Antiques & Vintage in New York

Over Easter, the banker and I cashed in some air miles (or Avios points, as they’re known today) and took a five day Spring break in New York. We’ve both been lucky enough to travel there on business and pleasure before, so could relax rather than rush around and do all the tourist hot spots. I even managed to take three days off – a very rare occurrence for me. I found myself itching for a good antiques or flea market after day two, but that was satiated by some quirky shops in the relaxed and trendy Williamsburg district that reminded me so much of Hoxton in London. I’m not sure who was ‘first’, but does it really matter?! The antiques and vintage scene has really changed since I was last there. Many shops I knew and loved have closed down, and there’s altogether a quieter scene in Manhattan today. On a wander around the West Village, I passed the wonderful End of History shop purely by chance. of course, I had to pop in and say …

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MidCentury Fair at Lords

After my debut as a dealer at the marvellous Battersea Decorative & Antiques Fair in April, my next fair was the MidCentury Fair at Lord’s Cricket Ground. I’ve been in awe of Petra and Lucy, the fair organisers, as their events are amongst the very best fairs I’ve ever attended. They have built up a strong and loyal following, many of whom buy regularly. The locations are perfect, are brilliantly organised, and are always packed with great stuff from the best dealers and, most importantly, people. I was delighted, and excited, about going. Cabinets aren’t the sort of thing that they’re after, presumably as they seem exclusive rather than inclusive (I do tend to agree), so I was left with a ‘shelving issue’. Having found a rather minimal solution, and placed an order, I thought I was ready to go. Only for that supplier to let me down three days before! So off I trundled to find another solution – trying not to panic. In the end I plumped for some galvanised steel shelves. Not …

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At the recent marvellous Antiques For Everyone fair at the NEC in Birmingham, a friendly dealer approached me with a folder of around 50 photographs of furniture, home accessories, and room designs. Her father was a teacher and had used them in the late 1950s and early 1960s as props for lessons. Since he retired, they had sat forgotten in his loft until she rediscovered them after he died. I found them fascinating – and turning them over revealed an even more fascinating feature. The backs all bore the names of the designers, manufacturers, and the dates of introduction. Some of the designs I recognised, some I did not. Although the dealer didn’t want much for them, I gave her £20, saying that it could always be donated to charity. If I’m lucky, I sometimes see such archives on the Antiques Roadshow, and I always advice that, copyright allowing, the owner scans them and posts them online. In some instances, the images are original artworks, and the owners are the children of the designers who created them. The …

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Antiques Roadshow in Scarborough

This year seems to be flying past already, and I’m now well into my list of Antiques Roadshows that I’m attending this season. Most recently, I travelled to Scarborough where the Roadshow was held in the Victorian grandeur of the Spa. I usually switch between the Collectables and Miscellaneous tables, but this time I was on Collectables. As ever, I saw plenty of treasures to interest, intrigue and delight. The highlight of the day for me was spotting an extremely lovely and very intricate Russian silver perfume bottle in a case at the bottom of a box. The quality was superb but, as it’s not at all my area of expertise, I showed it to Geoffrey Munn who became very excited by it. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but you’ll have to find out whether you’re right or not by tuning in! Another treasure found was this fabulous Moorcroft Florian double-handled vase. These early pieces are scarce and sought-after anyway, but what made this particularly interesting was the highly desirable celadon glaze. The owner had had …

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Whitefriars Day in Cambridge

I’m lucky enough to be part of the committee that runs the Glass Association, the nation’s largest and most active society of glass collectors and enthusiasts. As well as recently launching a new interactive website, which you can check out by clicking here, we have a busy schedule of events planned for 2012. For me, one of the most important is the exclusive ‘Window on Whitefriars’ event, to be held at the University Centre in Cambridge on Saturday 7th July. This packed day offers many unique events. Esteemed international glass expert and author Charles Hajdamach kicks the day off with his lecture entitled ‘Imagination and Ingenuity in British Art Glass: The Harry Powell years 1880-1920′. Charles’ last lecture was at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, so it’s worth coming for that alone.

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A Weekend in Berlin

Family duties abroad called, so we travelled to Berlin this weekend, spending Saturday looking after the banker’s 26 month old nephew. After a visit to Berlin zoo, plenty of trips on the U-bahn, and a long walk (guided solely by our little ward), we were more exhausted than he was! I did manage to steal a little bit of time away on Sunday to do the usual round of flea markets. Mauer Platz disappointed as usual, although I’m sure if you’re looking for vintage (and not so vintage!) clothes and tit-tatty trinkets, you’d be more than happy. So down to Arkona Platz I went, and found a rather marvellous cobalt-blue cased and cut vase. In the form of a ball on a cone, with the ball cut with tightly packed rows of lenses, the optical effect is amazing.

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