28 September 2017

Birthstone of the Month: Blue Sapphire

While sapphires around the world are generally blue, unknown to most people is that there are also different shades of sapphire such as pink, purple, orange, yellow, green, and black. Needless to say, it is a truly rare gem. 

The stone has become synonymous with royalty and romance, as a couple of recent princesses - most notably Princes Diana - were given blue sapphire engagement rings. Since sapphire symbolises sincerity and faithfulness, it is an excellent choice for an engagement ring. It is also the traditional wedding anniversary gift for a couple's 5th and 45th years.

For those in search of the perfect sapphire gift, Grays is abundant with these stones in all shades,  making it the ideal place to start. Here are our current top picks... 

Sapphire and diamond tortoise brooch, platinum and gold, c1900. Offered by Nigel Norman

18ct Gold sapphire and emerald Mario Buccellati ring. Offered by Anthea AG Antiques

Carved ring set with natural ceylon sapphire and 2 mine cut old diamonds. Offered by Wimpole Antiques

Edwardian 18ct gold snake ring set with a sapphire & diamond eyes. Offered by The Antique Jewellery Company

Sapphire and diamond Art Deco engagement ring (dress ring ). Offered by Leila in the Mews

Sapphire and diamond pendant set in 18ct white gold. Offered by Horton London

22 September 2017

Matisse In The Studio Exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts

Matisse In The Studio. Image courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts

Matisse In The Studio is currently exhibiting at  the Royal Academy of Arts until Sunday 12th November 2017.

This exhibition offers a rare insight into Matisse’s personal collection, which inspired his paintings, sculptures and drawings. Matisse drew his collection from all across the world, including pieces from a Thai Buddhist statuary,  Mali Bamana figures and furniture and textiles from North Africa. These pieces may not have been valuable but their symbolism was important to Matisse, who used them as a recurring theme throughout his career, by reinventing and reintroducing them into a new settingMatisse’s objects not only formed his body of work, but they also provided him with influences beyond the limits of Western art, as seen in his use of African sculpture and masks, which he used as a means to convey the human figure and face.  

Later, Matisse developed an interest in the Islamic art, that adorned his Nice studio. His collection of Islamic pieces would be used as props to create sensuous sets, depicting women in harems, surrounded by vivid backgrounds.  Matisse then went on to develop his cut-out style works, looking for inspiration through Chinese calligraphy and African textiles, as an expression of his own simplified language of signs.

Henri Matisse, Safrano Roses at The Window, 1925.
 Oil On Canvas 80 x 65 cm. Photo from the private collection. Image courtesy of the  Royal Academy of Arts

Henri Matisse, The Morrish Screen, 1921.
Oil on canvas 91 x74 cm. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Bequest of Lisa Norris Elkins, 1950. Photo © Philadelphia Museum of Art/Art Resource, NY. Artwork: © Succession H. Matisse/DACS 2017. Image courtesy of  the Royal Academy of Arts

Haiti North Africa, late 19th early 20th Century.
Cotton plain weave cut and appliquéd to bast fibre cloth. 217 x 212 cm. Private collection, on loan to Musée Matisse, Nice. Former collection of Henri Matisse Photo © François Fernandez, Nice. Image courtesy of  the Royal Academy of Arts

After you have visited the exhibition, then why not head to Grays and build on your own collection of antiques inspired by Matisse.

19th Century Turkish Ottoman Green Ground Calligraphy Textile.
Available at Antique Choices

Close up of the Turkish Ottoman Green Ground Calligraphy Textile, above

19th Century Mother of Pearl Wooden Table, made in either Egypt or Syria.
Available at Antique Choices

Chinese blue and white bowl, Kangxi (1662-1722), with two panels one decorated with two ladies on a fenced terrace, the other with two men on a terrace standing at the entrance of a tiled room, the panels divided by text, the rim decorated with liewen with five cartouches containing peaches, diameter: 8 3/8in., 21.3cm,  height: 3 3/4in. 9.5cm. Available at Guest and Gray

The other side of the above image showing the Chinese inscription.
Chinese blue and white censer, Kangxi (1662-1722), decorated with auspicious objects with inscriptions which roughly translate as Zia Huo Fang promises to be forever devoted to Buddha, the vertical inscription reads devoted disciple Yip You Boon happily presents this piece, Chenghua six-character mark, diameter: 8in., 20.30cm.
Available at Guest and Gray 
18th -19th Century Pagan Style Burmese Wooden Standing Medicine Buddha.
Available at  Peter Sloane

A Pemde Tribe Democratic Republic of Congo Mask. Pr-war date, from an ex American Private Collection.
Available at Peter Sloane

14 September 2017

LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair, Berkeley Square, September 2017

The LAPADA Art and Antiques Fair is a prestigious international showcase and an exciting high point of London's Autumn social calendar.

Presented in the historic and atmospheric surroundings of Berkeley Square, a stone's throw from Grays, the fair begins Friday 15th of September and will run until Wednesday 20th.

Tickets are still available at the LAPADA website.

100 exhibitors will present work from across the art and antiques spectrum, spanning fine art, jewellery, furniture, antiquities, ceramics and much more.

