Bonham's Home and Interiors Auction

Bonham’s new Home & Interiors auctions, which now happen monthly, are perfect sales for us to source items of furniture and works of art for our clients. They bring together truly one-off pieces from a variety of eras and styles. A diverse but trusted sale like this can also be a great place to start for first-time buyers if you are looking to start a collection or add an unique item to your home. We enjoyed the variety of April’s sale, particularly the mixture of antique and contemporary pieces - at Devas Designs we often enjoy incorporating a classic item of antique furniture into a contemporary interior or vice versa, blending styles can make your home unique and characterful.

Alongside the wonderful items of furniture, April’s sale features some exquisite works of art. We love this bronze sculpture by Sir Jacob Epstein. It is modelled from a cast of the hand of singer and actress Bracha Zefira. Zefira was born in Jerusalem and orphaned at a young age. She was raised by several families in Jerusalem and her singing reflected these various influences, covering Yemenite, Shepardic and Persian music. She is known for being one of the first female Yemenite super-stars of that time.

Although not much is known of Epstein’s and her friendship, Epstein was a patron of her concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra and has also created bronze sculptures of her head. As the son of Jewish refugees he was probably also interested in her heritage and early life. This sculpture caught our eye, it has a wonderful sense of conveying both boldness and elegance - the weightiness of the bronze material balances perfectly with the elegance of her pointed finger.

Estimate: £1,500-2,000

This watercolour depicting a young dancer in leotard by Ken Howard also intrigued us and we love its subtle, muted colour palette. The depiction of light is a strong aesthetic theme for Howard, and this work cleverly displays light streaming into the space using highlights of white chalk. This watercolour would look lovely in both a classic or contemporary interior and is a perfect example of the way works of art can often be incredibly versatile pieces for your home, adding charm and character without overpowering the interior details.

Estimate: £600-800

This next item is a slightly more unusual sculptural piece, it depicts a figure on bench with birds and leaf-less trees. It has been made in copper and brass, enabling a beautiful sense of delicacy with its finely modelled tree branches and fencing. It was made in the 1970s by Curtis Jere, the renowned metalwork studio. Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels started C. Jere in the 20th Century, the company has since been sold and resold but their original designs such as this one are highly regarded in auction houses. A piece like this could look lovely displayed in a sitting room or as part of a collection in a study room and would be a wonderful talking point.

Estimate: £500-700

There are also some wonderful items of furniture that have caught our eye, in particular this French two-tier brass gueridon from the late 19th century. In the style of Louis XVI, the top is on three rams’ mask headed legs which are modelled with beautiful details. The legs terminate in hoof feet which are both elegant and lend a sense of stability.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

Bonham's Period Sale

Bonham’s Period Design and Period Art is a regular sale which is filled with treasures and inspiration. It includes a selection of 18th, 19th and 20th century furniture, works of art, mirrors and rugs from across the world. This month we’ve been busy sourcing items of furniture for various clients and Bonham’s Period Design sale was top on our list!

This blue john urn from the 19th century caught our eye immediately. We particularly like its design with its banded decoration and circular support atop a square marble base. The elegance of this design perfectly highlights and exhibits the beautiful material and its natural colouring. Blue-john began being exported during the 18th Century to France and was used for luxurious objets d’art which were adored by collectors including Marie Antoinette. This semi-precious mineral has retained its luxurious regard and its vivid colouring remains lucid.

Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000

We were also intrigued by this beautiful George III tub back bergere. Its body is made from a richly coloured mahogany with square section tapering legs. Its pastel upholstery balances perfectly with the richness of the wood and this chair would look lovely in either a sitting room or bedroom.

Estimate: £600 - 800

This pair of French 19th century mahogany fauteuils would be lovely in a classically decorated sitting room. Each one has lotus leafed clasped arm supports and square splayed legs, their design is a classic Restoration style from 19th century France. Their solid backs convert a real presence while their soft colouring and fluid arms create a beautiful sense of elegance.

Estimate: £1,000 - 1,500

As well as these wonderful items of furniture, there was a stunning selection of rugs on sale at this month’s Period Design sale.

The Khotan saph below is from East Turkestan. Khotan was an ancient Buddhist kingdom that was on a section of the silk road. It was the first place outside China to begin making silk and Khotanese carpets remain a highly prized export.

Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000

We also loved this Agra carpet, pictured below, which comes from North India. Agra rugs are highly sought after as their material and technique makes them highly durable. Their pattern, design and colours are beautifully detailed and vidid. In the past we have taken inspiration from textiles such as rugs and used this is a basis to form an interior’s colour scheme. If a piece like this really catches your eye it can become a centrepiece and dictate the look and feel of your interior.

Estimate: £3,000 - 5,000

Christie's Interiors December Sale

Following our blog about Christie’s Interiors December sale and the stunning works of art included, we also wanted to share with you our favourite items of design and furniture from the sale.

