Mark Hill, Elvis Presley & Jonathan Harris Studio Glass

Jonathan Harris Elvis Presley Cameo Graal Vase designed by Mark Hill

Me, Elvis Presley and Jonathan Harris? An unlikely combination, I hear you say. Well, I’d agree, it’s funny how seemingly disparate things can come together for some reason. But, quite often, when they do, amazing things happen. And that’s what happened here. In this instance, it was The British Glass Foundation charity that brought us […]

A Roger Fry Portrait & The Bloomsbury Group

Roger Fry Portrait

“They lived in squares, painted circles and loved in triangles.” said American poet and wit Dorothy Parker about the many members of the Bloomsbury Group. A loosely (yet often very closely!) related group of artists, writers, critics, aesthetes, intellectuals and philosophers, I’ve been obsessed with them since school, and relished learning more about them at […]

West Horsley Place, Sotheby’s & Bamber Gascoigne!

It’s a charming twist that could have come from the pen of P.G. Wodehouse. Upon the death of his indomitable, aged socialite aunt Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe (right), 80-year old TV personality and ertswhile host of ‘University Challenge’ Bamber Gascoigne ‘accidentally’ inherited the stately pile of West Horsley Place in Surrey. Once described by its […]

A Chance Purchase – A James Elder Christie Portrait

A James Elder Christie Portrait

I don’t look at this sort of thing usually. Those of you who know me, my books or my site know that I’m a ‘twentieth century boy’, and forays into other periods are scarce. It might surprise you to learn that our home is far from the mid-century ‘Madmen’ paradise that you may think, but […]

Virum Extuli Mari – A Pair Of Mystery Cufflinks

If I don’t find anything I want when I’m browsing antiques shops and fairs, I’m fond of hunting through glass cabinets for cufflinks. Whether or not I take any home depends on how much they cost. Last time I did this, I found this intriguing pair of brass cufflinks, that looked like they had been […]

Doing It Properly: Resizing An Antique Bowler Hat

As some of you will know, I’m very fond of wearing a bowler hat. I’ve had many over the years, which isn’t really the point. The first was an antique one from the early 20th century that, completely by chance, fitted me perfectly. When I left it in the dark boot of a hire car […]

Vetting – Behind The Scenes, Today & Tomorrow

This has nothing to do with animals, obviously. Vetting is the process that occurs the day before certain, usually higher end, art and antiques fairs open. Teams of independent experts grouped by discipline (silver, glass, jewellery etc) move around the fair looking at every object in the fair in their category, closely examining any they […]

Fat Lava As Art? A Series Of Prints

West German pottery of the 1960s & 70s, better known as Fat Lava, is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or hate it – there’s no middle ground. Although I’ve seen huge installations in art galleries and stylish illustrations produced for magazines or calendars, I haven’t seen much other ‘art’ produced with it […]

A Minton Tile and The Great Exhibition

A few years ago, I bought a Minton majolica tile (above and below) at auction that, according to the handwritten labels on the back (see below), had a rather interesting provenance to the Great Exhibition of 1851. I wrote a blog post about it appealing for more information, which you can read by clicking here. […]

I Love Ephemera!
A Rare Ticket

I love ephemera! By that term, I mean things that were produced for a single use, or for short term enjoyment, before being discarded or thrown away. They are literally ‘ephemeral’, which is where the term is obviously derived from. Good examples are tickets, flyers and similar promotional material, or even things like ‘sample cups’ […]

Book Review – House & Garden’s ‘Fifties House’

“Mid-century modern. Give me a break. It’s soooo last year” A largely incorrect phrase I hear disturbingly often. So you wouldn’t think yet another book should be published on the subject. Well, think again. Mid-century modern maven Catriona Gray has teamed up with Octopus Books to produce a unique compilation of original period photographs plundered […]

Hornsea Pottery Collectors’ Weekend Event

Having missed the opportunity last year, I was delighted to be able to attend the annual Hornsea Pottery collectors’ event last week, held as part of the Hornsea Freeport‘s ‘Nostalgia’ weekend. Organised by the Hornsea Pottery Collectors & Research Society, the busy event sees exchange of information and new learnings, as well as allowing members […]