Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wine barrel recraft

Reclaimed item of the week

For 2008 'barrel art' initiative Glenfiddich whisky asked the london-based design consultancy Johnson Banks to interpret the length of time it takes for Glenfiddich single malt whisky to mature in barrels. Michael Johnson and his team decided to focus on the ‘jobs’ that each part of the barrel have to do over the different lengths of time the five different whiskies mature. the shortest length of time whisky is in a barrel is 12 years, the longest is 30.

Above: The whiskey barrel relates to 1987 - 'for 21 years we take a share', over the course of 21 years, nearly half a barrel of liquid will evaporate. legend has it that this is the ‘angel’s share’.

Above: The whiskey barrel relates to 1978 - 'I will wait for 11,000 nights - I will wait for 11,000 days', the whisky that takes longest to mature, the 30 years, is represented by the moon and the sun etched and charred onto the lid of a barrel.

Haute Nature Wine Barrel art


Johnson Banks

Elephant lobby target Portobello Road again

Above: Elephant grave yard drawing on Portobello Road at the weekly Saturday antique market [pict. Antiques Trade Gazette]

Portobello Road Market, London

A chalk drawing of an 'elephant graveyard' appeared at the entrance to the Portobello Road Market on Saturday, January 10. The three-dimensional pavement art depicting an elephant carcass was the work of representatives for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), who in recent years have singled out the weekly antiques market in its campaign to curb the illegal trade in modern elephant ivory.

Since 2004, IWAF have carried out investigations into the ivory trade in the UK, focusing their attention on eBay, car boot sales, curio shops, flea and antiques markets where, they claim, "worryingly large quantities of ivory items are being sold illegally."

In the much publicised Elephants On The High Street report of 2004, IFAW were highly critical of the ignorance of traders at some of the UK's best-known antique markets. Portobello Road received a particularly poor press.

Although the Portobello Traders' Association make it clear that their members must be aware of the rules around the items they are selling, the report found some dealers at Portobello unaware of the legislation surrounding the ivory trade and others who encourage purchasers to flout the law when exporting ivory. The emotive findings of the report has largely ignored the input of the legitimate antiques trade and appears to have provided the impetus for the latest publicity stunt.

Elephants On The High Street report of 2004


The 17th century survives in miniatured

Among the very first sales of the New Year was that conducted by advertising and bottle specialists BBR of Elsecar, South Yorkshire on January 4. The annual auction is held alongside the winter fair organised in aid of the Coddswallop Bottle Museum, a collection currently housed at the Elsecar Heritage Center.

Among the highlights was this miniature shaft and globe bottle in dark olive green glass, a 3 3/4 inch (9.5cm) vessel probably used for pharmaceutical purposes c.1660-70. Discovered undamaged on the banks of the Thames in London within the last decade, it has acquired a vibrant coloured patination and iridescence. Particularly unusual for its diminutive proportions.

It sold above estimate at £3300. The buyer was the same Midlands collector who had purchased the recently dug Charles II handled shaft and globe or decanter bottle that had sold for £21,000 at BBR's sale in July - a record for 'black' glass.

[Article taken from Antiques Trade Gazette 24th January 2009 Issue 1874]


Newark stand offers

Newark offers cut-price stands

Cut price outside stands are available for the forthcoming Newark International Antiques and Collectors' Fair. Following the poor weather that hit numbers in December, organisers DMG Antiques Fairs are offering a limited number of outdoor pitches in a central location at the February 6-6 fair for £75, compared with the usual rate of £117. The stands, which will be allocated on arrival, must be prepaid.

Contact 01636 702326

Newark Antiques Fair

Van De Wouwer Decor. coming to sf09

Caption: sf08 browsers surrounded by the buckets, baskets, tubs, and cans of Van De Wouwer's from Belgium

JEROEN from Van De Wouwer Decorations, Belgium has booked Salvo 2009, saying that he had 'a lovely response' to his collection of architectural and garden salvage, and that he is 'collecting interesting items for this summer's fair, including lots of tulip boxes used for drying bulbs.'
This week also saw bookings from, amongst others, Salvo Fair stalwarts Cox's Yard, Mongers, and Olliff's Architectural.

Book and pay before Jan 31st for a discount on pitches over £100. Call Ruby on 01225 422300.

Salvo Fair

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Germans book Salvo Fair 2009!