This gold-painted model of a tree is an unusual addition and instantly caught our attention. It has been made from steel and wood, painted gold which imbues a real sense of glamour. Its design is in the style of Curtis Jere, the American metalwork company founded by Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

While the work above is styled on Curtis Jere designs, these two bronze skiing sculptures are originals by metalwork company Curtis Jere, and both signed ‘C. Jere’. Each has been cast from a model, one of a slalom skier and one of a young boy pulling a sled. They sit on sloping onyx bases, and we love the use of this material to evoke their snowy landscape. Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels started C. Jere in the 20th Century, the company has since been sold and resold but their original designs such as this one are highly regarded in auction houses.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

This Chinese famille rose and gilt dish is a charming item. It is decorated with a pair of ducks and a lotus pond and also features a kingfisher perched on a peony branch. The gilt forward border adds an extra detailed feature which beautifully holds the design together. This dish is decorated in a typical Yongzheng Period manner and would be a wonderful addition to a collection.

Estimate: £500-800

This next lot comes in an impressive size, it features ten French stained-beech dining chairs. We love simple designs like this, they have a timeless elegance that can work in both classic and modern interiors. There is a lovely elegance in their colouring as well, the tones of the stained-beech and mahogany balance beautifully with their pale grey fabric covered seat.

Estimate: £700-1,000

Christie's Interiors // November

Regular sales like Christie’s Interiors are excellent for finding pieces for your home.We make sure we keep track of London’s best auctions and regularly attend to pick out stand out pieces for our clients. Christie's have a guaranteed standard of quality with the finest hand selected items of furniture, works of art and decorative pieces. Their Interiors sale this November is no exception and there is a fine selection of pieces on sale.

We wanted to share with you a selection of our favourite pieces from this month's Interiors sale at Christie's ...

There was an impressive selection of antique carpets that would be stunning in a classic interior. We were particularly struck by the two designs below. The carpet on the left has a classic ziegler design, its dual tones could even provide inspiration for an interiors colour scheme. The carpet on the right is from Tabriz in Iran and its decorative design would add a real charm to a sitting or dining room.

This pair of bronze and gilt torches caught our eye. Complete with five light spaces, the touches are decorated with an orb supported by an eagle. Their five branches emanate from lion masks while the triform bases are decorated with dolphins. The details on these torches is exquisite and they would be beautiful centrepieces for a dinner table, truly lighting up the table.

Among the items of furniture on sale were two tables that particularly stood out to us for their classic designs and elegance. The table on the right is made from regency rosewood and tiger maple. It features charming ivory handles, and frieze edged in trellis parquetry.

We also loved this French brass-mounted mahogany bouillotte table on the right. It is in a classic Louis XVI style with a grey-veined white marble top and two ash lined drawers.

This pair of modern stools has been upholstered in floral cut-velvet and are a beautifully rich colour.


Bonham's 'Britain' - Defining the Interior

This November Bonham’s has an auction of exquisite British pieces of furniture, silver, ceramics, works of art and sculpture. While we love work from across Europe, it is refreshing to view a sale of British pieces and highlights the significance of British craft and design.

Here are our favourite pieces from the sale, you can view more items by viewing the catalogue on Bonham’s website here.

Among the items of furniture were some standout chairs that caught our eye. This pair of Regency mahogany hall chairs we're formerly part of a suite at Brabourne Manor in Kent. They bear the brand of B. Harmer, a contractor who worked for top end firms during the George II period. The chairs are elegant yet retain a sense of solidity with their applied tablet mouldings, dished seats and square moulded outswept legs.

This Regency mahogany side cabinet stood out to us for its elegant and stylish details. Its panel doors are inset with gilt metal grilles and pleated silk panels. The carved lion’s paw feet add a characterful detail. This would look wonderful in a classic interior and its rich colour would really stand out in a subtle colour scheme.

These two George IV gilt wood console tables are a more lavish choice for us, we were dazzled by their materiality. Their white and grey marble tops are inlaid with stylised flowers and leaves. The inlaid details comprises white and brown onyx and green marble. The tops sit on single lion monopodiae and square plinth bases which are equally luxurious with their exquisite detail and opulent gold colour. Inside a classic interior, these tables would be truly eye catching.

These black lacquer stools are from 19th Century Chinese-export. Their ‘X’ form legs, gilt chinoiseries and rectangular padded buttoned seats are a beautifully exotic style that would look lovely in a classic interior.

At Devas Designs we enjoy mixing the old and new and often place items of antique furniture in contemporary interiors. These stools with their characterful design and rich colours could look intriguing in a subtle toned, fresh contemporary room and add a real charm.

Design Sale at Sotheby's

This November Sotheby’s has an exciting and refreshing sale; Design. Their Design sale has an incredible collection on sale from influent 20th and 21st century designers. There is also a specially curated collection that charts the history of lighting design from the 1920s to the present day.

