Dealers are the heart of the antiques business, the cheerleaders, and the energy that keeps the whole system flowing. They cultivate collectors. They hunt at all hours of the day and night, in the four corners of the globe, at auctions, flea markets, antique shows, shops, and online for treasures at the right price.
Author Archives: Stuart Slavid
The violent end of Russia’s last royal family fascinates collectors, historians, and those who simply love a compelling story. The last Romanov Tsar, Nicholas II, was executed along with his family in the summer of 1918 after months of imprisonment. The tragedy and historic impact of these events makes antiques and artifacts relating to the Romanovs all the more sought-after by collectors.
Victorian majolica was produced in Britain by at least twenty-five to thirty manufacturers, including major potteries such as Wedgwood and George Jones, from the 1850s right through until the turn of the twentieth century. The French, Germans and Americans also manufactured their own majolica, with little similarities in style and enameling to their British counterparts.
Decorated Greek vases and Roman oil lamps bring us back in touch with the romance of ancient history and archaeology. Wedgwood, with its many classical Roman and Greek reliefs in black basalt and jasper ware as well as encaustic decorated wares, also portrays a certain romance with ancient times. Wedgwood collectors and antiquities collectors both love this material culture, and how it is represented in the form of pots, vases, and ornamental wares. It is intriguing to see how the world of antiquities informs and inspires Wedgwood.
Wedgwood jasperware has been in production for well over two hundred years. In the manufacturing of jasper there are two primary categories: solid jaspers were turned or molded from a solid piece of colored clay; and jasper dips were made by dipping the typically white solid jasper body in colored clay to give the surface an entirely different appearance. In both varieties, Wedgwood’s typical classical subjects and foliate designs were applied in relief, often in a complimenting color or colors. With two, three, four and five color examples, the possible combinations of colors are nearly endless.
It was once quite fashionable to display a silver tea and coffee service, a pair of candelabra, or a nice center bowl in your home. Just a few decades ago, fine dining was still a frequent occurrence and the appearance of a fine set of sterling flatware at the dinner table along with a set of Wedgwood china and some Baccarat stemware really set the tone of elegance, and added to the overall experience.
On today’s dinner table, more often than not we use silver plated or stainless steel flatware, and dishes and glasses compliments of Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Crate and Barrel, or Pottery Barn. Personally, I prefer stainless steel for everyday use and silver plate for more formal use. For some, dare I say, daily dinnerware consists of paper plates and plastic utensils.
The chairs pictured here sold for $118,500 in the December 2011 Asian Works of Art auction. Why such a high price? They’re made of one of the world’s rarest and most desirable woods: huanghuali.
A member of the rosewood family, huanghuali stands for rarity, beauty and in today’s Chinese furniture market, high prices. It is believed that there are less than 10,000 pieces of huanghuali furniture left in the world. Because the wood is nearing extinction, and is now a protected species, supply is very limited. Matched with the rapidly increasing demand for Chinese antiques, prices for huanghuali furniture have skyrocketed over the past five years.
On Friday, July 8th, 2011, Skinner will host a lecture by Frans Leidelmeijer, an internationally recognized expert in Dutch decorative arts from 1880 to the early 1900s. Titled “Gouda Pottery & Dutch Decorative Arts,” this lecture will cover a fascinating period in the history of Dutch Decorative Arts.
When I think of Minton, I think of quality. Many great examples of quality Minton wares come to mind: early porcelains, pate-sur-pate decorated by Marc Louis Solon, the wonderful majolica wares of Victorian England, along with other hand-painted earthenwares and tiles. Minton pottery rivals Wedgwood and surpasses numerous other manufacturers in workmanship, thanks to the fact that some of the most well-known artisans of the time were employed by Minton.
Have you ever stood next to a vase that’s taller than you are? Standing nearly six foot four inches in height, this Doulton faience baluster vase, with its painted dahlias among bamboo and exotic foliage, is certainly an eye stopper. The Royal Doulton Company is one of the most renowned manufacturers of table, ornamental and collectible wares dating back to 1815, and this antique vase was decorated by Florence Lewis, one of the Lambeth studio’s most highly acclaimed artists.