One of my favorite antiques fairs opened October 3: I’ve shared many Antiques Diva® tours and buying trips with you on the blog. I always count Battersea as a do not miss antiques event. More than just shopping, The Decorative Fair at London’s Battersea Park is an experience. And my team at The Antiques Diva & Co feels privileged to count several dealers at the fair as friends and favorite sources that our clients have special access to. Held 3 times annually, the fair’s reputation is well-known: interior designers from around the globe attend The Decorative Fair, often shopping with their clients, and many American dealers attend to stock their store – but private customers are welcome to attend also! Designers and stylists attend the Fair to search out original and unusual furniture, art and accessories to give their projects an individual touch. (Spotted: The Fair was recently visited by David and Victoria Beckham… they shopped with their decorator Rose Uniacke, and one of the UK’s hottest interior designers at present!)
Styles at The Decorative Fair range from French and English antique furniture to tabletop to mid-century modern. And what I love about the Battersea Decorative Fair is that not only is there something for everyone’s taste, there is also a range of price points. If you are seeking high-end antiques, you will find them; but The Fair also has smalls and decorative pieces that won’t cost a fortune – and may even fit in your suitcase!
Today’s guest blog is by Pippa Roberts, Specialist at The Decorative Fair, on the current trends in antiques and decor seen at London’s Autumn 2017 Decorative Fair – open now through October 8.
The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair – Battersea Park, London
Decorated ‘brown’ furniture
There has been a marked interest recently in fine, late 18th and early 19th-century furniture, with good embellishment and in richly coloured woods, such as Italian or French fruitwood or walnut commodes with ormolu/metal mounts or decoration. For international buyers pressed for time, there is no better one-stop-shop for European furniture than the Decorative Fair.
Classic country house style / maximalism
The country house look is definitely back in, and the Decorative Fair is the home of classic English country house furnishings: Persian rugs on floors, a mix of polished and painted wood furniture and nicely upholstered Regency sofas, elaborate mirrors, traditional portrait and landscape paintings, tapestries, etc. Chintz is back in, big time, in terms of textiles and pattern. Layering different periods of furniture and accessories adds instant ‘family history’ and an established, ‘been there forever’ look to a room. You can decorate an entire country house from top to bottom at the Decorative Fair! It’s the only fair you can sensibly achieve this at.
White ceramics have been a big thing for the past year or two, and look set to retain their chic; groups of white German modernist vases, large Regency-style French tureens and jugs, and more ornately decorated pieces for impactful tablescapes and cabinet displays.
Decorated folk furniture / art
Traditional pieces that have a homespun air: decorated furniture, either painted, or découpaged, or decorated with more unusual materials such as seeds, i.e. truly unique pieces.
Art Deco glamour
Art Deco design is selling well, especially glass – colourful, and looks great on the cocktail shelf/bar cart. You can see Deco style in many of the leading designer contemporary brands at present.
Bamboo and rattan furniture is still having a strong ‘moment’. As are bar carts of every style and era!
Indigo blue / blue and white
This colour, and blue & white china, has been having a renaissance; classic blue and white Delftware pots or English china plates are being used once again by decorators, even using gilded sconces to mount them around fireplaces (as per the C17th habit) or in dining rooms. Indigo blue is a big interiors colour at the moment, so we don’t see this trend changing anytime soon.
Velvet upholstery and trimmings
Top of the list in terms of luxe upholstery trends right now! The Decorative Fair presented a passementerie foyer display a couple of years ago, and since then, tassels, trimmings, and fringes have been back with a vengeance in high-end interiors. Antique passementerie, metallic threadwork and haberdashery items are offered by many of the textile dealers (and others) at the fair.
