At The Antiques Diva & Co our goal is to provide a turnkey solution and help our clients with the entire process of buying antiques overseas. From planning customized one-on-one antique buying tours to taking clients shopping by the hand whilst doing the translating and negotiating – our goal is for our clients to have “smooth sailing” antiquing abroad. We want our clients to have a seamless experience in their process of buying antiques overseas. For years we’ve worked with 3rd party shippers – but the fact is that when there were problems – and with shipping there are always problems – we didn’t have control over helping our clients SOLVE their problems.
The Process of Buying Antiques Abroad Just Got Simpler
By starting an in-house Art and Antiques Shipping Services called AD&CO LOGISTICS we are now able to offer our clients more solutions to their global sourcing needs. While we’re still happy to work with our preferred list of 3rd party international shipping companies who we trust and have worked with for years— we’re also giving clients a turnkey solution so that within one company they can shop in multiple countries and ship their purchases worldwide within the safe confines of The Antiques Diva & Co! For you, that means the process of buying antiques abroad just got simpler! And while this service is new at AD&CO, it’s old-hat for our shipping team. We’ve partnered with a premier international shipping company with 50 years expertise in international shipping as our in-house shipper.
“It’s not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage… “
George William Curtis
At The Antiques Diva & Co we’re all about customer service. Your AD&CO LOGISTICS shipping concierge will personally manage all facets of your shipment, including:
- collecting your goods from the dealers
- tracking your inventory and payments
- cross-referencing your tags
- complete all export/import paperwork
- monitor your shipment’s progress from the time we receive your goods until they are delivered to you
- keep you advised of the status of your shipment
Our containers leave from the shipping port in Antwerp, Belgium.
Antiques Diva Art and Antiques Shipping Services Options:
∗ full 20 or 40ft containers or partial containers (LCL: Less Container Loads)
∗ door-to-door shipping
∗ port-only shipping
∗ independent or shared location shipping
We provide white glove art and antiques transport and shipping services to customers across Europe and around the globe, including antiques dealers, interior designers, builders and private clients. And while we love it when you book our Antiques Diva Tours – we’re even willing to offer our shipping service for those times when you’re shopping on your own independent of AD&CO!
Our bespoke shipping services will provide you with tags, labels and instructions to identify and inventory your purchases at the dealer or on your buying tour, and our shipping concierge is always available to respond to our customers before, during and after your shipment. In fact – if you’re just needing to get information – wondering if buying antiques overseas is feasible – why don’t you email me email@example.com to set up a phone call to talk about your options!
Our Art and Antiques Shipping Services Include:
√ Organising the invoicing and payments of the goods purchased on an AD&CO Tour for our tour clients; or collecting the goods if you are not part of an Antiques Diva Buying Tour
√ Collecting all the goods from the different vendors and transporting to our warehouse in Antwerp
√ Our packing service including wrapping your goods in protective materials, crating, loading on pallets for transport, and using the most advanced art and antiques packaging and crating industry practices
√ Prior to shipping we store your goods in our secure cold storage warehouse in Antwerp
√ Shipments are organized in 20ft, 40ft or LCL (Less Container Loads)
√ We manage the loading of your container in our warehouse
√ We organise all customs and VAT paperwork concerning the export and import documentation necessary for your goods
√ If required, we provide fumigation of your container
√ We provide insurance for the shipped goods
And we’re doing it all at a bargain…
Our Goal at AD&CO is to save you time and money, whether that means by getting you better prices when we take you with us to source antiques overseas or in offering competitive rates on our art and antiques shipping services.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
At The Antiques Diva & Co we offer more than just one on one customized European Antiques Buying Tours. When you don’t have time to come to Europe we also offer Antique Buying Services. Just as our Antiques Buying Tours are custom planned for each client, our antique sourcing services are catered to meet our clients’ individual needs. I recently received an email from a client who took a fantastic tour with Diva Guide Katie of the Paris Flea Market. She writes:
“Hi Toma, I took a fantastic tour last fall with Katie in Paris. Now we are trying to purchase a vintage chandelier for a spectacular bar, but unfortunately the one we wanted was already sold. Have you seen anything like it or do you have a source for chandeliers like this? The measurements are 47.5”Dia (Top) x 32.25”Dia (Bottom) x 18”H Thanks!”
