Tag archives for:

Mark Hill

AYG Award Party in London

Dear Diva Readers,

Everyone knows that The Antiques Diva® loves a good party. But couple that with an entire party devoted to the world of antiques – filled with the movers and shakers of the antiques world – and I am in my element! I, along with my UK Antiques Diva Agent Gail McLeod and our behind the scenes Creative Guy Andrew Skipper, were recently in London to attend an evening to celebrate the Antiques Heavy Artillery Mentors of Antiques Young Guns at Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair. The party, which was held in the Club Room, was sponsored not only by The Antiques Diva® & Co but also more importantly by BADA, LAPADA, and, of course, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair.

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Attending the party was a myriad of antiques trade professionals and journalists. We spent the evening mixing and mingling, champagne in hand of course! When it was time for the awards ceremony, I was so pleased to present the award for Most Innovative Mentor to my friend and renowned antiques dealer, Spencer Swaffer. He gave space in his own store for a pop-up shop to his mentoree Paul Jones during the busiest week of the year.  The overall winner of the Heavy Artillery Mentor Program went to Robert Young who could not attend the party, so it was accepted by the Young Gun whom he mentored which happens to be our very own Swedish Divo Guide, Daniel Larsson.

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Following the reception, everyone gathered at a fabulous new restaurant at Vauxhall called Counter which is owned by Antiques Road Show Host Mark Hill’s partner, Philip. Mark is also one of the co-founders of Antiques Young Guns along with Gail McLeod and George Johnson. Drinks, dinner, and lots of conversation ensued until the wee hours of the morning. A Diva’s work is never done!

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Huge congratulations to Gail Mcleod who worked tirelessly to put this evening together, all while taking VIP clients on tour during the same week as this monumental event in the antiques industry. They say that if you want something done, ask a busy person… well, Gail certainly knows how to get things done! Looking forward to seeing Antiques Young Guns grow in the coming year and can’t wait for the next party!

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair, Olga, The HighBoy

The Antiques Diva®   


Dear Diva Readers,

SAVE THE DATE!  To celebrate the START OF THE OFFICIAL ANTIQUES SEASON – and a month filled with some of the top antiques fairs in England – one of our Antiques Diva FAVORITE SOURCES in London Grays Antiques is holding a series of talks in their Music Room on Monday 15th June.

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

This is an incredible opportunity to listen to lectures spanning subjects across the arts, antiques and collecting sphere!  Speakers will include owner of Grays (and sister centre Alfies Antiques in Marylebone) Bennie Gray, plus my friend, BBC 2 Collectaholics favourite Mark Hill (who happens to have inventory in the Mews at Grays) as well as jewellery expert Andrew Prince.

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Tickets are priced at £10 with a discount for multiple purchases and the 45-minute talks will run throughout the day.

11am: ‘Luxury: Between Opulence and Minimalism’, Professor Giorgio Riello
12pm: ‘From Downton to Gatsby, Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’, Andrew Prince
1pm: ‘Undressing Antiques’, Mark Hill
2pm: ‘Antiques: Looking to the future’, Bennie Gray
3pm: ‘How London’s heritage brands contributed to the war effort’ with Q&A, Penelope Sacorafou and Caroline Groves
4pm: ‘Post-War Rye Pottery: History and Collecting’, Elisabeth Bogdan
5pm: ‘Contemporary Chinese Print-Making’, Dr Anne Farrer
Price: £10 per talk, £18 for two or £25 for three
Duration: 45 minutes

Tickets will include a glass of prosecco and are available online at or in person from reception at Grays on South Molton Lane.

Keep your eyes out for my colleague Andrew Skipper who will be tweeting LIVE from the event on behalf of Antiques Diva & Co! Sharing a slew of antiques news!

The Antiques Diva ®

Antiques Young Guns

Dear Diva Readers,

This Independence Day I spent the day in London celebrating the 4th of July at an English antiques celebration!  While my American readers were watching fireworks I was hanging out with a whole bunch of fire crackers!  The Antiques Young Guns!

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

On Friday July 4th, The Rooftop Restaurant at Alfies Antiques Market in London was the place to be! The much anticipated awards ceremony for the Antiques Young Guns took place and I was delighted to be in attendance.  The Antiques Diva & Co has strong representation in this esteemed group of young people involved in the antiques trade. Two of our Diva Guides, Alys Dobbie of NanaDobbie and Daniel Larsson of D Larsson Interior, are members along with our Creative Consultant Andrew Skipper.  And, most importantly, our English Antiques Diva Agent who leads our tours in the UK, Gail McLeod, is one of the founding members of Antiques Young Guns along with Mark Hill and George Johnson!