The Battersea Decorative Antiques & Textiles Details
- October 3-8 2017
- Battersea Evolution
London SW11 4NJ
Vehicle Entry via Chelsea Bridge Gate ONLY
- Tuesday 3rd October: 12 noon – 8pm
Wednesday 4th October: 11am – 8pm
Thursday 5th October : 11am – 8pm
Friday 6th October: 11am – 7pm
Saturday 7th October: 11am – 7pm
Sunday 8th October: 11am – 6pm
- £10 on the door including catalogue which allows free re-entry
Tickets can only be purchased with cash
Vendors at The Decorative Fair are carefully selected specialists in antique and 20th-century design from Britain and Europe with an unrivalled selection of stock.
October is the last date for The Decorative Fair in 2017; if you’d like a private antique buying tour in 2018 (January 23-28, April 17-22, and Autumn 2018) to Battersea’s design extravaganza – plus our other London and English countryside custom antique buying tours.
Cheers! Hope to see you in London!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva®
Today’s guest post is by our Antiques Diva® English Antiques Buying Agent Gail McLeod, owner of the UK’s prestigious Antique News & Fairs, Google’s top-ranked antiques fair website. Gail might just be the most connected woman in the world of antiques – is Editor in Chief of the Antiques are Green website and vice chair of the new Antiques are Green Trade Association, and a co-founder of Antiques Young Guns.
The Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair returns to the luxury laden Haynes International Motor Museum from 13-15 October, 2017, following a smash hit debut in October 2016 when buyers flooded in from across the country and the rest of the world!
Organisers Cooper Events welcomes some brilliant new names on board: Kore Purchase, Tetbury, Bombe Interiors and Elham Antiques from Kent, Molly & Maud’s Place and Chris Holmes Decorative Antiques both Yorkshire, John Read Smith, Wales, The Archives from The Netherlands will join Bruton this year with their Folk Art, Country House furniture and collectible glass, and with a big sister like the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair just up the road in the Georgian City, running at an all time high in March 2017 after 28 years, the traction is red-hot and the Bruton Decorative Fair is getting ready to motor back to the Haynes International Museum for a spectacular return.
Decorative dealers pull out all stops at this show and there will be choreographed displays from some of the most exciting decorative dealers in the UK, Europe and the Channel Islands with C18th – C20th decorative trouve for the home and garden, architectural reclamation, humble English Folk Art – early pottery, samplers, walking canes, CMid furniture and accessories, lighting, textiles, grand painted furniture from local country houses, mirrors, dazzling jewels and even desirable vintage designer handbags.
Mark Hill Selects Tour
On Saturday 14 October, BBC Antiques Roadshow expert and author Mark Hill will add some celebrity sparkle to the fair with his “Mark Hill Selects” tour – using his expert knowledge to inspire visitors with tips on using traditional and decorative antiques in the modern interior for a cool century mash-up! Mark will also be selecting some collectors’ pieces – he has an eye for obscure objects and visitors can look forward to a fun and engrossing event.
Mark’s tour will be streamed LIVE: tune in to https://www.facebook.com/BrutonDecorativeAntiquesFair
Saturday 14 October at 1pm GMT
The transformation of the sleepy Somerset town of Bruton into the ‘Notting Hill of the South West’ with the arrival of the internationally renowned Hauser & Wirth Gallery, lighting a media fire under this untouched corner of leafy Somerset and drawing an influx of City money, second home owners and celebrities to the area, presented a light bulb moment for organisers Sue and Peter Hodder of Cooper Events who knew they had found the perfect site in the area for their new event – the £6 million extension to The Haynes International Motor Museum, with its luxury interior and extraordinary raspberry red futuristic facade, just outside Bruton and very highly visible from the adjacent A303.
A number of notable Somerset dealers will return in 2017 including The Factory in Castle Cary home to seven leading dealers from the decorative trade founded by David Tupman Antiques. Sharing the beautiful former dairy house factory in Castle Cary are Brighton based dealer Jill Palmer, Pimlico, London W1 dealer Christopher Butterworth, London based Derek Greengrass and Ashburton, Devon dealer Roger Organ. Expect to see a highly charged eclectic mix of decorative antiques for the home and garden.
