9 June 2011

Antiquexplorer June 2011 issue

Well we’ve broken a record at the ‘Explorer offices this month – compiling this entire issue in under a week to make way for our long awaited, annual Interiors Guide 2011/2012. There’s a considerable demand for the unusual, quirky and decorative, and our new guide is packed full of it. Click on the above link to view the Flip Book version and see how easy it is to shop online with these inspirational businesses.
Whatever the unpredictable weather, it’s now that we all like to spend more time outdoors, and what better way than to stroll around the largest architectural salvage, reclamation and garden antiques show in the country. Every year I go along to the Salvo Fair in Knebworth and it’s just the ticket – see for yourself in our first article this month.
The bathroom first became the family battleground well over 130 years ago and has been the linchpin in the comfort of our homes ever since. Today, it’s interesting to see how styles have changed, and look at how we can adopt the best elements of bathroom design of the past, and bring them into the future. Read more in our article on page 10, which certainly shows how ‘anything goes’!
I’ve seen a ‘look’ emerging, which I absolutely love. It’s a sort of industrial meets apothecary-chic look; pigeonhole boxes, decorative jars and bottles, chairs with wooden seats and metal bases, and masses of period typography. So join me in the chemist’s shop for some great decorative concoctions.
Philip Woolway is a man after my own heart; he loves digital photography, shops bursting with antiques and curios, and he can’t help buying a prop or two en route! His work is featured (rather bravely we think) on our front cover this month, it’s quite puzzling until you rotate the image to get a feel of the perspective. And in the words of Rolf Harris, “Can you tell what is it yet?”
P.S. If you’re a vintage dealer, event organiser or pure vintage enthusiast, drop us an email as we’d like to hear from you, and tell you about a new vintage magazine coming to a town near you!
Karyn Sparks
View or buy the June issue online at: www.antiquexplorer.com

Antiquexplorer April 2011 issue

I’ve just spent a lovely day buying, browsing and photographing at my local Vintage Market in Bridport. It’s got a great West Country vibe, with the flavour of a French Brocante market, which was born from a lot of vintage community spirit! Follow the meandering table-top sellers into the thick of it, with open shop fronts, live music and locally made food –it was absolutely heaving and a great way to spend a lazy  Sunday. I however, should have been working on this magazine’s deadline, but hey-ho what an inspiring way to finish off the April vintage issue... spring is most definitely here!
This ‘Vintage Britain’ issue is designed to help you shake off the winter cobwebs and get inspired by street parties and festivals, the imminent Royal Wedding and everything that makes Britain rule!
View or buy the April back issue online at: www.antiquexplorer.com

22 February 2011

Antiquexplorer May 2011 issue

Since our first issue of 2011, we’ve travelled the British Isles. We’ve explored the rolling hills and slate-grey landscapes of Wales with artist Kyffin Williams; then on to Ireland – the abandoned mansions
certainly caught our readers’ imaginations (and incidentally featured one of my all-time favourite covers); and then of course, England, with our immensely popular vintage issue – back issues are selling like hot-cakes!
And this month, here we are in Scotland, and what a treat we have for all you glass lovers. I’m a huge fan of simple ‘60s glass design, and had little idea that Caithness Glass could tick all the boxes, however, that was until I heard about Domhnall ÓBroin, who drew his inspiration from the colours of the Scottish landscape – warm peaty tones, purple heather, golden sunsets and the grey-blue of lochs - a ‘hot new collecting area’ written by antiques expert Mark Hill.
I have to say our first article this month has really caught the feel of the Scottish highlands – Harris Tweed and agate jewellery. An odd combination you might say, but what could look more ‘vintage’ than a bit of Tweed, coupled with a highly coveted, thousand-year-old gemstone?
View the May back issue at www.antiquexplorer.com

9 February 2011

COMING SOON: Homexplorer EXTERIORS Guide 2011-2012

Coming soon: Your Guide to Salvaging with Style for the Home and Garden...
Find out how to be include by clicking here: 

