Thursday, 25 January 2018

Burns Night: A celebration of Scottish Antiques

Burns Night is a celebration of the life and legacy of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. A much loved national treasure, Burns is synonymous with Scotland, liberalism and socialism - having written over 550 poems, many of which were an astute social commentary. 

The poet died from rheumatic fever at only 37, in 1796, and whilst the first 'Burns Supper' was held by his friends and family in 1801, it is now a national event. A common supper is made up of haggis, neeps and tatties (swedes and potatoes), whisky and the reading of Burns' poetry.. not to mention a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, more famously sung at New Year's Eve!

To commemorate the Scottish figure in our own 'Alfies' way, we've picked our favourite Scottish themed antique and vintage pieces from the shelves of our 50+ dealers..

Bronze bust of Robert Burns on a marble plinth. By Cordel. Available from Tin Tin Collectables

Art Deco vase made by famous Scottish Glass House Monart. Available from Robinson Antiques

Silver Scottish Thistle charm with coloured stone, 1960s. Available from Good Time Antiques

Muirhead and Arthur Glasgow. 1883. Available from Goldsmith & Perris

Victorian coffee pot pictured twice. William Marples & sons, Sheffield, c1897. Goldsmith & Perris

Victorian Scottish Majolica plate. c.1856-80. W & L Antiques

Authentic men’s kilt c1940s-50s. June Victor

Authentic men’s kilt c1940s-50s. June Victor

Wooden treen tartan box, c1890s. Offered by Beth

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.

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