While it was hard to chose just a few, here is a selection of the pieces that were truly eye catching.

Among the wonderful lighting pieces on display was this piece by London based Dutch designer Tord Boontje. He is widely known for his famous Garland light that was a sell-out Habitat high street piece. As well as his belief in low-cost luxury and design, Tord wants to stress that modernism doesn’t always mean minimalism. His work blends traditional methods and design with contemporary technology to create sensory pieces. The ‘Ivy Shadow’ Chandelier on sale at Sotheby’s is made from laser cut aluminium and brass, then hand-painted in a ‘forest white’ finish. The details of this light has a beautiful fairytale like quality, while its pale colour and laser cut precision maintain a contemporary elegance.

Another ceiling light that caught our attention was this piece by Pierre Chareau called ‘La Fleur’. It was made in 1924 from alabaster, patinated iron and nickelled metal. French architect and designer Chateau is credited for building the first hour win France using steel and glass; the Maison de Verre in Paris. He favoured strict lines and pure design, two focuses he carried throughout his architectural work and lighting and furniture design. The geometry of his ceiling light design is beautifully balanced by the softness of the white alabaster.

Alongside some extraordinary lighting designs are also a wonderful selection of ceramics. We’ve written about Lucie Rie’s work before, her Japanese inspired ceramics are stunningly sophisticated and their subtle colouring really compliments a simple and modern interior. The bowl below is porcelain with a manganese glaze and inlay.

This rug made from hand flat-woven wool by Barbro Nilssen also caught our eye. Swedish designer Nilssen was inspired by nature, the sea and folk art for most of her designs. For past projects we have taken inspiration from rugs for a colour scheme. If you see an item like this that really appeals to you, think about using its colours and hues to inform the colours of your furnishings. Taking a subtle colour scheme like this rug below can help to create a harmonious balance in your interior.

Collections Sale at Sotheby's

We love the items in this month’s Collections auction at Sotheby’s. It’s a real eclectic mix of antique, classic, unique and collectable items. We wanted to share with you a selection of the items that really stood out for us.

This exquisite piece instantly caught eye, it is a rare Vincennes group of Venus and Adonis (c.1750-52). L’Heure du Berger is represented by the reclining female figure in loose drapery, with a male youth balanced and twisting towards her. There is a real sense of elegance to this piece, aided by the white colouring. A smaller piece like this is easy to display and can add beautifully to an existing collection.

Estimate: £12,000-18,000

While we enjoy sourcing all types of items for our clients, we love finding precious artworks. A unique and sensitive work of art can make a big impact in your home. This work by old master Rembrandt instantly stood out to us. The etching, made in 1630, shows the bust of a man wearing a high cap, and the model is thought to be Rembrandt’s father.

Estimate: £800-1,200

The Italian 18th Century work below is a charming depiction of the temple of Clitumnus, near Spoleto. It has been drawn in pen and brown ink with a grey wash over traces of black chalk. Its limited colouring makes it versatile, and although it would perfectly suit a classic interior, it could bring character and charm to a contemporary living space.

Estimate: £800-1,200

These George III carved gilt wood and gesso wall lights (pair) from the late 18th Century are truly exquisite. Both elegant and grand, they are typically characteristic of the neo-classical taste of late 18th Century England. They feature the typical classical urn, ram’s head and bell-flower garlands.

Estimate: £4,000-6,000

This walnut dining table (c. 1970) is a real centre piece. Its simple design is both bold and elegant and it sits on six hexagonal shaped steel legs. This table comes from the collection of British filmmaker, Bryan Forbes, best known for directing ‘The Stepford Wives’.

Estimate: £3,000-5,000

'Made in Britain' // Sotheby's

This month’s ‘Made In Britain’ sale at Sotheby’s had an impressive collection of works from Britain’s leading artists, designers, photographers, ceramicists and printmakers. The sale aimed to celebrate the diversity and innovative spirit of these British artists and really succeeded. We had a difficult decision choosing just a few of our favourites, but take a look at some of our highlights and let us know what caught your eye!

Howard Hodgkin’s work always catches our eye for its expressive colouring. The work below, entitled Moonlight (1980) is a beautiful lithograph printed in colours with additional hand-colouring. Hodgkin is one of Britain’s most important printmakers and painters and his bold style is completely captivating. Since the 1970s expressive patterning has dominated his work, combining printmaking techniques, bold brushstrokes and bright daubs of paint to produce punchy abstract works that would instantly enliven a room.

There is a finely balanced tension that we find interesting in Victor Pasmore’s work; the balance of saturated colour and fine black strikes. We were drawn to this piece entitled Senza Titolo (1991) for its unified hue. A work like this can really inform a colour scheme if you are designing a new interior, or help to tie together an existing colour scheme. We are inspired by works of art and their expressive colours and often use them as starting points for a new project’s colour scheme.