Antiquexplorer February issue - Welsh Antiques

Dear Explorer 
There were numerous reasons for compiling a Welsh-themed issue this month. Firstly, Wales is heaving with long traditions, which will always ensure a good read in an antiques magazine! We also covered Welsh love spoons in our October 2010 issue (a tradition that stems from a time when the people of Wales used wooden utensils to eat), which sparked a great deal of interest from our readers. 
Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a Royal Wedding coming up in April! The Queen Mother started the tradition of using Welsh gold for royal wedding rings in 1923 and since then, the Queen, Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal, Diana Princess of Wales, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall all had their rings made from pure Welsh gold. 
The forthcoming wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton will also feature a Welsh gold ring. This renewed interest and the fact that the last Welsh gold mine closed in 1999 will result in the remaining stock becoming even more sought after and prices will reach record highs! Incidentally, you can see an ingot of gold that was presented to Her Majesty the Queen on her 60th birthday on display in the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. Look out for an article about this precious metal, ‘fit for a princess’, in a future issue.   
2011 will also see Oriel Ynys Môn celebrate its 20th birthday with special events planned throughout the year. This wonderful museum and arts centre, located in Llangefni, Anglesey, houses permanent displays that include the world’s largest collection of works by local artists Sir Kyffin Williams and Charles Tunnicliffe, both quite rightly featured within this issue. 
Next, we look at the history of Nantgarw porcelain – considered by many to be the most valuable artefacts ever produced in Wales –and welcome the recent re-opening of the the Nantgarw China Works Museum in Cardiff – the last remaining archaeological site of porcelain production in the UK. 
We asked Welsh quilt expert, Jen Jones, how she started her collection of over 300 quilts, and how best to use these wonderful items of craft art in our homes today. Read about Jen’s 40-year passion for this visual heritage of Wales on page 13. 
Finally, everyone loves a dresser! We asked Christopher Proudlove to explain what makes a dresser a ‘Welsh’ dresser, and what to look out for when investing in such a romantic piece of furniture. 

Karyn Sparks
To see more of these articles visit: www.antiquexplorer.com

27 April 2010

COMING SOON: Homexplorer EXTERIORS Guide 2010-2011

Coming soon: Your Guide to Salvaging with Style for the Home and Garden...

Contents page of antiquexplorer - Arts & Crafts issue - May 2010

The May magazine of antiquexplorer is due back from the printers this weekend. Our 'contents' page is just a taster of all the goodies you can expect to find! You'll be able to find out more and buy your copy as usual online at: www.antiquexplorer.com from May 1st!

16 March 2010

APRIL - Vintage Fashion & Textile Issue

Find out more about the forthcoming 'Vintage Fashion & Textiles' issue on my 'Vintage Rags' blog by clicking here:

12 March 2010

The forthcoming April issue features 'Vintage Fashion & Textiles'

A preview of one of the subjects included within the forthcoming April issue of antiquexplorer. See last month's issue online at: www.antiquexplorer.com


Those old enough to remember the 1950s might look at the textile designs which were then being created and think, “Well, it wasn’t like that in our house!” In the 1950s Britain was a country still recovering from WW2; institutions such as the National Health Service were in their infancy; most people considered themselves fortunate if they had a roof over their heads.

But change was in the air. A festival was to take place on London’s South Bank – the Festival of Britain – not only to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 but also to promote Britain’s
achievements in design, science and technology. “After dull and drab wartime furnishings,” says Madeleine Marsh, a writer specializing in fine and decorative arts, “lust for colour and pattern expressed itself in every media, from mix-and-match tableware to curtains emulating abstract paintings. Designers experimented with the latest technology to create innovative forms: chairs floated on spidery metal legs, table tops were shaped like amoebae, and lights looked like flying saucers.”

Furthermore, according to Marsh, “The home owner who would never have hung an abstract painting on the wall was nevertheless happy to invest in colourful, contemporary curtains.” Indeed, ‘contemporary’ was the buzz word. “Probably everyone’s boredom with wartime dreariness and lack of variety helped the establishment of this new and gayer trend,” explained textile designer Lucienne Day (b.1917) in 1957. And it was into this new, ‘anything goes’ atmosphere that Tristram Hull pitched himself.
“The origins of Hull Traders are as curious as its name,” says Lesley Jackson in her book, Shirley Craven and Hull TradersArticle continues....
Thanks Karyn. Editor

Click on the link below to see us on Vintage Rags!