TWO members of the Historiche Baustoffe have booked a jumbo pitch at Salvo Fair, Knebworth this summer, taking advantage of the discounts Salvo are offering on stands booked and paid for by the end of January. Christoph Freudenberger visited the fair last summer with represents of nine businesses that belong to Unternehmerverband Historische Baustoffe, which is the German trade association for architectural salvage dealers. They spent three days meeting the trade and soaking up the atmosphere at Salvo 2008. Having a contingency of European exhibitors adds a bit of spice to the fair, and we look forward to seeing what they bring along.

To book your pitch at Salvo Fair 2009 download a booking form from or call 01225 422300.

Historiche Baustoffe website

Garbage Lighting

Reclaimed item of the week

French design studio Garbage Vpot are the recycled designs of very creative Gilles Eichenbaum. He repurposes household goods and antique kitchen implements turning them into unique lighting.

Haute Nature

Garbage Vpot

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Timber at sea

Above: The vessel was heading to Egypt from Sweden [pict. from BBC NEWS]

A cargo of 1,500 tonnes of timber is floating in the sea off the coast of East Sussex. The 1,500-tonne load, which was lost in rough seas off the East Sussex coast on Monday morning, could reach the Kent shore in the next two days.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the wood, made up of sawn timber that had been stored in bundles on the vessel, had stayed together in one block and initially floated around 10 miles up the coast in an eastwards direction after being dropped. The MCA said they expected it to wash ashore in Dungeness on Wednesday or Dymchurch on Thursday, depending on the weather, but would continue to assess tidal patterns and the weather. She said the receiver of wreck had been kept informed of the current situation in case the timber washed ashore. The MCA said the Sinegorsk's insurers were arranging contractors to recover any timber washed ashore and were liaising with local authorities that might be affected. The timber may also miss the land altogether and carry on into the Dover Strait said the MCA.

In January last year more than 2,000 tonnes of timber washed up along the Sussex coast after the Greek-registered Ice Prince sank about 26 miles south of Dorset. As far as we are aware none of the Ice Prince cargo was recovered last year (apart from bits which were salvaged illegally), it was all chipped under instructions from the Environment Agency.


On Thursday, Dover coastguard said a "fair quantity" had come ashore between Pegwell Bay and Ramsgate and up towards Margate. A spokesman said not all the timber had come ashore and a large amount could still be drifting in the sea.

Kent Police have warned people not to remove any timber from the shoreline but coastguards said there had been reports of people trying to collect the wood.

Alison Kentuck, Receiver of Wreck, said anything washed up should be reported to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Coastguards have said timber is likely to land ashore over the next few days or continue into the Dover Strait. The 1,500-tonne load fell from the Sinegorsk cargo ship in the English Channel in rough seas on Monday. The main bulk of it is 12 miles (19km) south of Rye and drifting in a north east direction. Ms Kentuck said: "The law is very simple. Ownership always remains with the original owner." In many cases, finders were allowed to keep what they recovered Alison Kentuck, speaking about the MSC Napoli. She said that if people start to collect timber from the beach "you can pretty much guarantee that whoever is picking up the wood is highly unlikely to be that owner". And she added: "You should always report what you recover to the receiver of wreck so we can let the owner know what you've got. Salvage is deemed to be a service to the owner, so provided it's reported to us and we are able to get it back to the owner then that's perfectly legal."

Receiver of Wreck Tel: 02380 329474
Receiver of Wreck


Invicta fm has reported that, 'Thanet District Council say the timber has already started to appear at building sites in the area, despite the public being warned not to take it.'

invictafm local radio station


BBC NEWS latest

Monument sale at Gazes

Gaze, Diss auction Rooms Norfolk

T W Gaze auctions at Diss in Norfolk will be including a sale of carved stone monuments in its architectural sale on Saturday 31st January 2009. Included will be approx 800 lots including 19th Century and earlier monumental stonework features to10ft tall, Obelisks, granite columns, marble centre piece, carved corbels. A stone sarcophagus. Marble fire surrounds. Walnut four poster bed. Urns, statuary etc. Viewing Thurs 29th 2-8pm, Friday 10-6, open Sat 8.30. Sale starts 10am. Contact – Carl Willows 01379 650306.

COMMENTS Carl Willows on the Architectural Salvage sale
"It was a bitterly cold day at the architectural salvage sale and sadly many people had their hands in their pockets. Although all things considered the overall sale was OK and a reasonable amount of ecclesiastical monuments were sold. The statuary sold well as did the fine example of york stone we had, which fetched £90 a square yard. Generally the things that sold well were pieces that people could see a quick return from.