There was also a fantastic selection of ceramics on sale. The four pouring vessels by Rupert Spira, below left, are beautifully elegant in their shape and blue glaze. We were also drawn to the ceramic pieces on sale by Lucie Rie. The footed bowl, below centre, has a beautiful matt blue glaze and bronzed rim. On sale were also ceramics from one of Britain’s most respected and influential potters, Bernard Leach. The fluted bowl, below right, is made from porcelain with a celadon glaze. Its size, form and neutral glaze give it a sense of timeless elegance that would sit beautifully in either a modern or classic home.

We were also struck by the painting on sale by Mary Fedden. Fedden’s work is characterised by her use of bold, often contrasting, expressive colours. The vivid colours in the painted still life, below, left, with reds, purples and greens would really bright a vibrant splash of colour to a neutral room. We often enjoy pairing vibrant works of art with interiors that have muted colour schemes, and tie it in with details like cushions that work with the colours.

With the Tate’s major retrospective on this month, we were also looking out for works by Barbara Hepworth. The lithograph printed in black and yellow, below left, is beautifully harmonious and would perfectly compliment an interior with a muted and subtle colour scheme. The screen print, below right, by Ben Nicholson has been printed on woven silk. The delicate quality of the material blends beautifully with his subtle and sensitive colour scheme. Whether your interior is modern or classic, works of art that are elegant and subtle like this piece can really add charm to your home.

The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair - Autumn 2015

As you might have noticed from our recent blog posts, we’ve been going to every antiques and art fair this summer in London.  This week we had a lovely time this week visiting The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair in Battersea, their 30th fair. Here are a few of our favourite pieces.

We’ve featured items from Hugh Leuchars before, he specialises in 18th Century continental furniture, particularly French furniture, so we always seem to find a piece that catches our eye.  We like the charm of his pieces, while they follow classic styles they often feature playful elements like the pieces below. 

Shane Meredith’s display was also full of intriguing and beautiful pieces of English and Continental furniture. We particularly liked this late 18th Century commode made from yew and walnut woods.

We were pleased to see Dominic Everest and his collection of stunning Ziegler carpets. Dominic set up his business at the age of 22 and has continued to make a name for himself, supplying carpets to iconic British estates. The Ziegler carpet, below right, from 1880 has a beautiful colour scheme, combining reds and greens. As well as artworks, we have also used carpets as inspiration for an interiors colour scheme. If a centrepiece like this really catches your eye, its colours and patterning can act as a starting point when deciding colours, textures and decoration for an interior design project.


'Style and Spirit' at Christie's

We were very keen on exploring Christie’s sale ‘Style and Spirit’ this September as its features a carefully chosen selection of piece from Core One’s collection. Sadly, Core One Antiques, known for being one of the best and most discerning spaces in London to buy antiques has been forced out from their Kings Road gasworks location. Some of the dealers who shared the space are moving together to a converted aircraft hangar in Gloucestershire so thankfully Core One will live on. Christie’s has marked this moment by auctioning a selection of Core One’s finest pieces, among other spectacular pieces from various sources for ‘Style and Spirit’.

We wanted to share a selection of our favourite pieces from the sale.

We were struck by this marvellous collection of ten French armchairs. Painted blue, they have elegant circular seats within a wire-work frame. They were designed by Pascal Mourgue who aimed to design pieces of furniture that were both modern in design but had a timeless style. He focussed on designing for both home and office interiors. His initial training in sculpture was stayed embedded in his furniture design, and these armchairs are a beautiful example of his sculptural moulding.

Estimate: £1,000-1,500

This Italian stone console table really stood out as being a unique piece. Atop its stone legs sits a stunning specimen marble top. The top is inset with various onyx, granite and breccia marble specimens. While its top has a real sense of luxury, its simple design give it an overall elegance that would sit perfectly in either a classic or modern interior and compliment a subtle colour palette.

Estimate: £1,500-2,500

We loved the elegant simplicity of this Italian vellum and fruitwood sideboard. It was designed by Paolo Buffa in c. 1940 and features a beautiful pleated satin top. Buffa worked initially as an architect and even had a brief stint working for Gio Ponti. Alongside designing incredible buildings including country houses and civic buildings, Buffa designed tables, carpets, lighting and even an espresso machine. He employed renowned artisans such as Mario Quarti and Angelo Marelli to build his stunning pieces of furniture. Buffa's trademark style blends both classical and modern design elements, which is why this sideboard caught our eye. Its elegance means it would look stunning in either a modern or classic interior, and it has a timeless beauty while still hinting at its Midcentury origin.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

While the items of furniture on sale definitely stood out for us, we were surprisingly drawn to this abstract composition by Charles Gordon. It’s abstract dotted patterning also reminded us of Australian Aboriginal dot paintings. We often find that as well as complimenting an existing interior, if you are really drawn to a particular work of art it can inform and dictate the colour palette for a new interior design project. A work like this would look eye catching in an interior that was based around subtle tones with splashes of matching colours 

Estimate: £1,500-2,000

Christie’s Interiors Sale // September

Christie’s has another fantastic Interiors sale this month.

