SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine
Winnie The Pooh

poohpigletThe name of Ernest Howard Shepard is inseparable from the wonderful characters he created. For A A Milne’s 1926 publication of Winnie-the-Pooh, his illustrations of Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore captured the imaginations of both children and the adults who read the stories to them. They are intrinsically linked with his illustrations and he is just as fondly remembered for the liveliness of Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger in Kenneth Grahame’s tale of The Wind in the Willows.

Shepard was born in St John’s Wood in London on 10 December 1879; his father was an architect and his maternal grandfather, William Lee RA, a watercolour painter. The young Ernest showed some promise in drawing while at St Paul’s School and was a cheerful boy who was fond of pranks, earn- ing himself the lifelong nickname ‘Kipper’, from the popular slang of the time ‘giddy kipper’. He pursued his artistic studies at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy Schools. This is where he met his first wife, Florence Eleanor Chaplin. They moved to Shamley Green in Guildford, Surrey, in 1904, where he continued developing his career as an illustrator and cartoonist, producing works for editions of Aesop’s Fables, David Copperfield and Tom Brown’s Schooldays.

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Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas1Thomas Gainsborough, born 14th May 1727, was a famous 18th Century English painter known for his evocative portraiture and landscapes and is most famous for his portrait known as ‘The Blue Boy’.

EARLY LIFE Gainsborough was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. His father was a weaver involved with the wool trade. Thomas Gainsborough was one of nine children born to John Gainsborough. Perhaps due to his mother’s penchant for painting flowers and encouraging her son’s talent with a pencil, Gainsborough assembled a rather impressive portfolio at a young age. By 10, he had drawn some local village landscapes, and added caricatures and other facial studies. His father was sufficiently impressed with his work to allow him to go to London, England, where he studied at an academy in St. Martin’s Lane under the renowned William Hogarth and other masters known for etching, historical painting and portraiture.

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Chair-ology

chair“A chair can even be used for sitting on, but with just one condition: that we be uncomfortably seated” - Salvador Dalí

Clyde Terry of The Collector writes that every home should have a collector’s chair. “There is no reason why you should not have an iconic designer chair in your home. There is not one single piece of antique furniture that says as much about the home owner as a chair. In the world of interiors a great chair or set of chairs definitely makes a statement in any room of the house and reflects the style and warmth of any family.

Chairs are as old as history but significant and stately chairs have been around since the Egyptians probably had Cleopatra lying on a chaise-lounge, the Romans had Nero entertaining his subjects with his fiddle in a stately chair, the Greeks’ Plato addressing the crowds from a regal chair and the Chinese emperors carried around in ornate chairs. Every era has its own unique designs that seem to have been copied for many generations.

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Volkstedt Porcelain

VolkstedtThe past two hundred and fifty one years have seen several kilns, of various porcelain manufactures and studios, fire under the sky of Volkstedt, (a satellite village to Rudolstadt, situated in Thu?ringen, Germany). But only one is the true Volkstedt Porcelain Company and that is: Aelteste Volkstedter Porzellanmanufaktur, translated – The Oldest Volkstedt Porcelain Manufacturer.

This company has produced luxury hard-paste porcelain since 1762. Confusion reigns as to the exact chronological history and, in particular, its origin or should I rather say ‘inception’. A medley of finely sculptured and exquisitely hand painted; figurines, candelabras, fruit bowls, candlesticks, vases, comports, nut dishes and urns is the signature tune of this world-renowned porcelain. Be it in the style Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassic, Art Nouveau to Art Deco or Contemporary each piece pampers the eye with prestige and prettiness. Over the years it has been highly prized and feverishly sought.

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The Amazing Grace Kelly

graceWith the popularity of our Collector issues that featured style icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, we thought we would bring you the elegant Grace Kelly – not only because of her Hollywood pedigree and her many charitable foundations, but also because of the many jewels she collected and was given as the Princess of Monaco and the memorabilia of her that has become so collectable.

“My father had a very simple view of life: you don’t get anything for nothing. Everything has to be earned, through work, persistence and honesty. My father also had a deep charm, the gift of winning our trust. He was the kind of man with whom many people dreamt of spending an evening.” – Grace Kelly

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Highclere Castle

The Sprawling British Estate - Highclere Castle

PERHAPS NO OTHER SHOW ON TELEVISION HAS BETTER CAPTURED THE REALITY OF 20TH CENTURY ARISTOCRATIC LIFE IN ENGLAND THAN DOWNTON ABBEY – WITH ITS AWARD-WINNING COSTUMES, HISTORICAL ACCURACY, THE DÉCOR AND ANTIQUITIES IN HIGHCLERE CASTLE AND ATTENTION TO EVEN THE MOST PRECISE OF DETAILS. THIS HIGHLY POPULAR SERIES IS SHOT ON LOCATION OF OUR FEATURED PROPERTY – HIGHCLERE CASTLE. LOCATED NEAR THE ENGLISH TOWN OF NEWBURY ONLY ONE AND A HALF HOURS FROM LONDON, THIS MAGNIFICENT PROPERTY IS THE FAMILY HOME OF THE EIGHTH EARL AND COUNTESS OF CARNARVON.