"I heard nothing from the American buyers which is surprising considering this is the time that they usually buy for the fairs. A Canadian buyer who I expected to be at the sale later informed me that he didn't come because trade had been so bad over there. However, there were a number of new faces which was encouraging and hopefully they will return for the next architectural salvage sale in April."

The best selling lots included; A large quantity of stone, sufficient for two buildings- blocks, carved corbels, columns and features, which sold for £4000.00. A stone obelisk, galleried centre section, spire top approx 82" high, which sold for £1000.00. Approx 24 sq yds York stone paving from a private property in Gootle, Yorkshire, which sold for £2000.00.

For More information about the above items please contact Carl Willows 01379 650306.


Friday, January 16, 2009

DEFRA may be ready to end dilemma of horns

It seems DEFRA may now be granting permission to sell rhino horns mounted pre-1947 regardless of the specific technique employed by the taxidermist.

Most antiques that include the "parts and derivatives" of endangered species enjoy an exemption from CITIES controls known as the "worked item" derogation. This states that an item shall be exempt from the normal sales controls if it was acquired prior to June 1947 and has been significantly altered from its natural raw state for jewellery, adornment, art, utility or musical instrument. The problem has been the interpretation of the term "worked".

More problematic are objects such as a rhino horn mounted on an oak shield. A pair of rhino horns in their natural state simply attached to a shield by the taxidermist has been deemed unworked and illegal to sell regardless of date.


Traditional antique market on the up

Overall sales figures for the top art and antiques salerooms outside London were largely down in 2008, but most ended a difficult year with better than expected results. Many remain optimistic that the market for traditional art and antiques, already subject to a decade of seismic change, is relatively well placed to survive the economic gloom forecast for 2009.

Guy Schwinge from Duke's of Dorcester anticipates 2009 will present a challenging operating environment, but remains upbeat. "At times like this people often focus on their homes. Bland minimalism seems to be giving way to a more furnished look."

The more general feeling across Britain's auctioneers is that the various facets of the contemporary market will lose momentum in 2008. But most expect the traditional antiques market upon which regional salerooms largely rely to be more stable, primarily because so many categories have already experienced major price readjustment.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Modular floor tiles made of recycled belts

Reclaimed item of the week

Ting London has a brilliant new product out using their recycled leather belts. The group of designers recently introduced the modular floor tiles made of vintage leather. Around $75 a square foot, the recycled belts are laid carefully onto a reconstituted leather backing with a water-based glue. No two tiles will ever be the same.

Haute Nature

Ting London

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Results that defy the credit crunch

Above: At Sworders/Olivers in Sudbury on November 11th the target for collectors was the well known and very desrable sign claiming Bovril Makes Contented Cooks, picturing a Highland cow peering at a jar of Bovril and saying "Alas! My poor brother". Six bidders on the phone lines competed against two in the room, dashing all hopes any of them may have had of snapping up the sign anywhere near its £50-£80 estimate. It finally sold at £2600 to a collector who had journeyed from Blackburn for the sale.

Above: An RSPCA sign (51cm x 54cm) with an estimate of £150-£200 sold for a surprising £1700 at Clevedon Salerooms near Bristol on December 4th, when two determined collectors in the room pushed prices way beyond estimates.

Above: A rare example of a Barnard Bishop and Barnard cast-iron chair to a design by Thomas Jeckyll was sold at Tennants. It smashed the £100-£150 estimate to make £7000.


Clevedon Salerooms


Contents of Cafe Royal goes under the hammer

Bonhams, The Knightsbridge Sale
Including the selected Contents of Cafe Royal
Tuesday 20 January 2009 at 11am, Knightsbridge

Bonhams will be holding a sale on the 20th of January which includes items from Cafe Royal. All items removed from Cafe Royal are to be sold without reserve.