Do you read Christie’s Interiors magazine? We love receiving our copy each month as it is always filled with interior design inspiration and interviews, if you want to read more just click here

We love attending the Interiors sales each month, there are always stand-out and unique items of furniture, works of art and decorative objects. We source items for our clients, as part of projects and as a one-off, so we are always on the lookout for interesting pieces as well as spotting the latest trends. This month Christie’s Interiors sale impressed once again, here are some of our favourite items from the sale …

Take a look at this charming French three-piece salon suite from the late 19th Century. The small sofa and two armchairs are made from French giltwood in a classic Louis XVI style. They have been designed with a Louis XVI style tapestry which depicts sweet scenes of children and animals. Their subtle colouring could blend beautifully in a sitting room with a muted colour palette.

Also on sale were a group of three Chinese Thangkas which particularly intrigued us. Thangkas are Tibetan Buddhist paintings either on cotton or silk appliqué which most commonly depicts a Buddhist scene, deity or madala. This group of Thangkas come from 19th and 20th Century China and the first thangka depicts an Avalokitesvara mandala, the second depicts a Mahottara Heruka mandala and the third represents Jambhala on a lion. Thangkas are traditionally hung on a wall and with a piece as elaborate and stunning as this, this could form the inspiration for your interior or room’s colour palette.

This Famille verte bottle vase from 19th Century China also caught our eye. Its exterior is beautifully decorated with continuous floral motifs separated at the shoulder by impressive emblems. The base has been painted with an apocryphal Kangxi mark. Decorative pieces like this can add a real character and eclecticism to your interior.

This pair of parcel-gilt tripod tables really stood out for their sense of elegance. Made from rosewood, their tops have been decorated with gilt and ebonised palmettes on a spiral turned base. The bases are Regency from c. 1800 while the tops are a later addition. 

We also loved these charming brass and glass wall appliqués. Made in the 1930s, they were most likely designed by Bagues in Paris. Bagues set up his business as a creator of art lighting in France in 1840 and became known internationally once he began incorporating bronze lighting. Bagues' recognition rapidly rose with the use of electricity by the end of the 19th Century and set them out as one of the most popular lighting companies in the world. These wall appliqués have mirror backs which support a pair of scrolled candle branches hung with clear glass beads. They also feature fruit decoration with green glass foliage.

Christie's Interiors August 2015

Christie’s South Kensington is celebrating its 40th year with some fantastic talks and events. This week we attended a the Christie’s Interiors August auction and a talk on The Art of Interior Design with some great speakers including James McWhirter and Sarah Morris of McWhirter Morris. The talk covered how to decorate small spaces and decorating a room using both antique and modern furniture - James described redecorating a small flat in London cleverly using every inch of space and using a four-poster bed in the bedroom which made it incredibly inviting.

You might have noticed from our previous blog posts that we make sure to take advantage of London’s cultural events and networks since we also source art and antiques for clients, either as part of a project or as a one-off. We visit as many art, antiques and designs fairs as we can and are always on the lookout for unique pieces. Here are some of our favourite pieces from Christie’s Interiors August auction – the auction is on August 18th so do pop along to take a look at what’s on sale.

Alongside items of furniture are a stunning selection of 20th and 21st Century paintings. The work of Polish painter Zdzislaw Ruszkowski (1907-1991) particularly caught our eye. During the 1930s Ruszowski moved to France where he discovered the work of Cezanne and was hugely inspired by his colouring and Post-Impressionistic approach. There is a beautiful and sensitive lyricism in Ruszowski’s work, aided by his playful yet harmonious colour schemes.

We were also intrigued by these coloured chalk drawings by John Golding. The colour scheme, with subtle hints and richer tones could provide the perfect inspiration for an interior’s colour scheme. This is a great example of how one piece, like a work of art, can really influence and dictate your interior design choices.

 

Masterpiece London 2015 // Part II

Masterpiece is one of our favourite fairs, its quality of exhibitors and variety of displays really is unrivalled. In our last blog post we showcased the exquisite pieces of jewellery and furniture that caught our eye at Masterpiece Fair 2015 in London. This time, we wanted to show you the beautiful works of art that shone our for us at the fair.

We are often asked by first time buyers for advice on starting a collection and Masterpiece Fair is our top suggestion. This year's fair features over 150 exhibitors showcasing items that span across 4,000 years. The exhibitors level of expertise is also invaluable and with such eclecticism it really is the perfect fair to find a piece that works for you. 

We always keep an eye out for artworks that could really help compliment an interior. We source artworks and furniture not only as part of a project but also as a one-off for clients so we're always keen to seek out new pieces on the market. If an artwork really captures your attention you can even use it's colouring as a starting point for your colour scheme, or use it to suit an existing palette to really help tie in your interior's colour scheme.

