Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Salvo Fair 2009: Buy yourself a tudor model village.

Above: One of 8 large houses, a chapel and 3 cottages from a 1930's model village available for sale at Olliff's Architectural, Bristol, priced at £3,000 each.

Bristol, UK: I arrive at Bristol Temple Meads station on an overcast mild March morning. Marcus Olliff meets me in his blue pick-up and we drive 10 minutes up the road to visit his yard in St Werburghs Road, which is open by appointment only. I had done a little research on Google street, which shows it is in a quiet residential road with a few small warehouses. What you can't see is that the yard is very close to St Werburgs city farm (nice organic cafe) and a recent eco-housing development (did they use any Olliff reclaimed materials?). We pass a string of little school kids off to visit the goats and go to see what goodies Marcus has in stock to bring along to Salvo Fair 2009 at Knebworth. When we go through the gates, I am visually bombarded and I realise how hard to it is for dealers to decide which of all the stock to bring along to fairs and exhibitions. And then once they have decided, shifting things around to get to the lucky items, and then loading them up, takes Herculean effort. One of his first comments is that 'obviously if somebody wants to buy something before the summer that I was planning to bring along, I'll have to sell it to them'.

There are lots of pallets of stone flooring outside, and stacks of timber flooring inside, that Marcus will bring samples of along. Then I spot some model village cottages. He explains that they are early 1930's and from a West Lake District coastal model village. He bought them through another dealer. There are 8 big houses, 1 chapel and 3 small cottages. They are 'Cromwellian' style, made from composition stone inside, but decorated externally with real stone roof tiles, and real pieces of oak for the timber stud frames. Each of the big houses lives on a pallet, is about 3ft high and 4ft long and very heavy. He almost sold them last summer to a lady from a Hampshire pile. Marcus decides that he may be able to bring along a few houses for the central avenue at Salvo. . . result! He is really hoping to find a home for the whole lot together.

Just behind the houses is a Coalbrookdale cast iron fountain that I recognise from the Olliff website. It has three dolphins intertwined propping up a plate with their tails. Marcus and I have a quick discussion about dolphins, which is what lots of people seem to call fishy looking things on garden ornament. But these dolphins have scales and big pouty lips, and are definitely not mammals! The fish have lovely big heads and there's lots of moss, which people always like. Hopefully this will make it up to Knebworth too.

Inside the warehouse is a hotch potch of cabinets full of antique door hardware, grand chimneypieces, hob grates, simple fireplaces, some bathroom gear, lots of quirky furniture and wooden flooring. Marcus will almost definitely be bringing a few fireplaces with him to the fair, some furniture and he has a collection of five 1930's bevelled edged mirrors that will be making an appearance.

Above: Coalbrookdale fountain of three fish £4,800

Above: Matching pair of mid-late Victorian Lion door knockers, bronze with original strickers £750 for the pair

Above: Georgian front door rim lock with original keep and key, 12ins long £800 (has been polished)

Above: 1780 - 1790 Georgian chimneypiece of white statuary marble with Sienna and Portor marble ingrounds £15,000. Georgian 'hour glass' hob grate, not original to chimneypiece, £1500.

Above: Late Victorian cast iron decorative wash stand with original mirror, tiles and towel rail and taps £2,200.

Above: Pair of lions, made from cast fired brick, from about 1900. £1,800 for the pair.

Above: Marcus Olliff in the warehouse: What is it they say about boys and never growing up!

- Olliff's
- Salvo Fair

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