The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

There were eight winners of a showcase at the prestigious Lorfords@Babdown kindly donated by Toby Lorford and Lesley Ferguson, owners of Lorfords Antiques and one of these winners was our very own Antiques Diva London Guide Alys Dobbie! It was also announced that eleven entrants will be mentored by renowned antiques experts and dealers.  We are so excited that our Swedish Guide Daniel Larsson will be mentored by Robert Young! (Alas Daniel was busy leading a VIP client on a Diva Tour in Sweden so he missed the event – here I am on stage accepting the award in his place).

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Toma Clark Haines, Daniel Larsson

If you recall, earlier this year, I announced on the blog my favorite dealers at The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair.  Well one of my top picks, James Gooch owner of Doe and Hope,was presented the prestigious award of Antiques Young Gun of the Year 2014 by winner in 2013 Timothy Medhurst. I have to tell you, I really think James is “one to watch!”  He has an amazing eye and will be shaping the way we decorate in the future.

James Gooch Awards, The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

All in all it was a fabulous evening celebrating the next wave of antiques enthusiasts. A highlight of the evening was meeting Steven Moore from the Antiques Roadshow (a twitter friend turned Real Life friend).  From dealers to journalists to auctioneers, these young people are changing the world of antiques for the better!

Rock on Antiques Young Guns!

The Antiques Diva®


Antique Young Guns

Dear Diva Readers,

Many people picture the “antique world” as a slow-moving menagerie of gray haired dealers, whiling away the hours in dark shops, just waiting for the odd customer to stroll in. While this scenario can certainly be found, there is also a new breed of antiques dealer and these entrepreneurs are taking over the antiques scene in Europe! There is a group called “Antiques Young Guns” comprised of career driven people under the age of 40 who make their living as antique dealers, working in auction houses, learning how to be restorers, and organizing regional and international fairs.

Antiques Diva, The Antiques Diva,

The Antiques Diva & Co is happy to be associated with this group as 3 of our Diva Guides are members of the Antiques Young Guns!  Alys Dobbie is our newest Guide, offering customized tours in London (including the world famous Portobello Market) and Brighton.  Our Swedish Guide Daniel Larsson is also a member of the group.  Daniel’s knowledge of Swedish & Gustavian antiques is amazing, and his connections in his native country of Sweden are invaluable to our clients when they want to find the perfect pieces while also learning about their history.

Young Gun, Antiques Young Guns, The Antiques Diva


One of the founders of Antiques Young Guns is Gail McLeod.  The Antiques Diva & Co is lucky to have Gail as our Diva Agent in the UK, as she is extremely well-connected and possesses a vast knowledge of antiques and sources. She is also the founder of National Antiques Week as well as the editor for Antiques Are Green.

young guns, The Antiques Diva

Gail, alongside other founding members George Johnson of Lady Kentmores (whom we’ve tapped to start leading our Scotland tours later this year) and Mark Hill have developed a website where young people working or wanting to work in the antiques industry can become members, allowing them to connect with other antique aficionados , sharing information, tips and contacts, and interactive links to shops allowing them to buy the hottest and best antiques from Young Guns.  While the members are currently British based – they are recruiting for American members! Be the first Americans to join the Young Guns!

Antiques Diva, The Antiques Diva

The whole concept of Antiques Young Guns is really exciting because it is solidifying the future of our industry.  By bringing these young minds together, the synergy that is being created is a powerful force!  This is definitely a group that I will be watching with much anticipation to see what they come up with next.   If you want to know What’s New in Antiques… you’ve got it – the Antique Young Guns are bringing antiques into the next millennium!

The Antiques Diva®

In the Press Spring 2014

Dear Diva Readers,

Extra Extra Read All About It…. The Antiques Diva & Co has been in the press all over the place! From Atlanta to London, Amsterdam, Houston to Dallas, Parma, Italy and everywhere in between…..   First off we showed up in the press at the Homes & Antiques blog while touring the Bath Decorative Fair with Judith Miller.

Antiques Diva , Toma Clark Haines

It was a double whammy with Homes & Antiques magazine as my article “Vintiquing in New Orleans” appeared in their February issue!  If you’re not already familiar with this British publication Homes & Antiques magazine mixes the best of the old with the best of the new – this much loved homes magazine is for people who adore great design and beautiful objects from every era.