We are frequently drawn to paintings by Ivon Hitchens, so were drawn to Christopher Kingzett's stand who had several on display. Their tonality and semi-abstract nature can so perfectly compliment either a new or existing colour scheme, adding character and charm without dominating the space.

As well as an impressive array of paintings, there were some exquisite sculptural works on display, particularly at Sladmore Gallery and Sladmore Contemporary. Mark Coreth had a selection of bronze sculptures on display at Sladmore Contemporary, with smaller pieces on sale that would be perfectly versatile to display at home. He is inspired by his time spent in Kenya and the animals that he grew up sharing land with. His quick modelling technique aims to capture the animal's movement, and we like the way his fingerprints and modelling marks remain on each work.

Philip Mould & Company also had a selection of spectacular works of art, as usual. They focus on British art and the Old Masters, both of which are a real passion of ours. They had several works by Welsh painter Augustus John. As well as being a painter, John was a draughtsman and etcher and is known for his portraiture work. For a brief period he worked in a post-impressionist style, which remained influential to his style although returning to a more classical approach. It is his beautiful and elegant sense of light and colour that appeals to us. He often sticks to a relatively close hued colour palette which means, if chosen well, his paintings can provide a harmony with an interior's existing colour scheme.

Masterpiece London 2015 // Part I

Masterpiece is undoubtedly one of London's stand-out Art & Antiques fairs. There were over 150 exhibitors with items on display that span 4,000 years of art and design history at this year's fair. We are often asked for advice from first-time buyers hoping to start a collection, and on many occasions we point them in Masterpiece's direction. It isn't just the sheer quantity of exhibitors and items available, but their guaranteed quality. We also admire the enthusiasm and knowledge of the exhibitors. Another piece of advice we always give is that if you're unsure about what to buy or just unsure about what you're looking at; always ask the exhibitors, their passion and expertise really is invaluable and they are always on hand to help.

Did you visit Masterpiece this year? Let us know what items caught your eye, and take a look at at Part I of our blogs on Masterpiece 2015, highlighting the pieces that stood out for us. Take a look at Part II to see our top picks of this year's works of art on display.

Alongside antique furniture and works of art there were some truly exquisite pieces of jewellery on display. One exhibitor that really caught our attention was Veronique Bamps. Veronique, who is based in Monaco, has devoted herself to collecting European and American jewellery dating from the 19th Century to the 1950s. She had on display some classic pieces from renowned designers. We loved her selected of Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery, take a look at the brooch below from 1966, platinum set with brilliant cut and baguette diamonds. The Van Cleef & Arpels cocktail ring in yellow gold with brilliant cut diamonds would be a true head turner!

88-Gallery had some fantastic pieces of furniture and lighting on display. They are based between London, Belgium, Paris and Hong Kong so are able to source top pieces from across Europe and outside, particularly from France, Belgium and Italy. They had a selection of cabinets stunningly decorated with vibrant turquoise. The precious stones give them a real sense of luxury, while their classic shape make them more versatile and brass finishings help to provide an elegant touch. In a neutral room with a subtle colour tone, these could really add a vibrance and splash of colour. 

Another truly striking piece of furniture to catch our eye was this console table by Irish designer Joseph Walsh made from Olive Ash and glass on display from Peter Petrou. The piece is beautifully hand crafted in his studio in Cork and comes from his famous 'Enignum' series. He is inspired by his wild coastal surroundings in Ireland, the landscape he grew up with. He manipulates and bends the wood as far as he can, allowing its natural curves to come through creating undulating and sinuous forms that flow through each other. A console table like this would be a spectacular centre piece in a sitting room, especially in a country or coastal home where it could reflect its natural surroundings.

Every Object Tells A Story ... Part II

'Every Object Tells A Story' indeed proves it point, we were utterly intrigued by the works of art, furniture, antiques and precious objects on display at 33 Fitzroy Square. All works have been chosen and curated by dealer Oliver Hoare and every piece has both a historic and personal story. We were captivated by almost every piece in the exhibition, it was so hard to choose just a few favourites we've posted two blogs about it. Here part 2 showing the pieces that really stood out to us. 

We were intrigued by this alchemist’s porphyry mercury bowl from the 14th Century. Oliver discovered it at Christopher Gibbs’ ‘mysterious lair’ as he describes it, and it was the mystery of this piece that caught our attention. Mercury was one of the most central elements in alchemy, together with sulfur and salt.

 

This Ottoman cabinet from 17th Century Istanbul immediately grabbed our attention for its spectacular decoration and detail. It reflects the new flamboyancy of the 17th Century against the more austere fashions of the previous century. It also matches the furniture in Topkapi Palace and the Sultan’s lodge at the Yeni Cami mosque.

