20 April 2018

National Tea Day: Antique Teaware from Grays

Calling all tea lovers! It's National Tea Day this coming Saturday 21 - Sunday 22 April. The annual festival celebrates all things tea: from the leafy drink itself, to tea snacks and accompaniments and teaware. Apparently Brits drink 165 million cups of the drink per day!

For those of you who would like to celebrate, the festival itself takes place at Chiswick House & Gardens and tickets are only £10 or £25 for a Family Pass. If you would prefer to use the event as an excuse to treat yourself, here is our selection of antique teaware from Grays:
20th Century Tea Pot and Milk Jug, Part of a Set. Available from Eau de Nil
20th Century Tea Cup, Part of a Set. Available from Eau de Nil

20th Century Tea Saucer, Part of a Set. Available from Eau de Nil

One of a Pair of Meissen Harlequin Tea Bowls. Made for the Turkish Market. Painted with Indianische Blumen. c.1773-74. Available from Serhat Ahmet Antiques

One of a Pair of Meissen Harlequin Tea Bowls. Made for the Turkish Market. Painted with Indianische Blumen. c.1773-74. Available from Serhat Ahmet Antiques

19th Century Meissen Part Service Comprising of Tea Pot & Cover, Large Milk Jug & Sugar Bowl & 3 Cups & Saucers. Painted with Floral Bouquets. Circa 1870. Available from K & M Antiques

5 Piece Silver Miniature Tea Set, London 1972. Available from Hallmark Antiques

12 April 2018

Last Chance: Egypt Uncovered - Belzoni and the Tomb of Pharaoh Seti I at Sir John Soane's Museum

The sarcophagus (a box-like funeral receptacle for a corpse) of Pharaoh Seti I is the most treasured object within the Sir John Soane’s Museum’s collection in the Sepulchral Chamber, and, according to exhibition curator Joanna Tinworth, “one of the most important objects ever found in Egypt”. 

To coincide with the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Seti I by circus strongman-turned-Egyptologist, Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778–1823), the Soane presents an exhibition about its journey to the museum and its discoverer.

Jan Adam Kruseman, Portrait of Giovanni Belzoni, “the Great Belzoni,” 1824

Seti I’s strong military experience played a major role during his 13 year reign (BC 1291-1278) and is considered by Egyptologists the greatest pharaoh of the New Kingdom. The craftsmanship of his sarcophagus, elaborately carved in white alabaster, took even Belzoni aback, ‘being such as we had no idea it could exist’. 

It was purchased by John Soane in 1824 and became the centrepiece of his collection around which ‘sarcophagus parties’ were held for London’s elite. Guests were invited to view the sarcophagus in the evening lit by lamplight, and illuminated from within. The design of the lighting was supervised by Soane himself, contrasting light and shadow to create an atmosphere thick with romance and melancholy.

Sarcophagus of King Seti 1, discovered by Belzoni in 1817

With the emergence of important ancient tombs from the nineteenth century onwards, an "Egyptian revival" was born, making Egyptian motifs and imagery all the rage. It was reignited again when King Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered in 1922, when its influence could be seen in architecture and fashion. 

At Grays we have a wonderful selection of Egyptian revival jewellery from this period, here's just a small example of what our dealers have on offer.. 

Egyptian revival necklace, offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

Egyptian revival necklace, offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

Egyptian revival necklace, offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

Egyptian revival necklace, offered by Tings Jewellery Box

Egyptian revival locket, offered by Tings Jewellery Box

Vintage Egyptian revival bangle, available from Arabella Bianco

Egypt Uncovered: Belzoni and the Tomb of Pharaoh Seti I will run until April 14.

6 April 2018

The London Coffee Festival 2018

The London Coffee Festival, held at Old Truman Brewery, 12-15 April

Calling all coffee lovers! Next week The London Coffee Festival comes to the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane for a celebration of London’s vibrant coffee scene.

From the 12th to 15th April the venue will host the UK’s largest coffee and artisanal food event, featuring gourmet beans, speciality tea, fine food and demonstrations from the world’s best baristas, as well as live music and workshops.

Learn to create masterpieces in Latte Art Live, or let your hair down at the ‘Espresso Martini Party’ where you can indulge in Bailey’s own ‘flat white martinis’. 

Hosted by Allegra Events, The London Coffee Festival began in London seven years ago, and has grown year on year. When the organisers were asked why exactly they decided to bring this unique festival to London they replied: ‘London was becoming the most relevant and exciting city on the world coffee map, it was obvious what had to happen... A party had to be thrown’.

If you do decide to join the party, and come away laden with fine roasted grounds and speciality teas, why not stop by Grays for sensational serveware?

From 18th century Turkish coffee cups to Art Nouveau biscuit barrels, we’ve handpicked some of our most unique pieces to help you serve in style..

Austrian porcelain coffee cup with saucer and plate, 20th century. Available at Mousa Antiques

A selection of Oriental coffee servers. From left to right : Japanese 17th century, Chinese 18th century, Chinese 18th century, all available at Anita Gray

Russian solid silver 'Plique-a-jour' enamel spoon set, c.1900. Available at Pushkin Antiques

Turkish Kutahya province coffee cups, 18th century. Available at Pyramid Antiques

Iraqi silver niello milk jug, 20th century. Available at IQ Antiques

Art Nouveau biscuit barrell and Arts and Crafts sugar caster,19th century. Available at Van Den Bosch

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