Jun 152014
 

 

1967: The Summer of Love and rock and roll. But just months before everyone got wild at Woodstock, legendary illustrator Stanley Mouse, the man behind countless classic concert posters and record album-sleeves, produced this iconic image for the Sierra Club’s 10th Biennial Wilderness Conference.

Significantly influenced by the graphic sensibilities of the Art Nouveau movement, Stanley’s work featured heavily ornamented, hand-drawn fonts and intricately decorative scrollwork in psycadellic, eye-bending compositions (his work for The Grateful Dead being the best known examples). The design for this one is a bit more tame; however, the image of the noble savage surrounded by a marijuana-leaf boarder effectively declares, without a doubt, the Sierra Club’s true target audience.

Ephemera like this paper poster were never intended to last longer than the events they advertised, so mint examples like this one that survived the 60s unscathed (like the hippies themselves), are incredibly rare, indeed!

status: sold

 Posted by at 11:05 PM
May 272014
 

Magnificent and elegant. this hammered copper tray by Empire is a true statement piece that will command attention amidst any decor. Measuring nearly 14″ in diameter, this bold object embodies the very best qualities of the Arts & Crafts movement: earthy materials; rich patination; raw, hands-on craftsmanship; and striking design elements. Empty, it’s reminiscent of an ancient warrior’s shield; full, it’s a powerful vessel of protection. The hammered textures and raised, riveted motifs give this piece a timeless beauty that only a one-of-a-kind, handmade antique can offer!

status: sold

 

 

 Posted by at 7:30 PM
Oct 282013
 

 

After a long day of photographing the stoic splendors of the Yosemite Valley, Ansel Adams would have, without doubt, repaired to the comparative comfort of his rustic cabin and the inner-sanctum of his den and desk to make notes about his day’s work—and an inkwell precisely like this would have looked right at home there amongst the tidy jumble of pinecones, books and proofs!

Now beautifully patinated, this lovely little box is elegantly fashioned from rolled and riveted copper, overlaid with genuine sterling silver in true Arts & Crafts style. Inside sits the original glass inkwell, blue-black with a century of history and ink residue… Although the piece has no maker’s mark, it’s almost certainly designed by the famous Art Craft Shop of Buffalo, NY.; it perfectly matches, in both shape and form, those produced in the early 1900s.

So lyrical and lovely, it makes one long for the pre-digital days of fountain pens and the long-lost art of writing proper, pen-to-paper letters!

 

status: sold

 Posted by at 9:39 PM
Aug 222013
 

Jens Quistgaard must have loved pepper. This is evident by the fact that he designed dozens of completely unique pepper-mills (some that even incorporated salt-shakers) for Dansk of Denmark; each one a work of art, each a mini-monument of culinary architecture. Here is his “phillips screwdriver” design, so-called for the bold cross-knob on top.

Recently, through research and experimentation, I’ve developed an amazing, all-natural method to restore and beautify any and all wooden kitchen items; one that’s perfect for cutting the grease and grime of decades, eliminating bacteria, and returning warmth and glow to the woodgrain. The trick is simple, yet counter-intuitive: fine-grade steel-wool and lemon juice. No soap, no sanding, just good old fashioned elbow-grease and the miraculous properties of citrus. Don’t be afraid to rinse the wood thoroughly after a thorough buffing with lemon juice―but be sure to pat-dry immediately; then, after the wood is completely air-dry, polish with pure food-grade mineral oil. Nothing else cleans as safely or brings out the glow and luster as wonderfully. Works a treat on salad bowls, too!

It seems a shame to me that our modern world, despite its many advances, completely fails to produce anything as simply elegant as that executed by Jens more than half a century ago . . .  But that’s just one of the many reasons that makes collecting genuine Danish Modern designs so satisfying and enjoyable!

status: sold

 Posted by at 5:09 AM
Aug 152013
 

America. 1880-ish. Civil War brewing down South… Meanwhile, somewhere someone is having a soothing after-dinner cigar and fortifying his spirits with a little snifter of something special poured from one of an elegant pair of leaded cut-crystal decanters made by that most famous and fabled of American craftsmen: Tiffany & Co.

The whole experience satisfies the soul: the glint of the sterling silver tags in the glooming gas-light; the heavy weight and heft of the stopper in the hand; the golden elixir splashing into glass. Of course, the wealthy would only have scotch or bourbon, and perhaps brandy—but never gin! (Far too common a spirit, that gin.)

So, pick your poison… Soda? No. Neat? Certainly!

status: sold

 

 Posted by at 7:39 PM
Jun 022013
 

There’s absolutely nothing like the bold design of the middle 20th century, as this hanging lamp attests. A frosted glass orb and a UFO-shaped lamp shade covered in soft velvet-green flocking make for a truly Space Age look: stark, elegant, and perfectly modern. Worthy of any Bond villain’s lair!

status: sold

 Posted by at 9:06 PM
Mar 072013
 

Every now and again I come across something genuinely magical, something that has a sort of spell on it; an inexplainable combination of age, patina, history, and character; an ineffable aura imbued to a much-loved and oft-used object. This piece has that magic: an antique Staffordshire Sadler teapot made, of course, in England, most likely sometime in the early 1920s. James Sadler and Sons Ltd. were responsible for creating the famous ‘Brown Betty’ teapots in the late 1800s; affable and affordable teapots that soon became as iconic as Earl Grey itself. Sadler eventually became the best-known tea-potter in all of Britain, producing hundreds beautiful designs.

