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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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!
If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
hile we offer antiques buying tours in eight European countries, we seem to consistently get inquiries about a few specific locations. With a rich history in furniture design, it’s no wonder the UK is one of our top tour countries when it comes to client requests. There are certain pieces that instantly make one think of England, and the Windsor chair is one of those.
Recognized for its spoke-like spindles on the chair back, Windsor chairs also feature solid wooden seats which were often carved into a saddle shape to make them more comfortable. The seat is typically made from a thick timber which is strong and durable that provides strength and stability but also is able to be shaped to the desired look of a Windsor chair. That’s why elm is often used for the seat of an English Windsor chair, because it has interlocking grains which give good cross-grain strength that resists splitting once the holes are drilled for the chair back near the edge of the seat.
While it is not known when the first Windsor chairs were made, it is speculated that chair spindles were crafted by the same men who created wheel spokes as early as the 16th century. As all design seems to adapt from earlier models, the Windsor chair may be derived from the stick-back chairs of Wales and Ireland. By the 18th century steam-bending was being used to form the bow of the Windsor chair and they were being shipped from High Wycombe where they were made to the town of Windsor, Berkshire where they would be sold, often to London dealers.
Regardless of where the idea originated, the name for the Windsor chair probably comes from its use at Windsor Castle in England. In the 18th century the Windsor chair was used in the gardens of Windsor Castle, and they soon became popular garden seats throughout the country. In those early years they were often painted green or simply left to weather, but by the late part the the 18th century they could be found indoors in darker tones being used everywhere from taverns to meeting houses to libraries.
The English settlers brought Windsor chairs with them to America in the 18th century and they began to manufacture them in Philadelphia soon after. By the 19th century Windsor chairs were being produced in factories and shipped all over the United States. The chairs were usually painted and sometimes had stenciling on them as decoration. If you find an antique Windsor chair today, check to see if it has its original finish, as this will affect its value. As with many antiques, the finish will have worn with use, usually around the edges, so check the unworn areas such as the bottom of the seat to see if the piece retains its original finish or paint color.
If you would like information on an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, please email us at email@example.com. We’d love to take you to our sources to help you find exactly what you’re looking for!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Megan’s Cafe. It’s an institution in Fulham (their other cafe is in St. John’s Wood High Street in Chelsea). Coming here guarantees I get a healthy incredibly delicious lunch while out antiquing – and better yet – almost guarantees I’ll run into some of my antiques industry friends! Given it’s location opposite Guinevere’s this cafe frequented by some of the antiques industry’s most well known dealers and shoppers alike. Whether you’re there for brunch—try their freshly squeezed juices paired with a free-range eggs Benedict— lunch, afternoon tea— the fresh baked cakes are to die for— , or dinner, you’re sure to enjoy a gorgeous meal prepared with fresh and often organic ingredients.hen it comes to antiquing in London Kings Road is a guaranteed to result in a successful afternoon shopping. Whenever I ‘m in the area I have one place I have to go – and that’s
I’ve spent many afternoons at Megan’s with clients and colleagues, discussing our recent finds and upcoming projects over a bottle— or two— of champagne. A favorite place to sit is the beautiful courtyard, with quaint tables pulled together – you’re in the heart of London, but somehow the ambiance feels quintessentially French country to me. There’s nothing like savoring excellent food while being surrounded by flowers. I often wish I could take a piece of Megan’s home with me!
That’s why I’m so excited that the cafe has come out with a book called, “Friends Around the Table,” chock full of mouth watering recipes.
Whether you’re entertaining a group of friends or simply cooking for two, this cook book has something for everyone. Eating should be a communal activity, and as someone who loves to cook and entertain, I can’t wait to try some of these recipes, such as the grilled squid, chorizo and asparagus salad! Doesn’t that sound like the perfect lunch for me to make friends for lunching on terrace? (winters only just beginning but I’m already fantasizing about summer again). And as I have to accept that the weather is going to get cold… perhaps I should look for a heartier winter dish to fix friends and family? What about the pot-cooked beef fillet with pea puree and hasselback potatoes…yummy! Delicious. I”m an arm-chair recipe reader and Meghans cookbook has already transported me to a dozen tables in my mind!
I’d love to hear what some of your favorite restaurants are in London – or elsewhere – and if you have any preferred recipes from them! Head over to The Antiques Diva & Co Facebook page and share them with me on the wall.
Until next time, bon appetit!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
big part of my job is being “in the know” when it comes to the antique and design world. I constantly keep tabs on what’s happening in the interior design industry—specifically on what types of pieces designers are looking for and what styles are popular with the public. I also keep my finger on the pulse of the antiques trade, always looking out for new antiques sources to take our clients to. Having knowledgeable people on my team who are well-connected is one way I stay on top of what’s going on and one of those people is my Diva Agent in the UK, Gail McLeod. One of the many hats Gail wears is marketing manager of Lorfords Antiques in the UK. Lorfords, an institution in the antiques trade, has some exciting things happening, and I want to share a bit about them with you all!
Since Gail has her office for Antiques News & Fairs at the new Lorford’s location, that also means that The Antiques Diva & Co has an official office in the UK at Lorford’s! By the way be sure to check out the recently launched sleek new design for Antiques News & Fairs website! There is now an Events Calendar to join the top ranked Fairs Calendar and we love the crisp new look!
We recently visited the Hangars at Babdown where our offices are, and I have to tell you, it’s pretty fab! They’ve moved into an entire airport. That’s right—in addition to their main showroom at Tetbury, Lorfords now has a new location at Babdown Airfield, a former WWII RAF airfield, and makes its offices and showrooms in the hangars!
What I love about Lorfords is that they bring together a few components that to me, make up what customers are looking for in today’s market. They offer fabulous antiques, which are available through 30 dealers and are thoughtfully displayed throughout the hangars. From 18th century pieces to mid century modern, there really is a mix which offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a trade buyer or a private client, the prices are good, the quality is excellent, and the inventory is varied enough to engage people with many different tastes and styles.
Lorfords also offers independent interior design services, specializing in residential projects. Their knowledge of antiques and the history of interior decorating make them an authority when it comes to designing well-thought out spaces that are never short on atmosphere. Having access to the antiques in their showrooms while also being able to utilize their contemporary range of furniture and lighting called “Created,” allows the team to mix old and new, reflecting the way people actually live today. Many of the new products they offer are hand made by trusted local craftsmen in the Cotswolds or sourced from artisans they’ve met around the world, making Lorfords a destination for global design.
We’re so excited to have an “in” at Lorford’s with our very own Gail McLeod establishing her Antiques Diva office there! It’s just one more way we can stay in the know when it comes to the antiques scene in the UK. If you’d like information on taking an Antiques Diva UK Tour, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to take you to Lorfords and several other sources in England to help you find your ideal purchases.
The Antiques Diva®