SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine

mingDubbed the “King of Ming” – Robert Elisworth, a prominent dealer of modern Chinese paintings, Ming dynasty furniture, archaic jade and other examples of Asian art who helped amplify many of the major Asian collections in the West, died on Aug. 3 in Manhattan. He was 85. He was born in Manhattan on July 13, 1929. His mother was an opera singer & his father a dentist.

Mr. Ellsworth, who never graduated from high school, was interested in China and in antiques from the time he was a boy. As a teenager, he worked in a Manhattan antiques gallery, where he met Alice Boney, then the leading dealer in Asian art in the city. She took him under her wing, and what he learned from her about Chinese porcelain, painting and furniture was the fundament of a career that placed him among the boldest, most prolific and most prescient dealers of Asian art in the country.

Mr. Ellsworth’s clients included major U.S. museums and many important collectors, among them John D. Rockefeller III, whose nearly 300 pieces – including Chinese ceramics, Indian bronzes and Southeast Asian sculptures – were given to the Asia Society after his death in 1978.


silverNothing can match a table decked out in silver or silver-plate. So many times I ask people if they know the difference between silver and silver-plate? It is important as a collector to be able to identify the different types of silver and the many hallmarks. American Sterling is simple and to the point whilst British silver has the passant mark signifying silver of a 925 standard. Many silver-plated items have the A1 marking or “quadruple plate” or “EPNS’.

Collecting is often so personal so look at your life and how you live and then choose a style that represents your specific taste. Once you have done this look at the period that reflects your style and then look into the different silver companies and makers. Silver makers over the generations have represented so many diverse eras that I have no doubt that you will find something that suits you and your home perfectly. However, I believe one mustn’t be scared to mix different periods as this adds dimension to a collection. If you decide to collect flat ware it is fun to do a harlequin set that includes many different patterns from different factories. A dining room table set with silver centerpieces and cutlery as well as bon-bon and serving dishes can make for a most lavish dining experience.



It’s known as the world’s most mysterious manuscript - an illustrated tome that’s baffled experts for centuries. Known as the Voynich Manuscript, although librarians at Yale University’s rare books vault in Connecticut simply refer to it as manuscript MS 408, it is written in bizarre ‘alien’ characters and illustrated with sketches no one can understand. The book’s author is unknown and it has no official title. The manuscript measures 23.5 by 16.2 by 5 centimetres, with hundreds of vellum pages collected into 20 quires - some of which have unusual fold-out shapes making up 240 pages (although from the numbering gaps there could have been up to 272 pages originally). Based on modern analysis, it has been determined that a quill pen and iron gall ink were used for the text and figure outlines. Colored paint was crudely applied to the figures, possibly at a later date.

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‘Battle of Britain’ movie airplanes sold

battleplanesThe rare fighters from the 1969 Battle of Britain movie have been sold to restorers in the United States and Europe, according to the agent handling the sale.

Wilson Connell “Connie” Edwards, the irascible 80-year-old pilot who coordinated the movie stunts and took the airplanes as payment, has stored most of them in a dusty, west Texas hangar for more than 40 years.

“All of the airplanes have been sold, and they will be gone by the end of the year,” said Simon Brown of Platinum Fighters, which handled the sale. “We had multiple full-price offers for each airplane. They are going to three different buyers who plan to restore them to top flying condition.”

Revealed: How Jackie O's nude beach photos that caused global media storm in 1972 were part of four-year smear campaign by her own HUSBAND Aristole Onassis

JackieOThe infamous nude pictures of Jackie Kennedy Onassis on a beach that caused a media storm in 1972 were part of a widespread smear campaign by her own husband, a new book reveals. The former First Lady married Greek tycoon Aristotle 'Ari' Onassis in 1968 after he wooed her with gifts and declarations of love. But throughout the turbulent four-year marriage Ari pursued his not-so-secret affair with opera singer Maria Callas - while allegedly using his press contacts to publicly discredit her. The revelation comes from noted Kennedy author Christopher Andersen in his upcoming book The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved. The biography about Jackie's son describes how Ari bullied his new wife - constantly deriding her as 'The Widow' during interviews, according to an excerpt published by the New York Daily News.

Chippendale Changed the way furniture looks.

chippendaledeskMost people associate Thomas Chippendale with Chippendale furniture of Philadelphia. But he actually lived and worked in England. Only his designs made it over the great pond. Thomas Chippendale's new and different-looking chairs and tables were the vogue in England, but it was at least 1755 before cabinetmakers in America copied any of Chippendale's designs.

