Thursday, 18 January 2018

Abstract at Alfies

Abstract Art is one of the most popular and enduring art movements with many gravitating towards the style for the space away from reality that it provides. Whilst abstract styles can be seen in some of the world's earliest cultures, the movement started to gain popularity in the 19th Century, with the 20th Century being considered its peak and producing many of the artists and works we associate with the art form today.

Whilst the departure from reality that this style of art often depicts can be slight, partial or total, the movement can generally be characterised by a few key traits. Firstly, abstract art makes no attempt to represent reality. Objects, figures and landscapes are usually simplified. Colour and form are often explored. Some reoccurring themes are block colours, geometric shapes, and use of texture. Abstract art has often been defined as artists painting what they feel as opposed to what they see.

Wassily Kandinsky is generally credited with painting one of the first recognised completely abstract works, and is still considered one of the movement's leading artists to this day. Just a few popular artists that are considered to be leaders within this style are Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Robert Delaunay.

With a large variety of art to be seen around Alfies, we knew there would be some interesting abstract pieces on offer. Here are just a few of our favourite:


'Running Man' painting, oil on board, 1980s. Available from Robert McKoy Fine Arts

A Joseph Weiss signed painting with Hebrew inscription on the back, oil on canvas, 1950s. Available from i Fine & Contemporary Art

'Large Abstract Study' painting by Derrick Latimer Sayer, mixed media on paper, contemporary. Available from Thomas Fine Art

A Portrait by Steve McCahn (student of Leon Kossoff), oil on canvas, contemporary. Available from Diplomat Treasure International

'Sylvette' a lithograph signed by Picasso, 1954. Authenticated by Bonhams. Available from i Fine & Contemporary Art

Abstract painting of a stained glass window, watercolour, 1980s. Available from Robert McKoy Fine Arts


Thursday, 11 January 2018

January's Birthstone: Garnet

The January birthstone is the stunning garnet. The name Garnet is derived from the Greek word 'granatum,' meaning 'pomegranate seed,' due to the small garnets which resemble the bright red seeds found inside pomegranates. It is also known as the 'Stone of Happiness,' which is rather useful during the bleak Winter months!

In celebration of January birthdays, we've chosen our favourite garnet pieces at Alfies...

Pearl and garnet gold bracelet, c1900s. Available from Zeeba Jewels

Garnet gold pendant, c1900s, available from Zeeba Jewels

Garnet gold flower earrings, English. c1980s. Available from Kieron Rielly

Garnet gold earrings, French. c1880. Availble from Kieron Rielly

Garnet gold brooch, c1880. Available from Naneen Brooks

Garnet and aquamarine earrings, c1900. Available from Naneen Brooks

Garnet gold earrings, c1890. Available from Naneen Brooks

Garnet Bohemian bangle, c1890. Available from Gareth Brooks

Garnet gold bangle, c1890. Available from Gareth Brooks

Garnet gold necklace, c1890. Available from Gareth Brooks 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Sculpture in the City

Sculpture in the City is an annual event taking place in the heart of the capital, featuring contemporary sculpture among some of London's most iconic architectural landmarks. This year there are 16 pieces of art which make up the outdoor sculpture park including works from Kevin Killen, Paul McCarthy and Damien Hirst.

Sculpture has been seen as one of the most arresting art forms often because of the dedicated labour involved, attention to detail and the scale. Whilst the definition of sculpture and the techniques that fall under its umbrella have changed over the years, the tradition of sculpture began in Ancient Greece with many of the great masterpieces of the classical period being produced there. From there sculpture has remained a predominant discipline in most western cultures and time periods, from gothic and religious sculpture in the middle ages through to Michelangelo's David in the Renaissance, along with being a celebrated form of art in many other parts of the world such as Africa and Asia. 

The reasons using sculpture varies widely, with some cultures like the Romans using the media because it is a durable and long lasting form of art, and others such as tribes in Africa using it because it can be viewed as a life like symbol in religious and ritual practice. In the present day, sculpture is still alive and well, with many artist still working in what could be considered a traditional manner and others such as Henry Moore and Tracey Emin bringing a modern vision to the media.

As always, you can always count on Alfies to have something interesting to see. Carry on reading for a few of our favourite sculptural items found around the building...

A Congo carving from Africa. Offered by Diplomat Treasures International.

A 1960s bronze boulder sculpture on slated base, signed Gerster. Offered by Travers Antiques.

A 1970s piece of art glass in the style of Picasso. Offered by Diplomat Treasures International.

A contemporary sculptor's impression of Michelangelo's David made from resin and fibreglass. Offered by i Fine & Contemporary Art.

A 1950s bronze torse of a male. Offered by Good Time Antiques

A Chinese Unicorn carved from celadon jade. Offered by Diplomat Treasures International.



Thursday, 21 December 2017

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Christmas is fast approaching! For those of you who tend to leave the gift hunt until the last minute, we've put together a Christmas gift edit to inspire you.

Alfies is the perfect place to spend your day; we have a plethora of eclectic and unique treasures - you'll find something to suit everyone! Whether you're looking for a showstopping gift, something sentimental or a stocking filler, discover the most extraordinary one-of-a-kind gifts here. You can even treat yourself afterwards to a nice hot beverage and cake at the Roof Top Kitchen.