Alchemy from Bruton will also be returning with French and English upholstery, dining tables and chairs, C20th century glass tables, beautiful English and European mirrors, textiles, and a selection of contemporary art and sculpture, Quillon House Antiques, also Bruton based, with fine English oak and country furniture and equestrian paintings, Elizabeth Lee Interiors from Frome with French, Swedish and English decorative antiques for the home and garden, Waterfall Antiques, Bath, with a wide selection of leather luggage, conservatory decoration and kitchenalia, Sherborne based Macintosh Antiques with painted country house furniture and upholstery from the leading furniture makes of the C18th – C19th and Somerton based specialist upholstery and CMid design dealers Life England will also return in 2017. Exquisite Swedish and French painted furniture and antiques for the garden and conservatory will be shown by La Place Antiques and No1 Lewes from Sussex. Folk Art will be shown by leading experts Erna Hiscock and John Shepherd, Devon based Appledore Antiques and venerable long term Bath exhibitors Terry & Marie Kelly and collectible walking canes will be shown by Winfield Canes.
Fine British, European and Modern & Contemporary Art will be well represented by local dealers White Space Gallery, Totnes, The Jerram Gallery, Sherborne and by Cambridge based Granta Fine Art. Period portraits will be displayed by Channel Islands exhibitor Mark Blower Antiques.
The organisers have also teamed up with celebrated local restaurant Roth Bar & Grill for a competition to win a culturally enriching lunch with wine for two people.
Situated at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Roth Bar & Grill plays an integral part in the Hauser & Wirth Somerset experience combining gastronomy with contemporary art. Owners Steve & Jules Horrell regularly collaborate with artists exhibiting at the gallery to design unique dishes and cocktails, inspired by the exhibition. The restaurant works closely with local farmers, gamekeepers and gardeners, to use ethical British produce with a focus on sustainability.
Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair 13-15 October 2017
- Trade Preview Friday 13 October 11 am – 2 pm
- Public Friday 13 – 2 pm – 5 pm, Saturday 14 + Sunday 15 – 11 am – 5 pm
- Haynes International, Sparkford, Somerset BA22 7LH
- Complimentary Ticket
Schedule a private England antique buying tour in 2018 at the Bruton Fair, its sister antique fair The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair – plus our other London and English countryside custom antique buying tours!
Cheers! Hope to see you in England!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva®
Today’s post is by Sara Morel, who recently left her corporate fashion job to establish Reclaimed Woman. A blog and business, for those in search of a more conscious life. Fashion and home fashions that are equally style-savvy as they are ethical. Like a secret diary, she previously blogged under the name Style Salvo, recording her journey into antiques, salvage and a more sustainable existence (shoe collection excluded), as head of PR for a shoe brand at the time! She vowed to do-up her new home in London with as many old, reused and reclaimed things as possible. One bedroom, one bathroom, one garden, one kitchen… now her walk-in wardrobe.
SALVO Fair: Life is not a Rehearsal – Green Living Fest
A boulder engraved with the words of the estate owner, Sir William McAlpine reads ‘Life is not a Rehearsal.’ I love this phrase, and find it can be applied to all sorts of scenarios life throws at one. In light of the bright green antique theme, SALVO 2017 is not only about appreciating antiques for their connection with history, but for their relationship with the future and the environmental benefits of reuse. Shop vintage fashion and hats including unique designs by Dior from Mary Jones Vintage, whose rare finds for gents and ladies are stocked in Liberty of London as well as her shop in Liverpool.
Whatever your motivation, here are some shopping tips you can apply to architectural antiques and vintage fashion:
- Shopping in a meaningful way starts with knowing what your personal style is and what your needs are. Fashions move in cycles, so don’t let current trends dictate your taste. If you buy something you love, it will hold your interest.
- That’s all very well… but if you’re not yet sure what your style is, antique and vintage fairs are a great place to learn and discover what you like.