And while cabinetmakers in Philadelphia used walnut and mahogany for their designs, those in Bermuda used native cedar, stained to look like mahogany. These Bermuda pieces can fool many collectors. However, the cedar has a decidedly warm orange tinge to it which distinguishes it from mahogany.


ivoryIvory is a material that is already fascinated mankind for thousands of years. King Salomon of the Israelites (1000 BC) had a fleet to provide him with gold and ivory (See 2 Chronicles, 9,21) and his throne was inlaid with ivory (1 Kings, 10,18). In the book Songs of Songs, Chapter 7, Verse 5, the neck of a beautiful lady is compared with an ivory tower and in the litany of the Holy Virgin of the catholic and orthodox churches, the Virgin Mary is praised as an “Ivory Tower”.

The popularity of ivory for handles of table ware, keys of piano’s, decorative carvings and jewellery has cost the elephant population dearly. In 1930 there were still 5 million African elephants around and nowadays a paltry 250.000-500.000 are left.

Praise be! Bob, 85, defies death threats from Satanists to return derelict church to its former glory

BobwebIt has been struck by a German bomb, torn apart by American GIs and left in squalor by a pagan cult.
So when the ruins of an ancient church were discovered in thick woodland by Bob Davey, he could have been forgiven for thinking its fate had already been sealed.
Instead, the determined church warden used his retirement to embark on a 22-year crusade to return the dilapidated building to its former glory – despite receiving a death threat from the cult.

But even he was surprised when his noble DIY effort threw up an unexpected gift, unearthing ancient paintings inside its ivy-covered walls.

The images depict the Holy Trinity and the Last Judgment and are thought to have been created in 1090, soon after the Norman Conquest.
Believed to be the oldest wall paintings in Britain, they have seen the tiny church become an international tourist attraction. They have even earned Mr Davey, 85, an MBE after Prince Charles made several visits to the church.
Mr Davey heard about the tower in 1992 when his late wife Gloria came across it on a ramble near Houghton-on-the-Hill, Norfolk, with her WI group.

The real Lives of Others: German tourists relive the Communist East by spending a night in a Stasi bunker - with 'basic training' and authentic military rations (but they escape to a sauna at the end)

Stasi-BunkerGermans have just marked 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it seems some can't resist reliving the 'bad old days' of Communism.
Deep in the forests of former East Germany they are spending the night in an authentic Stasi bunker - complete with military uniforms, rations and formal training for a Cold War chemical attack.
Teenagers not yet born when the wall fell are among those signing up for the 14-hour tour at the Bunkermuseum Frauenwald, a 38,750 sq ft underground complex which once had enough supplies to last 130 occupants up to a year.Hidden in the woods near the city of Suhl, it was one of at least 15 similar bunkers meant to serve as command and administrative centres in case of war.
The airtight bunker - whose twin access staircases were concealed inside a warehouse - had decontamination units and oxygen tanks in case of a chemical weapons attack in the world outside.
It also had cooking facilities, bedrooms, a dining room, its own power supply and a command centre which used telegraph wires and a radio transmitter to keep up contact with the outside world.



Members of the public who think they have something of value in the way of antiques and collectables – from jewellery to furs; from silver to glassware; from coins to porcelain; from collectable art to Chinese antiques – can bring their treasures along to the Antiques Fair on Sunday 5th October and specialists in a variety of collecting fields will be happy to give a free valuation.

Says Clyde Terry, organizer of the Fair, “It is amazing what people have hidden away in their cupboards – often antiques that were handed down from generation to generation, with often huge historical value and which could be worth quite a bit. Generally, antique dealers charge to evaluate an item, but at the Nelson Mandela Square Antiques Fair our group of dealers who are all members of the NAADA Association of antique & collectable dealers, are happy to give an evaluation for FREE this Sunday 5th October from 9.30am to 4pm.”

The Secret to why People collect

collecting1A recent shopper who stumbled across the Antiques Fair at Nelson Mandela Square came to the information table and asked us, “what is it that these collectors know that I should also know” as she marvelled at all the people totally absorbed in browsing the over 60 tables at the Faire.

An interesting question and one that people all over the world are asking ... what makes antique collecting so desirable? Online site called antiques the ‘eye candy of investments” which is a very apt description. Unlike other investments – like stocks and bonds which are all about numbers – antiques are about heritage, beauty, craftsmanship – and ultimately about investments. The other intriguing aspect to collecting has to do with the search... the find... the discovery .... and hopefully the windfall that could make you some money!

Dambusters together again: World's last two airworthy Lancaster Bombers called Thumper and Vera fly over site where famous raid was practiced as a tribute to crews killed in Second World War

DambustersThe aircraft swooped over the Derwent Dam in Derbyshire three times this afternoon on return flight to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire as part of the Southport Air Show.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's bomber Thumper, based at Lincolnshire, was joined by Canadian Lancaster Vera from a museum in Ontario for the demonstration in the Peak District.