Each and every piece and exhibitor is vetted by a 70-member strong specialist committee, and as ever many of our Grays dealers will be presenting. Below we have picked out some of our favorite pieces from these dealers, with details of their stand number. We hope to see you there !

Green garnet and diamond Prince of Wales Feathers brooch, 19th century. Offered by Nigel Norman Stand C30

Inkwell desk set by Max Bochmann for Meissen, c1905-10. Offered by Serhat Ahmet Stand C34

Van Cleef and Arpels sunburst pendant dress clip, c1960-70. Offered by Anthea AG Antiques Stand B40

Diamond tiara mounted in platinum, c1905. Offered by Moira Fine Jewellery Stand B47

Gold and enamel jewelled bourbon presentation snuff box, French, c1855. Offered by Pushkin Antiques Stand C10

18ct gold drop pearl earrings set with diamonds and emeralds. Offered by The Gilded Lily, Stand B35 

Carved beech cat, Faust E Lang, c.1930. Offered by Horton London Stand B32

18ct French gold and diamond ring, c1890. Offered by John Joseph Stand B45

Triumph of Love diamond and gold with blue enamel pendant, c1820. Offered by Wimpole Antiques Stand B1

Art Deco Lacquered box, Japanese, c1920s. Offered by Matthew Foster Stand B13

7 September 2017

The Mews at Grays - Part 2

This week's topic is a follow-up of a previous post about The Mews at Grays. The Mews offers a diverse collection of vintage, antiques and collectables.

We're highlighting three Mews dealers:

Ting's Jewellery Box
Showcase C22 | Grays Mews |Tel: 020 7629 7034

Ting is a well established dealer here at Grays and can be found in the basement of The Mews. Her stand contains a dazzling variety of fun vintage costume jewellery as well as a highly desirable collection of Victorian lockets. Pieces are often featured in glossy magazines such as Vogue.

Victorian Lockets
1950s Mermaid locket
Diamante Hand Necklace

Don Bayney Antiques
Stand A20-A21 | Tel: 020 7491 7200

Don has been a keen collector of Japanese swords and armour since the late sixties and has traded in this field since the early nineties. He joined Grays in 1991, where you can find him on the lower-ground floor in The Mews.

3 Swords on a Stand. Top: A boy's sword (possibly for the son of a Daimyo or Lord) Centre: Wakizashi blade (Shinto period) Bottom: Wakizashi blade (Shinto period) in excellent condition.

Tsuba, Iron, depicting rice bales. Signed and made by father and son.

Tsuba, Iron, depicting dragonflies in gold, signed Iwamoto Ikkan with Kao.

Pavlos S. Pavlou
Stand L17 | Tel: 020 7629 9449

Pavlos has been a numismatic consultant to a well known London auction company for many years. He is located on the ground floor in The Mews. You will find ancient, medieval and modern coins up to 1850 in his stand.

Ptolemaic Empire Egypt. Alexandria. Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX Soter II 116-107 BC. 

IC-XC, the redeemer enthroned holding the book of gospels, amulet lower right panel of throne. 

Christ enthroned, right hand raised in benediction,large dot either side. 

1 September 2017

The 1920s Jazz Age: Fashion & Photographs

If you are looking for a trip out of London then why not head to The American Museum in Britain,  Bath, which is exhibiting 'The 1920's Jazz Age: Fashion and Photographs' until the 29th October 2017.

Picture from the Jazz Age exhibit at The Fashion and Textile Museum. Image courtsey of WWD

The Dolly Sisters with headdresses, 1923, by James Abbe. Private Collection. Image courtsey of American Museum In Britain

The exhibition is a visual guide to the 1920s Jazz Age, during a time of Post war excess and emancipation. The iconic flapper dress became a statement of the time. Also exhibiting are evening capes, lame coats and ready-to-wear garments dating from 1919 to 1929. Photography during this era played an important role as captured by James Abbé and illustrated by Gordon Conway who's work was shown in Vanity Fair.

Gordon Conway 'Red Cross Girl' illustration for Vanity Fair, 1918. Image courtsey of Cultural Compass at The Harry Ransom Centre, The University of Texas at Austin

'The Red Hat' illustration by Gordon Conway, for The Tatler, 18th December 1929. Image courtsey of King and McGaw

So if you are feeling in the mood to tap into the Jazz vibe then look no further and come join us here at Grays, where you will find a spectacular display of pieces waiting to be discovered.

Emerald Cut 1.50ct diamond ring with centre baguette stone and centre cut shoulders in 18ct white gold. Available at Alexandra Engagement Rings

Channel set diamante style 1920s bracelet. Available at Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery
Diamond and platium 12 carat set brooch with a double clip. Available at Jani
A long tassle necklace with oriental figure and cinnabar beads. Available at Gillian Horsup

Fan which was a give away for a furniture shop in the 1920s. Available at Linda Bee

Back view of the above fan with the inscription.

1920s Cigarette holders set. Available at Gillian Horsup

1920s Celluloid bangle for the upper arm. Available at Gillian Horsup
Bakelite and diamante belt buckle, c1920s. Available at Gillian Horsup

Very special 1920s beaded bag. Available at Linda Bee

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