Roman Glass at The Getty Villa

We nearly decided not to go, but I’m so glad we did go. With two Gettys on offer, the Museum and the Villa, the Museum seemed like the best bet. And although it was marvellous to see the Rembrandts and the French decorative arts and furniture, we weren’t quite prepared for quite how wonderful the Villa and its display were. Perched atop bluffs on Malibu beach this is, of course, the more famous of the two buildings. Although I’ve never been particularly interested in Antiquities professionally, as I find the area too much of a minefield provenance-wise, I have always loved Roman and ancient glass. As luck would have it, an upstairs room contained a temporary exhibition called Molten Color about early glassmaking techniques. Showcasing the collection of early collector Erwin Oppenlander, the fascinating displays covered the major techniques of coil-forming, mould blowing, freehand blowing, mosaic, casting, and cutting and engraving. When glassmakers say there’s nothing new in glass, they mean it – these techniques are still mainstays today, but were developed and …

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I spent my Summer holiday this year on a very American type of vacation – a road trip. Starting and finishing in Los Angeles, we took in San Francisco, the Napa Valley, Yosemite, Death Valley, Palm Springs, and much, much more. Although it was strictly a holiday, how could a diehard collector like me miss the chance to do just a little ‘tiquin’ en route…

Next up on our road trip was Napa, finally reached after some pretty hair-raising freeway driving around Berkeley during rush hour. I didn’t find many antique or collectables shops in the town, but the two that were there had a fairly good selection of corkscrews and wine drinking accessories, as one may expect. For me, the best was ‘Antiques on Second’, which had a great selection of ceramics, glass, metalware, and 1950s-70s fashion. Out of all the shops I went to on our trip, I could have spent a fair bit of time and money here. Almost as much as I could have at Santa Barbara’s excellent ‘Antique Alley’ on State Street, which I had …

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I spent my Summer holiday this year on a very American type of vacation – a road trip. Starting and finishing in Los Angeles, we took in San Francisco, the Napa Valley, Yosemite, Death Valley, Palm Springs, and much, much more. Although it was strictly a holiday, how could a diehard collector like me miss the chance to do just a little ‘tiquin’ en route…

After a night at the hilarious yet heart-warming Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, the banker and I spent the day at Hearst Castle, built at San Simeon by media magnate William Randolph Hearst. The inspiration behind Citizen Kane’s scarily sprawling ‘Xanadu’ mansion, George Bernard Shaw famously said that ‘San Simeon was the place God would have built – if he had the money’. Words can’t describe how lavish and wonderfully bizarre this place is. Every vista and glimpse offers something for the eye to feast on. And it’s an intensely personal view too – Hearst was fearless (and rich!) enough to mix styles, periods and even …

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Since picking up this striking poster a few years ago, I’ve been a follower and admirer of the 1980s & 90s work of contemporary French poster designer Gérard Courboulieux, who works under the pseudonym of Razzia. I was delighted to be asked by BBC Homes & Antiques magazine to write a short article on him, and you can read it in their September issue which is out now. His posters fetch anything from a few pounds to over £500, but he’s still unrecognised by many so there are bargains a plenty to be had. Pick up a copy to learn more and read my top tips on buying. But that’s not the only reason to buy a copy of this excellent magazine. In the same issue you can read an excellent and informative article on 1920s-30s Carlton Ware by my Antiques Roadshow colleague and friend Will Farmer, learn about what goes on behind the scenes of a busy auction house, keep up to date with prices with the Auction Price Guide, and …

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