Archive for the 'Antiques' Category

A Trip To Fairyland

December 21st, 2013 | posted by Justine D'Ooge
Imps on a Bridge and Treehouse  pattern, Roc Centre variation

Imps on a Bridge and Treehouse pattern, Roc Centre variation

Wedgwood has a long legacy of creating delicate wares adorned with classical motifs and meticulously crafted replicas of artifacts from antiquity.  There were just certain things you could expect from Wedgwood. This was before Daisy Makeig-Jones broke the mold.

Candlemas design

Candlemas design

Born in 1881 in a small mining village in England, Susannah Margaretta ‘Daisy’ Makeig-Jones showed artistic talent from a young age.  Shortly after attending art school, as luck would have it, Ms. Makeig-Jones was introduced to Cecil Wedgwood.  This event would prove to be fortuitous not only for the young artist, but also for the entire Wedgwood firm.

At the time she was hired there was some concern over whether the daughter of a doctor could adapt to factory life.  Daisy did adapt, and thrived.  In 1909 Daisy was hired as a trainee designer, by 1914 she would be given her own studio.   It was around this point in time that the Wedgwood factory was facing possible bankruptcy.

Woodland Elves VIII - Boxing Match motif

Woodland Elves VIII – Boxing Match motif

 

WWI proved difficult for most luxury and handicraft industries, but Wedgwood’s saving grace from the looming tailspin would be Daisy Makeig-Jones’ fanciful Fairyland Lustre.  Dotted with mythical creatures, vibrant colors, and intricate gilding, this series continues to mesmerize all those who get a chance to admire it in person.  Lustrous and unique, these pieces are regular favorites in the gallery and never last long in our store.  We would love for you to stop by and see the curious little imps that march across Daisy Makeig-Jones’ various vases, plates, and bowls.

From Bolshaya Morskaya Street To The Palace

December 13th, 2013 | posted by Ludovic Rousset
Faberge Jeweled and Enamel Cufflinks

Faberge Jeweled and Enamel Cufflinks

In just looking around the gallery, I realize we have many reasons to be thankful for Tsar Alexander III.  It was under his Royal patronage that the already considerable talents of Carl Faberge flourished.  A legendary name in luxury goods, Faberge’s company is responsible for some of the most refined pieces in the gallery.

In 1870, at the age of 24, Carl Faberge took the helm of his father’s shop in St. Petersburg.  At this point, the elder Faberge had already built a thriving silver and jewelry business at the Bolshaya Morskaya Street location.  Growing up in his father’s store undoubtedly forged Carl’s path as craftsman but, more importantly, it afforded him opportunities that were not available to those without a similar support network.

Fabergé Silver Flatware Service

Fabergé Silver Flatware Service

In his youth Carl Faberge attended St. Petersburg’s German-language grammar school, but his studies later took the budding craftsman abroad.  This education included the practical aspects that came with an apprenticeship at the Frankfurt am Main jeweler Friedmann, and also a solid framework for his future as a businessman furnished by studies in economics.

A testament to Faberge’s vision, the man is quoted as having said: “expensive things interest me little if the value is merely in so many diamonds and pearls.”   Carl Faberge truly believed in bringing out the intrinsic beauty of natural materials through his work; he would pioneer a shift towards the use of materials native to Russia, and not just rely on the stones and materials more commonly associated with luxury goods.

Faberge Jeweled and Enameled Cane

Faberge Jeweled and Enameled Cane

The freedom to pursue his artistic whims came with the Easter egg.  This, of course, was the Imperial Easter egg.  His first endeavor at crafting this item was so admired that he would win Alexander III’s Royal patronage, giving him access to almost unlimited resources and a security of creativity that was not available to him previously.

Carl Faberge was now responsible for crafting gifts not only for the Royal family, but also for statesmen, visiting dignitaries, and tokens to be awarded at important ceremonies.  The foreign recipients of his creations brought these goods back to their home countries, spreading Faberge’s popularity across the world; a popularity still enjoyed to this day, and one that we are happy to be able to share with you.

Serpents & the Sea

November 15th, 2013 | posted by Deborah Choate

Bursting with the boundless power of Mother Nature, the ocean has been the subject of some of the most evocative pieces in art history.  In considering that economies and lives have been made and ended on the ocean it is easy to understand the fascination it holds, besides its purely aesthetic value.  This role of the ocean in our collective psyche has given birth to countless myths and legends.  Of course some of the most lasting and beloved myths in Western culture have been handed down to us from the Greeks and the Romans.  Poseidon to the Greeks and Neptune to the Romans, this God of the seas plays muse to several dynamic pieces here in the gallery.Sacred to Neptune Ewers

These amazing vessels are crafted in the famed “Sacred to Neptune” design created by renowned artist John Flaxman in 1775. Featuring finely modeled figures of tritons serving as the handles, as well as dolphin masks and swags of cattail plants, the treasures are laden with aquatic symbolism.  The acclaim of this design exemplifying the love of ancient Greco-Roman styles shared between England and France.   This exceptional design is most often found in pottery form, as the renowned maker Wedgwood produced it in both black basalt and jasperware. It was also beautifully realized in silver by the Royal goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell. However, bronze versions of this neoclassical masterpiece are exceptionally rare, with French examples being even rarer.

