Antiques in Buenos Aires I

The undoubted heart of BA’s antiques scene is the historic San Telmo district, the first district of this mega-city to be settled and built. Divided into a grid, head towards Defensa, starting at the crossing with Av. Belgrano, only minutes walk from the famous Plaza de Mayo. You’ll soon be confronted with an unparalleled array of stores offering what must be the best selection of antiques in the Americas. The city’s immense wealth in the early 20thC meant that, armed with impeccable taste and bulging wallets, its residents could afford to import the very best of Art Deco furniture, ceramics and glass. It’s these that the hundreds of dealers found here specialise in – I promise that your jaw will barely leave the floor! Check out Gallery 800, on the right as you head down towards Plaza Dorrego. Despite its name, its 10 or so dealers don’t specialise silver, but instead devote themselves to glass. The central and back stands are particularly interesting. I was tempted by some reasonably priced …

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A gourd time in Cusco

Our flight back from Cusco to Lima has been ‘delayed’. Apparently, the airline sent a smaller plane than was expected, so it was either a seat on the wing or a later flight. I opted for the latter! This means I am writing this entry sitting on a balcony in a fabulous eaterie in Cusco that happens to have a wireless connection. I’ve just scoffed the most delicious breakfast omelette known to man. Of course, after four days of trekking along the Inca Trail, any breakfast omelette would be welcome, but this was truly exceptional with its mix of free range eggs, chunks of chorizo, onions, chilli peppers and more. My stomach was complaining after a lengthy but utterly fascinating walk around the Convento de Santo Domingo, and its odd mix of almost unearthly Inca buildings within a traditional Western-style Christian convent. There, we stumbled across a selling exhibition of traditional Peruvian hand-carved gourds. The carving of gourds with complex scenes of people, jungles, wildlife or devotional motifs dates back over 4,000 years in the Peruvian Andes, and entire families …

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Antiques in Cusco

I hadn’t really relished the thought of spending a few days in Cusco. After the chaotic – but honest – hustle and bustle of the developing city of Lima, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to a city described in all the guides as ‘touristy’. How wrong they were, as it proved to be one of the many highlights of the trip. After getting used to the altitude, I decided to get used to Pisco Sour, a cocktail made using egg whites and Pisco. Yummy! Next up was buying a suitable hat for the trek in the market, which was found for the princely sum of £2.54. Tours around the incredible cathedrals that line the main square nourished the brain and gave my culture-hungry eyes plenty to soak up. Religious paintings that at first glance appeared like those in thousands of Christian churches across the world, but at second glance included intriguing uniquely Peruvian details, proved particularly fascinating. A narrow second to these were the two museums behind the Cathedral, with their superb collections of pre-Columbian pottery and metalwares. The display …

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Trailing The Inca

Back in July, I mentioned that Alpine walks 1,950 metres up would help prepare me for my Summer holiday. Well it did, even though the Inca Trail, at over 12,000 feet above sea level, was quite a different story. To be honest, I’m amazed I did it, as I do rather like my creature comforts. However, it’s not that hard if you have a reasonable level of fitness and 28 Peruvian porters and 4 guides to make the journey easier. Nevertheless, I thought I had left camping behind with the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme at school! You notice it right after stepping of the plane from Lima to Cusco – even there the altitude even makes you feel giddy and light-headed. Sort of like being drunk without the good (or bad) effects of drinking. On the first day in Cusco, climbing even a single flight of stairs leaves you breathless. Still, it gets easier as you adapt during the day, which is just as well given the full four days ahead of walking up …

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Fat Lava – SOLD OUT!

You can’t have any more. They’re all gone! My very first publication, produced in association with the Graham Cooley Collection, has completely sold out. I’ve even sold the ‘seconds’ due to a rash of desperate requests over the past few weeks. The reason for this? Fat Lava has gone volcanic! It has appeared in all manner of magazines recently, including the latest edition of Elle Decoration that plopped onto my doormat this morning. Not only that, but an exhibition of Scheurich ceramics is opening in Germany (yes, the country that until recently hated them!), and a major exhibition in Canada is slated for sometime in 2009. If you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a copy, the good news is that I will be reprinting due to continued demand. Not only that, but my consultants and I will be revising and updating all the information contained in the original, and also introducing new photographs. The launch of the second edition will be held in association with an exciting new event that Dr Cooley, Petra and Patrick Folkersma …

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Spitalfields Antiques Market

A nice new discovery this one. I wrote some time ago that it’s often easy to ignore things right on your doorstep. I had heard about this thriving antiques and collectables market, run by Sherman & Waterman every Thursday close to Liverpool Street railway station, but I had never actually made the effort to get up to go. Well, this morning I levered myself out of bed to arrive for a 7am start. The early bird catches the worm, and all that. And what a surprise I found…. because nothing was ready! Although some 30-40 dealers had arrived, they were still setting up. So it was off to the coffee shop for a pleasant hour sipping a latte or two and reading the newspapers. When I returned, everything had flipped up a gear and I was forced to do the same. With eyes peeled and sharpened by caffeine, I spotted a number of interesting purchases. These included a rare example of Stuart’s ‘Dark Crystal’ range from the mid-1980s, a uranium glass ball vase that looks like it might from Walsh …

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