30 October 2014

Asian Art in London

From Thursday 30th October until Saturday 8th November, a variety of festivities to celebrate Asian Art in London will take place at different locations. Over sixty of the world’s top dealers, major auction houses and museums will be taking part in this prestigious ten day event which attracts prime collectors to the capital. Grays is a destination where you will find a treasure trove of Asian art all year round.

A superb collection of Asian art is housed in Grays by our dealers, in the form of ceramic, bronze, stone, glass and textile, to name but a few, the majority of which can be found in the Grays mews.

Below is a fine selection of offerings....

Rare Japanese Arita group, offered by Anita Gray

A 19th century Chinese amber carving of man, c1860, offered by Wheatley Antiques

Chinese famille verte double gourd vase, Kangxi, offered by Guest & Gray

A 19th century Japanese woodcut print of a lady with a cat by Kunisada, offered by K & Y Oriental Art

Japanese Hirado vase, with deer, monkey and pine tree illustration, 18-19th century, offered by David Bowden
12th Century Islamic Bronze Bird, offered by Mughal Art

A striking 19th century central Asian embroidered textile, offered by Bakhtar Art
17th century Mughal 'gem' and gold inlaid jade handle, Provenance: Forest Lawn Mortuary. Offered by Antique Choices
18th century Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Figure of Quan Yin, offered by Yasuko Kido

23 October 2014

Spotlight on Wheels of Steel

20 years on we are still proud to have "Wheels of Steel" in the mews building at Grays Antique Centre. In fact, Jeff Williams' business is the only model train shop left in London, which makes his shop even more interesting and unique. After an 18 year career in motor racing - Jeff is the only model train dealer to have raced with Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell! - his growing interest in German Marklin model trains led him to open "Wheels of Steel", initially on the lower-ground floor in Grays, now up on the ground floor. He deals in all makes and gauges of model trains, which range from over 100 years old to contemporary styles and is a regular at all of the biggest toy fairs around the South-East. He stocks all of the most popular brands, such as; Hornby, Bachmann, Graham Farish, Marklin, Bassett-Lowke, Roco, Lionel, Wrenn, Dubco, Fleishmann, Kato, etc.

You can find Jeff at "Wheels of Steel", stand G12, on the ground floor of the mews at Grays.

O gauge clockwork tender loco in excellent condition, repro box. L.N.E.R Livery. Mid fifties.
O gauge 3 rail electric cast metal finished in G.W.R black. Reproduction

O gauge reproduction tank wagon, boxed.

OO gauge 2 rail c.1961 complete set with Barnstable loco plus three Pullman coaches/track.

Selection of collectable trains and railway memorabilia available at Wheels of Steel.

Jeff' stocks many model railway magazines.

The Wheels of Steel shop at Grays

17 October 2014

New dealer in the spotlight: MOIRA Fine Jewellery at Grays

MOIRA Fine Jewellery joined us in Grays Antique Market in October 2014 with their collection of rare jewellery, renowned worldwide for its elegance and exclusivity of design.  They bring over 40 years of knowledge and expertise for sourcing the most exquisite collectables in fine jewellery.  The range of fine antique jewellery spans nineteenth century signed originals from the finest design houses, the Art Deco period, 1940s gold work, to the modernist creations of the 1950s to the 1980s.  Their modern jewellery complements the vintage range, to satisfy the desire for unique and truly individual pieces.  They also have one of the largest signed antique and vintage cufflink collections in London. 

Moira, her daughter Suzanne and son Simon, have built the beautiful collection of antique jewellery with regular trips to the USA - Florida, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles; the Far East - Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Europe.  Suzanne and Simon are continuing the tradition of showing the fine collections in international antiques fairs, including the Olympia and LAPADA shows.

MOIRA Fine Jewellery add Grays prestigious location alongside their residency at Richard Ogden in the Burlington Arcade, where their primary collection can be viewed. 

Here are our favourite pieces from MOIRA Fine Jewellery’s exquisite collection:  
A diamond ring, mounted in platinum, set with a 5.02ct, H colour SI1 clarity, cushion-cut diamond, with round brilliant-cut diamonds micro pavé set in the gallery, surround and shoulders. This ring is accompanied by a GIA certificate. Offered by MOIRA Fine Jewellery

A diamond line bracelet, by Cartier, mounted in platinum, channel set with French-cut diamonds. Circa 1936. Offered by MOIRA Fine Jewellery

A Cartier knot dress set, mounted in 18ct gold consisting of a pair of cufflinks and three buttons. Offered by MOIRA Fine Jewellery

A platinum art deco ring mount, set with a new 1.01ct F VS1 emerald-cut diamond, accompanied by a GIA certificate, the shoulders are set with baguette-cut diamonds and with small round diamonds, in tear drop shaped settings at the ends, the approximate total weight of the shoulder stones is 0.40ct. Offered by MOIRA Fine Jewellery

A vintage diamond ring, mounted in platinum, set with a 1.01ct E colour VS2 clarity oval-cut diamond, with two eight-cut diamonds each side, the first in a marquise shaped setting, the second in a round setting. Accompanied by a GIA certificate.Offered by MOIRA Fine Jewellery
Fabergé Russian cufflinks, in 14 carat yellow gold, with green guilloché enamel, set with old-cut diamonds and chalcedony cabochon centres. Signed/stamped HW for workmaster Henry Wingstream and 56 Zolotnik standard. Signed Fabergé in Cyrillic characters within a seal; with accompanying box. Offered by MOIRA Fine Jewellery
Gold scaled coiled snake bangle, with demantoid garnets and diamonds set in the head and ruby eyes. Offered by MOIRA Fine Jewellery

You can visit MOIRA Fine Jewellery from Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm Stand 363-365 in Grays Antique Market, 58 Davies Street, W1K 5AB, London.