- Try to buy architectural antiques first, then make design decisions based on what is available – this will make your hunt much easier. The same goes for rare vintage fashion. It makes sense to start with your statement-makers, then you can build the rest of your look around them.
- Ask about provenance (the earliest known history about the piece). This not only adds value to the item, but to your dinner party conversation. For example, the extractor pipe on the cooker hood in my kitchen is a Victorian organ pipe reclaimed from a church in East London, the overhead cabinets were converted from a 1940s staff noticeboard reclaimed from London’s St Pancras Station. And you’ll have to come for dinner to hear the rest…
- Find designers, builders and tailors that are antique and vintage fashion friendly, as alterations and allowances may be required.
- You may be in a field (at Salvo Fair for example) but you are also surrounded by some rare and incredibly valuable period pieces. Dealers are rarely offended if you negotiate reasonably and there are definitely deals to be found at the fair.
- If you insist on wearing heels like Toma, take her Salvo Fair field lead and opt for a wedge.
- Any finally, it’s easy to get intimidated; whether you’re overwhelmed by the sheer size of an architectural antique or the price of a collectible vintage handbag, I recommend starting with an experienced Antiques Diva guide tailored to you and your budget.
March 2 – 5: 28th Annual Bath Decorative Antiques Fair
45 dealers will be at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair offering a wide diversity of antiques, including painted furniture, garden antiques, mirrors, lighting, textiles, English and European pottery, collectible Country House objects; as well as super-chic metropolitan pieces. The Fair is held in the historic Pavilion, located a few minutes walk from the center of Bath. While attending the Fair, be sure to visit Bath and enjoy the many local restaurants and bars.
Gail McLeod, England Antiques Diva Guide and co-organiser of Antique Fair & News, says:
The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair is one of the most popular and unique antique fairs in the UK, is a must-show for dozens of dealers, and attracts new antiques dealers every year. Visitors love to attend the fair in charming and historic Bath, and never fail to be impressed by the diversity and quality of offerings at the fair. The show tours with antiques expert Judith Miller and Antiques Young Gun Edd Thomas are absolute must-dos!
Special Events at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair:
- March 2: Trade Only Day
- March 3: Antiques industry celebrity tour with ‘The Queen of Antiques’ Judith Miller
- March 5: Collaboration with vintage and antiques market BathVA, with a ‘Style Up Top Picks’ tour of the Bath Decorative Fair and BathVA with Edd Thomas of ‘Edd in the Clouds’
About The 28th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair:
- For a complete list of dealers and show information: www.bathdecorativeantiquesfair.co.uk
- Date: 2-5 March 2017. TRADE ONLY 2 March
- Venue: The Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, BA2 4EU
- Opening Times:
TRADE PREVIEW Thursday 2 March: 12noon – 5pm. Admission with Trade Invite or Trade Business Card. Otherwise £10.00.
PUBLIC: Friday 3 – Sunday 5 March 10am – 5pm
- Admission: £5.00
Complimentary tickets: http://www.bathdecorativeantiquesfair.co.uk/freeTicket.php
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells! Santa’s on his way!! He’s making a list of those who have been naughty and nice… and I’ve got to tell you… I have been very very good this year. And thus… my wish list is super long! With a world of antiques available at my every whim… where do I go to shop for antiques? London of course! Two of my favorite antiquing sources for the holidays – or any time of year – are Alfies and Grays Antiques. You’re invited to shop with them too at their special after-hours Christmas Shopping Party at Alfies Antique Market on Thursday, December 1 from 5pm-9pm.
But don’t worry if you’re not in London this holiday… their gift guides are jammed packed with presents fit for a diva. Uhm… I’m just saying… Here’s my Wish List in case anyone of you wants to start their Christmas shopping with me in mind (wink, wink)!
