Best-selling Books!

Mark Hill Publishing Ltd is delighted to announce that ground-breaking books Hi Sklo Lo Sklo and Fat Lava are the company’s two top-selling books in the series of four published to date. A fifth title, on a new area, is currently being researched and written, and will be published in early 2011.

Hi Sklo Lo Sklo is the only book that covers mass-produced Czechoslovakian glass from the period of innovation that flourished after World War II, and was produced in association with the exhibition of the Graham Cooley collection in 2008. This market is tipped by many to be a great bet for the future – go armed with knowledge when you go out and buy!

Fat Lava, now in its second edition, covers West German ceramic design from the 1960s & 70s – a hot and rapidly developing collectors market. As well as a specially written introduction, the histories of the major manufacturers are covered in separate chapters, with information about designers, designs, and more.

Lavishly illustrated with specially commissioned photographs, both are invaluable reference sources and are available …

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Cracking Antiques – A BBC2 Series

Cracking Antiques is on a myth-busting mission to prove that people can add style and glamour to any type of home by investing in second-hand, vintage and antique furnishings – without breaking the bank.

The prime-time series, which aired on BBC Two from 7th April to 12th May 2010, is presented by interior designer Kathryn Rayward and antiques expert Mark Hill.

Kathryn and Mark want to take the pain and shame out of buying old. From town houses to terraced houses, 18th-century French Rococo to shabby chic, they want to show that antiques and vintage furnishings can help create a stylish, fashionable home and are often the better buy.

Cracking Antiques shows that spending wisely on second-hand objects can be a cheaper and unique alternative to much of what the High Street has to offer, and in comparison, antiques are well-made and built to last so are also a much more environmentally sound investment.

The nation loves nothing more than trawling for trinkets and treasures at the thousands of antiques fairs, car boot sales and auction houses up and down …

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Cracking Antiques – The Book

Produced in conjunction with BBC2’s exciting new series, Cracking Antiques shows you how vintage and antique furniture and accessories can help you to create a stylish, individual home without setting foot inside a superstore.

Take antiques off their pedestal and forget their elitist image. You don’t need to live in an old house to enjoy antiques and vintage and, if you choose wisely, you don’t need a huge bank balance either!

Comprehensive and easy-to-follow text explains what to look for when buying antiques and secondhand treasures, and how to renovate them using anything from a little TLC to a complete makeover.

Special features and ‘tips of the trade’ give expert interior design ideas and show why antiques that might be out of fashion today may make great investments for the future. To round off this invaluable guide, a resources section tells you all you need to know about buying at antiques fairs, antiques shops, at auction and online.

Cracking Antiques demonstrates, using simple steps and inspirational images, exactly how to add style and glamour to your home by buying secondhand, …

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I love a good fair, especially those run by Specialist Glass Fairs. The dynamic duo behind the rapidly expanding portfolio are delighted to announce an all-new fair to be held at Dulwich College in South London on Sunday 28th March. To be held in the beautiful and aptly Modernist style Christison Hall from 10.30am until 4pm, the fair sees the addition of ceramics dealers to the usual stable of fabulous glass dealers. Visitors will be able to browse all types of decorative and collectable glass and ceramics from across the centuries; from Powell to Poole, Moorcroft to Murray and faience to Fat Lava. Specialists in 18th century drinking glasses, stylish and hotly desirable Scandinavian and Italian pieces, antique continental glass such as Gallé and Lalique, and British art glass will exhibit alongside trusted quality ceramics experts and contemporary glass and ceramics makers. Amongst them, these two stunning pieces will be displayed. The first is a rare 1960s Poole Pottery ‘Tree of Life’ charger by Tony Morris, available from Mark Hitchings, and the second is …

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They’re still out there….

….bargains, I mean. Too often do I hear the moan that ‘There’s no point looking, everything that can be found has been found…’ Not true! Last month my glass collector friend Bob discovered this gem in his local charity shop in South London. Designed by Frank Thrower in 1967, and numbered ‘FT23′, it was part of the first range offered by the now world-famous Dartington Glass. Produced in the company’s characteristic early Kingfisher’ blue, Flame red, Midnight grey, and colourless glass, it was expensive at the time and did not sell well. Compared to smaller Dartington, few were sold before it was withdrawn in 1970. Examples are rare today, particularly in colours. I think it would cost from £200-300 from a specialist dealer – so the couple of pounds hawk-eyed Bob paid could really pay off!