Do I have sources for chandeliers like this? Of course! As Europe’s largest Antiques Touring Company, our sources are extensive across the 8 countries we operate in. I immediately emailed all of my Diva Guides, asking them to send me any similar chandeliers on the market. Within just a short time, I had several responses with photos, measurements, and prices. Below, you can see what I was able to send the client:
Shopping for chandleries, however, can sometimes be like shopping for the perfect little black dress—it has to have the look AND fit just right! And for those times… only haute couture will do. After corresponding with the client, she found that she was really still enamored with the “chandelier that got away.” I could certainly relate, as I’ve had that feeling before too! Not wanting that item to haunt her for the rest of her life, I got my creative juices flowing.
I remembered a beautiful glass factory in Murano that we’d toured with clients. Perhaps they would know of something—OR perhaps they could even recreate the vintage chandelier she wanted in the first place?! Wasting no time, my girls on the ground in Venice Orseola and Chiara contacted them and explained the situation. They were more than happy to oblige, and the client now has a custom-designed replica of her coveted chandelier being produced in Murano as I write this. The value of our little black book couldn’t be more evident than in this situation! Sometimes the solution to a problem isn’t the most obvious… and sometimes our solution means we need to provide more than just antiques.
If you have a need to source a specific piece or an entire container of antiques, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plus, if one of those chandeliers she didn’t buy catches your fancy – let us know– some of them are still for sale. We’d love to help you find exactly what you’re looking for—or have it recreated for you! And stay tuned to this blog, as I’ll be sharing the final product once the chandelier is finished!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Malmo Decorative Antiques Fair 2016
Our Swedish Divo Guide recently enjoyed the Helsingborg Antiques Fair in July and is already looking forward to the next big antiques fair in Sweden!
The Malmo Decorative Antiques Fair in Sweden is a highlight of the year for many international antiques buyers. It’s coming up on the 26-28 of August with special trade-only preview days on 24-26 of August. One of our most important countries for Antiques Buying Tours is Sweden. We often encourage clients– trade clients especially— to attend this fair and add on a few days to source a variety of pieces from the Swedish countryside as well. It’s a great way to see what’s hot at the fairs and then go to our secret sources on the arm of our Antiques Divo Guide, Daniel Larsson to hunt for everything from Scandinavian antique furniture, to folk art, to lighting and beyond!
Our Swedish Guide Daniel happens to be on the advisory board for the Malmo Decorative Antiques Fair, which means he is in-the-know when it comes to sourcing Swedish antiques there. While Daniel’s store, D.Larsson Interiör & Antikhandel, is based in Helsingborg, he and many international dealers make their way to the Malmo Decorative Antiques Fair to score exceptional purchases and connect with industry friends. Malmo is conveniently located in southern Sweden near Copenhagen, Denmark. As the third largest antiques fair in Sweden, the Malmo Decorative Antiques Fair hosts more than 80 vendors from all over Sweden and the Copenhagen area.
Why attend the Malmo Decorative Antiques Fair?
There are several advantages of attending the Trade-only preview day. One is that you get first dibs on merchandise, as vendors are just beginning to unpack their inventory and set up their stands. Another advantage of going with our Guide Daniel is that he knows many of the vendors at the fair. Before taking clients on any tour, we always ask what type of pieces they are wanting to source. What style are they looking for? What price-points are they looking for? With this information in hand, Daniel can take you directly to the right vendors and even help you translate and negotiate.
Malmo Decorative Antiques Fair is definitely a must-visit destination for international trade buyers. With a reputation of quality pieces and knowledgeable vendors, this fair won’t disappoint! If you would like more information on booking an Antiques Diva Tour in conjunction with the Malmo Decorative Antiques Fair, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to introduce you to this world renowned fair and also plan a day or two to source antiques in the Swedish countryside!
