Category Archives: History

Balmain Antiques

Balmain Antiques, dealers in fine art, bronzes, 20th century glass, Beatles memorabilia and other interesting and unusual antiques

Balmain Antiques

Dealer in fine art, bronzes, 20th century glass, Beatles memorabilia and other interesting and unusual antiques.

Balmain Antiques will be exhibiting at the Rose Antiques Fairs York Racecourse Antiques Decorative and Fine Art Fair on the 8-9 June 2018.

For further information about any of the items displayed on this page, e-mail Balmain Antiques at keithdenny@hotmail.com

 

Marmaduke’s Emporium

The Marmaduke's Emporium stand at the 2016 York Racecourse Antiques Decorative and Fine Art Fair

The Marmaduke’s Emporium stand at the 2016 York Racecourse Antiques Decorative and Fine Art Fair

Marmaduke’s Emporium

Dealers in fine 18th, 19th and 20th century ceramics.

Marmaduke’s Emporium will be exhibiting at the Rose Antiques Fairs York Racecourse Antiques Fair on the 8 – 9 June 2017.

For further information about stock and an informal discussion, e-mail Marmaduke’s Emporium at richard.m.collier@btopenworld.com

Rose Antiques Fairs York Racecourse Antiques, Decorative and Fine Art Fair 8 – 9 June 2018

York Racecourse Antiques Decorative and Fine Art Fair – Entry £5

Rose Antiques Fairs Ltd was established to provide York with an annual high quality, dealer led antiques fair.  Our first fair was held at The University of York in June 2015, and we moved to York Racecourse (Postcode YO23 1EX) in 2016 to allow the fair to double in size. Since then the fair has grown to become the largest high quality fully stand fitted fair in Yorkshire, making it a must visit event for any antiques enthusiast.

The next fair will be held at York Racecourse on Friday 8th – Saturday 9th June 2018. Spread over two floors, there will be an extensive collection of antiques, fine art and decorative wares from the medieval to the modern day.

The fair will be a real day out, and will host a selling exhibition of Blue John jewellery by Treakcliff Cavern, Castleton, Derbyshire, along with a series of lectures. Check the website for the full program and times.

The Fair will open at 10am and close at 5pm on both the Friday and the Saturday.

Entrance is £5 per person

There is ample free parking at the venue.

 

Directions to York Racecourse YO23 1EX

Head towards York along the A64. Take the A1036 (Tadcaster Road) into York and continue towards York.  After approximately 1.8 miles turn right into Knavesmire Road.Continue along Knavesmire Road into Campleshon Road. The carpark will be on the right just as you turn into Campleshon Road.

Selection stands at the 2017 Rose antiques fairs York racecourse antiques Decorative and Fine art fair

Selection of stands at the 2017 Rose Antiques Fairs Ltd York Racecourse Antiques Decorative and Fine Art Fair.

Press Release

Art & Antique Dealers building on York’s reputation as The Cultural Capital of The North

York Antiques Fair

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Wigs On The Green

Wood lady - - an animated miniature portrait of a young lady by a leading artist from the heyday of miniature painting, William Wood. Set in the original gold frame.    Price: £3,200

Wood lady – – an animated miniature portrait of a young lady by a leading artist from the heyday of miniature painting, William Wood. Set in the original gold frame.    Price: £3,200

Wigs On The Green

Established by Cynthia McKinley in 2000, Wigs On The Green specialises in fine portrait miniatures, silhouettes, and small portraits, predominantly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Portraits are selected for their historical interest and character. They are not only by listed artists but also those who painted and drew for their own entertainment and pleasure – true to life portraits, with real character and, often, a pretty face!

Wigs on the Green will be exhibiting at the York Racecourse Antiques Decorative and Fine Art Fair on the 8th 9th June 2018.

For further information about stock and an informal discussion, e-mail Wigs On The Green at cynthia@wigsonthegreen.co.uk or for an informal chat about any of the items on this page call +44(0) 1904 794711 or +447962 257915.

 

 

 

Garth Vincent Antique Arms & Armour

Small selection of the antique Arms and Armour available from Garth Vincent at the York racecourse Antiques Decorative and Fine Art Fair.