Thousands of aviation enthusiasts watched as the Bombers paid tribute to Dambusters crew members who practised in the same area in 1943 at 4pm today.

Derwent Dam was where Wing Commander Guy Gibson trained his squadron for their historic nocturnal assaults on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams - all crucial to Hitler’s industrial heartland in the Ruhr Valley.

Gibson’s force had to fly across occupied Europe at night, so low that some were killed by power lines, and drop untried bouncing bombs – with unprecedented accuracy – in full view of the enemy’s guns.

Marble statues, chandeliers, walls lined with gold - and stacks of jokes: Inside Joan Rivers's opulent New York apartment 'where Marie Antoinette would have lived if she had the money'

joanriversA dazzling gem of old-school showbusiness, it seems only right that her living room ceilings scaled 30ft-high, and velvet drapes framed the vast windows.

The 5,000-square-foot penthouse is held up by gold pillars.

And in every corner of the opulent New York apartment sit stacks of index cards with jokes spanning her entire career.

The comedienne, who died last week at the age of 81, once described the Upper East Side condo as 'where Marie Antoinette would have lived if she had the money'.

The limestone mansion was built in 1910 for society figure John R Drexel and his socialite wife.

In 1959, it welcomed Ernest Hemingway as a tenant in one of the one-bedroom apartments. He installed a study and hoped to write but found they city too oppressive and soon left.

St Johns College


Signed Hitler photo's £18,000 price tag: 1925 portrait salvaged from dictator's Berlin bunker set to go up for auction

HitlerA signed photograph of Adolf Hitler that was salvaged from the ruins of his Berlin bunker in the final days of World War Two has emerged for sale for £18,000.

The portrait was found among the rubble by late British newspaperman William Forrest, the first war correspondent at the scene days after the Fuhrer and his mistress Eva Braun committed suicide in 1945.

The photo of Hitler was taken in 1929 after his release from prison where he served five years for high treason for an attempted government coup in Bavaria.

It is thought the 16ins tall picture was on display in the bunker as a reminder of his perceived struggle.

The Elvis Ginger Knew...

ElvisandGinger‘I’m going into the bathroom to read.' 

Those were the words Elvis Presley uttered to his fiancée Ginger Alden in the early morning hours of August 16, 1977 at his Memphis mansion, Graceland. And they were the last words he would ever speak.

The King couldn't fall asleep and he didn't want to disturb the beauty queen who was about to become his wife.

‘Okay, but don’t fall asleep,’ she responded, fearing he would zone out while sitting on the john. She  went to bed, leaving his reading light on for him when he returned.

When Alden woke up hours later at 2 pm and noticed Elvis' reading light still on, she knocked on the bathroom door, called his name and opened the door. ‘That’s when I saw him in there’.

Rare and Unseen Movie Posters, The Next Hot Collectible?

JohnAlvinPosterThese are the movie posters that never graced bedroom walls for some of the biggest films like E.T, Jurassic Park, The Goonies, Star Trek VI, Cape Fear and Batman.

They are the work of late artist and painter John Alvin who worked on more than 100 films as Hollywood's go-to guy for conveying the magic of cinema as an eye-catching poster.

His first was the 1974 Mel Brook's comedy Blazing Saddles and he worked for major studios like Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox. But perhaps his best-known work is the spell-binding posters that accompanied Steven Spielberg's huge summer blockbusters, like E.T, Cocoon and Jurassic Park.

Flower Power

flowerChintz China, with its floral designs, conjures up visions of genteel tea-parties, complete with cucumber sandwiches and cream scones. This delicate china, called ‘chintz’ after the word ‘chintes’ - an Indian word originally for cotton fabric decorated with florals in vibrant colours – was all the rage in the Edwardian era when the art of dining meant bringing out the best china and a love of nature inspired the use of flowers in decor.

The Second World War forced many ceramic factories to suspend production and, although production resumed, the popularity of chintz seemed to fade as people looked to more modern designs in décor, turning to Scandinavian design, new materials such as plastic and influenced by a more abstract art trend. But, true to its cyclical nature, chintz china collecting has come full circle and is once again in demand.

In an attempt to emulate the ‘chintz’ trend, many contemporary companies such as Maxwell Williams came out with colourful floral china. This sparked an interest in collecting the original chintz china and collectors have been scrambling since then to find unique chintz dinnerware and tea set collections or to search for pieces to complete their sets.