10 March 2010

What we call ‘retro’ today was referred to as ‘contemporary’ in the 1950s.

Utility furniture was made during the war years to help those in desperate need for furniture, such as newly weds and families whose homes had been destroyed by the bombing. Some of the pieces looked plain and institutional, but the majority of it was simple and elegant. Utility was also significantly better than furniture most people could have bought before the war! 
  In 1951, public appreciation of modern design had a huge boost when the Festival of Britain opened. When King George VI officially opened the proceedings on 3rd May, it was a bright beacon of light, which promised a much better future. 
The Festival of Britain was a great marketing exercise for modern design and ‘contemporary’ emerged as the buzzword to describe modern furniture of the time. 
  Utility was modern and functional, where as contemporary was utility with attitude! Characterised by a lively use of colour, new materials, humour and lightness of structure, it appeared a dramatic contrast to wartime drabness. 
  Within this issue, we’ve touched on both; the common denominator being the effects that war had on materials, design and functionality. We look at the Anglepoise – the ‘ideal blackout lamp’, the attraction of the factory and engineers work lights in today’s home; the trend setting, bent steel furniture of Ernest Race, to the fine British engineering used to make the iconic English Rose kitchen.
Next month we bring you ‘Fashion & Textiles’, to coincide with numerous forthcoming events across the region. Once again we take a look at stylish icons such as Audrey Hepburn, mover and shaker Shirley Craven and the Hull Traders, Elegance at its best and the vintage fashion movement; along with a host of recommended specialist textile dealers.
If we don’t already know about you, please do get in touch!

 To find out more about the current issue visit: www.antiquexplorer.com 

1 December 2009

Antiquexplorer December/January Issue

Dear Explorer

Welcome to our double issue, combining all the dates for your auction and fair diary throughout the months of December and January.
We first started our ‘Investment’ issues back in December last year, and here we are once again! The idea with these investment issues is to remind readers, new and old, to be discerning regarding their collecting, and even when things are tight, to buy the very best they can afford. Basically, we hear time and time again that those pieces that are securely attributed to an iconic designer or maker, are signed or have provenance, will always be sound investments.
Within this issue we give you a few hints and tips on who, and what to look out for.
This month I’ve spent a great deal of time out of the office, talking to dealers, taking photographs of exciting window displays in the dusky winter afternoons. I find antiques shops such great places to be inspired, not only for presents but more often than not, the dealers have such a good eye, that their Christmas displays can conjure up some fabulous decorative ideas for your own home.
This issue is packed full of gift ideas for the run up to Christmas, from the elaborate designs of Stuart Devlin to the festive designs of Caithness glass; and for your Christmas winter shopping, we have compiled a guide to the most popular antiques centres and shops in the region along with a few ‘hot spots’ for late night opening.
The New Year brings our 10th birthday, an office move, and our February issue, when we go full steam ahead into the sixties. So if you’ve got an interesting collection from the period or something you’d like to see featured, as usual get in touch by early January.
Finally, if you’d like to share your favourite antiques magazine throughout 2010 with a good friend, then a gift subscription is a great idea. Just visit: www.antiquexplorer.com
and go to 'Subscribe' and we’ll do the rest.
Happy Christmas to you and fingers crossed, a prosperous New Year ahead for all involved in this great trade.