This double bass is perhaps one of the most intriguing pieces we saw, it was commissioned for the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso in the 1920s. Alongside his spiritual life, Thubten Gyatso was apparently obsessed with American Jazz music. The double bass has a black lacquered hardwood body, its fret-board is stretched with python skin and its base features a painted howling demon. The instrument’s case is just as spectacular; beautifully painted with Buddhist symbols and lined with gold-embroidered silks.

Every Object Tells A Story ... Part I

Last week we visited the incredible exhibition in Fitzroy Square 'Every Object Tells A Story'. The exhibition showcases art dealer Oliver Hoare’s wonderfully eclectic and unique  ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, with 250 personally chosen objects that span across 5,000 years. Truly unique, this exhibition certainly explores and proves its title’s statement; ‘Every Object Tells a Story’.

Every object on display has its own history, tales, aesthetic symbolism and secrets … so it was a tricky choice to pick our favourites, but we wanted to share some of the items that truly stood out for us. In fact we had so many favourite pieces we've split them into two blog posts!

This stone piece from Western Asia, 3rd millennium BC represents the mythical ‘Hero’ figure. It is astounding in its implications, linking to the earliest questionings of human beings of the purpose of existence. The figure relates to the old Babylonian tablets that bear the Epic of Gilgamesh, the hero-king of Urak.

As with all of the pieces, this Gandhara grey schist head of the Buddha has a personal history for Oliver. During his time at Christie’s in the late 60s, Oliver cleared shipments through customs for Oxus owner David Lindhal making sure they were genuinely antique. He was stunned when he saw this 3rd Century AD work from Afghanistan. It reflects the Indian embodiment of spiritual beauty and shows the influence of ancient Greek ideals of beauty on Ghandara art.

This was one of the most powerfully totemic pieces from the exhibition; the ‘Mirror of the Soul’ from Iran around 12-13th Century. Although it originated in China, this type mirror became increasingly familiar in Iran from the 12th Century as well as in Iranian literature. It was used as a mystical symbol of the soul, an allegory for its polished possibilities to be enlightened by spiritual practices.

Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair 2015

Last week we visited the Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair 2015 in Kensington Olympia. This is London’s largest and longest-running art and antiques fair, as expected the fair was very impressive. We were excited to see such an eclectic and diverse range of items on sale, as well as art and antiques there were some stunning pieces of jewelry, glass, prints, posters, sculpture and silverware to name but a few.

If you’re a first time buyer we often recommend visiting this fair, along with the diversity in genres, the prices range from anything between £100 to £1,000,000! As always, we had our favorites, and there were some standout pieces that really caught our attention.

Hugh Leuchars had this fantastic French armchair on sale. He specialises in 18th Century continental furniture, particularly French furniture, so we always seem to find a piece that catches our eye. We love finding pieces that have a beautiful and elegant aesthetic, but practicality and functionality is always important to us as well. With its divine green upholstery, classic shape and soft finish, this chair perfectly combines comfort with style.

Miles Davis-Kielar had some exquisite drawings by Paul Cesar Helleu on display. Helleu is known for his drawings of beautiful society women of the Belle Époque era. He has a real sensitivity of style in both his drawings and engravings and although his female subjects typify the French culture of the time, their beauty and elegance become timeless. His son and grandson both became artistic directors of Chanel, so his style certainly had an influence on them!

House & Garden had a terrific display, HOUSE, that showcased both leading and emerging designers. They chose to highlight and showcase British craftsmanship and it was brilliant to see so many young designers keeping craft alive and learning from the established designers. We particularly enjoyed visiting Hector Finch’s lighting display. 

We always enjoy visiting Geoffrey Stead’s display. Geoffrey divides his time between the south of France and England, leaving plenty of opportunities to collect on his European travels. These Italian bedside tables (c.1800) caught our eye for their impressive finish and condition and rich colour. At Devas Designs we often favour classic and elegant shapes that have a great deal of versatility while remaining stylish and unique. The classic shape of these bedside tables makes them perfect for a arrange of interiors. In a modern, simple interior they could add a real sense of elegant grandeur, while they could also beautifully compliment a more decorative and traditional room.

Art Antiques London 2015 Fair

We had a lovely time this week visiting Art Antiques London 2015 fair in the stunning surroundings of Kensington Gardens. The fair sits near the site of the Great Exhibition of 1851 so the location is steeped in creative history! On display were some spectacular pieces from artworks, ceramics and jewelry to rare books, textiles and furniture. We loved the variety and eclecticism of the exhibits as well as the insightful lecture programme with experts travelling to share their knowledge.

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As always though, we were drawn to some very specific pieces – here’s a selection of our favourite pieces from the fair.

We were really struck by this unique piece on display at Christopher Buck Antiques. This French walnut shell-shaped stool (c.1860) most likely served as a stool for a harp of cello. The piece is highly unusual and features a beautifully carved shell shaped seat on a triple leg cariole stand.