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Are books dead…?

I work for a publishing company, and also publish my own books. I’m also a big believer in the internet as a way forward for publishing. Will it replace books, magazines and newspapers, as many say it will? I don’t think so, but it’ll be an important part of how we work in the future. Publishing doesn’t just mean books, but audio, video and web-based content too – publishing will integrate the many forms of media available to us in the future. This short video was produced by DK, a company I used to consult for. I think it’s brilliant. If you have two minutes to spare, I’d urge you to check it out. Click here to view it.

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To the circus!

With a bit of Polish blood flowing through my veins, I’ve always been fond of decorative arts produced in the former Eastern Block. Amongst my favourite areas are postwar avant garde Czechoslovakian and Polish film and event posters. Over the past two decades, those from the former country have become widely popular and highly desirable meaning the best pieces can cost a pretty penny – or thousands of them! Polish posters can offer better value for money. For example, Wiktor Gorka’s iconic ‘Kabaret’ poster is often considered amongst the best, but originals can still be found for around £500-600. There are many artists to consider, most of them mouthfuls, from Franciszek Starowieyski to Lucjan Jagodzinski. I’m particularly fond of Waldemar Swierzy, and his name was brought to my mind again recently after I stumbled across this handsome design by him in a country antique shop. The circus (or ‘Cyrk’ in Polish) was a popular form of entertainment in Poland right up to the fall of the Iron Curtain, and numerous artists produced posters to market the event from 1962 onwards. …

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Dexter Loves Mdina

Regular readers of my blog will know I’m rather fond of spotting retro and antique pieces in TV series and films. After watching Tom Ford’s beautiful, visually stunning and relaxing ‘A Single Man‘, I had felt spoilt already this weekend. Poirot (lovely as it is) is too easy, so it’s the less obvious ones that prove more of an enjoyable challenge. Like me, my German friends Marc & Maiken of Utopia 2000 are fans of US hit TV series Dexter. I’d already spotted the late 1970s-80s Mdina ‘Earthtones’ Fish vase that the anti-hero lead has on his desk, but for those who missed it, here’s another shot from the latest series.

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Last Friday Judith Miller and I were invited out to the heart of ‘Metroland’ to visit the charming town of Chorleywood. The owners of the independent Chorleywood Bookshop, Sheryl and Morag, asked us to speak at an evening event in the local hall, followed by a book-signing and an ‘Antiques Roadshow’ style valuation. After perusing their marvellous bookshop on the smart parade over a cup of tea, we were ready. And we needed that cup of tea! When we pulled up outside the hall, well over 100 people had arrived and were patiently queuing, clutching bags full of treasures acquired or inherited, but most certainly cherished. Judith kicked off the event with a talk that crossed Continents and history from 16thC Chinese porcelain to Lalique (and Lalique-alike) glass to treen snuffboxes. I then followed up with a talk that examined the effect of fashion on the market – both in terms of historic changes and changes today that affect desirability, and so values. Both of us brought pieces from our own collections with us, with me bringing some …

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Country Weekend

Combined with my busy role at Miller’s, the build-up to Cracking Antiques has meant that there’s precious little time for a break right now. A short holiday was cancelled and replaced with a relaxing overnight break at the wonderful ‘Ashdown Park‘ country house hotel in Sussex this weekend. The drive there revealed Standen was nearby. For those of you who don’t know, Standen was the country house of the wealthy Beale family. Built in the early 1890s, it was designed by Philip Webb, a close friend of William Morris. As you’d expect, it’s an Arts & Crafts showcase, from the vases on the mantelpiece, to the mantelpiece itself, and the room that the mantelpiece is part of. Indicative of so many core themes of the Arts & Crafts movement, it’s exactly the sort of country house I’d love to live in. Set serenely in picturesque rolling hills which it doesn’t dominate, it’s quirky, comfortable and built on a human scale. A home rather than a house.

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