Louis Vuitton Trunks
Louis Vuitton is timeless chic when it comes to fashion and handbags… but with travel accessories!? Get out of here. I’m ready to hop a steamer for my next holiday. Who wouldn’t love these fabulous vintage Louis Vuitton Trunks? And if you’re not planning un grand voyage they can be used for stylish storage or simply as a decorative accessory in your home
Haori Kimono C 1920s
1920’s Diamond and Ruby Ring
Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a jewelry fanatic. This ring is just glamorous and stylish all at once! A bit over the top? Yes. But who said that was a bad thing?
Gold Tone Snake Necklace
I’m in love with this exotic snake necklace. Paired with a simple dress, this baby has chic written all over it!
Red Chanel Bag circa 1980s
Vintage Chanel. Need I say any more?
Tiffany & Co 18 C Gold Earrings
Classic, timeless, chic. These earrings would go with just about anything or for that matter… nothing at all!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Here at The Antiques Diva & Co it’s been a busy few months! We’re getting ready to launch our new Asia Tours, I’m currently traveling in the USA working on a few new projects—watch this space!— and our Diva Guides in Europe have been keeping things running smoothly in our 8 European Tour Countries! Our UK Diva Agent Gail McCleod always has the scoop on what’s happening with antiques in the UK. In fact, her website, Antiques News & Fairs is a fantastic resource for anyone in the antiques industry. Gail has led many tours of the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, and we are excited to announce a sister fair, The Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair is coming up on October 14-16.
The Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair welcomes a number of Bath exhibitors together with a large group of new exhibitors both regional and national dealing in decorative antiques from France, Scandinavia and Great Britain; featuring Folk Art, Mid Century design, Modern and Contemporary Art, Architectural Salvage, Country House furniture, and antiques and vintage for the garden and conservatory.
The 1st Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair
- When: 14-16 October 2016
- Where: The Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset, UK
- Special Details: Trade Preview 12pm-2pm Friday 14 October
For Trade Preview tickets and to book a private tour with an Antiques Diva Guide, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to take you to this new fair and maximize your time by taking you to our secret sources in the countryside as well!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Everyone knows that I love a good party, and will use any excuse to celebrate! Champagne anyone? One of my favorite English antique institution, Alfies, is celebrating their 40th anniversary! To commemorate this occasion, they’re running several activities this month in conjunction with the London Design Festival.
Even though I can’t be in London this month, as I’m traveling in Asia setting up our new Antiques Diva Asia Tours #WatchThisSpace, our English Diva Agent Gail McLeod is on the ground and in command leading a special VIP GROUP tour for one of our favourite clients, Modenus. Founder of Modenus, Veronika Miller is a dear friend and she brings a group of clients – including bloggers, designers and dealers – over each year during London Design Week as part of Design Hounds.
The Antiques Diva segment of their London tour will be on 21 & 22 September and our plan first is to whisk them off to Martin Johnson’s fabulous new warehouse he has opened in Lewis with the lovable Fontaine boys for an exclusive behind the scenes glimpse in the best of the decorative antiques trade in England. And then the next day Gail – aka the Commander in Chic – will take them to Alfies and the Antiques Young Guns pop-up and the Church Street dealers. Sadly the Design Hounds have to dash before the Alfies party begins… but if you watch the #DesignHounds on Instagram you can get a glimpse into this VIP DIVA TOUR!
Besides the 40th Anniversary Party at Alfies, there are several other events taking place this week in London, and we’ve got the run down of must-Diva-do’s!
September Events to Celebrate Alfies London 40th Anniversary
- Pop-up Residency from London Glassblowing
- 20th Century Glass with Mark Hill
- Fashion Through the Ages with Leslie Verrinder of Tin Tin Collectables
- Thirteen Upholstery Workshop Demonstration
If you find yourself in London be sure to check out the pop-up shops featuring several Antiques Young Guns dealers, many of whom are AD&CO friends and vendors! Even if you’re not able to be in London, check out their websites below.
