20 October 2016

Victorian Entertainments

Victorian Entertainments: There Will Be Fun at the British Library is a free exhibition to celebrate some of the most popular entertainments of the Victorian era. Running from Friday 14 October 2016 until Sunday 12 February 2017, the exhibition offers you the chance to step back in time and explore the Victorians’ influence on the world of entertainment today. Without them we might never have experienced the thrill of pantomime, stand-up comedy or even Britain’s Got Talent.

Trapeze Artists in Circus
Come and behold some of the most popular entertainments of Victorian times performed in a variety of venues, from fairground tents to musical stages! With splendidly decorative original posters, handbills, advertisements and tickets – all wonderful examples of rare ephemera – alongside modern film and sound recordings. On Saturdays you will also find a company of actors and performers who will present archive material from the exhibition through the platform of contemporary performance.

Here at Grays we love all things Victorian and below you can find a selection of some of our most wonderful pieces. 

Playful monkeys pin with paste stones, Victorian, available from Spectrum

Diamond necklace with  separate pendant-brooch, interchangeable with the central trailing & detachable pendant available from Robin Haydock

An intricate carved Meerschaum & amber Victorian horse pipe, available from Hallmark Antiques

Victorian gold charms, available from Spectrum

Victorian sword stick with carved dog head handle, available from Leon's Militaria

Victoria AD 1837-1901 AR Crown 1845 Cinqufoil stop on edge, available from Pavlos Pavlou

13 October 2016

The London Restaurant Festival

The London Restaurant Festival takes place from the 1st-31st of October in the capital’s best restaurants across the city.

The Festival aims is to deliver a wide range of memorable and creative events. Curated by the London Restaurant Festival team, these events aim to show you the highlights and diversity of the capital’s thriving restaurant scene. The festival is the perfect excuse to try out some of London’s world-class restaurants and a good reason to celebrate its excitingly eclectic food scene, with a city-wide homage to great food in London.

Many of the finest restaurants take part, including a lunch held by Michel Roux at The Landau, alongside wine tasting and a VIP tour of Fortnum & Mason’s food hall. More than 250 restaurants have created special fixed-priced taster menus for customers to sample all of their dishes. Alongside the main festivities, there is also a great selection of other food-focused activities, including wine tasting, a gourmet road trip across the capital and culinary-centred film screenings.

To celebrate the London Restaurant festival we have found a selection of culinary antiques from some of our dealers at Grays.
A pair of silver caviar spoons. 1887 by Jacob Tostrup (Norwegian) available from Past and Present

Rare Chinese famille rose plate, early Qianlong (1736-95) available from Guest & Gray

A fine pair of Art Nouveau silver on nickel candlesticks with detachable sconces. Letter D engraved to base. c1900 available from Past and Present

Antique 20thC German solid silver & green glass Jugendstil claret jug. c1900. Available from Pushkin Antiques ltd

Large silver Victorian biscuit box, Sheffield 1893, bt Mappin & Webb. Available from Jack Podlewski

Etched glass jug, hammered silver rim, c1910, American. Available from Evonne Antiques

10 October 2016

V&A: You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970

The late 1960s was a revolutionary time for music as well as politics. The V&A's new exhibition covers the fast-changing period from 1966-1970. From global civil rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, consumerism and computing and community, to neo-liberal politics, You Say You Want a Revolution?... investigates the upheaval, the explosive sense of freedom, and the legal  changes that took place during this period, resulting in a fundamental shift in  the mindset of the Western  world.

More than 350 objects  encompassing  photography, posters, literature, music, design, film, fashion, artifacts and performance that defined the counterculture will illustrate the way that a whole generation shook off the confines of the past and their parents, radically revolutionising the way they lived their lives.

The swinging sixties section. Photo (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Feeling inspired by this exhibition we discovered lots of stand-out pieces from the swinging sixties at Vintage Modes.

Italian 1960s gold plated clip-on earrings, the intricate design is highlighted in cream paint, the flowers have a white centre, offered by Arabella Bianco

Gold "Alligator" model 1960s raincoat, available from June Victor at Vintage Modes

Original 1960s op-art dress, available from June Victor at Vintage Modes

Feathery white flower brooch, from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery
Pink silk and feather hem dress, available from June Victor at Vintage Modes

1960s PVC cap, available from June Victor at Vintage Modes
1960s brightly coloured triangle drop clip earrings, available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970 is on at V&A until 26 February 2017.

23 September 2016

Ceramics in the City

Ceramics in the City at the Geffrye Museum is a popular three-day selling event which attracts potters, collectors, design and craft enthusiasts and museum visitors from across London and the UK. The annual celebration will run until 25 September, bringing together the work of 55 potters from across the UK in a riot of colour, style, texture and technique. Now in its 14th year, the show is also part of the annual London Design Festival.

At Grays we have a beautiful selection of ceramics, here's our current top picks...

