SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine

loetzglassIn 1879, Susanne transferred the company to Maximilian von Spaun, the son of her daughter Karoline. One year later, von Spaun hired Eduard Prochaska and the two of them modernized the factory and introduced new, patented techniques and processes, transforming the glassworks into one of the foremost art glass manufacturers during the Art Nouveau period at the turn of the twentieth century. Loetz Glass throughout its history has been characterized by a number of historical periods that have shaped the style and build of the their products.



Exciting innovations in Historicism glass, included Intarsia and Octopus glass and the very popular marbled ‘marmorisierte a glass which imitated semi-precious stones like red chalcedony, onyx and malachite. Success at exhibitions in Brussels, Munich, and Vienna were crowned by awards at the Paris World’s Exposition in 1889.

The Magic of Music Box Collecting

musicbox“If music is the food of love... play on”, Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.

Music is as fundamental to man as breathing and finding out ways to capture those musical notes for posterity has been one of man’s most intense quests. Whilst instruments have been around for centuries, recording them was the challenge and the music box was the first step in discovering how to capture music to give lasting pleasure.

Who would have thought that it was the habit of carrying snuff around that would be the catalyst for the invention of the music box? With the popularity of sniffing snuff came a wide variety of snuff boxes – first simply boxed, then more elaborately decorated ones to eventually one invented in the 18th Century and called ‘carillons musique’. Based on the simple placement of pins in a pattern that produced various musical notes, the musical box soon became the rage with interchangeable cyclinders that produced a variety of tunes. Soon everyone wanted to have music emanating from a variety of boxes and so musical boxes became the accessory de rigueur.

Collecting Clarice Cliff

clariceIts all in a name. Bright coloured pottery, typical of the 1930’s Art Deco period is synonymous with Clarice Cliff. Is it a co-incidence she was born 20th January 1899 in Tunstall, Staffordshire, the most northerly of the six pottery towns in the Midlands of England? Clarice was the daughter of Ann and Harry Cliff and had two brothers and five sisters.

Having left school at the age of thirteen, she started an apprenticeship with local potters learning her trade. At the age of sixteen she began working for the A.J. Wilkinson Company in Burslem. The Managing Director of the Company, Colley Shorter was informed of her talent by her decorating manager Jack Walker, and soon sent her to the, Royal School of Art in London to further develop her skills.

Joan Rivers

joan1Rivers was known around the world for her tart tongue, but there was one place she did not allow funny business: her condo board at 1 East 62nd Street in New York.

Brooklyn born, Joan Rivers loved her gilded apartment—she described the decor as Louis XIV meets Fred and Ginger. She bought the property, originally built in 1903, in 1988 and carried out an exhaustive renovation, determined to ensure many of its original period details were retained. Joan Rivers’ apartment is without a doubt the hottest celebrity real estate in New York.

The 5 100sq triplex penthouse is held up by pillars, floor to ceiling windows and is dripping with chandeliers, marble statues , fresh cut flowers and antiques. It features four bedrooms, five fireplaces, and opulent things like gilded antique boisserie paneling and columns. She spent her days surrounded by floor to ceiling windows and gold plated walls. Yes you read that right - gold walls. The limestone mansion was built in 1910 for society figure John R Drexel and his socialite wife.


Cartier1In 1847, Louis-François Cartier (1819-1904), took over a jewelry workshop at 29, rue Montorgueil in Paris from Adolphe Picard, the man who had taught him his trade.

Louis Cartier owned exceptional 18th-century pieces, like Georges Jacob furniture and chairs from Louis XVI’s game room in Saint- Cloud. In 1853, Cartier moved to 5, rue Neuve des Petits-Champs, and started undertaking work for private clients. The first American client was welcomed as early as 1854.

After a period of unrest, Paris became a lively city once more and there was a constant succession of celebrations and balls. The splendors of the Second Empire encouraged the expansion of the business. Cartier prospered, thanks to the patronage of Princess Mathilde, the Emperor’s first cousin and niece of Napoleon I.