Antiques Diva 2

I guess I should make this a grand slam home run…  Imagine my surprise when my copy of the 2014 – 2015 Collectables Handbook and Price Guide by Judith Miller and Mark Hill showed up in the mail with a quote on the back cover by YOURS TRULY!

Antiques Diva 3

Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

This book is an indispensable guide to antiques, providing the most in-depth and up-to-date information to the collectables market.

Speaking of great publications – if you haven’t seen the recent issue Antique Shops & Designers magazine – I had 2 articles inside – one about my favorite Tuscan villa agriturism estate Montestigliano and another sharing secrets to antiquing in Sweden.

Antiques Diva 4

Antique Shops & Designers is a magazine of home interiors, home decorating, and Interior Design. The magazine combines antique objects of art with contemporary home decorating. A designer’s reference book loaded with imported antique accent pieces, modern designer kitchen appliances, antiques and the latest in today’s lighting and accessories design.  I really appreciated the shout out Joni of Cote de Texas gave The Antiques Diva & Co as well in her post about this fabulous magazine.

Meanwhile we were delighted to make the Mothers Day Gift Supplement in  The Times (that would be London’s Times not New York’s) and then imagine my delight when California Homes magazine hit the newsstands yesterday and yours truly was pictured on the “Party” page for the Americans in Paris Party! You’ll recall I wrote about this sensational fete in January.

The Antiques Diva London Times

americans in paris party california home magazine

Sometimes our media coverage is a bit more incognito… we appeared lurking “behind the scenes” in an article about one of our favorite Dutch dealers – Benko – in a Dutch newspaper.  We’re incognito in this article as we were shopping for a top secret VIP client! Oh the intrigue!  Sorry… I’ll never tell who we were shopping for… one of our services at AD&CO is complete confidentiality for our clients.   My new in house creative consultant Andrew Skipper is also seen here noting the plethora of purchases our client was making.

Antiques Diva 5

Meanwhile The Antiques Diva & Co was mentioned in a slew of blogs after I spoke at the Design Bloggers Conference!

Antiques Diva 6

The Design Bloggers Conference is the only conference specifically focused on the interests of bloggers on interior design teaching attendees how to build a stellar personal brand for their design career.  Special thanks to Pamela Copeman for mentioning The Antiques Diva & Co in her Posh Palette Blog on 30 Quick Takeaways from DBC 2014.   Pamela Copeman is an award winning interior designer noted for her posh panache and timeless designs that unite classic style with a modern, often colorful twist.

Antiques Diva 7

Photo of Pamela Copeman with Kandrac & Kole

Kelly Kole and Joann Kandrac of Kandrac & Kole blog also gave The Antiques Diva & Co a shout out! in their colorful blog.  Kandrac Kole is a nationally recognized interior design firm well known for their approachable, dynamic personalities, signature use of color, and one of a kind, custom designs.  Voted one of Atlanta’s Top 20 Residential Interior Designers in 2013 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, their work has been featured on HGTV as well as The New York Times, House Beautiful, Southern Lady Magazine.

Inspirational lifestyle design writer Mitzi Beach was also so kind to include a mention of my speech in her blog as well.  Mitzi is an award winning interior designer who not only is an author but is an esteemed speaker as well!  On top of this she’s a Baby Boomer Marketing & Lifestyle Specialist  armed with 30+ years’ experience and a masters degree in interior design. Mitzi firmly believes the Boomers can and must be the generation that changes the way we age in this country and her unique combination of education, expertise and experience—even the Aging in Place principles evidenced throughout her own “Living Lab” home, called Cypress—make her the ideal candidate to lead that charge.

Antiques Diva

(I’m seen here with Mitzi Beach and Lisa Mende Designs)

I was also particularly honored that Steve McKenzie’s blog mentioned me in their DBC2014 highlights.  Steve and Jill McKenzie own Steve McKenzie’s Interiors and Lifestyle store.  The brand offers a design sensibility that converges two fundamental influences – the southern hospitality and graciousness mixed with their love for the mid-century modern aesthetic. Steve’s fabric designs are beyond divine.