Dates and Times:
24th of August 2 pm-8 pm – 25th 8 am-8 pm – 26th 8 am-noon
26th of August 3-8 pm – 27th 11 am-5 pm – 28th 11 am-5 pm
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
The Antiques Diva’s Shopping Tips for the Paris Flea Market
For first-time visitors to The Paris Flea Market, there are several things you should know before heading out for a shopping day. While many antique lovers build up an image in their mind of an easy-breezy day of strolling through a flea market set in a romantic neighborhood, the reality is that there are some tips that can help you find the market and navigate your way through it. As the only official approved Exclusive Tour Guide of the Paris Flea Markets Paul Bert Serpette, The Antiques Diva & Co is here to help with shopping tips for the Paris Flea Market! Here’s our advice when it comes to shopping the famous Puces de Paris!
The first problem many people have in getting to the market is actually finding the Paris Flea Market. I can’t tell you how many people have emailed me saying, “I went to the Paris Flea Market, but all I saw was a shabby little market outside the metro station selling t-shirts, suitcases, stolen watches, and designer fakes! What did I do wrong? Where is the Paris flea market of my dreams?” Check out a blog I did here for directions on finding the ACTUAL Paris Flea Market.
St-Ouen is much larger than many people suspect. With 15 markets and nearly 2000 vendors in more than 7 miles of antique-filled alleyways, the only way to navigate is with a map or an Antiques Diva Tour Guide. Fortunately we know the market like the back of our hand, and so when you shop with us we’ll take you straight to the vendors you want to see, cutting out the areas that aren’t on target for you, navigating the flea market based upon the types of pieces you’re looking for. Many new art shops and vintage fashion boutiques as well as new antique dealers have opened in the last two years, making St-Ouen a cool weekend destination for Parisians as well as foreign tourists. Watch this space… a new hotel is opening up actually at the market! Now that’s what I call convenience.
This is an issue many people struggle with – how to bargain, what’s appropriate, and is it expected? There was a time, many years ago, when tourists were optimistic about finding a bargain at le Puces. One of the biggest questions I am asked is “Can you still find a bargain at the Paris Flea Market?” Back in the good ole days, it was a hodgepodge of vendors with a melange of inventory. This meant that a shopper may have been able to unearth a valuable treasure in a stand otherwise filled with junk. Let’s just put it this way… there are no long any fleas at the flea market. It’s gorgeous quality inventory… in fact, so gorgeous its almost ALL the stuff that you want to bring home with you. The market is now set up in permanent stalls – which means it can feel more like a retail experience than some Paris Flea Market virgins expect. So the question is – can you get a bargain at the Paris Flea Market? Absolutely!!! And want to know the best way to get bargain? Use our guides. We do volume business. The vendors know us and know our guides. They know we are coming back week after week and that our clients are pre-qualified shopper. You’re not given the tourist price on an Antiques Diva Paris Tour – you’re given the local price – because the vendors have relationships with us and know that our clients MEAN BUSINESS!!
Part of our service as the only official tour guide of Paul Bert Serpette at The Paris Flea Market is to translate & negotiate on our client’s behalf. But if you’re not with a guide (silly you!) what should you do? You need to ask. The easiest most polite way to ask is simply say, “Is that your best price?” It allows the vendor room to negotiate and sometimes they will surprise you by offering more of a discount than you expected. If you’re shipping with a reputed shipper who will give export papers you can tell the vendor it’s for export and automatically you can get a discount! For more tips on bargaining, check out this blog I recently wrote about What to Buy & How at the Paris Flea Market.
Whether you’re the type of person who prefers to stroll through the market, taking in every stand, or a power shopper who treats shopping like a sport, chances are you’re going to need to refuel at some point. When hunger strikes, there are a few options for food at The Paris Flea Market.
For traditionalists, there is the Bistrot Paul Bert where one can enjoy a classic steak frites on Rue Paul Bert. My god, their French onion soup is so good that they don’t allow you to order only it. There’s also Le P’tit Landais on Rue des Rosiers where indulging in foie gras and a salad is the perfect lunch. For something new and hip, Philippe Starck’s Ma Cocotte has been serving a wide variety of foods since 2012. And believe it or not le cheeseburger has become impossibly hip in Paris… and its on le menu at the Ma Cocotte.
