Is ‘Antiques’ The Right Word?

“Antiques. I can’t afford them and I don’t understand them.” Much has been made recently about the difficult state of the antiques market. In an increasingly fast-paced world led by interiors magazines and the pure, hard drive of commerce from high street and retail park retailers, some say antiques have fallen by the wayside. Even […]

A Mystery Solved on Summer Holiday

Since writing my book on Mdina Glass & Isle of Wight Studio Glass (which is now out of print), I’ve encountered a number of vases with coloured swirly patterning like this. People have brought them to me at BBC Antiques Roadshows and other events to ask whether they’re Mdina Glass, or which range of Isle […]

I need help!

It’s a thorny one, this. I might not make many new friends, but dealers, auction house specialists and other ‘experts’ (if you really want to use that word) will undoubtedly nod knowingly. They may even sigh in agreement. Let me start this off by saying that, like any normal, adjusted and sociable human being, most […]

What Happens If You Cross A Jam Pot With A Spacecraft?

Regular readers of my blog will know that, every now and again, something catches my eye and mind and I simply have to have it, regardless of whether I collect it or not. The last one was the intriguing ‘Internet Radio‘ and this time I got snared by a jam pot. But a jam pot […]

Fashion Designer & Pop Stars Love Unloved ‘Brown Furniture’

In these days of ‘celebrity worship’, it’s always significant when one of them shows their love for antiques. Where they go, a great many follow. When Harry Styles from One Direction (right) was spotted at an antiques fair last year  buying “a van load” of antique furniture for his new flat, it caused a new […]

Trade vs. Retail

When I started working in the antiques industry, buying at auction was deemed buying at ‘trade’, and buying from a dealer was deemed ‘retail’. And price levels typically matched that. But things were already on the move. An auction was held during the week, you really needed to view the objects before you bought them […]

Daytime Telly & “I lost my job!”

“I lost my job.” is sadly something I hear with increasing frequency when I visit an antiques fair where anyone can turn up and sell. Of course, as one immediately feels bad about their self-esteem, children, loans, bills and the mortgage. But I also worry a little. I worry that all their newly ‘chosen’ profession […]

Sir Osbert Lancaster, Victorianism & Modernism

One of the great pleasures in life is browsing a secondhand bookshop. That joy of coming across a book that you didn’t even know existed, and that raises a smile or piques an interest can’t be matched. The experience can’t be replicated with eBooks either. One of my favourite places to browse is Judd Books, […]

Death, Hype & Collapse?

When an artist or designer dies, or a factory or studio closes, it causes ripples to go through the collecting world and the fairs, shops and auctions of the ‘secondary market’. A form of hysteria often sets in, causing prices to rise rapidly before, as often happens, they crash back down again.It can take some […]

A Hungarian Zsolnay Vase From King’s Lynn

My role as a Patron of the King’s Lynn Arts Centre means that I get to go to visit the town a fair few times each year. Every time I go, I always make time to pop up the road to visit The Old Granary Antiques Centre, on King’s Staithe Lane, as I always seems […]

Hollywood, Liz Taylor & Cleopatra – An Extraordinary Pin

If I’m out on ‘official’ business, I usually adorn my lapel with the silver pin (left) that shows my membership and support of the City of London Company of Arts Scholars, Dealers & Collectors. It’s in the form of the head of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and the arts. A similar gilt bronze […]