Check Mate



Few board games can claim the same breadth of history as chess, which spans the globe, transcending borders and languages. It is taught to elementary school students, many of whom simply enjoy the shapes of the pieces, and also played by serious grandmasters, a title some say was first bestowed by Czar Nicholas II of Russia in 1914.


Certainly the history and provenance of the set and history (in its empirical sense) as it relates to the set and its life but the history of chess itself has little place to the collector.

A set to touch, admire and perhaps even play with comes first and then the set’s history and who might have carved it, owned it or played with it. That is a true collector’s joy.


artDelaireWelcome to Delaire Graff Estate – where you can experience the ultimate in luxury, combined with our own unique blend of South African hospitality. Nestled between majestic mountains and overlooking the vineyards of Stellenbosch, I visited the Estate for the first time back in 2003 and felt a strong connection in an instant – it was love at first sight.

The incredible views provide the perfect backdrop to our outstanding restaurants, state-of-theart winery, exclusive Lodges, exuberant landscaping, destination Spa and luxury boutiques. Our talented team harness a united vision and passion, and their continuing dedication brings the true beauty of this piece of paradise to our guests each and every day.

Garden Antiques

garden1After spending years finishing the interior of their homes, collectors turn the focus to their gardens.

Leisure time was on the rise by the late nineteenth century, resulting in an increased interest in gardening, conservation, and spending time out-of-doors. The economic gains that made this possible were fueled by the industrial revolution, which saw eager manufacturers responding to expanding markets that included garden amenities such as the Birdbaths, Garden Furniture, Birds-houses, Wellheads & Vitnage Garden Equipment that are now desirable antiques that adorn many a garden.

Gardens with their peaceful distractions bring back harmony and serenity to our lives. The interest in horticulture today mirrors the 19th century fascination for plants and nature. We go on a search to educate our readers that everything you love about antiques and all things gardenrelated: the rare, the heirloom, the historic, the handmade, the well-designed, the over-the-top, and the just plain cool – and how you can transform your ordinary garden to something extraordinary & gorgeous.


sophiaBorn in a charity ward for unwed mothers in Rome on September 20, 1934, Sofia Scicolone was taunted throughout her childhood for being illegitimate. Her father Riccardo was married to another woman and refused to marry her mother Romilda, despite the fact that she was the mother of his two children (Sophia and her younger sister Maria Scicolone). Her mother, Romilda Villani, was a proud beauty who returned to her family home in Pozzuoli to live down her shame; in Catholic Italy then, being an unwed mother was not just a scandal, but a sin.

Growing up in the slums of Pozzuoli during the second World War without any support from her father, she experienced much sadness in her childhood. Until she left Pozzuoli, Sophia never slept in a bed with fewer than three family members. The resulting famine was so great that Loren’s mother occasionally had to siphon off a cup of water from the car radiator to ration between her daughters by the spoonful. During one aerial bombardment, Loren was knocked to the ground and split open her chin, leaving a scar that has remained ever since.

Romilda looked so much like Greta Garbo that people stopped her on the street to ask for her autograph. When she won a Greta Garbo lookalike contest at the age of 17—the prize being a screen test at MGM in Culver City—her mother refused to let her go. She was convinced that Romilda would be killed in America, because she believed Rudolph Valentino had been murdered there by the Black Hand. So Romilda later put all her ambition into her elder child, a gawky, unattractive, sullen girl until the age of 14.

Collecting Maps

mapThe collecting of maps, prints and documents goes hand in hand with history and South Africa offers rich pickings in this area of collecting. Zulu war scenes and Anglo-Boer war battles in handcoloured prints are sought after not only locally but internationally as well and sell well. Maps are also a good investment and specialiast dealers in maps are usually experts in their field and offer a wealth of expertise for an aspiring collector.