However you envision your day at the Paris Flea Market, we’re always here to make it easy and enjoyable so you’ll not only come away with some treasures, but also with a lasting memory. In French souvenir means memories… and when you shop with The Antiques Diva & Co you’re buying memories of your trip to France.
For more information on our Paris Flea Market Tours, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to custom plan a tour for you!
Toma, 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,
Buying Services for clients that can’t come abroad or simply want us to source specific pieces for them. We recently had a client email us asking for us to source an antique daybed. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we were so happy they sent along a photo of what they were looking for. In no time, I had my Diva Guides scouting all over Europe and was able to come back to the client with several options. The client can then make an informed decision after seeing the various styles available at different price points. But all of this hunting for daybeds got me thinking, “Isn’t the idea of a daybed wonderful?” After all, can’t you picture yourself luxuriously lounging on one in the middle of the day, reading your favorite book, with a glass of bubbly only an arm’s reach away? Ok, ok, I digress. Let’s delve a little into the history of daybeds. Were they just made for daytime naps?hile we love taking clients on Antique Buying Tours in any of our 8 tour countries, we also offer
First things first, let’s define what constitutes an actual daybed. I like to put it this way: The daybed is the predecessor to the sofa. It is sturdy and long enough to lie down on—much different from a love seat or a settee which are smaller in frame and meant for sitting. Of course, one can sit on a daybed, but the option of lying down—outside of the bedroom even—is what differentiates the daybed from other seating. The very first daybeds we know of were in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome, where in both societies it was fashionable to lounge while eating and socializing. Perhaps it was the hot climates that encouraged rest and relaxation rather than perfect posture at all times, but either way, daybeds were a popular fixture of these sophisticated ancient societies. In Roman culture, daybeds were often piled with pillows and used for many daily activities such as reading, writing, eating, and entertaining guests—much as we use sofas today.
Fast forward to the 15th century Europe, and we see that French furniture makers began responding to more relaxed manners of the upper class who valued rest and relaxation. After all, if one was forbidden doing certain things out side the house (which would have been seen as beneath them), then one must make the inside of the house as comfortable as possible! The demand for elongated chairs, comfortable sofas, and—you guessed it— daybeds were a result of the desire to lounge, recline, and rest.
As the centuries progressed, one could see the styles reflected in daybed construction and decoration. From the William & Mary period in England to the popular Rococo style in France, daybeds were adapted to suit the style of each locale and time period. They continued to play an important role in well-outfitted homes and even palaces throughout Europe. Who couldn’t imagine Marie Antoinette sipping champagne while lounging on a heavily carved and gilded daybed at Versailles?
As the Regency and Empire periods were ushered in, they brought with them a new interest in all things ancient, thus shining the spotlight back on daybed styles from ancient Greece and Rome. Of course these “revival” daybeds were sometimes reinterpreted, thus adding another style to the long line of daybeds in history. Versions of the daybed such as chaise longues and recamiers became fashionable at this time as well.
By the 19th century, women were beginning to grow more liberated, and were viewed as heads of all things domestic. Great ladies throughout Europe and America often hosted important gatherings, both social and political, at their homes. The daybed, then, played an important roll, as it acted as a place to host formal guests, while inviting them to lounge and feel “at home” in one’s own house.
Today, we still view daybeds as luxurious and stylish. Placed in the center of a large room, they act as functional seating, often uniting two distinct furniture groupings. Place a backless one in front of a fireplace for the ideal spot to perch, without obstructing the view of the hearth. In a bedroom, a daybed is beautiful as the foot of the bed. No matter how they are used, daybeds can remind us of the importance of relaxations, inviting us to pause, lounge, catch our breath, and carry on with style and panache. Very Diva-worthy, if you ask me!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
hen clients come on tour to source antiques, it’s important that they do a little homework before crossing the pond. While we’re always happy to share our knowledge knowing for yourself what you’re looking for and what you’re looking at are important as you embark on the hunt – this knowledge will give you confidence in buying overseas whether our Diva Guide is taking you to the countryside to visit antique warehouses, city flea markets, or both. In Italy, Diva Guide Susan often takes clients all over Tuscany, scouring shops, markets, warehouses, and private residences for everything from ancient pieces to Mid-century modern. When looking at typical Tuscan antiques from the 18th and 19th century however, there are really three main styles to recognize. I asked Susan to explain a bit about those styles here on the blog.