AYG members standing at the pop-up shop are:
- Lily Johnston of Bombe Antiques
- Matthew Wise of Cubbit Antiques
- Edd Thomas of Eddintheclouds Antiques
- Jason Clarke of Jason Clarke Antiques
- Stephanie Connell of Stepannie Connell Art & Antiques
- Eddy Toshi Ishikawa Wertheim of The Japanese Gallery
- Ishmael Khan of Ishy Antiques
- Jon Irvine of Jon Irvine Antiques
And last but not least – Rumor has it Design Hounds will be joining me in Asia to kick off the new year… if you’re interested in joining that VIP GROUP TOUR make sure to contact either me or Veronika @ Modenus.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Architectural Biennale and then onto Antwerp sourcing antiques through our Buying Service for a client who didn’t have time to come abroad…. And yet, I’m already scheduled again to hit the road this weekend going to England for the Grand Opening of a “new” Antiques Warehouse! Well, as they say… everything old is new again!he dust has barely settled from my recent trip to the USA speaking on buying antiques abroad followed by a quick jaunt to Venice for a Salon during the
This new antiques store is the result of a marriage made in heaven – but quite an unusual union! Stuart Atkinson and Kiel Shaw owners of Fontaine Decorative and Martin Johnson and Paul Wong owners of Martin D Johnson Antiques have been friends for a long time, both trading in the coastal South of England counties of Kent and Sussex. Both businesses rank at the top of the decorative trade tree but each retains its own unique style and character, enough so that the boys all go buying together in the South of France without falling out! Based on this close relationship, synergy of business style and many ‘planning meetings’ in the restaurants and bars of England and France, they are trail blazing a new way to trade by opening a monumental warehouse together just outside Lewes, East Sussex, which opens to the public on Monday 13 June 2016.
Gail McLeod, our Antiques Diva Agent leading our England Antiques Tours has worked for a long time with both businesses, both in her role with my company leading English antique buying tours as well as her own business Antiques News and Fairs. As our Roving Reporter on the Ground in England – Gail explains:
“Martin Johnson Antiques is a family business which has traded in the High Street in Seaford, East Sussex for nearly 30 years, moving from dealing in silver and semi formal oak and mahogany to the uber decorative look they are known for both at home and in the US, dealing in C17th, C18th and C19th English antiques and a mix of decorative French furniture, industrial pieces and mid-century furniture.
Another successful arm of the business is their line of bespoke commissioned pieces using recycled industrial equipment and elements, uniting antique components with more contemporary materials, sourcing locally and in France.
Martin and Paul have become expert property hounds over time, buying and restoring a number of neglected beauties and they worked hard to get planning consent to convert their Seaford premises to residential use so that they could decamp to a more user friendly space for their huge business – parking and loading are key to the life of a dealer to say nothing of ceiling height. This all came to pass in 2015 when permission was granted and they found their new warehouse on a beautiful farm just outside Lewes and the future became clear.
Over in Kent, The Fontaine Boys, as they are known by most people, who had started their career in the Lewes area some 20 years ago, had also been busily acquiring and restoring cherished buildings and their first Margate showroom was once Margate Town Laundry. This too had parking, loading and ceiling height issues so they let it to a well known animation company and acquired a warehouse showroom in nearby Broadstairs which opened in 2015. They too are property junkies and they also acquired an unloved shop in the centre of nearby Ramsgate which is currently being transformed into a retail showroom and will be the next Fontaine Kent outpost.
From their humble beginnings setting off for their first adventure in France 20 years ago, Fontaine are now established and experienced French decorative antiques dealers and members of LAPADA – The Association of Art & Antique Dealers. Their informal and relaxed approach when it comes to buying and selling antiques has attracted a cool and loyal following – hipster antiques and collectables expert Mark Hill wrote, ‘Stuart and Kiel who run Fontaine are veritable alchemists when it comes to display. Their innate skill and eye at sourcing objects of beauty and desire are unparalleled, but it’s what they do with it that marks them out as truly top-flight dealers and decorators’.”
