Thursday, 15 March 2018

Symbols of Ireland

Ireland has a very rich heritage along with old traditions and symbols. With St Patrick's Day fast approaching, we look into the meanings behind the symbols of Ireland.

Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. According to legend, the shamrock was a sacred plant to the Druids of Ireland because its leaves formed a triad, and three was a mystical number in the Celtic religion, as it is in many others.

Vintage shamrock charm, available from Good Time Antiques

Entrée dish with shamrock design lid, Birmingham 1910, available from Goldsmith & Perris

Spurrier & Co napkin Ring, Birmingham 1906, available from Goldsmith & Perris

The Irish harp was featured on the Coat of Arms because King James was not only the ruler of England but of Ireland as well. The harp has also been synonymous with Guinness since 1862, when it was used as a symbol on the first bottle label for Guinness. It is because of the harp trademark that Guinness named its first lager 'Harp' in 1960.

Harp charm, available from Good Time Antiques

Green is the national colour of Ireland, which is known as “The Emerald Isle”. On St Patrick's Day, it is customary to wear shamrocks, green clothing or green accessories. St. Patrick's revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, who would pinch anyone not wearing green!

"Genie bottle" by Empoli c1960s, available from Robinson Antiques
1950s evening bag with matching headband, available from June Victor 

The London St Patrick's Day Festival 2018, a three-day cultural and community festival across London will kick off today, Friday 16. More details here.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Celebrating Women

Mother's Day is coming up soon, falling on Sunday 11th March, and is the perfect time to show your Mum the love she deserves. Today also happens to be International Women's Day, so it really is a great time to be coming together and supporting each other as females -  if you're looking for an event where you can experience this kind of atmosphere then the WOW (Women of the World) festival is currently running at the Southbank Centre until Sunday.

With all of this going on, it's worth celebrating the women in your life - what better way to do so than with a gift? Here's our pick of the bunch from Alfies:

A floral painting, oil on canvas, mid 20th Century. Available from i Fine & Contemporary Art

A pair of paste and enamel earrings, 1980s. Available from April Antiques

An Italian ceramic coffee pot and sugar bowl, 20th century. Available from The Originals

A silver baby pram charm, 1960s. Available from Good Time Antiques

A Victorian emerald, diamond and pearl brooch, English, c1890. Available from Kieron Reilly

A selection of Victorian cranberry and vaseline glass vases. Available from Beth

A vintage tulip brooch, 1950s. Available from April Antiques

A floral painting, oil on canvas, mid 20th Century. Available from i Fine & Contemporary Art

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style

From the mid-19th century to the late 20th century, the ocean liner revolutionised sea travel. Ocean Liners: Speed and Style at the V&A, explores the design and cultural impact of the passenger liner around the world, delving into the hidden design stories of some of the world's most resplendent liners, including the Titanic, Normandie, the Queen Mary and the Canberra. 

This exhibition revives the golden age of ocean travel, from ground-breaking engineering and fashionable interiors, to the lifestyle on board and their cultural impact on art, architecture, design and film. With over 250 objects including paintings, sculpture, ship models, fashion, photographs and posters. The exhibition will also feature works by Modernist artists, designers and architects inspired by liners.

Image taken from the V&A website

Image taken from the V&A website

Image taken from Riba Journal

Image taken from the V&A website

Taking inspiraton from this exhibition we discovered lots of luxurious items at Alfies that wouldn't look out of place on an ocean liner, reminiscent of the golden age of splendour.

Furniture and home accessories at Alfies

Cunard To Canada poster 1930s, available from Dodo Posters

Art Deco flame grained rosewood club chairs, available from The Moderns

Art Deco walnut table, available from Travers Antiques 

Decorative blue vase, available from Diplomat Treasures International
A selection of vintage suitcases and Louis Vuitton trunks, available from Tin Tin Collectables Luggage


Those who went on ocean voyages filled their Louis Vuitton steamer trunks with finery. The decks resembled a red carpet of the latest fashions, with the rich and famous donning apparel by the world's greatest designers. 

Vintage tiara, available from Zeeba Jewels

1920s dress, available from June Victor

1930s beaded dress, available from Tin Tin Collectables

1920s Bathing suit "WESTOE LADIES - ASC - SOUTH SHIELDS", available from Tin Tin Collectables

1920s bathing suit with belt loops, available from Tin Tin Collectables

R.M.S. Queen Mary dining scene, Jacqmar London silk scarf, available from Tin Tin Colllectables

Ocean Liners: Speed & Style will run until 17 June, 2018 at the V&A

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Purple Passion

Purple has officially made a comeback! Pantone have named Ultraviolet, a vibrant shade of purple, colour of the year. You may have recently noticed this colour splashed across furnishings, interiors and fashion. Which makes February's birthstone - amethyst - even more prominent this year. 