A selection of rare maps will be on show and can be purchased at the National Antique Faire this year in the Book dealers section, some of which are over 300 years old and depict Southern Africa populated by the likes of Indian elephants, the Indian Rhinoceros and even tigers. You might pick up a John Speed map from 1625 that is profusely illustrated along the margins. These decorative maps are the most sought after, such as the Blaeu map on which a vignette depicts a man eating entrails. This will appeal to many collectors of maps who appreciate the narratives of how explorers saw South Africa all those centuries ago. But what is really extraordinary is how a piece of paper can last for centuries. This is, of course, because the map was originally from an atlas or travel book, and therefore found protection between its covers. No doubt, several generations of previous owners kept the atlas away from damp and ravenous insects.

From Russia With Love

The story of Fabergé is inextricably linked to the lives, loves and tragedy of the last Romanov Tsar Nicholas II and his Empress Alexandra, and to the Russian Revolution that changed the course of world history.

Peter Carl Fabergé, legendary artist-jeweller, goldsmith to the Russian Imperial Court, was the creative and entrepreneurial genius behind the world-renowned company. Born in 1846, and apprenticed as a boy to his goldsmith father, Gustav Fabergé, a modest jeweller of French Huguenot ancestry, Fabergé joined his father’s business around 1860. By the time he was 24, he had taken over control of all aspects of his fa¬ther’s business. Like many of these firms, Fabergé sold items to the Imperial Court of Russia. How¬ever, the younger Fabergé soon set the family business apart. Gradually, Fabergé emerged as the most fashionable jeweller in Russia, thanks to a fateful commission in 1885.

South Africa's Heritage Gems

gemsOnce upon a time, stately homes & buildings were the exclusive privilege of royalty and landed gentry. Today some are used by corporates, rented out for commercial use and some are still lived in by the original owners – each with a unique mix of history, architecture and modern-day glamour. Heritage properties represent a masterpiece of human creative genius. Focusing on Cape Town, Durban & Gauteng you’re spoilt for choice to visit these landmarks, study the architecture or simply to admire their grandeur.

CAPE TOWN: As the oldest city in South Africa, Cape Town boasts a number of important historical buildings, many of which are still in use today and open to visitors. The city’s architecture is a testament to the many and varied influences on South Africa’s unique history and a dream for any architecture enthusiasts! Here is our list of favourites – enjoy!


marilynSome like it Marilyn

Long after her death, the legacy of Marilyn Monroe is stronger than ever. I am left wondering what she would think of the record prices her memorabilia has been getting especially when one considers she passed away with less than $2000 to her name. The fascination for all that is Marilyn has never waned and indeed with the latest movie “My week with Marilyn” creating a huge hype around her once again, one is left wondering what other stories are still out there begging to be told. 

Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white “Seven Year Itch “ dress sold for more than $5.6 million and another $2.7 million for three other Monroe movie outfits. Some of her dresses were from the collection of 79 year old entertainer Debbie Reynolds, who was going to open a museum with her collection of roughly 3500 costumes from different movies that the movie studios at the time were throwing out. Due to maintenance costs she decided to sell the collection off. After 20 minutes of bidding on the ‘subway’ dress Debbie Reynolds was in tears when the gavel hit the podium ending the auction - this after an expected price of $2 Million. The redsequined showgirl gown and a feathered hat Monroe wore in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” sold for $1.47 million. The expected price was $300,000. Monroe’s costumes from “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “River of No Return” brought another $1.2 million.

Collecting Antique Tools

toolsA Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Antique Tools

Tools are the father of all other antiques. Master paintings, the great statues, the finest pottery, the most decorative furniture, the most colorful tapestries -- all of these would have been nothing more than someone’s momentary idea without the tools needed to create them. Every manmade object depends on the use of tools for its existence, and mankind’s greatest creativity and intelligence is reserved for the creation of newer and better mousetraps to solve the production problems of the day. Tools were the first expression of human cognition.