30-0977_1Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t share this fantastic work of art we recently acquired when discussing Neptune.  While the dark waters represented here are those off the shore of Hendaye Beach in France, this piece is a phenomenal reminder of the awe-inspiring powers of the sea.  Painted by Hippolyte Pradelles, tumultuous waves and a steel grey sky painted with bravura brushstrokes combine here to create a work with an incredible presence.

This sculpture is a replica of arguably the most famed sculpture ever created.  In fact, Michelangelo referred to the original as “The greatest piece of art in the world”.  This is the fantastic marble sculpture thatLaocoon tells of the death of Laocoön and his sons when the Goddess Minerva sends serpents from the sea to silence them forever.  Their deaths were byproducts of the famed Trojan War; it was Laocoön, a Trojan high priest, who was not swayed by the Greek’s offering of a large wooden horse. He started to warn the people of Troy with the famed statement “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”.  According to Virgil, the God Minerva, anxious to protect her Greeks, immediately sent two sea serpents to kill Laocoön and his twin sons before they could warn more Trojans of this deception.

The sea, its symbols, myths, and bounty figure prominently in all three of these pieces, to fabulous results.  Sinewy creatures and windswept seas are expertly executed in bronze, oil paint and marble.  If you find these items as captivating as I do, let’s talk soon to discuss how we can make them yours.

Dining Elegance

November 8th, 2013 | posted by Lyndon Lasiter

Grape ShearsFor many, some of the most pleasurable memories we hold are of evenings spent around the dinner table.  The way we eat together now, however, is still a relatively new construct.  In fact, the fork was not commonly used in Western Europe until the 1500s and the concept of a separate room for dining would not take hold until the 18th century.  Once these changes were underway, however, dining quickly became an elaborate affair.

As coursed meals came into vogue, a plethora of specialized utensils began to appear on the table, and silversmiths spent more and more time on crafting and decorating these items.  These grape shears by the preeminent British silversmith Paul Storr, for instance, were crafted in 1817 and made to serve only one function: to separate small clusters of grapes away from their woody stems.29-0921

In modern society these lavish details have been reserved for special occasions, such as holidays.  In fact, “Bringing out the good china” has become synonymous with efforts to elevate a dining experience from the everyday.  Of course, if you want to really make the evening one to remember, all you have to do is bring this impressive tureen to the table. Extremely rare due to its size, this highly-collectable silver vessel was crafted by Paul de Lamerie and is hallmarked London, 1741.  It is such a superior example of his work, in fact, that an almost identical tureen is pictured in Ellenor Alcorn’s book Beyond the Maker’s Mark: Paul de Lamerie Silver in the Cahn Collection.

Whether you’re looking for silver serving dishes, porcelain place settings, or crystal stemware, I know that we can help you find the perfect piece for your next evening of entertaining.

A Grand Dining Experience: The 224-Piece American Silver Dining Service

November 1st, 2013 | posted by Bill Rau

There was a time when dining was much more than enjoying good food amongst family and friends, it was a luxurious event that could make or break one’s reputation in social circles. A household’s most expensive furnishings and accessories 29-9822 could be found in the dining room, but perhaps none reflected the taste and sophistication of the owner better, or more elegantly, than the silver.

This is certainly the case with this outstanding American Silver Dining Service. Our suite for 12 guests comprises not only an exceptional Francis I sterling silver flatware service by Reed & Barton, but also a remarkable 69-piece hollowware set by Redlich & Co. The entire 224-piece ensemble is housed in its fitted mahogany chest, which even has two flanking compartments that house a pair of serving racks. Everything from beautiful serving trays and plates, to a complete tea and coffee service, tazzas, a rose bowl, and even a demitasse set, make this service truly grand.

Extensive services that include both flatware and hollowware are rare to find on the market, as they were custom-ordered by the most elite of society, especially royalty. The most recent example was once owned by the Maharaja of Patiala, India and recently sold at Christie’s London this past July. Created in 1921 by the Goldsmiths and Silversmith Company of London, this incredible flatware and hollowware service sold29-9822 well above auction estimates, bringing in over $2.96 million. Only two other combination sets, both less comprehensive than our American service, have been brought to auction in the past decade. Reed & Barton and Redlich & Co. were among the most highly respected silver firms in the United States, and to find such a unique and phenomenal collaboration between two renowned American silver companies is remarkable.

One can only imagine the magnificent sight of a dinner table set with these luxurious pieces. A distinguished silver service such as this was much more than pretty silverware with which to serve food. It was a statement of refinement that no dinner guest would soon forget.

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