesy of The National Gallery
This exhibition also examines the modern take on monochrome, as seen in the works of Picasso, Giacometti and contemporary artists such as Gerhard Richter, Chuck Close, Bridget Riley and Jasper Johns.

Alberto Giacometti: 'Walking Man 1' 1960's. Bronze. Collection Foundation Giacometti Paris. Image courtesy of Art Blart

Jasper Johns: 'Untitled' 1978. Acrylic on paper, 111 x 74 cm. Image courtesy of  Matthew Marks Gallery

Op-Art Bridget Riley 'Uneasy Centre' 1963. Image courtesy of Pinterest


If you are feeling inspired by the monochrome style, then why not visit us here at Grays, where you will see a vast array of pieces waiting to be discovered.

1950s Cigarette Case (spun on wire to release the cigarette). Available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery.
Black and White Swirl Clip On Earrings. Available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery.
Black and White Spotted Bow Brooch. Available from Unicorn
Art Deco Psychedelic Buttons by Nouveaute (six buttons per card). Available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery.
Art Deco Compact Mirror Box with Eggshell and Black Lacquer on Silver, continental. Circa 1920's. Available from Matthew Foster.

Celluloid Hat Pin. Available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery.



Modern French Clip-On Earrings. Available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery.

Early 19th Century French Napoleonic Carved Coconut "Bugbear" Powder Flask. Circa 1810-20. Depicting The Emperor Napoleon, The Duke of Wellington, Masonic Devices and Bugbear Spout. 14.5cm long. Available from Patrick Boyd-Carpenter.
Silver Black and White Enamel Bangle, from Thailand. Available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery.

Italian 19th/Early 20th Century Tortishell, Mother of Pearl and Bone Manderin. Available from Patrick Boyd-Carpenter.




18 January 2018

Lumiere London

Today is the day London's festival of light, 'Lumiere London', kicks off. The festival includes a programme of 50 works across the capital, from Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 January 2018, and showcases art from leading UK and international artists.

The first edition of the free event ran in 2016, but this is the biggest to date.

Mayfair highlights include illuminated seesaws on South Molton Street, an ethereal and illuminated sculpture, 'Was That a Dream?' in Berkeley Square and an installation of chandeliers made from used plastic bottles, with the participation of community groups and education teams at Veolia.

Don't forget to pop in to Grays while you're in the area, here's our pick of the bright new things in this month at Grays, to bring a little light into your lives:

Indian powder box c.1820. Available from Marco Polo Antiques

Aquamarine bow brooch set in platinum, with 18ct white gold pin, 1940s. Alabaster & Wilson Ltd. Available from Miwa Fine Jewellery

Satsuma brooch, Japanese. Meiji period. Available from Don Bayney
Black opal ring with diamond shoulders, 15ct gold and platinum mount. Available from C & B Gems & Antique Jewellery

Sir Herbert Hughes Stanton, 1870-1937, Oil on canvas. Available from Horton London



Russian 19c silver and plaque-a-jour enamel coupe. Available from Tabunov Antiques


11 January 2018

Create Unique Interiors with Antique Tiles

Antique tiles are the perfect way to create a unique interior design...
Top row from left: Iznik Fritware Tile, 17th Century; Dutch Delft Blue and White Tile, 17th Century; Ottoman Iznik Tile, 17th Century. All Available at Guest and Gray.
 Second row from left: Qajar 17th Century Tile; Syrian Tile of the Ottoman Empire, 17th Century; Spanish Tile, Unknown. All Available at Antique Choices.
Third row from left: Minton Tile c1878; Two Arts and Crafts Style Tiles, 19th Century, Available at The Antique Jewellery Company

Despite their rich history, tiles are an accessible purchase for the budding antique collector or interior decorator. Often relatively inexpensive, they can be used for a whole variety of decorative or functional purposes, and are available in a seemingly infinite array of shapes and styles.

Perhaps you want to create the feel of a sun-drenched Mediterranean terrazza? In that case seek out Iznik tiles.. Their history begins as early as 13th century, Turkey, where the production of brightly-coloured geometric ceramics flourished. Iznik's visual aesthetic permeated the artistic cultures of southern Europe for hundreds of years.

If you want to achieve the classic warmth of a country cottage, look out for Delftware: a ceramic that began in the 17th century, in the Dutch town of Delft. The familiar blue and white designs (originally a fashionable emulation of imported Chinese Ming-ware) now feel quintessential in an English home; calm yet characterful, traditional yet unpretentious.

The wealth of detailed tile designs from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, produced in the great age of industrialisation, can evoke both grandeur and homeliness.

Individual tiles can depict scenes from novels, myths and legends, botanical drawings or elaborate patterns. Minton, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau... each style has its own particular charm .





Whether you're after a specific look or an eclectic mix, we've hand-picked some unique individual tiles available at Grays to inspire you:


Dutch Delft Polychrome 'Bloempot' Style Tile, c1610- 1650. Available at Guest and Gray

Spanish Polychrome Tile, c1500. available at Guest and Gray


Japanese- Style Tile, 20th Century, Available at Hongman Yang

Japanese- Style Tile, 20th Century, Available at Hongman Yang
12th Century Persian Triangular Tile made from ground Lapis Lazuli. One of Six. Available at Antique Choices

Dutch Delft Polyxhrome Tile, 17th Century, Available at Guest and Gray

         For more inspiring design ideas using Antique Tiles, Check out our Pinterest board!

4 January 2018

Shop the latest arrivals at Grays

The New Year is here, and with a new year comes new stock. Our dealers source the most irresistible treasures and one-of-a-kind finds: an inventory so diverse that you could easily browse the stalls for hours.  

We have a selected a few of the latest arrivals from dealers to kick start 2018. Be quick - as with most antique and vintage pieces, these items are few and far between!


Art Nouveau turquoise in matrix and mother of pearl necklace, offered by Aurum

Brooch and earring set, c1950s, offered by Tings Jewellery Box

8 day quarter hour mahogany cased Garrards movement mantel clock, c1930-40, offered by Old as Time Antiques

Late 18th century silver and diamond snake, offered by P & R Szuhay

French guilloche blue enamel and gold cufflinks c1890, offered by Nigel Norman

Pair of Japanese polychrome Dutch decorated apothecary bottles, 17th century, offered by Guest & Gray

‘Standing Dancer’, bronze. James Butler RA (b.1931), offered by Horton London

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