Collecting antique tools is a little like learning chess -- at first it is a bit confusing as the wide assortment of tools presents itself, then with a small amount of experience you gain confidence in your ability to make the right moves and collect interesting pieces, and as you become more and more the “experienced collector” you begin to realize that there is an ever richer and increasingly interesting realm of knowledge and speciality waiting to be discovered.

Tamara De Lempicka

tamaraWhen someone mentions the Roaring Twenties, it conjures up the Jazz Age, flappers, Prohibition, the Charleston, gangsters, The Great Gatsby, Mary Pickford, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Designers and architects also remember the 20’s for the Chrysler Building, the luxury liner Normandie, and the interior of Radio City Music Hall, all outstanding examples of the decorative arts style called Art Deco. To many designers of jewelry, furniture, clothes, fabrics, and ceramics, Art Deco of the 20’s with its geometric motifs and bright, bold colors represents the best and purest forms of that decorative art period. Art Deco, a classical, symmetrical, rectilinear style that reached its high point between 1925- 1935, drew its inspiration from such serious art movements as Cubism, Futurism, and the influence of the Bauhaus. In Paris, it was a dominant art form of the 1920-1930 period. Of all the artists pursuing the style “Arts Decoratifs”, one of the most memorable was Tamara de Lempicka. Born Maria Gorska, originally from Warsaw, Poland, she was most popular during the 1920’s & 30’s, painting mostly portraits and still lifes.


luciteOf the many passing fancies exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair, one has proven its staying power: the acrylic resin known by the trade names Lucite and Plexiglas.
These materials were first developed in the early 1930s, by DuPont (Lucite) and Rohm & Haas (Plexiglas). Crystal clear, easily shaped and strong. Today as it did in its heyday, Lucite adds modern chic to any room.

Marlene Dietrich

MarleneWith her sultry glamour and sex appeal, Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer who broke all the rules in her long career by continually re-inventing herself both professionally and personally. At a time when women were portrayed as the weaker sex and needy, Marlene, whether on screen or in cabaret exuded sex appeal, confidence and sophistication. Her sexuality was tangible and often shocking and she was both audacious and witty.

Known best as the cabaret entertainer of Weimar-era Germany, Dietrich was personified as Lola-Lola, the seductive cabaret singer in top hat and silk stockings whom she portrayed in ‘The Blue Angel’. Both on stage and in her private life, Marlene showed herself as a liberated woman of the world who earned her own living, chose her own men and whose sexuality was palpable.



“I like his work so much, I find him daring and antiestablishment. Anyone who said that he wasn’t a great artist can now see that he was”.
Mariame Fassler


When I heard that renowned fashion designer Marianne Fassler was the brainchild behind the Tretchikoff Exhibition in Cape Town I made sure I was one of the lucky ones to be at the opening night of this historic event.

Cape Town was abuzz with the ‘kitch’ fever of Tretchikoff (1913 – 2006) at the opening of the first ever complete exhibition at the Iziko National Art Museum. People had flown in from far and wide and it made one once again feel proud of being South African. I had not been to the National Art Museum in many years and forgotten the splendor of the architecture and the sheer beauty of the museum.

Walking through the double doors into the exhibition space, I was pleasantly surprised at the extensive collection of Tretchikoff paintings on show and I, like many people who attended, felt that, whether a fan or not of his works – one simply could but appreciate this superb collection of his works. Many people, I’m sure, questioned why he was the artist people ‘loved to hate’ and many more, I’m sure, wished they had some of his works in their own collections.


epergnesThe word epergne is taken from the French epargne, meaning economy, and originally bore the more anglicized spelling aparn. The English epergne economizes in two ways. First, in the saving of precious space: The prevailing custom of service at the time required that much of the food be put on the table at once. Guests entering the dining room found the food in place, usually in covered entrée dishes (the dishes sometimes made with a hot water chamber), one or two kinds of fish, and one or two soup tureens. Further, around 1760 it became fashionable for the host to carve the bird or joint of meat at the table. The second way in which the epergne economized is that it made for the thrifty use of rare nuts, fruits, condiments, and other luxuries from the tropics or the East. Guests would serve themselves from the epergne, and delicacies that were not eaten were left on the centerpieces, rather than being wasted when the plates were cleared.

