22 May 2015

Dealer Highlight: Old As Time Antiques

Old as Time Antiques joined Grays in October 2014, and their showcase P4 in the Mews offers a selection of shop ready warranted clocks and timepieces.

Old as Time Antiques started trading in 1981 selling antiques and collectables at antique fairs.  By 1984 they had evolved into a business providing a comprehensive range of services. These include the service and restoration, valuation, surveys and audits of antique clocks and small furniture, in addition to buying and selling. Their showcase is a sample of the styles of clocks and watches they stock, for example:

Japy Fre’res are recognised as one of the most innovative French clock designers between 18th century & 19th century, with many of their clocks carrying the “Medaille d’Honneur” stamp, and a recent London exhibition was solely dedicated to their work. Pictured below is a 1/2hr 8 day garniture clock dated late 19th century. They also have two similar clocks by the same maker.

Offered by Old As Time Antiques

Likewise, Chas. Frodsham, London, is recognised for designing quality chronometers, watches and timepieces. The firm has been described as the longest continuous trading firm in the world, late 18th century to today and has supplied the Royal Family with chronometers and clocks.  More recently they have specialised in carriage clocks and watches. Below is a hallmarked silver cased carriage clock designed to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee. It is assayed London 1970 and the case weights c. 16ozs:

Offered by Old As Time Antiques

This German movement 1/4hr 8 day bracket clock designed and manufactured in the Georgian style offers an impactful, stylish and quality addition to any home. The German movement is housed in a mahogany case with walnut veneer and has a Westminster chime. This item was owned by one family since the beginning of the 20th century:

Offered by Old As Time Antiques

Equally, the skeleton clock was designed to not only indicate time but also intrigue the observer. This example is a single fusee timepiece which combines the repetitive accuracy of a fuse movement with a classical design whilst allowing the owner to view the operation of their clock. It was manufactured between 1900 - 1915:

Offered by Old As Time Antiques

Another style of clock which makes an impression is the balloon cased clock. This 2hr 8 day clock has a French movement housed in a solid mahogany case with stringing and veneer decoration. It was originally presented to Miss M. Tarn in 1909: 

Offered by Old As Time Antiques

For the individual seeking a mantel clock, they can offer a wide selection of items datelined up to 1939, embracing the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco and Arts & Crafts periods. The item illustrated is a 1/2hr 8 day mantel clock with a French movement housed in an ebonised mahogany case. It was originally presented to a Mr Hugh Davies, May 1909:

Offered by Old As Time Antiques

The above timepieces can be purchased from showcase P4 in Grays Mews.

For more information about Old as Time Antiques, visit their Facebook page here or call 01442 395 761.

15 May 2015

The Great Spring Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 will take place between 19th-23rd May at the Royal Hospital, London. The show was originally called 'The Great Spring Show', however the name 'The Chelsea Flower Show' rapidly eventually caught on. The event is a five day show is visited by 157,000 guests every year with extensive coverage on TV by the BBC.

Today the shows exhibitors display their gardens inside a pavilion, with all the Show Gardens constructed from scratch in only nineteen days. Until 2000, the Show Gardens were housed under a large marquee that was hence honoured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's biggest tent. The old tent was then transformed into 7,000 bags, aprons and jackets.

The land committed to show gardens expanded consistently from 1970 to 2000 and the show has turned into a critical venue for flowering trends. New plants are frequently exhibited at the show, while more established plants are revered under the spotlight of the agricultural world. Strangely until 2013, Gnomes were banned from the show – however exhibitors would regularly attempt to sneak them in to their gardens.

In 1947, to help fill the space left by exhibitors recuperating from the War, a portion of the marquee was devoted to flower arrangements for the first time. Since that point flower arrangement has turned into a customary highlight. In 1956 it was apportioned its own tent, referred to today as the Great Pavillion.

To celebrate The Chelsea Flower Show we have selected some of our favourite floral items at Grays.

Brooch and earring set available from Tings Jewellery Box

1980s white and champagne coloured rhinestone brooch available from Linda Bee

Gold and turquoise flower brooch available from Alfred Toro
Sterle gold flower brooch available from Nigel Norman

Vintage gold tone and emerald glass flower necklace available from Arabella Bianco
Victorian silver necklace available from Tings JewelleryBox

7 May 2015


On 2nd May, the United Kingdom celebrated another Royal birth. The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton gave birth to a girl, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, and within hours of her being born, members of the public began buying Royal memorabilia to mark the occasion.

This memorabilia will be bought by hundreds of thousands of people; trinkets to commemorate her parents Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding were purchased to a grand total of £163 million!

Some older memorabilia being sold today is as odd as it is valuable. For example, a piece of Queen Elizabeth's wedding cake, which is 63 years old, was auctioned earlier this year for £1750! 

No matter how beautiful or ridiculous the memorabilia becomes, both of Prince William's children, George and Charlotte, will have a lifetime of royal memorabilia created to mark the milestones in their lives.

A bookmark, marking the dates of Queen Victoria's reign from Gillian Horsup
A 1937 brooch for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth from Gillian Horsup

A powder compact celebrating the silver jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary by Gillian Horsup

A small mirror the crowning of Queen Elizabeth I from Unicorn of Vintage Modes

2 May 2015

The legend of Cerberus

In mythology, dogs regularly serve as pets or as guard dogs. Within Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed guard dog who watches the entryways of Hades. He watches the passageway of the Greek underworld to keep the dead from getting away and the living from entering and is highlighted in numerous works of antiquated Greek and Roman writing.

Cerberus' depiction is most prominent in writing; various references to Cerberus have showed up in ancient Greek and Roman arts, and can be regularly found in archaeological ruins generally on statues and in buildings. The writers and poets of ancient Greece and Rome agreed mostly on the physical appearance; most sources depict Cerberus with three heads, however a few others demonstrate Cerberus with two or even only one.

Classical critics have distinguished one of the earliest works of Cerberus, a Laconian vase made around 560 BC in which Cerberus is indicated with three-heads and with lines of serpents covering his body and heads. In many works, the three heads represent the past, present and future, while different sources propose the heads speak to conception, youth, and maturity.

Here at Grays we have a great selection of antique pieces inspired by the form of the dog. Here are our favourites:

Rosenthal Putto with Borzoi by Max Fritz, 1937 available from Serhat Ahmet
1920s Bulldog Cigar Cutter available from Jack Podlewski
Meissen Pair of Pugs, c.1850 available from Serhat Ahmet
1980s Gold Terrier Broach available from Michael Marks
Victorian Meissen Pug group available from Martin Harris

1900s Black and White Terrier Dog available from Maraid McLean

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