We are always looking out for artworks that can be incorporated into our clients interiors. The Canon Gallery had a delightful display of modern British, European and Victorian paintings and we loved this red chalk and pencil drawing by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. The drawing stood out for us as it is a study for Andromeda, a popular female subject for Burne-Jones, which features in many of his sketches in the Tate’s collection.

Another art dealer that we are always keen to follow is Anthony Hepworth Fine Art, so we headed straight for their display. They always have a fantastic display of British artworks that can really contribute and help enliven a colour scheme. We often like some of their more abstract pieces that evoke space and light with their harmonious use of colour. This piece by Colin Bishop (below left) for example could really play into an interior with blue, grey and green hues. This work by renowned British artist Graham Sutherland (below right) takes a more figurative approach and could beautifully contribute to both a subdued interior and modern collection. They also had some beautiful works by Ivon Hitchens, a personal favourite of ours for his subtle tonality and colours.

Brian Haughton Gallery always has some fine 18th and 19th English and continental ceramics, so we instantly spotted this dessert plate at their display. Unsurprisingly this Hans Sloane Botanical dessert plate is extremely rare. It is of the Red Anchor period and is charmingly painted with a fruiting fig, branches, leaves, butterflies and insects. This characterful piece would add a real charm if displayed in a classic interior.

 

Three Country House Collections at Christie's

You might have noticed by now that at Devas Designs we always love to catch the best sales at Christie’s. As well as finding unique and exciting items for our clients, the sales also serve as a great source of inspiration for us.  This week we attended the Glebe House, Mont Pellier and Woodbury House: Three Country House Collections auction. We wanted to share a few of the items that really stood out for us.

We loved this Regency table, which came from Glebe House. Glebe House was the property of late Anthony Hobson, the world’s leading expert on Renaissance bookbinding. His meticulous approach to his work is clearly reflected in his refined collection that he amassed during his life. He was also fascinated in the notion of the Grand Tour and his collection is a true showcase of European artistic craftsmanship. The Regency table below is brass-mounted, parcel-guilt and ebonised and has a beautiful hand-coloured panel depicting Psyche on the top.

Estimate: £800-1,200

Price realised: £1,500

We were also immediately drawn to this George III mahogany breakfront library bookcase, also from Glebe House. The four astragal-glazed doors together with his mahogany finish and impressive size make it a very impactful piece. It follows a classic 18th Century design and could beautifully display a large book collection.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

Price Realised: £4,375

The shape of this George III mahogany tub bergere caught our eye. The rounded back and serpentine seat with tapered paneled legs give it a real classic elegance. The aged leather really appealed to us as it would look lovely in a country house, either in a modern or traditional interior.

Estimate: £2,000-4,000

Price realised: £6,625

We were also intrigued by this George IV brass-mounted beech daybed, which came from the collection at Woodbury House in Hampshire, owned by the late Mr and Mrs Anthony Samuel. The Samuels inherited a large collection which they continued to add to, they were known as generous hosts, always entertaining no doubt to show off their collection! We thought this daybed could be exquite if re-upholstered with an interesting fabric and would look divine in a sitting room.

Estimate: £700-1,000

From Roentgen to Faberge at Christie's

Another exquisite auction was held at Christie’s last week. ‘From Roentgen to Faberge’ contains stunning pieces from a single European private collection. The collection was formed over three decades by a connoisseur whose taste was clearly impeccable. There were many standout pieces, but we’ve chosen a few that particularly interested us.

As expected, many French pieces caught our eye, particularly this pair of Louis XV grey painted fauteuils (c. 1755-60). Each has a channeled frame and cartouche-shaped padded back and serpentine seat. Their peach mohair velvet coverings give them a beautiful and elegant lightness combined with a rich texture. They were made by Jean and Jean-Rene Nadal, the Parisien Nadal family of furniture makers who had a flourishing business during the mid 18th Century and were known for their master skills, craftsmanship and fashionable Louis XV style. 

Estimate: £4,000 – 6,000

Price Realised: £4,000

There were several dinner service sets on auction as well as this Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica part dinner service. This Danish design varied from the grand Russian gilt set underneath, instead painted with a feminine flower design with serrated gilt rims.

Estimate: £25,000 -35,000

Price Realised: £74,500

While we often like to focus on simple and elegant pieces, this lavish and luxurious Russian porcelain dinner service (c. 1840) couldn’t help but grab our attention. The set features plates and dishes all decorated with gilt scrolling acanthus, with a gilt rosette at the centre. The dinner set is steeped in history as it came from the dowry service of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna. Its grand history and appearance would make a tremendous and memorable addition to a dinner party.

Estimate: £10,000 – 20,000

Price Realised: £35,000

This next piece, a hardstone and diamond table ornament is admittedly a slightly more characterful choice for us. Among the carved spray of wild strawberries are nephrite jade leaves and white hardstone flowers with diamond centres. The gilt stems add a further dazzling touch as does its grand jasper plinth.

Estimate: £3,00 - 5,000

Price Realised: £13,750