Italy, as a peninsula, is an ancient country but in fact it was only united as one country in 1861. Up until that time is was ruled by various dominions, including those of neighbouring countries; France, Austria, Spain and naturally the customs and styles of these dominions were influenced by their rulers.
Even though Tuscany is a central region of Italy, Lucca, Florence and Siena each have distinct regional styles of furniture, in particular those of the 18th and 19th century. Nobel families dating back many generations were prominent in each province but there was also a burgeoning wealth from the textile industry in Lucca, banking in Siena and foreigners in Florence which further influenced the demand for important pieces.
The Lucchese Style
With the growth of the affluent middle classes large villas were built during the 18th and 19th century around the Lucca area, and many of these were silk and textile merchants. With new grand homes being built, the demand of larger proportioned and more elaborate furniture grew. More exotic woods were also available such as mahogany and fruit woods. Much of the 19th century Lucchese style was influenced by Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister and Princess of Lucca crowned in 1805. At the time, in fact, to adapt their homes to the evolution of the Empire style, the family commissioned local artisans to create furnishings in the main inspired by the French style, though suitable to the local taste. These “corrections ” in effect created a new style, best in features and lighter in the forms. While making clear reference to the Empire, still the variation is recognized as Lucchese style.
The Siena Style
Siena did not fall under the same influences or dominations that Lucca or Florence did, being that it is a little further south. From ancient Roman times as a city, it has always enjoyed wealth, with large agricultural estates and summer houses for the wealthy city dwellers. Much of Siena was built on banking; in fact the first banks were introduced in the medieval period, as lending institutions along the old pilgrim’s path. Little has changed in Siena since that period, which is still strongly felt. The Palio horse race which takes place twice a year has changed little since its introduction. It was then that the city was divided into what are known as contradas, and it remains so to this day which has kept it a closed society. More local woods were used for furniture, such as cherry, chestnut and oak. The pieces, although large in proportion to the house or room were more functional than decorative. Furniture from Siena was a little heavier in style to that of Lucca.
The Florentine Style
Florence too has been influenced by many rulers and styles. Although there is much wooden furniture, perhaps one thing to look out for is its beautiful decoration. These Florentine artisans are still appreciated today for their delicate handwork, finely painted pieces and gilding. The latter a much softer colour with the gesso beneath than its southern counterparts. Decoration and colours tend to be more neutral and softer than those in Venice, but no less lovely and are most sought after.
As you make your way through Tuscany, you will be able to pick up on the different styles of furniture and decoration. With a keen eye, you will know exactly what you are looking at and be able to speak intelligently to dealers about their inventory. As anyone in the antiques industry knows, part of the joy of antiquing is knowing the story and history behind each piece. Hopefully this blog helps you distinguish between Italian styles!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
erious shoppers in-the-know go to Belgium to buy antiques, vintage and decorator pieces at the positively brilliant prices. While it may be our smallest tour country geographically, Belgium makes up for its modest size with amazing finds at great prices! While you can certainly find fantastic antiques of several different styles including Flemish, French, English, and Swedish, Belgium is also home to some of the best Mid-century modern dealers in Europe.