castle1Highclere has a long history. In the days of Edward VI, the Crown took possession of the manor on the site and granted it to another noble family. A hundred years later it passed into the possession of the Herberts. In 1692, Robert Sawyer, a lawyer and college friend of Samuel Pepys, bequeathed a mansion at Highclere to his grandson who was just one year old. His only daughter, Margaret, was the first wife of the 8th Earl of Pembroke. Their second son, Robert Sawyer Herbert, inherited Highclere, continued its portrait collection and extended the formal gardens building twelve temples. At the end of the eighteenth century, Highclere was inherited by his nephew, Colonel Henry Herbert, later created Baron Porchester and Earl of Carnarvon by George III.

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The Inspiration that is Miss Potter

bunnykinsplateIn a world that has gone crazy it is refreshing to be taken into the world of Miss Potter. You are left wondering how many tales or adventures of their own Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton Tail went on. The joy of being in a world where each and every character comes to life from the books is an incredible journey. It goes without saying of course that at some time in the day or night your collection springs to life and all these years later they go on journeys of their own and write more tales - with Beatrix Potter capturing every detail. It is 10 PM here right now and I see some movement in my display cabinet... did Cotton Tail just whisper to Mopsy, “ let the show begin”?

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CASHING IN ON COMIC BOOKS

comicWho remembers the good old days of no television or computer games, when we all went down to the corner café to buy the latest Superman or Wonder Woman comics?

Who would have thought then that those dog-eared comics could be so collectable today! Well, one person discovered just how valuable those old comics were when he went to clear out his great-aunt’s garage in Virginia in the US and discovered 354 neatly stacked comic books dating back decades and in mint condition. His discovery netted a cool $3.5 million on auction! If one considers the off-shoot of comic books – from action figures to movies – the impact of the art of the comic book is one that will continue to be highly collectable for many years to come. With phenomenal prices fetched for early and rare editions, collecting comic books has become a great collecting genre to collectors globally. With the most expensive Superman comic book fetching a cool $2.16 million, it is no wonder that collectors all over the world are scrambling through boot sales and garages to find those early editions.

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ELVIS MEMORABILIA STILL ROCKS AROUND THE CLOCK

elvisWhen it comes to ‘Rocking Around The Clock’ it seems that Elvis fans around the world are still keeping the legend that is Elvis alive by celebrating his life and of course searching the world for any Elvis memorabilia they can find.

The passion for collecting anything connected to Elvis began well before his death and continues as an important collecting genre. In the early days fans collected concert tickets, posters, records, cuttings and anything they could find. Later on many licensed goods were manufactured and are, in fact, produced even more prolifically now. Vintage Elvis items are what the serious collector goes after although they are hard to find and very expensive.

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Honouring Mandela

mandelaThe world went into mourning on December 5th 2013 when the news broke that Nelson Mandela had passed away at the age of 95. No other person, in living memory, was able to affect people from all corners of the globe with his life, his struggle and his legacy. Recognised as a peace-maker, he will go down in history as one of the most important icons of our time who sacrificed his freedom to free others and taught the world about compassion and reconciliation.

“One of the brightest lights of our world has gone out.” UK Prime Minister - David Cameron “We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth.”

US President - Barack Obama “Our nation has lost its greatest son.”

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Collecting Vintage Mexican Jewellery

mexicanHeleen Bossi will be hosting an exhibition of her collection of Mexican Vintage Silver Jewellery at the Slee Gallery in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. This selling exhibition will open on Thursday, 20 September at 18h30 and will continue until the end of September. Heleen is the owner of Paisley’s Antique Jewellery and has been working in the field of antique and vintage jewellery for the past 28 years. She started collecting vintage Mexican jewellery many years ago and has travelled all over the world to put her unique collection together. This will be the first exhibition of its kind to be hosted in South-Africa and is endorsed by the Mexican Embassy.

“There will be approximately 250 pieces of Mexican silver jewellery on display, including pieces by well-known designers such as William Spratling, Antonio Pineda, Margot, Los Castillo and others. Most of the pieces were made between 1930 and the turn of the 20th Century.”

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Restoration Revival

restorationTo restore or not to restore your loved antique furniture is always a question that many collectors want to know the answer to. Preservation, is of course, as far as I am concerned a must when looking after the heirlooms you have purchased or inherited.