Jill McKenzie & Toma Clark Haines at DBC2014

Last but not least with respect to the Design Bloggers Conference, I want to thank Cromatti for not only including me as one of their 4 Inspirational Bloggers but also for sharing their $5000 1st dibs prize with me, giving me a $1000 Gift Certificate.  I met Alan Rauta, their Chief Operating Officer, at the conference on the first day and for the next several days we traded banter.  When Michael Bruno announced that the 1st dibs competition winner of the $5000 Gift Certificate was Alan Rauta of Cromatti I was smiling from ear to ear – it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!  But I had no idea how nice he was – imagine my surprise when I received an email from Alan saying “The thing I learned at the Design Bloggers Conference was that blogging is all about sharing and I want to share my prize with you.”  His generosity left me speechless.  This unexpected act perhaps sums up Cromatti as a brand – they offer the unexpected in their collection of ultramodern and colorful metal furniture.  Perhaps what intrigued me most after learning about their company is that they’ve found a new meaning in modern furniture that begs the question: Does minimal have to be understated?  If you’re a designer or collector add Cromatti to your “Brands To Watch” as they’re changing the future of design.

I was beyond honored my home state of Oklahoma included an interview with me in the design ezine Sooner Spaces.  Sooner Spaces is a new media site devoted to sharing compelling stories about Oklahoma spaces and the people behind them.

Antiques Diva 10

(Journalist Malena Lott and me in OKC last November)

Just south of my home state of Oklahoma you’ll find Texas – and honey, everything is big in Texas including the heart on Dallas blogger and top interior designer Denise McGaha.  I simply adore Denise and am delighted to have met her!  Denise McGaha delivers fashionable, diverse, and adventurous designs for clients who live on the fast track; specializing in turn-key, concierge-level service delivered in 90 days or less. With a roster of clients from professional sports figures to busy executives, Denise offers her discriminating clientele a true luxury experience with a timeline.  By offering Deadline Driven Design solutions, her clients receive exhilarating interior design coupled with prompt and nimble completion of their project.  It has been said that Denise McGaha Interiors, is consistently ahead of the curve not just influencing interior fashion, but often dictating it.  With a seamless blending of multiple interests Denise is able to offer her affluent clients access to Dallas’ best-kept secret: her black book of high-end concierge services.   And speaking of that little black book I’m delighted Denise counts The Antiques Diva & Co among those resources!  She’s written about her recent Italian antiques buying tour in a series on her blog.

Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

Denise is seen here on our Antiques Diva VIP TOUR with Mark Cutler (far left), Denise McGaha, Tobi Fairley, me, and Andrew Skipper

Fans of the popular company Girl’s Guide to Paris will be delighted to note the company has expanded and is now producing an online magazine – The Girls’ Guide To Europe.   The Antiques Diva Guide to Berlin is featured in their premier issue!

Antiques Diva, Berlin

All these press or blog mentions and I’ve forgotten to mention two exciting new developments at  The Antiques Diva & Co – one geared towards our tourist clients another specifically geared towards our trade clients.    We’re delighted American Express has chosen us yet again for their Personal Shopper program for Paris and London…. #WatchThisSpace for more details on this exciting new program.

Antiques Diva 13

Meanwhile…  a sexy new interior design site named PORTE-COCHÈRE has included The Antiques Diva & Co as one of their preferred business resources.

Antiques Diva 14

PORTE-COCHÈRE is a new sales channel and national membership network exclusively for full-service interior design firms and their suppliers in the high end residential market.  Their mission is to increase efficiency and profits for all members through direct designer-supplier relationships, and to promote the stature of professional full-service interior design.

Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®

The Canny Collector and a shaken Martini…life is good!

Dear Diva Readers,

Here lately my husband – aka The Wine Guy – has been on the quest for making the ideal martini (note:  he wanted to say “perfect” martini but feared the backlash from any ardent mixologists in the audience).  He’s spent long hours researching gin – Plymouth seems to be his favorite for martinis – and considering the attributes of vermouth.  While I like to merely wave my glass in the direction of Italy my mister is a sucker for Dolin.

Martini Antiques Diva

After the martini is made we turn on some Verdi (Rigoletto is my favorite) and curl up in the living room with a good book to sip our martinis.

My favorite book this fall is Mark Hill’s latest tomeThe Canny Collector.