Above: Cafe Royal - The Front Hall A pair 20th century cut glass tent and bag chandeliers approximately 86cm drop.
Estimate: £400 - 600, Sold for £1,020 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Above: Cafe Royal - Second and Third Stairwell. A carved giltwood console table in the Rococo style with foliate scroll supports, the table decorated with masks, c-scrolls and foliage, 136cm wide, 48cm deep, 85cm high (53.5" wide, 18.5" deep, 33" high).
Estimate: £200 - 400, Sold for £840 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Above: Cafe Royal - The Napoleon Suite. A mid 20th century full size boxing ring of steel construction and spring floor, with roped sides steps and cushioned end posts, 620cm cm wide.
Estimate: £4,000 - 6,000, Sold for £456 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Above: Cafe Royal - The Cellar. Two late 19th century/early 20th century painted iron hand re-corking machines both with seats, one made by Carlson, together with two cast iron bottle sealers, 135cm wide, 128cm high (53" wide, 50" high).
Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000, Sold for £1,080 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Above: Cafe Royal - The Cellar. A pair of late 19th century/early 20th century oak coopered barrels labelled Gin and Brandy, complete with taps, 113cm high 44" high).
Estimate: £1,200 - 1,800, Sold for £8,400 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Above: The top items in the sale included lot 34, a large early 20th century Venetian clear glass and gilt 20m light chandelier which was estimated to make £5,000 to £8,000 and sold for £15,600.

Above: Lot 96, a late 19th century electroplated twin handled grill serving trolley estimated at £2,000 to £3,000 sold for £12,000.

Established in 1865, patrons of the Café Royal over the years include Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, Noel Coward, Sir Winston Churchill, Cary Grant, Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Mick Jagger, Margaret Thatcher, Virginia Woolf, Muhammad Ali and Yul Brynner. The doors to the Café Royal closed forever on Monday 22nd December 2008 following confirmation that the Crown Estate is to redevelop the lower end of Regent Street. Charlie Thomas, Head of Knightsbridge Furniture, says “Building on the success of the Savoy sale last year Bonhams is delighted to be selling the contents of the Café Royal. Bidders will have the opportunity to acquire a small piece of this iconic London institution”.

A packed Bonhams saleroom in Knightsbridge today (20.1.09) saw 120 lots from the iconic Café Royal go under the hammer at Bonhams. The bidders were largely private individuals who had memories of celebrations at the Café Royal or some other personal link. The sale which was expected to make £90,000 in fact achieved £220,000. Some of the top lots included; Lot 59, another 20 light chandelier made £9,600 against an estimate of £4,000 to £6,000. Lot 95, a Mathurin Moreau (French 1822-1912) L’immortalite bronze made £7,800 against an estimate of £1,500 -£2,000. Paintings of the interior or the Café Royal, lots 36, 9, and 13, which hung at various points within the establishment estimated at £500 to £1,000 made £6,600, and two at £4,800.


Decorative Fair sold to Church St dealer

Founders and organisers Patricia and Ralph Harvey have sold their long-running Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair to one of their regular exhibitors; David Curan of Magnus Antiques, Church Street, London NW8.

Magnus Antiques have exhibited at the fair for many years and Mr Duran has long been a member of the Fair Committee. Patrica Harvey, herself a decorative dealer in Church Street, is particularly pleased the event will remain a dealer-focussed business.

The purchase price has not been disclosed but industry observers speculate it should be in the region of £1m. Both sellers and buyers say that there will be no immediate change in the organisation of the event. The next decorative fair will be in Battersea from January 20-25.

Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair

The increasing problem of metal theft

At a time of high global demand for raw materials, thieves are targeting many types of metal, typically lead and copper but also increasingly steel. Whilst roofs are the most likely targets, particularly on churches, other sources such as rainwater goods, lightning conductors and statues in the grounds are all at risk.

By the end of 2007, Ecclesiastical, the main insurer of churches, reported claims of over ten million Pounds. Lead sheet was the main target, but a significant proportion of this cost was making good damage caused by the thieves and the subsequent ingress of water. English Heritage believes that 'the dramatic increase in theft has come about because of spiraling prices caused by worldwide demand for lead-acid batteries, both for vehicles and UPS (uninterrupted power supplies) and more recently because of speculator activity this rising market price has attracted. Significant amounts of lead have been stock-piled and kept from the market to encourage prices to rise. Prices started to fall by the start of 2008 as new sources of supply opened up.'

English Heritage has issued specific guidance on metal theft in view of the intensification of the problem in recent months, particularly on lead roofs on churches. The guidance highlights the importance of prevention and the need to use a combination of security measures to deter thieves. Many of the options suggested are low cost but effective measures like locking gates to prevent vehicles getting close, preventing easy access to roofs such as removing water butts and waste bins, applying anti-climb paint to drain pipes and roof guttering, and erecting prominent warning signs.

[Salvo would encourage anyone who has had lead roofing or any other antique or architectural item stolen to raise a Salvo Theft alert. These are charged at 2p per day and are viewed by the thousands of people who look at SalvoWEB everyday.]

English Heritage

Salvo Theft Alerts