Pair of fine quality 19th century Meissen cache pots, offered by K&M Antiques

19th century Japanese Satsuma vase by Unzan, 22.5cms circa 1880, offered by K&M Antiques

Meissen Cup and Saucer with a Panel of the Penitent Magdalene, c.1850, offered by Serhat Ahmet 

Meissen Large Vase with Pink Rose Bouquets, c.1890 - 1900, offered by Serhat Ahmet

Coalport Pair of Vases with Scenes of The Grampians, c.1885, offered by Serhat Ahmet

15 September 2016

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

For this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year Award you can expect to see outstanding feats of astrophotography. The winners will be declared today, 15 September, and a free exhibition of the winning pictures will be displayed at the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Centre from 17 September.

The images are created by dozens of professional and amateur photographers competing in numerous categories including ‘Planets, Comets and Asteroids,’ ‘Stars and Nebulae,’ ‘Galaxies’ and ‘Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year’ for under-16s. This year the competition received a record number of over 4,500 entries from both passionate amateurs and skilled photographers from over 80 countries.

Ascent of Angels, Brad Goldpaint
The photographic subject isn't just limited to our own planet. Photographers have also captured pictures from across our solar system and the universe. From visible storms across the face of Jupiter, to the glowing heart of a supernova and the starburst galaxy of M82 based some 12 million light years away from our planet.

To celebrate this exhibition, we have found a selection of wonderful space inspired objects available at Grays.

Astronomy book. 950, available from Al Khatib Antiques

Brass sun and moon face necklace, inspired by vintage Joseff of Hollywood jewellery, available from Arabella Bianco

Butler and Wilson, gold plated "man in the moon" brooch with diamante trim, available from Unicorn

Star hair pin in cut steel together with two Victorian brooches, available from Gillian Horsup

Very rare Bronze Age gold sun disc, c. 2500 - 1200 BC, available from Ancient-Jewellery

A stunning Victorian diamond Crescent shaped Brooch. c1870, available from Robin Haydock

8 September 2016

Totally Thames

The Totally Thames festival is an annual celebration of the River Thames. It is a month-long party running from September 1 to September 30 and is full of arts festivals, community events, regattas, river races, foreshore archaeology and environmental activities.

The River Thames

Being the longest river in England, the Thames has 45 locks and over 25 species of fish and is the only river in Europe to have a national trail follow its entire length. The River Thames travels over 210 miles through the heart of England, right into the centre of London and eventually, out into the North Sea.

The river's position has put it at the centre of many historical events, which has lead it to be referred to as 'liquid history' by John Burns. Some of the earliest written references to the Thames (Latin: Tamesis) occur in Julius Caesar's account of his second expedition to Britain in 54 BC.

There is also evidence of human habitation living off the river dating back as far as the Neolithic times, together with a number of Bronze Age sites and artefacts discovered along the banks of the river, including settlements at Lechlade, Cookham and Sunbury-on-Thames.

Even here at Grays a vein of the River Thames can be seen - the hidden Thames tributary, the famous River Tyburn. It rises at Shepherds Well in Hampstead and flows through Regents Park and the West End, and reaches the Thames via the basement of Grays Mews.

Below we display some Thames inspired objects to celebrate the occasion.
Roman billon tetradrachm coin of Emperor Trajan Decius, 2nd century AD, avaliable from Eastern Satrapy

Gold painted rare Vienna bronze otter with a fish in its mouth, circa 1890-1900, avaliable from Mariad Antiques

Anglo Saxon period silver gilt wedding ring, knotted bezel, c. 6th - 7th century AD, avaliable from Ancient-Jewellery

A collection of bronze mallard ducks, circa 1890-1900, avaliable from Mariad Antiques

Large silver anchor pendant and silver chain. avaliable from The Antique Jewellery Company

18 August 2016

August 20 - National Honey Bee Day

World Honey Bee Day (previously referred to as Honey Bee Awareness Day) was founded in 2009 by beekeepers within the United States to raise awareness of bee keeping and the bee industry. This is done through education and promotion, and by honouring honey bees and bee cultivation world wide. 

Honey Bee

On this day, bee lovers everywhere decorate their gardens with lavender, borage and marjoram, which are considered the bee’s knees in pollinator lures. A honey bee is naturally distinguished by the production and storage of honey, but also by the construction of perennial, colonial nests made from wax. The most well-known honey bee is the Western honey bee which has been domesticated for honey production and crop pollination.

Drones (males) are made from unfertilised eggs, thus represent solely the DNA of the queen that laid the eggs. Workers and queens (both female) result from fertilised eggs, and therefore have both a mother and a father. Worker bees join forces to seek out food and use a pattern of "dancing" (known as the bee dance or waggle dance) to communicate data relating to resources with each other. Honey bees also perform tremble dances, which recruit receiver bees to gather nectar from returning foragers.

Here at Grays we honour World Honey Bee Day by displaying some of our own beautiful honey bee related items;

Bee brooch, available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

Hulkin + Heath silver swivel jar made in Birmingham 1920, available from Evonne Antiques 

Czech bee brooch, available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

Honey jar, Sheffield 1912, available from Jack Podlewski

Perspex bee brooch with gold and black body and clear wings, available from Linda Bee

Yardley powder box with bee decoration, available from Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

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