10 October 2014

Islamic Art at Grays

September saw the opening of the first museum of Islamic art in North America. It’s the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto with a collection of over one thousand artefacts in ceramic, metalwork, stone and wood, textile and carpet, glass and rock crystal objects, parchment and illustrated paintings on paper. The Museum’s goal is to demystify Islam through increasing knowledge and appreciation of Islamic art by presenting an overview of the artistic accomplishments of Muslim civilisations from the Iberian Peninsula to China.

 The Islamic period began with the rapid rise of Islam in the 7th century AD. The religion's founder, the Prophet Muhammad, was a political leader as well as a religious guide. By 750, his successors had established a vast empire which stretched from Spain and Morocco in the west to Central Asia and Afghanistan in the east.

Bronze oil lamp, Afghanistan. Kofic writing, 12th century. Offered by Bakhtar Art

Islamic ceramic soup bowl, Afghanistan, Bamyan, 12th century, offered by Bakhtar Art

Agate pendant, Arabic engraving, 18th-19th century. Offered by Bakhtar Art

Closer to home in London, at the V&A Museum, the JameelGallery,  houses 400 objects including ceramics, textiles, carpets, metalwork, glass and woodwork. The collection explains the development of Islamic art production from the great dates of the Islamic caliphate of the 8th century up to the First World War. Geographically, it covers an area from Spain to Uzbekistan.  The V&A holds more than 19,000 objects ranging from the early Islamic Period to the 1920s, from Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and the countries of North Africa and has a ceramic collection which is internationally the most important and comprehensive of its kind.

 Islamic art is at the forefront of the origins of nineteenth century English decorative arts. In Victorian Britain, retailers sold a range of goods imported from the Islamic world providing a source of inspiration for art work that was seeking to break away from the historic European styles dominating British art at the time.  William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement were greatly influenced by Islamic designers because they were particularly expert at producing surface patterns. Colour and form were to be placed above any type of realism.

12th century bronze stirrup, engraved with Kofic writing, offered by Bakhtar Art

Islamic Mughal Art, offered by Bakhtar Art

Islamic bronze pendant, Kofic description, 12th century, offered by Bakhtar Art

Spanish Islamic Hispano-Moresque charger, 16th century, offered by Antique Choices

13th century Kashan tile, Persia, offered by Antique Choices

Zand period (1750-1794) brass Huqa base, Persia, offered by Antique Choices

With its approach to flat surfaces and use of colour schemes, the Movement had a great appeal across the disciplines. Many saw that the principles behind the Islamic decorative arts system was an effective way of producing contemporary pattern work, because Islamic designers seemed to have an innate understanding of the materials used and the medium of surface decoration, and approach to colour and tone.

Ultimately, it was the non-representational, flat and graphic aspect of Islamic art that captivated the Victorian vanguard and was developed on printed textiles, woven carpets, wallpaper design and ceramic tile work. This perspective on the decorative arts took on an aspect that eventually proved to be amongst the building blocks of Modernism.

Islamic art at Grays is varied in terms of geographic origins and covers most areas of material production from textiles to wood, glass to metal and most areas of artistic expression, books, paintings, coins, jewellery, tiles and sculpture, and more.

 Written by Titika Malkogeorgou

3 October 2014

October's Birthstones

October has two birthstones; Tourmaline and Opal.

In the middle ages opal was considered good luck; it was thought the various colours represented the virtues of other gemstones. To the Romans, it was considered to be a token of hope and purity. It was also referred to as the “Cupid Stone” because it suggested the clear complexion of the god of love.

A novel published in 1829 by Sir Walter Scott entitled "Anne of Geierstein," was to change people's perception of opal. In the novel it is worn as a talisman - with supernatural powers - by the Baroness of Arnheim. However, when holy water comes in contact with the opal, it becomes colourless and the Baroness dies soon thereafter.

Regardless of the connotations applied to opal, there's no denying it's one of the most fascinating and beautiful stones in the world.

Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word "Turmali" and roughly translates to 'stone with mixed colours'. Due to the wide variety of colours available it is known as 'the gemstone of the rainbow'. Tourmaline is the gemstone of love and of friendship, and is said to render them firm and long-lasting.

The ability of this stone to look like other gemstones has been known to cause some confusion. Many gemstones in the Russian Crown jewels from the 17th Century once thought to be rubies are in fact tourmalines. In South America, where the majority of such gem-quality material is found, green tourmaline is still referred to as the "Brazilian emerald".

Here's a round-up of the exquisite tourmaline and opal jewellery offered by Grays dealers...

Opal & diamond pendant/brooch, c1900. Offered by Boris Sosna t/a C & B Gems & Antique Jewellery
Art Deco green tourmaline & diamond ring, offered by DB Gems
Edwardian opal brooch, offered by Satoe

Pink tourmaline ring, c1960. Offered by Nigel Norman
Levinger & Bissinger. A Jugendstil, silver plique-a-jour pendant, offered by Van Den Bosch
18 carat Tourmaline ring, c1900s. Offered by Alfred Toro
Opal and diamond pendant, set in platinum, c1920. Offered by Westminster Group

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