At The Antiques Diva & Co we cannot wait to for the launch of this union – and we’re utterly certain the result will be The Best Antiques Warehouse in England. The Martin D Johnson Antiques & Fontaine Lewes collaboration will be styled in a room set showcase layout choreographed by period and style. We’ve had a sneak peek into the space before opening day and can attest – it’s warm and inviting and almost loses its industrial cloak when you enter the very smart offices area – squashy sofas and good coffee on tap! The venue will be an absolute boon for visiting trade – always on a deadline, who can now see a high volume stock from two of the key suppliers in the industry under one roof.
Happy Shopping Mates!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ere at The Antiques Diva & Co we offer Antique Buying Tours in 8 different countries. And while our Diva Guides are all united by their love for antiques, it seems that each country has something unique to offer. Whether it is a certain style, a way of living, or particular pieces specific to a certain country, we always try to show clients what makes each locale special. Often times clients want to take a piece home of whichever tour country they’re in, and we love that! Whenever I’m in England it seems that there are a few key things that come to mind—The Royal Family, great country houses, and of course TEA! Clients always enjoy stopping for a spot of tea in between antiquing appointments and participating in this quintessentially English tradition. Of course, many of our sources sell antique tea services, spoons, and caddies. Tea caddies make wonderful decorative accessories and can be beautifully displayed alone or in a collection. With a wide variety of caddies out there, here’s a bit of history on them.
Tea was introduced to England from China sometime in the middle of the 17th century. As it became popular and more in demand, the price went up and so did the tax. People began incorporating the ritual of tea time into their daily lives at home, making tea a necessity. Tea was taxed at an extremely high rate in the 17th and 18th centuries, therefore it needed to be kept under lock and key and this is where the invention of tea caddies came into play. 17th century tea containers were bottle-shaped jars made from glass, china, silver, and metal. However it was during the 18th century that tea caddies, box-shaped containers, became a typical accessory in private homes. As with any functional piece, tea caddies became more decorative with time and adapted to the needs of changing tastes and traditions.
Some caddies had two compartments—one for storing green tea and one for storing black tea— as it became desirable to offer both types of tea. Many caddies also had a space to store sugar which was an integral component to tea drinking. During the early 18th century, tea caddies were made primarily of wood or silver and shaped like small chests. Caddies from the second half of the 18th century began to incorporate painted decorations, Chinoiserie motifs, and even straw work. Other materials used to make caddies included papier-mâché, tortoiseshell, and ivory. Cabinet makers and woodworkers began offering tea caddies to their clientele as well. The late 18th century caddies were made of pine, oak or mahogany and veneered in different woods such as native fruitwoods as well as more exotic imported woods, which gave the cabinet makers more scope for designs. This enabled the makers to make the best use of rich figuring in the wood as many surfaces could be cut from the most beautiful pieces.
When it comes to early 19th century, we begin to see the Regency style reflected in tea caddies. With improved transport and trade, the culture in England had changed somewhat. The natural progression toward incorporating different cultures can be seen in the style of that time, and a departure from the old English forms. Anglo Indian and Chinese Export lacquer styles as well as materials like mother of pearl can be seen in the styles of tea caddies during this period. The neo classical influence of the 18th century began to effect the construction of tea caddies. Straight shapes and stylized ornaments were translated in the style of classical architectural forms in tea caddy design.
The second half of the 19th century brought changes as well. Social and economic growth as well as medial enhancements meant the population had grown exponentially. Increased trade gave opportunity to more people to increase their wealth and social standing. This meant the the demand for tea sky-rocketed. As tea drinking became a reality for people in small villages, as well as those in crowded cities, the English government was pressured to reduce prices on tea, and they withdrew the monopoly of the East India Company to import tea. With tea being imported from China as well as India, it became much more accessible. Of course this meant that all of the tea accoutrement increased in demand too, including the tea caddy. With new mechanical processes, it was easier to cut veneer. By this time timber was being imported from the Far East, Africa, the Americas, and New Zealand, meaning the options for variety were endless. From basic caddies for the average citizen to rare and valuable caddies made for Nobility, tea caddies, as with most material possessions, became status symbols.