We are open right up until Saturday 23 December, 10am-6pm. 

Murano glass ash tray c1960. £35. Offered by Dream Retro.


Pair of vintage decanters. Offered by W & L Antiques.


Perrier poster, 1977. £450. Offered by Dodo Posters.


Piero Fornasetti ‘Instrumenti’ Box, c1950. £395. Offered by Cupio Gallery.
Hexagonal table. Can be grouped together to form a larger table and also used individually. More available. £150. Offered by Angela Ball


Vintage cocktail shaker. Offered by Goldsmith & Perris

Gold Victorian acorn earrings. Offered by Gareth Brooks.


Riihimaki glass vase, 1970s, Finnish. Offered by Robinson Antiques.


Alfies will be closed Sunday 24th December. Reopening Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

We wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Friday, 15 December 2017

Piero Fornasetti

Piero Fornasetti was an Italian designer of the 20th Century who worked prolifically and some say obsessively throughout his lifetime, having created more than 11,000 items in his career and more than 500 variations of the same face.





Whilst being talented in many areas including painting, sculpting, engraving and interior decorating, the Fornasetti style that is famous today is a very distinct one. Fornasetti is known for his witty figurative illustrations, surreal tweaks to the otherwise mundane, and often whimsical nature. Designs are often black and white with lots of shading, occasionally with a splash block colour or accents of gold or silver. 

Common themes among his designs include astrology, mythology, architecture and of course Lina Cavalieri, the opera singer whose face he fell in love with. Possibly some of Pieros most recognisable work, he went on to use Lina's face in at least 500 designs including depictions of her as a goddess, as animals and even sporting a moustache in one, combining all his original inspirations with his muse.

In recent months we have spotted a number of original Fornasetti designs around Alfies and here we show you some of our favourite...

A Fornasetti 'Farfalle' table lamp, 20th Century. Offered by Cupio Gallery

A Fornasetti Alsation umbrella stand, 20th Century. Offered by Cupio Gallery

A pair of Fornasetti 'cameo' table lamps, 20th Century. Offered by Cupio Gallery

A pair of Fornsetti ash trays in stands, 20th Century. Offered by Martin Rooney

A Fornasetti paperweight. Offered by Cupio Gallery

A Fornasetti dish, 20th Century. Offered by Cupio Gallery

A Fornasetti dish, 20th Century. Offered by Cupio Gallery

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Gifts for Him

Are you shopping for a man who has everything? Men are notoriously tricky to buy for when they seem to own everything and need nothing. They aren't always vocal about what they want, and to make things worse, anything they have their eye on, they buy themselves. 

But do not fret, we have everything covered for you! Get inspired by our edit of mantiques at Alfies...

1950s submarine clock. Available from Good Time Antiques

Vintage Hamilton watch. Available from Moe Heidarieh

1950s table lighter decorated in playing card motif. Available from Dream Retro

Louis Vuitton leather attaché case, 1985. Available from Tin Tin Collectables Luggage

Jumo of Paris, black metal and brass lamp, c1960s, by Eillen Gray. Available from Travers Antiques

Gold and sapphire cufflinks. Available from Kieron Reilly

Vintage advertising sign for Les Portos Gibson, made in Brussels c1950s. Available from Travers Antiques

Vintage Georg Jensen cufflinks. Available from Gareth Brooks

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Symbols of Christmas

Christmas is a Christian festival rich in tradition and history, symbolism being a theme that runs heavily throughout all aspects of the celebration. From the food we eat to the decorations we choose, a British Christmas today is still largely based on the Christian celebration. Here we explore some of those meanings through antiques from Alfies.

The Star – This symbolises the star which, according to the bible, guided the three kings to the baby Jesus upon his birth, whilst also depicting the shining hope of humanity.

A Victorian gold and diamond locket, c1900. Offered by Kieron Reilly


Red – Being the first colour of Christmas, this symbolises the 'saviour's' sacrifice and represents the blood of Jesus on the cross.

A Whitefriars ruby textured 'Pot Belly' vase, 1965. Offered by Robinson Antiques

The Fir Tree – Evergreen is the second colour of Christmas, representing everlasting light and life. Mostly this is displayed through a Christmas tree, which usually comes from the evergreen conifer family such as fir, pine or spruce.

An enamel Christmas tree brooch, 1980s. Offered by Gloria Sinclair


The Bell – Ringing bells symbolise the start of the festive season and the birth of Christ.

A selection of 9ct gold charms, 1960s/70s. Offered by Good Time Antiques


The Candle – A mirror of starlight, reflecting the star of Bethlehem.

A pair of silver plate Corinthian column candle sticks, c1910. Offered by Goldsmith & Perris

Holly – The prickly leaves represent the crown of thorns, said to have been worn by Jesus when he was crucified.

A pair of enamel holly earrings, 1980s. Offered by Gloria Sinclair

The Candy Cane – A treat that represents the shape of a shepherd's crook. It is a reminder that according to the bible, Jesus - the good shepherd - was born on Christmas Day and used the crook to bring the lost lambs back to the fold. The red strip represents his blood and the white his purity.

A patterned glass dish, 1950s. Offered by Renato

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