Of course the huge secondary question once you have decided to have an item restored is why give the job to a professional when it seems so minor. Once you have realized you need the help of a professional restorer who will not cause more damage than good it is then time to seek out the right professional. In my line of work it seems easier said than done - I see so many pieces that have been bastardized during this process. I strongly suggest going to a few shops and seeing the work that they are having done and then find out who they use. You will need to get the restorer to come to your home to look at the larger items. Ask questions about what technique will be used and see what knowledge they have of your piece. Preservation should be restoring your item to as close to the original condition as possible - using correct procedures to do so is important.

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Magical Matjiesfontein

MatjiesfonteinClyde Terry of Clyde on 4th re-visits Matjiesfontein and indulges in the sumptuous surroundings of yesteryear and revisits the ghosts that haunt it.

“Many years ago when I stayed overnight at the Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein I swear I saw a ghost! The apparition of a lady dressed in white regally standing on the stairwell of the room I was in that led down to the bathroom woke me and left me quite shaken. Did I really see what I saw or was I just overtired and over-stimulated. Suffice to say I left in a hurry! On this trip I was on a mission to find out the truth and dispel my fears. When I asked the new hotel manager, he said “are you not aware of the legends of the ghosts here?” I became more intrigued and now know that the apparition I saw is the lady many people have seen wandering through the house and gardens. I relaxed, knowing that I was not the only one to be ‘spooked’ by a lovely lady from the past who had lived in this magnificent house in Matjiesfontein – the heart of what is indeed an oasis in the Karoo.

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Lusterware

luster3Lusterware was not the work of just one maker, like Wedgwood ware, nor of any one place, like old blue Staffordshire. The time and circumstances of its reinvention or introduction into England are a matter of doubt. Copper luster was made as early as 1770 at Brislington, near Bristol, and prior to 1800 at Staffordshire, Longton, Sunderland (famous for its pink luster), Leeds, Prestonpans, Dillwyn, Swansea, and at other potteries in different parts of England. It was also made in small quantities at Wedgwood’s Etruria works.

The earlier, cruder pieces are hard to place; more is known as to the makers of the later ware, though very few pieces are marked. It is possible, too, that some of it was imported from Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium, but most of that found in this country is undoubtedly of English make.

It was an English product that our forefathers used, and though inferior to the earlier ware in many ways, it is interesting, and practically the only kind collected to-day. After passing through a crude stage in its development in England, lusterware came into fashion a hundred years ago as “best china,” following and rivaling Lowestoft in that capacity.

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The Art Of Investing In Art

artArt has long been considered an investment of passion, one that not only offers aesthetic pleasure but the potential for economic benefit. Only recently has art investing been viewed through the lens of modern portfolio theory and considered as a potential alternative investment in a portfolio of assets.

Market paradigms have shifted dramatically over the last several decades, as newly created wealth in emerging markets such as China, Russia and the Middle East has increased the number of participants in the art trade, giving the market greater resiliency. Undeterred by a rough economic environment in recent years, collectors globally are paying record sums for top works.

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The Style of Furniture

stylefurnitureSome people collect antiques as a hobby and some appreciate the craftsmanship of past artisans. For some, having antique furniture is a source of pride. Many people enjoy and use the furniture and hardly give a thought to how the furniture came into existence and what woods were used.

Collecting antiques is a most delightful and rewarding hobby and one which can be enjoyed at any age. It provides a cultural interest long after other entertainments have begun to pall. A true collector is never bored. When he is not actively searching he can be reading and studying, and he will never cease to learn.

The experience is not just unique but also gives a classy and attractive look to those houses decorated with these vintage furniture and interior items due to its extravagant look.

It takes years of experience, observation, study, and training to differentiate between an antique piece of furniture and a faithful reproduction. Some characteristics, however, cannot be reproduced. Perhaps the most unmistakable one is patina. This is a mellowing of the surface acquired by wood through age, use, dusting, and polishing.

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Chinese antique jewellery

chineseantique1Chinese antiquities and works of art have been sought after by western collectors since the summer palace of the Chinese emperor was sacked in 1850. For over 150 years collectors have bought porcelain, enamels, bronzes, art and large jade carvings. Silver was overlooked and undervalued until the later 20th century.

The Chinese have been making silver ornaments since 2000 BC, a craft handed down from father to son. Silversmiths and master stone carvers assumed that their sons would follow their craft. Young boys would learn the rudiments of their father’s trade at the tender age of three, by ten or twelve, they would be apprenticed in the shop that employed their father.

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NAADA FAIRE

naada1

ART TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT NAADA

With so many antique dealers picking up great works of art from their buying trips and as part of estate sales, the NAADA Faire has become known for the many unique art pieces it has featured over the years – from Pierneefs to Irma Sterns; from Kentridge’s to Eduardo Villa sculptures. Some very significant clocks have been showcased at NAADA courtesy of Ricus Dullaert of Kunsthandel H.W.C Dullaert from Amsterdam including a rare Amsterdam long case clock made between 1775 and 1780 by Douwe de Vries in Amsterdam. It featured the heroic scene of Wolter Wotemade as he rescued 14 sailors from the wrecked ship ‘De Jonge Thomas’ in Table Bay in June 1773.