4 November 2009

White Star Liners poster auction 12th November

Specialist on-line auctioneers Onslows, celebrated 25 years in business this year, and things look set to get even better, what with a recent discovery that has set up their early November sale to be something of a crowd puller! Thirteen original shipping posters were recently discovered after having been rolled up after many years. They were of famous White Star Liners, including the Titanic’s sister ship the Olympic, the Majestic, Adriatic, Megantic and Albertic, and considering their age are in remarkably good condition.
The posters can be accurately dated to certainly post 1912 and the sinking of the Titanic, due to the additional lifeboats shown on each ship.They probably date from around 1919 when the Atlantic passenger routes were opened up, due to the end of WW1. The finest poster of the group is by Montague B Black showing the RMS Olympic, which is estimated to sell for £2,500 to £3,000. Another is Montague B Black’s White Star Dominion Line to Canada; after the war ended there was a campaign to attract people to Canada to set up home and start farming. The collection is likely to bring the lucky vendor a windfall of £15,000. Not bad for an afternoon’s work clearing rubbish from a house! To find out more about the sale on 12th November, visit: www.onslows.co.uk

Antiquexplorer November Issue

Dear Explorer
Am I the only one, who feels that this year has just run away with them?
The clocks have just gone back and we’re hurtling toward December at a rapid rate of knots; next week I’ll be working on the December/January double issue!
But, before all this happens, what a busy month November is; the calendar reveals I’ll be at one (or two!) shows every weekend, right up until the end of the month.
The wood-themed issue this month came about by pure coincidence. Firstly, a friend in the throws of moving house, asked me of the best way to sell her two African figures, closely followed by meeting my web designer’s neighbour who’d amassed a fabulous collection of African figures over the years; and then of course, there was my own modest collection. I started to research the topic and came across a carving that recently sold at Bonhams, and had achieved a rather jaw-dropping figure. So, I started to wonder what the differences were between the pieces belonging to my friends and myself, and the Bonhams piece? And boy, did I open a can of worms, as you’ll see within the article on page 6. Very quickly it appeared that I had a ‘wood’ issue on my hands, and
the question was, ‘What else should we include?’ Well, there’s nothing like drawing inspiration from your own interests is there? And that’s when I decided to cover Bog Wood. I know it may sound odd, but I’d fallen in love with a piece of Bog Wood I’d bought recently. It was not only tactile and dramatic in form, but as ancient an item as I’m ever likely to own. Of course, it goes without saying that I then wanted to discover what else this ancient material was used for, and so reveal all on page 13. Finally, there are the Burmese Nats! Again, made from wood; these figures have a real organic feel to them, whilst being surrounded by superstition and spiritualism. I’d never heard of a Nat before, and hope that this issue not only brings a new discovery to you, but also a little bit of good fortune! Visit antiquexplorer online to buy your copy, post free!

27 October 2009

Antiquexplorer magazine - October issue

Editor's Note October Issue
Yet again we’ve had a hectic month, what with the deadline and launch of our annual Homexplorer Interiors Guide which has been greatly supported by the Antiques and Interiors trade even during the uncertain time at the beginning of the year.

The Art Editor of the antiquexplorer also had to find the time to publish his first book The Golden Age of Zoo Postcards, and lastly reaching the deadline for this issue, which thankfully we achieved if you’re reading this right now!

The past few weeks have also been rather interesting for the antiques trade on ‘the box’. In particular ‘Trust Me I’m a Dealer’ with presenter Paul Martin on BBC2.

I was hooked straight away I have to say, especially when a number of my regular haunts and favourite customers were featured (mentioning no names Jonny!)

The feedback from most dealers I’ve spoken with has been really positive, and some even saw a dramatic upturn of trade in their town. And of course, the antiquexplorer certainly got a plug or two, described as “A great trade source”, which no doubt instigated the sharp increase in our yearly subscriptions – in turn this can only be of further benefit to our loyal customers. The power of television hey!

Antiquexplorer is coming up to its tenth anniversary in the new year and with this, we’ve made a few subtle changes one of which is our logo, another is our new-look website. So if you haven’t visited it before, take a look.

You can search our back issue catalogue by cover – most people recognise which one they’re amiss by the cover – and you could buy yourself, or a friend, one of the specialist pottery books from our online bookstore.

Our dealer directory is currently under construction, but other than that we are confident the new website will become a great online resource, especially with our future expansion plans.

P.S The November issue will be out Friday 30th October, so watch for the updates!