It’s the perfect read for every collector, and covers a vast range of topics from what really drives the market today to how to spot the ‘next big thing’ to how to display your collection.  You’re sure to find plenty that’s fascinating and helpful, as well as learn something new, regardless of what you love to collect or whether you are, or someone you know is, a new or an experienced collector.  Crammed with practical and useful help and advice, it’s divided up into thoughtful yet easy to read chunks, a little like today’s social media. You’ll find plenty of opinions, hints and tricks of the trade drawn from Mark’s personal experience that can’t be found elsewhere.  Chapters including ‘Buying’, ‘Selling’ and ‘Fakes, Copies & Reproductions’ are joined by charming illustrations by artist Simon Watson, quotes about collecting from the rich and famous, and special features on key topics such as nostalgia, identification, specialist terms, and historic and celebrity collectors.    But act quickly – The Canny Collector is a special, individually numbered hardback limited edition of only 1,500 copies.  Price is  £18 + postage & packing. 

If antiques celeb Mark Hill isn’t yet on your radar you’re missing out. In addition to simply being an all around good guy and one of the nicest members of the trade, he is also positively brilliant.  Mark Hill was a specialist in the collectors departments at Bonhams and Sotheby’s in London before joining an internet company where he became a director, forming and running its ground-breaking alliance with eBay Live Auctions. He is now an author, publisher, TV presenter, and dealer in postwar Czech glass.  His publishing company, Mark Hill Publishing Ltd, specializes in producing ground-breaking and innovative books on new areas in 20thC design and decorative arts. He is the co-author of the bi-annual international Miller’s Collectables Price Guides, and also writes regular columns for The Daily Mail and BBC Homes & Antiques magazine.

Mark is an expert on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, and has appeared on the BBC 20th Century Roadshow and Priceless Antiques Roadshow. He was also co-presenter of BBC Two’s landmark primetime antiques and interior design shows Cracking Antiques and Antiques Uncovered.

He is also a member of the vetting committee for major international fairs including the Olympia Fine Art & Antiques Fair, the BADA Fair, and Antiques For Everyone.

Whether you take your martini with extra olives or prefer a classic twist of lemon after the shaking – or stirring – is done, do what we do Chez Diva and curl up this winter with The Canny Collector and Mark Hill’s riveting tales on collecting – diva style!

Happy Reading and Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Wrap Yourself in Velvet with Nella Vetrina

Dear Diva Readers,

As the leaves fall from the trees and autumn breezes whoosh in I’m in the mood to nest, nest, nest, diva style.  I want nothing more than to snuggle up inside with a roaring fire and a good book.    The perfect place to sit would be a chair from Nella Netrina’s newest collection – the Lusso CollectionIt’s got velvet, velvet and more velvet!




In case you’re not familiar with the brand, Nella Vetrina is an Italian powerhouse in the interior design world, showcasing products from the best of the best in classic and modern Italian furniture and Italian lighting.  Created by world-renowned Italian designers and local craftsmen their Lusso Collection is super chic line with a sexy, understated regal vibe!  Their new line ensconced in velvet has  just the perfect dash of over-the-topness for the diva (or George Costanza) in all of us!

So grab a book – I recommend Mark Hill’s newest, The Canny Collector – and curl up in diva style with Nella Vetrina and their Lusso Collection this fall!

The Antiques Diva®

National Antiques Week – The Awards

Dear Diva Readers,       

I was delighted that after this last month – which has literally found me on 3 continents in a months time (India, America & Europe) – that I was able to take time out of my busy travel schedule to attend the Awards for National Antiques Week at The Decorative Fair in London.   Gail Mcleod –  The Antiques Diva & Co’s English Agent who manages our antique buying tours for the UK and our buying services – just so happens to be founder of National Antiques Week and she finagled me an invite to this prestigious invite.  This meant I was able to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers of the England antiques trade such as Spencer Swaffer, Martin Johnson and the Fontaine boys and even shared a glass of bubbly with famous interior designer Nicky Haslam!!  My friend Ronda Carman of All the Best blog (and author of the fabulous new book Designers at Home) must have had burning ears for we chatted about her fabulousness over our coupe de champagne!

Judith Miller

 Publisher Homes & Antiques, Judith Miller and Winners Debbe Perry & Jim Broomfield of Brackley Antiques Cellar  

The awards being presented at the event were two fold – first there was the Homes & Antiques Magazine award for Best Shop of the Year.  Drum roll please… and the winner of  Antiques Centre of the Year for the UK is  Debbe Perry & Jim Broomfield of Brackley Antiques Cellar!

