You’ll no doubt know that I’m a more of 20th century boy in terms of my personal collecting habits. My tastes are broader, however, but even I was a little surprised when I bought the piece below from top French and Bohemian art glass dealers M&D Moir. Friends, family, and the other half were too, exclaiming “But it doesn’t even look like glass..!“ But, for me, that’s precisely the point. There are a number of things about this 6in (15.5cm) high mould-blown vase that fascinate me. Firstly, it’s made from a type of glass known as Lithyalin. Imitating precious hardstones such as agate, the marbled and striated Lithyalin was developed in Czechoslovakia by arch-glassmaker Frederick Egermann in the late 1820s. He patented it in 1828, and produced it until the 1840s. It proved popular at the time, and his competitors produced many imitations which continued to be produced on a diminishing scale into the late 19thC. Due to the way the molten glass was mixed, the striations or marbling on each piece are completely unique. Think about mixing …

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Published by the internationally known Miller’s Publications, Miller’s Collectables Price Guide is the best full colour fully illustrated collectables price guide in the world. Let expert authors Mark Hill and Judith Miller guide you through the world of collectables today, helping you to learn more with handy ‘Collectors’ Notes’, practical ‘Expert Eye’ features and enlightening footnotes. Over 5,000 collectables are valued and shown in full-colour, with subjects including Doulton, carnival glass, diecast toys, vintage fashion, costume jewellery, and much, much more.

To purchase a copy via Amazon, and save £7.80, please click here.

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Who designed this Minton tile..?

Nobody knows everything, and you ought to run away from anyone who says they do. I know very little about tiles, it’s a very specialist market. But a specialist market that is growing in size and appeal as more choose to use antique tiles in fireplaces or hallways or, in fact, all over the house. Our hallway is floored with some Victorian terracotta and sky blue tiles that look very much the bee’s knees, and came from Leominster Reclamation. Away from the architectural side of tiles, I’ve always admired single tiles displayed in plain, thick wooden frames and hung on a wall. So the week before last, for more reasons than its visual appeal, I bid on the Victorian tile shown here at an auction I attended. And won it. My question is, who designed it? And when? The back of the tile has nine ridges and bears some recently applied paper labels reading ‘Minton Prosser’s Patent / This tile probably exhibited with Pugin’s Great Stove / Great Exhibition 1851 / Hence damage from feet‘. Interesting …

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The Britain’s Best Antiques Shop awards came to an exciting climax last week at The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair. Organised by Homes & Antiques magazine and Antiques News & Fairs, voting began back in October as part of National Antiques Week. Many thousands of votes were received from across the country – and even from outside the country, showing just how vibrant and loved Britain’s antiques scene is. The Pavilion that holds the fair was packed, and not just with buyers, as much of the crowd was also there to find out who the winners were. Or, in a few cases, to find out if they were the winners! We were delighted to welcome homes, crafts and interiors guru – and major antiques lover – Kirstie Allsopp to present the awards after I had read  the list of the final nominees. In effect the antiques and vintage version of the Oscars, the crowd waited with baited breath! The winners were: 1. Britain’s Best Antiques Shop – Blighty Antiques, Cheltenham (shown …

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Textiles, which are often ignored in favour of furniture, ceramics or glass, have been enjoying a real renaissance recently. I think this is partly down to the current vogue for vintage clothing, particularly from the 1950s & 60s, and partly as people are beginning to wake up from the cold, clean Minimalist look that’s been so popular for a few decades. They’ve always fascinated me, from wonderful 18th century toiles de jouy, to abstract designs of the 1950s. My esteemed and eminent colleague, the design historian and curator Lesley Jackson, has just finished a book on one of the most innovative companies of the mid-20thC – Edinburgh Weavers. If  you haven’t heard of them, you really ought to read this book and find out more – it’s very early days for an area that I feel is going to be huge! Edinburgh Weavers was one of the most important textile companies of the twentieth century. Alastair Morton, visionary art director of the company, commissioned a remarkable series of textiles from leading British artists, including Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Elisabeth …

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