Records and Steady sellers

sellersIn the Antiques Trade Gazette of December 2012, editor Ivan Macquisten astutely summarised the state of the South African art market: “Only the best will do... but it will do very nicely”. Indeed, recent sales of South African art suggest buyers are becoming more selective, yet strong showings at Bonhams by J.H. Pierneef (including a new world record for a rare pair of caseins), Irma Stern, Alexis Preller, and Gerard Sekoto continue to reinforce these artists’ pre-eminence in the market for South African art market.

However, new records – coupled with consistently growing values for slightly less prominent artists such as Anton Van Wouw (whose sculpture has increased in value tenfold in the past ten years) – reveal that the market remains dynamic. Bonhams’ October 2012 auction broke several world records, bringing to the fore the abstract compositions of Stanley Pinker (R4.7 million), the sumptuous surfaces of Vladimir Tretchikoff (R4.7 million), and the unique expressionism of self-taught artist Gladys Mgudlandlu (R384,000).


Persian Pleasures of the world



Rolex Mentor

rolexThe Rolex Arts Initiative brings artistic masters from different disciplines together with highly promising young artists for a year of collaboration in a one-toone mentoring relationship

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which was created in 2001 embodies Rolex’ long-standing commitment to culture and has for many years supported artists and related institutions around the globe. The Rolex Arts Initiative was launched to encourage creativity and enhance even further the company’s engagement with the arts. In the past decade, it has become one of the world’s most iconic arts programmes – involving an impressive expanding network of leading creators. Like Rolex watchmaking, the Mentor and Protégé programme celebrates and perpetuates the transmission of a craft – in this case, the world’s cultural heritage – to great artists of the future. According to Gian Riccardo Marini, CEO of Rolex SA, “By fostering a dialogue between artists of different generations and nations, Rolex hopes to make an important contribution to the development of the arts and culture, which bring creativity, elegance and lasting values to our lives.”

The Rolex Arts Initiative was established to make a significant contribution to global culture by helping ensure that the world’s artistic heritage is passed on to the next generation. In keeping with its tradition of supporting individual excellence, Rolex seeks to give emerging artists time to learn, create and grow. Since 2002 Rolex has paired mentors and protégés in the fields of dance, film, literature, music, theatre, visual arts and – as of 2012 – architecture, in a unique creative exchange.

Parisian Treasure

parisian1A Parisian apartment left untouched for over 70 years was discovered in the quartier of Pigalle a few summers ago. The property was found near a church in the French capital’s 9th arrondissement, between Pigalles’ red light district and Opera.

Madame de Florian, a socialite and actress, fled her stately abode in Paris just before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to return to the city - ever again.

Seven decades later she passed away at the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind, that this time capsule was finally unlocked.

Being an actress with a long list of ardent admirers, fervent love letters wrapped neatly in ribbon were still on the premises. Among the admirers was the 72nd prime minister of France, George Clemenceau.

Tiffany & Co.

tiffanyLouis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Tiffany, founder of the Tiffany & Co. jewellery company. Born in 1848, Louis became one of America’s best known businessmen and most talented artists, directed an artistic empire in the design and creation of stunning leaded glass windows and lamps, blown glass vessels, mosaics, and other objects of luxury.

Tiffany began his career as a painter, working under influential artists. In the late 1870s, Tiffany turned his attention to decorative arts and interiors, although he never abandoned painting. His first significant interior design project was for his 1878 top-floor home and studio at the Bella Apartments on 48 East 26th Street in New York City. The leaded-glass window from the entrance hall, one of his earliest windows, illustrates an unconventional use of glass, including experimental opalescent, marbleized, and confetti-type glass, as well as crown glass and rough-cut “jewels.” This glass fashioned a window of strikingly abstract design suggestive of a bold paintbrush stroke.

Tiffany’s father commissioned McKim, Mead & White to construct a picturesque Romanesque Revival multifamily dwelling on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue in New York. Completed in 1885, Louis Tiffany and his family occupied the top two floors. His exotic studio, the site of artistic creations and social gatherings, was a frequently photographed space. A pastel rendering of his second wife, Louise, in a corner of the studio demonstrates Tiffany’s deft hand in this difficult medium as he translated and differentiated various lush fabrics and textures.

By late 1892 or early 1893, Tiffany built a glasshouse in Corona, Queens, New York, and, with Arthur Nash, a skilled glassworker from
Stourbridge, England, his furnaces developed a method whereby different colours were blended together in the molten state, achieving subtle effects of shading and texture. Recalling the Old English word fabrile (hand-wrought), Tiffany named the blown glass from his furnaces Favrile, a trademark that signified glass of hand-made and unique quality.


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