EPERGNES are often ornate tiered centerpiece consisting typically of a frame of wrought metal (as silver or gold) bearing dishes, vases, or candle holders or a combination of these. An epergne is a large table centerpiece consisting of a frame with extended arms or branches supporting holders, as for flowers, fruit, or sweetmeats. It may also be used as a designer object to hold candles, flowers or ornaments for a holiday etc.


spierFrom the farm’s public spaces to displays in the Manor House, Hotel and wine tasting centre, art is as much part of Spier as good food and fine wine. The work is rotated every year to give exposure to as many artists as possible, and to keep the spaces fresh for staff and visitors.

Rather than just buying art to decorate its buildings, Spier strives to find ways to support and stimulate the arts community in SA, supporting projects that acknowledge our African arts heritage, protect its legacy and contribute to its future. With this goal, Spier has established a number of initiatives that have greatly impacted both the performing and visual arts in South Africa since 1996.

For their sustained and extraordinary commitment to the arts in South Africa, Spier was awarded the Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) Chairman’s Premier Award in 2014. This award is made at the discretion of the BASA Chairman, and only during years when nominees are deemed exceptional.



French born René Lalique born in 1860, started out as a jewellery apprentice before studying in London and then working for the houses of Aucoc, Cartier, Boucheron and others before establishing his own art studio. He became one of France’s foremost Art Nouveau designers and ended up as one of the most famous glass designers of the Art Deco period. He is best known for his designs for perfume bottles vases, jewellery, figurines, chandeliers, clocks and in his later years for his iconic car mascots.


mintonIt is easy to understand why Queen Victoria found Minton porcelain so appealing and collectable. England was already the world’s premier pottery manufacturing country in 1793 when Thomas Minton opened his company in Stoke-on-Trent. By the middle of the 19th Century, it was finely crafted and lavishly decorated in a mix of many periods--Neoclassic, Renaissance, Gothic revival and contemporary French among them. Seascapes and landscapes, flowers and birds, reclining figures and Oriental motifs had all found their way into thousands of patterns in numerous shapes and styles.

Minton, a trained artist, engraver and designer, used his skills to create bone china in 1799. He popularized the famous so-called Willow pattern. In the 1820s he started production of bone china; this early Minton is regarded as comparable to French Sèvres, by which it was greatly influenced.

The reproduction of cream coloured pottery and white bone china began in 1798, and a knowledge of the shapes and designs is essential as Minton refused to mark his wares at this time. During the mid 1820s the company began to introduce a series of finely – modelled figures in bone china that featured royal, theatrical, political and historical subjects. Other figures were produced in the manner of the 18th century Chelsea and Meissen porcelain, and they similarly benefit from first-class modelling and highly-detailed colourful costumes. The factory also produced figures in white biscuit bone china (unglazed bone china) to commemorate topical personalities of the age, such as William Wilberforce and Hannah More, the great antislavery and social reformers.

Salvador Dali

• He was a skilled draftsman
• His best known work is The Persistence of Memory – completed in 1931
• He attributed his love to everything that is gilded and excessive, his passion for luxury and his love for oriental clothes
• He had an older brother also named Salvador
• His father was a lawyer
• His sister Ana Maria published a book about her brother “Dali as seen by his sister”
• Dali’s father first organized in 1916 an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home
• His first public exhibition was held in 1919 at the Municipal Theatre in Figurees
• One of the greatest surrealists of our time, best known for his ability to translate dreams into artwork, “hand painted dream photographs” he called them. He was also a sculptor, filmmaker, writer and insane or just wanted people to believe that he was insane.


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