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to purple. The colour is often associated with the practice of mindfulness and amethyst itself is said to bring calmness, clarity and also boost intuition. It's even claimed that the purple quartz helps combat the effects of drunkenness!

At Alfies there's no shortage of amethyst jewellery, and we also have other items in this year's must-have shade! Here are some of our favourite picks:

Silver & gold Amethyst brooch/pendant with pearls and diamonds, c1900. Available from Zeeba Jewels
Bug brooch set with diamond, ruby, garnet, amethyst and cat's eye. Circa 1900. Available from Naneen Brooks

Amethyst, emerald and diamond floral necklace in 15ct gold. Available from Pari's Jewellery

c1970s Art Glass. Available from Diplomat Treasures International

Val St Lambert lamp base, c1950s. Available from Louise Verber Antiques 

Stratton compact, c1950, deadstock. Available from Dream Retro

Friday, 16 February 2018

LFW Kicks Off: London Fashion Week A/W18

For all you FROW wannabees, today's the day you've been waiting for! London Fashion Week AW18 kicks off officially today. This season, London's young and emerging designers are holding the torch for the event, while some of the bigger names - such as Armani and Tommy Hilfiger - are forgoing their usual shows. On the emerging designer line-up are AV RobertsonDilara Findikoglu and Richard Quinn.

Here at Alfies, we're here to show you how you can go green and wear vintage and still channel the latest styles. Here's the lowdown on the key trends of the week, and some fabulous pieces from Alfies:

Embellished Clutch Bags
Antique beaded evening bag with pearl snap closure Available from Connie Speight

Bakelite clutch bag with inlaid shell butterfly feature. Available from Sheila Cameron 
Sequin bow clutch, c1980s. Available from Gloria Sinclair
Austrian wool jacket, c1960s. Available from June Victor

Silver gild and enameled leaf shaped necklace. Available from Gareth Brooks

Bold Colour & Print

A selection of 1940s glazed pottery star sign brooches, made in Valleuris and signed Sisca. Available from Tony Durante

Haori meisen silk kimono, Japan, c1930s. Available from Barbara Rich Textiles

1950s French Tapestry Le Reveille Matin by Marc Saint Saens. Available from The Moderns

From the rest..

Don't forget to visit Tin Tin Collectables and Dream Retro, for their fantastic collections of vintage fashion, costume and accessories.

1980s gold coloured large clip-on earrings. Available from Dream Retro

Tassled Shawl. Available from Tin Tin Collectables

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is nearly upon us and 2018 brings us the year of the Dog - the Chinese zodiac moves in a 12 year cycle and each year has a corresponding animal. Zodiac signs play an integral part in Chinese culture, and can be used to determine your fortune for the year.  

Chinese New Year is a special occasion whichever part of the world you're in, and nearly always marked by family gatherings, food rituals, offerings at temples and the colour red. The decorations used on doors and windows are red coloured paper-cuts. The themes of these decorations are of happiness, good fortune, longevity and wealth. Firecrackers are also popular during the Chinese New Year as they are thought to scare off evil spirits. Expect to see lots of of colour, noise and a lots of dragons during the celebrations in London next Friday, 16th February.

At Alfies we have a wide array of Chinese items that would make wonderful gift offerings for the new year, here are our top picks..

3 boys holding a peach, c970s. Traditionally gifted on Chinese New Year. In Chinese society the peach has the meaning of long life. Available from Horner Antiques.
Chinese mid-century lidded pot, decorated with peaches and bats for longevity and good fortune, in famille jaune porcelain. The pot bears an apocryphal mark for the reign of the Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796). Available from Horner Antiques.

Chinese cinnabar, resin. Carved to represent flowers the traditional Chinese way. The technique goes back centuries. Pieces ranging from 1920s through to the latter part of the 20th century. Available from Horner Antiques.

19th century blue and white moon vase. Available from Diplomat Treasures.

19th century Chinese reverse painting. Available from Hongman Yang.
Decorative Chinese white copper teapot, does not tarnish. Available from John Cserny Fine Arts.

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