27 October 2016

All Hallows' Eve

Hallowe'en originated from the Gaelic festival of Samhain, a harvest festival to celebrate the last crops gathered in for the winter, along with the livestock that were killed and stored during this period. The pagans also believed it was a time when the walls between our world and the next became thin and porous, allowing spirits to pass through.  The practice of wearing spooky costumes has its roots in the belief that dressing up as a ghost would scare off the evil spirits.

With Halloween fast approaching, we've got into the spirit of things and discovered lots of Halloween inspired items at Grays, but don't worry there are no tricks involved - just wearable treats! Feast your eyes on these frightfully covetable items...

Jet bangle, Victorian, available from Allison Massey

Jet "In Memory" pendant, Victorian, available from Allison Massey

Maltese cross necklace with sparkling red and black faceted glass stones, available from Arabella Bianco

Enamelled Memento Mori ring, date engraved inside "26 Sept.1701", available from P & R Szuhay

Banded agate and diamonds ring, c1800, available from P & R Szuhay
Spider brooch, available from Spectrum

Art Nouveau moon & spider necklace, available from Leila in the Mews
Victorian garnet, ruby & rose diamond bug stick pin, available from The Antique Jewellery Company
3 Black cats in a basket, by Trifari, offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

Edwardian opal crescent brooch, available from Aurum
Rare Felix cat, large, c1950s, available from All You Can Bear

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.
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