In collecting vintage and antique items, condition is crucial; however, with great age comes a certain sense of forgiveness. Yes, there is crazing across every expanse of this pot, and there are nicks here and there; however, the spout, that ever-forthright yet oh-so-delicate appendage that’s always sticking its neck out to be battle-scarred, is here immaculate! To my ‘eye’, this magical little teapot is all the more beautiful for its condition. It’s like a prop on a film set: comfortable iconic in its own right. Just look at those exquisite, hand-painted roses and that brilliant gold-leaf! Nearly a century of filling countless teacups, and this lovely teapot still glows with warmth and good cheer!

A little gem of a teapot: perfectly serviceable, perfectly beautiful . . .  A true English rose!

 

status: sold

 Posted by at 12:40 AM
Feb 222013
 

I find explorations in social history one of the most interesting activities of dealing in antiques. So often the objects we collect, the treasures that take pride of place in our homes, were once personal, everyday possessions.

Of course, photography is an obvious example. In an age where we effortlessly take hundreds—is not thousands—of photos a year, it’s astonishing to think that there was once a time not so long ago when a soul might pose for a photograph just once in their entire lifetimes. The result was an object to be venerated, to carry close to your heart, and to cherish forever. That’s why I think there’s something so melancholic, sad even, about photographs that have lost their loved ones; hidden away in a box in the attic or abandoned in a careless thrift-shop…

When I come across these old photographs, I always relish looking at them, savoring each and every detail: the faces, their expressions, their clothes… And sometimes I’m moved to take them home, to adopt them, to make them part of my family-tree. When I first saw this young lady, she immediately caught my eye; such poise and beauty I could never resist!

This image is an ambrotype, a glass plate coated with a photographic emulsion; a fairly primitive process that was only used between 1855 and 1865. Based on the fashion of her clothes and hair, as well as the material and composition of the ‘union case’ itself, I have been able to date this portrait to 1858. She’s starting to buckle a bit at the edges, but she still looks gorgeous considering her age—now more than 150 years old!

An old-fashioned, true and timeless beauty . . .

(Coda: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what story does this one tell? In my quest to discover more clues about the sitter, I delicately dismantled the union case to discover another figure hidden under the brass matting: a young, ghost-like child gazing directly at the camera. How wonderful and strangely compelling…!)

 

 status: available

 Posted by at 12:50 AM
Feb 072013
 

I think all men eventually long for the romance of the sea. It is a desire that seems to grow with time… As we age, our bodies become like ships: vessels that require careful navigation and diligent maintenance. At its most basic, physical level, life is a vital struggle to keep our ships from sinking… When we’re old, a simple trip down to the mailbox becomes a journey not to be taken lightly! Perhaps this is why we become so fascinated by this primal, oceanic metaphor, this ultimate adventure of Man vs. Nature: a single soul and his wits pitted agains the sea.

Here, then, is something for the sailor in us all: a handsome, maritime heritage print by the British painter, John Stobart (b. 1926). Entitled “Savannah: River Street by Moonlight in 1842″, this signed, limited-edition print (No. 404 of 750) is a nostalgic serenade to American seafaring history… Under a sultry sky, bathed in moonlight and scudding clouds, along a riverbank drenched in shadows, by the glow of golden firelight a pair of men roll barrels onto a horse-drawn wagon; nearby, the stately silhouettes of tall ships stand silently, destined by morning’s light and the incoming tide to be bound for the open sea and wondrous points beyond…

“All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by . . . ” declares the poet, and our hearts cannot help but resonate and thrum with that same, elemental desire!

status: sold

 Posted by at 7:40 AM
Jan 192013
 

There are two items that define and complete a gentleman’s attire: a fashionable hat and a dashing cane. Once upon a time a man would never leave home without them; nowadays they are, unfortunately, considered more costume pieces than daily necessities, and our sartorial world is much diminished by their absence.

But there is a small segment of society, a growing population of youthful hipsters—neo-gents—often tweed-clad and mustachioed, who are bringing new appreciation to such traditions. For them, this handsome item is just the ticket: an antique hobo’s walking stick. This cane, expertly handcrafted from a beautiful, amber hardwood (yet left rustic and knobby) will put the shabby in your chic, and dignity in your stride; it’s the perfect accoutrement for the wandering wabi-sabi warrior, a gentleman explorer ready to face the world with a rakish tilt to his hat and a twinkle in his eye.

No true and nobel gentleman should be without one . . .

status: sold
 Posted by at 5:41 PM

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