Today they can be pressed into service for their original purpose or simply enjoyed aesthetically for their beauty. Whether you prefer intricately detailed tea caddies crafted from exotic materials or a clean-lined elegant silver caddy, there is a style to suite every taste! If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour of England, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d also love to help source English tea caddies for you though our Buying Services! It’s a great way to buy antiques abroad even if you can’t travel yourself.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
fun fact many of you may not know about me is that my university degree is in English literature with a history minor – I’ve always been fascinated with history and how life, art and culture interact. Perhaps my interest in antiques began because I view decorative objects from the past as giving me the opportunity to live with history – merging the past and present
My favorite time period in both literature (and history) is the Tudor period with Shakespeare, and Henry VII, Ann Boleyn, not to mention Elizabeth the First. It’s such rich period that it’s no surprise it was also an important time for interior design and furniture. It was during this span of time that England saw economic growth, geographical expanse, and much optimism which lead to wealthy home owners worrying less about money and war and turning their concerns to those of creature comforts at home. Plus as a sea faring nation England was gathering decor ideas from around the globe opening their collective eyes as a result of travel.
Prior to this period, Medieval and Gothic styles prevailed and the majority of great homes were designed to keep intruders out. However during the early Tudor times, with King Henry VIII on the throne, a boom in housing construction occurred, causing an increase in furniture production as well. As glass became a status symbol, wealthy home owners added many windows to their houses and also turned their eyes to the interiors, making subtle changes that reflected the times.
One of my favorite period Tudor houses – a cottage really – is Anne Hathaway’s Cottage near Stratford upon Avon. A brick building with half-timbering, a thatched roof and a delightful garden, this picture-perfect country house remains in almost the exact state as it was when Shakespeare won the hand of his wife, Anne.
Early Tudor furniture was not much different from its Gothic predecessors. Most of the population lived in modest homes and didn’t have much furniture at all. Even the upper class, who lived in large houses typically only had the basics— beds, tables, coffers, stools, and benches. It was common at the time for people to sit on stools and benches without backs, as chairs were reserved for the owner of the home, thus signifying his importance.
While on a recent trip to England meeting Traditional Home Magazines for a Press Tour I found myself unexpectedly with some free time one afternoon – and I went to one of my favorite places in London – The Victoria and Albert Museum. If you haven’t been – consider it a DIVA MUST GO!!! The V&A’s collections cover a vast number of design styles, from the Romanesque art and architecture of the Middle Ages, to the 20th century’s radical Postmodernism exploring the trends, themes and revolutions in design over the centuries. Here I was able to walk through the ages exploring furniture throughout time seeing fabulous museum worthy examples from this period.
Most Tudor furniture pieces were made of oak and were bulky in design. There were no delicate silhouettes or airy carvings, but rather heavy imposing pieces that were often uncomfortable, save for an embroidered cushion to perch on. The great rooms of large homes were often softened by hanging tapestries on the cold stone walls and using carpets on the chilly floors. However as time went on, it became fashionable to install wood paneling on the walls. When benches and chests were placed against the walls, those sitting on them could lean back against the paneling, perhaps leading to the idea of a free standing bench with a back attached—or what we think of as a sofa or settee today.
The 16th century saw many cultural developments in fashion, the arts, theatre, architecture, and furniture design. Influence of the Italian Renaissance can be seen when furniture makers began incorporating more ornamentation and carvings into pieces. As the period progressed, upholstered furniture, wallpaper, and carpets became more and more popular. However most pieces from the Tudor period remained large, imposing, and reminiscent of Medieval style.
Today when shopping for antiques – while of course you can still buy period pieces if you know where to go and are willing to pay the price – most “Tudor antiques” you see on the market today are “reproductions” from the 19th C. Still antique – they are “style of” antiques – not period antiques. During the 19th century, Tudor style had a huge revival. One of the things interior designers comment upon about the Tudor revival pieces they buy is that they actually work well in new homes due to their massive size!
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