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ElizabethThe Legend of Elizabeth Taylor

Diamonds were her best friends

As we mourned the death of screen goddess Elizabeth Taylor on March 23 2011, we remember not only the extraordinary life of this talented actress and humanitarian, we are also fascinated by her unmatched jewellery collection. Married eight times, to Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton, Richard Burton (again), John Warner and Larry Fortensky, Taylor collected jewellery as prolifically as she collected husbands. In 2003 she published a book titled “My Love Affair with Jewellery” in which she described her passion for jewellery.

“I mean, how many young women get a set of rubies just for doing something wholesome like swimming laps? Or win a diamond ring at Ping-Pong with their husband…? Well, I did, and for all of these memories and the people in my life I feel blessed.”

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Simply Ava

ava1Ava Gardner was born on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1922, in Grabtown, North Carolina on a Tabacco farm. She was her parents’ seventh child. When Gardner was 2 years old, she and her family were forced to leave their tobacco farm. 1924, the Gardners, along with two-year-old Ava moved to the “teacherage”---a boarding house for young lady teachers at the local Brogden school. Jonas Gardner labored as the caretaker and Mollie Gardner served as the cook for the residents of the house. The effects of “The Great Depression” eventually forced the closing of the teacherage, in 1935. "As a toddler, she climbed out onto the porch roof and had to be coaxed back into the house with the promise of a bowl of peaches."

The family always struggled financially, a situation that worsened when Gardner’s father died when she was 16. Ava’s mother insisted that Ava continue her education, rather than working to help support the family, so after her graduation from Rock Ridge High School (near Wilson, North Carolina) in 1939 she attended Atlantic Christian College, concentrating on shorthand and typing. Ava’s brother Jack paid her tuition expenses, and she caught a ride each day with a girlfriend who lived nearby.

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Peter Crisp Glass

petercrisp1Crisp has created a niche market for fine art glass tableware that is hand-painted with gold and kiln-fi red in a process based on ancient Egyptian techniques. When he undertook his diploma and postgraduate diploma of visual arts at Sydney College of the Arts from 1978 to 1981, glass art in Australia was “very, very new”.

Glass studies was an experimental subject, so Crisp did his thesis on ancient glassmaking techniques that pre-date the invention of glassblowing. He knew kilns must have been used and, coming from a sheep farming family, decided he could use fencing wire to make his early moulds. Crisp set up a small studio on the family farm in 1982, and years of experimentation followed.

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SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF CARVED FURNITURE

carvedfurn1I was standing in front of the most beautiful cabinet and asked myself the question, ‘What is the meaning of all this carved work? What is the message that the cabinetmaker wanted to convey? This began a search for sources of information which one could find simple meanings to aid in the understanding of the symbols and allegories that was once so widely used.

Traditional symbols form a universal language which is becoming more mysterious as we move further away from the thought patterns of those who produced it. Originally, these symbols – typically, familiar objects standing for something abstract, such as an idea, quality, emotion, value, aspiration, belief, hope or fear – were anything but mysterious. Their intention was to provide an instantly recognizable representation, or mental picture, of a concept.

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Schiaparelli

Schiaparelli1FASHION AND ITALY GO HAND IN HAND. REGARDED AS ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT FIGURES IN FASHION BETWEEN THE TWO WORLD WARS – WE BRING YOU THE ICONIC ELSA SCHIAPARELLI.

FACT FILE:
• Born in Rome on 10th September 1890. Elsa led a refined life with a certain amount of luxury provided by her parents’ wealth and high social status. She believed, however, that this luxury was stifling to her art and creativity and so she removed herself from the “lap of luxury” as quickly as possible.
• En route to London, Schiaparelli was invited to a ball in Paris. Having no ballgown, she bought some dark blue fabric, wrapped it around herself and pinned it in place.
• She couldn’t sew and she didn’t sketch, yet Elsa Schiaparelli stormed Paris fashion in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Art Deco Jewellery

artdeco1The Art Deco period is one of the most popular and enduring design periods in jewellery’s history. The style reflected the flamboyant and playful attitudes of the era and gave birth to forms and motifs that continue to live on today.

Some consumers seek out authentic vintage and antique pieces from 1920 to 1935 for collections, and others purchase contemporary fashion jewellery featuring Art Deco styles simply because they like the patterns and looks.

Art Deco had strong roots in France, and while the name is thought to have been taken from L’Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne in Paris in 1925, the phrase was not commonly ascribed to the aesthetic until 1968, when English art historian Bevis Hillier wrote his definitive “Art Deco of the 20s and 30s.”

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