24 March 2011

Mother's Day

In the UK and Ireland, Mother's Day follows the old tradition of Mothering Sunday, which is normally celebrated in March or April.

The day is said to date right back the sixteenth century where people would go 'a-mothering', returning to their 'mother' church for a special service held on Laetare Sunday normally at a large local chruch or the nearest Cathedral. As time went on Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants had a day off to visit their mothers and other family members.

 Creamware Teapot with 'Miss Pitt' fishing. Staffordshire c.1765. £ 1,150. 
From Simon Westman, Grays Mews.

Simnal Cake & Recipe from www.dianasdesserts.com
The simnel cake was traditionally made for the day, consisting of fruit cake and marzipan. It was saved until Easter however to follow the rules of Lent.

‘I’ll to thee a Simnell bring
‘Gainst thou go’st a mothering,
So that, when she blesseth thee,
Half that blessing thou’lt give to me.’
Robert Herrick 1648

Victorian Gold Flower Earrings. c1880. £675. From Jo Elton & Ollie Gerrish.
In the later part of the twentieth century Mother's Day in Europe was less popluarly celebrated, with a short revival during World War II when soldiers serving abroad sent home their best wishes.  In the UK Mother's Day is celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent with this year falling on the 3rd April.

Vintage Flower Earrings. From Linda Bee in Grays Mews.
Grays wishes everyone a very happy Mother's Day!

23 March 2011

Tsunami Appeal

K&Y Antiques are helping to raise money for the the local authority in Minamisanriku which has been badly affected by the recent tsunami in Japan.

If you would like to offer your support, there are a beautiful selection of cards available to buy within Grays Mews (K&Y- stand k26). All donations and card sales will be sent to Minamisanriku Prefecture Local Authority where more than 10,000 people are still missing.

Thank you.

17 March 2011

New fresh Look!

We received a very exciting parcel this morning... Our new flags!
Grays Mews new flag

New flags for South Molton Lane
View from the front of Grays

Entrance to the Mews

16 March 2011

Cabinet of Curiosities...

 After fully embracing 'World Book Day' on the 3rd March, I stumbled across a very special find...

The 'Cabinet of Natural Curiosities' by Albertus Seba. This book is a four-volume catalogue detailing magnificent specimens, ranging from strange and exotic plants to snakes, frogs, corals, butterflies, squids, spiders and even fantastic beasts such as the hydra and dragon!

Page Extract from ' Cabinet of Natural Curiosities' Albertus Seba    

Page Extract from ' Cabinet of Natural Curiosities' Albertus Seba         

The book really inspired me to find my own collection of curiosities around Grays. Here is what i found:

From Linda Bee at G rays Mews       

From Linda Bee at Grays Mews

From Linda Bee at Grays Mews
From Linda Bee at Grays Mews
Page Extract from ' Cabinet of Natural Curiosities' Albertus Seba     

From Gillian Horsup at Grays Mews

From Christopher Cavey at Grays

From Christopher Cavey at Grays
From Christopher Cavey at Grays
Page Extract from ' Cabinet of Natural Curiosities' Albertus Seba     
From Ghazi Ghafoori at Grays Mews
From Ghazi Ghafoori at Grays Mews

Page Extract from ' Cabinet of Natural Curiosities' Albertus Seba     
The history behind the book....

The 'Cabinet of Curiosities' was originally a collection of objects and artefacts that evoked curiosity and wonder to the viewer, the contents of each cabinet contained both natural and man-made objects. These cabinets were also referred to as Wunderkammer which translates to 'Cabinet of Wonders'.

In many ways, the cabinets represented a world-view that valued the 'wonder' in an artefact much more than the need to analyse and classify that artefact. During the 17th Century when cabinets of curiosity reached their peak, there were not yet universal systems of scientific classification and each collection sported its own unique organisational structure.

Fold-out engraving from Ferrante Imperato's Dell'Historia Naturale (Naples 1599), the earliest illustration of a natural history cabinet. Link from Wikipedia

If you, like us are inspired by the strange and the wonderful, you may discover your own Wonderkammer right here at Grays. We house over 200 dealers each with their own extensive collections, come and take a look!

3 March 2011

Patterns, treasures, magic...

Grays recently visited Seville and got enthralled by the myriads of exquisite and intriguing patterns found in the Mudejar architecture which is a combination of Moorish and Christian art. Colours and patterns interlock in a visual feast which is unrivalled by any other architectural style.

 Detail of floor and wall in Alcazar, Seville.

Lovely geometry, Alcazar, Seville.

 Stunning golden shimmering ceiling, Alcazar, Seville.

Back here, we got inspired to find  items with intricate patterns capturing some of that geometric magic... 


 Gold plated Mogul box, 10th-15th Century AD from India with lapiz lazuli carving, offered by Marko Pollo Antiques

A set of 14th century wooden panels from Elias Assad, showing distinct geometric patterns.

A 17th century tile from Mazar art.

This amazing 18th century Iranian bronze bowl was once used for fortune telling and features beautiful detailing of the signs of the zodiac. Offered by Amin Rezai

Elaborate Islamic silver vase from Kashmir, offered by Iq Antiques

Many more objects to be found in Grays, you are invited to explore among our 200 dealers for personal treasures...
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