Pick up any international shelter magazine and you will find Mid-century pieces being incorporated in every type of interior imaginable. In Belgium you can find an entire range of Mid-century pieces. From larger furniture pieces like seating, desks, dining room tables, and commodes to smaller furniture like side tables, livingroom tables, and side chairs, Belgian dealers are scouring Europe for the sleek silhouettes and sexy lines of Mid-century style. But they’re not stopping with furniture. Several of our sources offer gorgeous mirrors, decorative objects, and lighting as well. In fact, a lighting is one of the most popular categories clients are looking for right now. Belgian dealers stock a range of lighting options from huge mid-century glass chandeliers, to smaller chandeliers, standing lamps, desk lamps, and wall-fixtures. While it can be more difficult to find Mid-century artwork, we do have sources that deal in unique, qualitative and quantitative are from paintings to objects.
Some clients are looking for specific designer pieces that command a higher price due to their provenance. This is where our Buying Services can come in handy. We have very good sources for top-of-the-range exclusive and rare pieces of Mid-century furniture. We put the word out to our vast list of secret sources in our little black book, and when a particular piece becomes available, they let us know before putting it on the market. It’s a great way to add to a collection or source highly specific pieces.
For those who want the Mid-century look without the costly price tags, we certainly have seen a vast amount of pieces which are “in the style of” famous designers, but are offered at much lower prices. This is the perfect way to get the look you’re after without paying for the designer name. Regardless of whether you want to source designer furniture or simply get the look for less, you can find very reasonable prices in Belgium compared to what is for sale in larger American cities, or international websites which sell antiques.
As far as trends go, we’ve seen clients buy a lot of Mid-century credenza’s, desks, seating, and lighting as of late. That means these items are popular and will be showing up in America stores, homes, and on magazine covers in the near future.
If you’re interested in booking an Antiques Diva Mid-century Buying Tour in Belgium, I’d recommend a 2 to 3 day tour depending on the scope of your interest. Send me an email at email@example.com and we can talk about your wants & needs to determine the perfect custom tour for you! if you can’t make it over to Europe but still want to source Mid-century pieces, email me about our Buying Services. You may just find it’s easier to source antiques in Europe than you thought!
Until next time,
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,
hile we are Europe’s largest antiques touring company, The Antiques Diva & Co also offers Buying Services for clients who can’t come abroad but still want to source antiques in Europe. With locally based guides in eight different countries, we have access to thousands of pieces and hundreds of sources throughout Europe. My email inbox is constantly filled with updates from my guides as they share fresh inventory they’ve found.
I recently received an email from our guide in Sweden, Daniel Larsson and had to share some of the fabulous pieces that are available through our Buying Services here on the blog! The fact that Daniel lives and works in Sweden means that he has the ability to source the best items Sweden has to offer. His experience in the antiques industry has given him the eye to discern whether pieces are period or reproduction and whether they are in original condition or if they have been restored. That means that if clients are looking for period pieces with original paint, Daniel can find them. Conversely, if clients want to spend less and are merely interested in the Swedish look, he can find 19th and 20th century pieces “in the style of” 18th century. The reason it’s so important to have an expert like Daniel with a keen eye is that the earlier period pieces cost quite a bit more than the later ones. If you’re not aware of the subtle differences, you may end up purchasing something at a high price, but with a lower value.
For those looking to source pieces that have all the style that is quintessentially Swedish, but at a much lower cost, here are some examples of pieces that are not period originals, but offer that Swedish look. Prices are listed in Swedish Kronor with estimated conversions to USD.
1. Gustavian style buffet / sideboard, ca 1890, H 101 W 150 D 50 cm, 18000:- Sek ($2209)
2. Pair of Gustavian style demi lunes, ca 1850, 8000:- Sek ($982)
3. Large Gustavian style cabinet, ca 1850, H 224 W 202 D 41 cm, 28000:- Sek ($3436)
4. Pair of pedestals, ca 1860, H 90 W 37 cm, 7000:- Sek ($859)
5. Empire style sofa, Ca 1890, H 100 W 180 D 66 cm, 18000:- Sek ($2209)
6. Gustavian style dinning table, H 76 W 260 D 91 cm, 15000:- Sek ($1840)
If you are interested in our Antiques Diva Buying Services for any of our eight tour countries— France, Belgium, England, Italy, Germany, Holland, Denmark, and Sweden— email us at email@example.com. We’d love to help you source antiques abroad!
The Antiques Diva®