My Blog Rated In Top Six Antiques Blogs

I was delighted to find that my blog was rated as one of the ’50 Best Blogs’ for 2012 by Homes & Antiques magazine. All 50 were profiled in the August issue of the magazine, which was also the ‘vintage special’. The 50 top picks were divided up into different categories, from ‘Eat, Drink, Travel & Garden’ to ‘Craft Me Beautiful’, and ‘Designs We Love’. My blog featured in ‘Out Antiquing’, which was narrowed down to only six entries. Joining me were my Antiques Roadshow friends Judith Miller and Katherine Higgins, regular fair goer Liz van Hasselt, Vintage Rescue Squad, and the marvellously named Serge & Tweed. About my blog, Homes & Antiques said, “Dapper Roadshow expert Mark Hill’s posts are as elegant as the man himself. Glass is a popular topic as you’d expect, but plenty of other subjects get a look in too, as you discover where Mark’s been and the fascinating finds he’s picked up along the way.” Well, how lovely, and thank you very …

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As the nights grow chilly and draw in on us, there’s nothing more enjoyable than the cliché of curling up on a comfortable antique chair with a good book. Books about antiques and collecting that don’t focus on a particular subject area are rare, probably due to the potentially limited readership. Those that do get published invariably focus on a salacious scandal to sell copies, such as The Art of The Steal which covered Christie’s and Sotheby’s and their price-fixing agreement. So I was delighted when Gail McLeod of Antiques News & Fairs recommended the intriguingly and temptingly named Killer Stuff And Tons of Money as a holiday read to me. Firstly, this is a hugely enjoyable and warm read that anyone who collects, buys and sells, or even just enjoys TV antiques programmes, should read. Secondly, it covers only one (but probably the largest) segment of the American market, but the core themes carry through to the market in any country, and arguably also to any segment of the market. The book records the author’s …

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My friend and fellow mid-century pottery fan Emiel Monnink of Retrominded and I were chatting online last week. I had just met a friend of his at the excellent Ardingly antiques fair, and he had just found a piece of Italian pottery for me to look at. I found the story fascinating, and (almost) completely new to me. He had acquired the vase from a friend as it bore the mark of De Bijenkorf, a chain of upscale department stores in the Netherlands, and a flagship store in Amsterdam. The name translates as ‘the beehive’, so the motif is one side of the outline of a beehive, inside a circle. The company was founded in 1870, and is known today for stocking great quality, finely made pieces by renowned brands. He had also acquired it because it looked very similar to works he had seen by the famous mid-century Italian potter and ceramic designer Guido Gambone (1909-69). They can fetch many hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds, but this example was not signed …

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I’ve split my blog posts about antiquing in Mexico City into two, each focusing on different areas of the city, to make it easier to read. My first post, which covers the two nearby markets in the upcoming Roma Norte district, can be read by clicking here. If you’re looking for something more upscale than a flea market, it seems the place to go is the Bazar des Antiguedades (antiques bazaar) in the Plaza del Angel, in the Zona Rosa district near Reforma. Those of you who have read my first post will know that I didn’t buy anything in Roma Norte. Those of you who know me will know how rare that is for me! The market is set in a large building with covered arcades of small shops and a small square with arched walkways. On Saturdays, all the shops fling open their doors (opening times on other days vary widely, and there’s no promise that they’ll be adhered to!), and the walkways and square fill up …

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When you’re researching a book, you invariably come across fascinating information which isn’t strictly related to the subject of the book, but really ought to be recorded anyway. When I was researching for my book on Michael Harris and his work at Mdina Glass and Isle of Wight Studio Glass (now out of print), my interviews with his widow Elizabeth Harris revealed Michael’s background. In 1962, Michael was offered the role of Tutor in the Industrial Glass department at the Royal College of Art, a position he held until he left to found Mdina Glass in 1967. What isn’t known as well was that at the same time, he was also part of an entrepreneurial design group called ‘Image Three’, or ‘Image 3’. His partners in the seemingly successful venture were Anthony Stiff and Ronald Mitchell, who were both potters. The group produced a wide variety of designs for retailers, manufacturers and distributors including the smokey grey glass Schweppes ashtrays found in pubs at the time, clocks, ceramic figurines, and a series of pine-framed coloured glass ‘sun-catcher’ …

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I didn’t have high hopes of finding much of interest in the first leg of our annual holiday, which took us to Mexico City. Of course, the banker saw this as a good thing – a break for me from work. Mexico doesn’t have a great reputation for antiques. Even though it has been wealthy, which can mean imports such as with Buenos Aires, apart from its rich pre-Columbian heritage, the country is better known antiques-wise for things that aren’t what they look like! By the third day (Saturday) I couldn’t resist a little hunting any further, particularly as I discovered that a large flea market was being set up not three minutes walk from our hotel! My research showed that the market that runs along the middle of Avenue Alvaro Obregon in the Roma Norte district is one of the three key flea markets in the city. What luck! We had a leisurely morning, but even when we arrived at 10am, many stands were still setting up. We started at the avenue’s junction with the Calle de Orizaba, …

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