Brackley Antique Cellar is the largest purpose-built antiques centre in the Midlands of England with  over  160 independent dealers, 30,000 sq ft of antiques and collectables, under one roof and all on one level!  It has Diva-Divine written all over it.  The presenter for this competition was Judith Miller –  Miller is THE Goddess of Antiques. Moreover, she is a delight – she’s a fountain of information – and quite simply as friendly as she is informative.  NEWS FLASH for my American Readers – Judith will be in NYC and Houston this November and is making special bookings for talks, book signings, etc.  Stay tuned for more details.

Mark Hill

Nickey Haslam and Mark Hill

For the Young Guns competition the presenters were also equally high profile!   In order to be eligible for the Young Guns award you had to be an antiques vendor under the age of 39.  I was thrilled that by a hair I was still in the age bracket categorized as YOUNG!  The award presenters were Nicky HaslamMark Hill and George Johnson.

Timothy Medhurst

Photo:  George Johnson, Nickey Haslam, Timothy Medhurst of Reeman Dansie Auctioneers
and Mark Hill

The Winner of the 2013 Antiques Young Gun was the 21 year old Timothy Medhurst of Reeman Dansie Auctioneers whom the judges all agreed was an outstanding ambassador for the trade based on his enthusiasm and energetic support for the campaign, his willingness to promote his fellow dealers and his absolute commitment to his profession. Well done Tim!!

Joint runners up were:  Keeley Harris who owns Discover Vintage and runs multiple events across the UK including Festival of Vintage. The judges agreed that Keeley’s achievements and hard work together with her ability to include and work with her peers has really put her on the map and we felt that her success will be an encouragement for other young dealers in the vintage trade.

Chris Oxley of the family firm P A Oxley Antique Clocks has been a pivotal member of the Antiques Young Guns group on Twitter and has been a fantastic supporter of the campaign and his fellow Young Guns. Chris has displayed a heartfelt commitment to the family business since his teenage years and has taken the business – a traditional and highly respected business – into the 21st Century with gusto.

Special Award:  George Johnson, Alys Dobbie of Nana Dobbie, Nickey Haslam and Mark Hill

The judges were delighted to be able to award one extra prize on the night, having struggled to select just three winners from such a starry line-up! One of my favorite London hauntsAlfies Antique Market – generously offered a free stand at this famous and iconic London landmark antiques, vintage and Mid C Retro emporium for two months in the summer of 2013 and this award went to Alys Dobbie of Nana Dobbie who the judges agreed was the ideal person to make the very best of this opportunity. Alys has established a destination vintage and Mid C shop in Brighton and works with her father to manage another Nana Dobbie shop in Cornwall. She is perfectly poised to take London by storm and what better place than Alfies? Alys has a great sense of personal style and her shops reflect this and at Alfies she will have the chance to meet and interact with seasoned and experienced dealers – a true Young Gun experience.

Mark Hill

Goerge Johnson

All the Young Gun shortlist will benefit from a fantastic package of prizes from the generous sponsors including:  Hotel Una Brighton; Cooper Antiques Fairs; Penman Antique Fairs; On-Line Galleries and Antiques are Green.

Congrats to all who received the awards and a special shout out to our Antiques Diva English Agent Gail McLeod for her tremendous work she does promoting the antiques trade in the UK.  I’ve said it for years that Gail is the most connected woman in antiques in England…. And seeing her in action at the awards Thursday night had me brimming with pride that she was part of our team.  Gail is not only a member of the Diva Team, but she’s a dear friend and business mentor.  We love you Gail!!  Congrats on another successful National Antiques Week.

Antiques Diva

Gail McLeod – Founder of National Antiques Week and the English Agent for The Antiques Diva & Co

Warm Regards,
The Antiques Diva®

From Fat Tuesday to Fat Lava

Dear Diva Readers,

Fat Tuesday is SOOOO last week… this Tuesday, it’s ALL about Fat Lava!   Yep, it’s time to welcome you to a little obsession I’ve had since I moved to Berlin three years ago and discovered the hottest thing since Mark Hill.

Mark, for those of you who don’t know, is an antiques giant in the world of British Antiques & Décor, and he shares my intrigue with Fat Lava – West German ceramics from the 1960s & 70s.  In addition to hosting more TV shows that I can count, Mark also is on his 3rd edition of the gorgeously photographed book named – what else? – Fat Lava. 

These designs are THE antique of the future!

