From Georgian England to India – A Primitive Lady

Primitive Indian Doll Head

I don’t usually buy wooden things, but I always pick up and look at things that catch my eye, regardless of what they are made of, or even are. There’s always something new to learn. Last time I went to the excellent antiques centres at Sawbridgeworth in Essex, I found this rather stern looking lady […]

The UK’s 50 Best Antiques & Vintage Shops

I was once again asked by Homes & Antiques magazine to be part of an expert panel given the nigh-on impossible task of selecting the ’50 Best Antiques & Vintage Shops’ from across the UK. My colleagues were drawn from across the full spectrum of the modern antiques, decorative and vintage industry today and included […]

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 […]

Lord McAlpine’s Murano
Glass Collection

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been involved with the cataloguing, valuation and sale of a small collection of Murano glass once owned by the legendary businessman, politician and collector Lord Alistair McAlpine (1942-2014). Built up from the 1980s-2000s, the collection was acquired by his friend the writer and curator Karun Thakar, who has taken […]

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 […]

Mark & Antiques In Top South Korean Travel Guide!

Last year, I was delighted to be asked to contribute to South Korea’s bestselling travel guide to London. Just published by Wisdom House, British Classic is a beautiful and weighty tome packed with lavish, specially commissioned photographs showing London at its best. It’s a book that will tempt and tantalise before you travel, as well […]

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 […]

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. […]