Not only does Mark’s book highlight leading Fat Lava makers such as Scheurich, Ruscha, Jasba, Dümler & Breiden and Bay but it also illustrates how they push the boundaries of form, glaze and color.  And, my goodness, the colors are amazing!!  Picture pock-marked nuns on acid in a wonderfully psychedelic trance on parade in East Berlin and you’ve got the gist of it.  It’s fab… and fantastical and catches your eye faster than you can say “Gesundheit” when a passerby sneezes at the trodelmarkt.

These Fat Lava pieces are punctuation pieces that accent any home décor.  Take my personal paradise… my abode tends towards the traditional and neutral with punches of black, brown and red (save for my office with turquoise bursts and fuchsia in my office), but fat lava looks gorgeous with my red velvet curtains and cream upholstery in my living room!

Of course, Mark didn’t do this book alone… over 180 photographs were specially commissioned by my Twitter friend, Graham Rae.  In fact, the first edition of this book was produced to accompany the exhibition of the private collection of Dr Graham Cooley, held as part of the King’s Lynn Arts Festival 2006 from 14th July to the 12th August 2006.   

Instead of buying beads this Mardi Gras, my advice is go groovy with Fat Lava, Mark Hill Style!

The Antiques Diva®

Photo Credit: Angelica Arbulu


Britain’s Best Antique Shops Competition

Mark Your Calendars:  National Antiques Week 14th – 21st November 2011


Dear Diva Readers,

Could you be Britain’s best antique shop?  To celebrate this year’s National Antiques Week (14th-21st November), Homes & Antiques magazine and Antiques News & Fairs (the organizers of National Antiques Week) have joined together to find Britain’s best antiques shops and auction houses.

From early October until the end of November, the public will be invited to nominate their favourite antiques destinations in five categories:

  • best antiques shop
  • best antiques centre
  • best specialist shop
  • best mid-century/vintage shop
  • best auction house

Nominators can win one of ten great prizes, each with a value of at least £200, but the prizes for the winning venues are far greater. Not only will they be able to claim to be ‘Britain’s best’ (with all the media opportunities that presents); they will also receive a feature in the May issue of Homes & Antiques!

Kirstie Allsopp

The winning businesses will be announced by TV celebrity Kirstie Allsopp at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair on 8th March 2012.

‘Too many people are afraid of buying antiques or think they’re expensive,’ says TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp. ‘The message that needs to be sung from the rooftops is this: this is the right way to buy – antiques hold their value in a way that modern furniture simply does not. This initiative is the perfect opportunity for the trade to reach out to new customers.’

Mark Hill

The antiques and vintage industry is unique in its ability to adapt and provide true quality, value for money, and quirky individuality,’ says author and Antiques Roadshow expert Mark Hill.We hope that this campaign and competition will raise the profile of the entire industry at a time when buying vintage or antique is both desirable and fashionable. We have so much to offer, so let’s shout about it.’

If you are an Antiques Shop in the UK – and you want to get involved – take notice!!!

Simply display one of the postcards (distributed in ATG in late September and available to download from the websites below) and encourage your customers to nominate you!

Nominations take place on and

For more details visit or


Late Sept/Early Oct – Campaign announced in the national press – voting starts on and

14th – 21st November – National Antiques Week – to be launched by Kirstie Allsopp at the Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia. We’re hoping for lots of coverage in daily/weekly national/regional press and radio

30th November – voting ends

1st March – shortlisted winners announced in Homes & Antiques

8th March – winners announced by Kirstie Allsopp at Bath Decorative Antiques Fair and opportunities for more national/regional/local coverage

Early April – feature on winners in Homes & Antiques

Now – even if you’re NOT an antiques dealer in the UK this blog post relates to you! You simply MUST follow National Antiques Week on Twitter and Facebook so you can GAIN ACCESS to all sorts of insider knowledge, letting you in on the best of the best dealers in Britain!

Facebook –

Good Luck to all the Fabulous British Competitors in this year’s Britain’s Best Antique Shops Competition!

The Antiques Diva®

P.S.  Special thanks to my Diva Colleague Gail McLeod of Antiques News & Fairs for turning me onto this fabulous competition which is co-coordinating with BBC Home & Antiques!!

Book a Tour

1:1 custom antique buying tours in 8 European, 6 Asian countries and America, 7 days a week, 365 days a year

The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

Back to top
Open modal

Join Our 2-Day Antique Dealer Training in NYC | Toma Clark Haines The Antiques Diva