Small selection of the antique Arms and Armour available from Garth Vincent at the York racecourse Antiques Decorative and Fine Art Fair.

Suppliers of fine antique flintlock pistols, long guns, percussion pistols, military swords, Japanese swords and a wide range of antique arms & armour with an incredible stock of items dating from the English Civil War right up to World War II.

Garth Vincent Antique Arms & Armour will be exhibiting at the Rose Antiques Fairs York Racecourse Antiques Fair on the 10 – 11 June 2017.

For further information or to view, buy or pre-order any of the arms and armour above or to view further stock items see the Garth Vincent web web site at http://www.garthvincent.com or e-mail Garth Vincent at info@garthvincent.com. Alternatively for an informal chat about any stock item phone Dominic Vincent on +4401400 281 358

Rose Antiques Fairs York Racecourse Antiques, Decorative & Fine Art Fair, 8th and 9th June 2018

York Antiques FairUp to 70 top dealers over two floors with quality antique maps, netsuke, silver, watches, fountain pens, 18th to 20th century ceramics, fine art, jewellery, arms and armour, country furniture, treen,  art nouveau, arts and crafts, art deco and decorative 20th century pieces.

Disabled access, free parking, on-site catering & talks/events

Opening Times

  • Friday 8 June 10am – 5pm
  • Saturday 9 June10am – 5pm

Entrance £5 per person.

Selection stands at the 2017 Rose antiques fairs York racecourse antiques Decorative and Fine art fair

Selection stands at the 2017 Rose antiques fairs York racecourse antiques Decorative and Fine art fair

Revue Thommen & The History of Vertex Watches

Revue Thommen & The History of Vertex watches

On of the pleasures of being in the antiques trade and specialising in vintage watches is that we occasionally come across the more unusual makes such as Vertex. Many collectors know very little about Thommens Uhrenfabrik AG, the company that made them.

The history of Thommens Uhrenfabrik AG goes back to 1853 and the establishment of the Societe d’Horlogerie à Waldenburg in Waldenburg Switzerland. The Societe  was later taken over by Louis Tschopp and Gédéon Thommen in 1859 and eventually fell under the sole ownership of Gédéon Thommen who renamed the company Gédéon Thommen – Uhrenfabrikation (Gédéon Thommen – Clockmaker). He, like many watch manufactures, started to build lever movements and developed a manufacturing process that allowed components to be precision made thus making parts exchangeable. By 1885 the company invented the “Springeruhr GT” Watch. During this period watch production steadily ramped up such that by 1890, when Alphonse Thommen took over ownership of the company because of his fathers unexpected death, the company was producing 13,000 watches per year. Under the direction of Alphonse the company was registered as the limited company Thommens Uhrenfabrik AG in 1905. He, then registered the trademark Revue to meet the increasing demand for wristwatches whilst opening additional factories in Waldenburg, gelterkinden and Langenbruck. By the 1930s the Vertex Watch Company (see Mikrolisk The Horological Trade mark Index)  had become the sole importers of Thommens Uhrenfabrik AG movements into the UK. (see Mikrolisk The Horological Trade mark Index).  According Mikrolisk the Vertex Watch Company was first registered on the 7 July 1916 in Pendulen; La Chaux-de-Fonds, Schweiz, 37 and 38 (Diamond House) at Hatton Garden, London and an office in Newbury England by Claude Lyons. Vertex initially imported complete watches from Switzerland, but later imported movements to be used in their own Bristish made gold cases. The cases of the latter were made by  A.L. Dennison in Hansworth, Birmingham until the production eventually moved to Shackman’s of Chesham.

Vertex Watches Figure 1Early wristwatches were very functional, most consisted of a modified pocket watch with simple wire lugs. However, by the 1920s and early 1930s watches were becoming heavily influenced by the art deco styles. Thus Thommens Uhrenfabrik AG started to make some really very striking art deco design timepieces such as the unusual bow shaped Vertex gentleman’s  watch in Figure 1. Unfortunately the economic crash of the 1930s hit watch making hard, but Thommens Uhrenfabrik AG responded by establishing the company Thommen which manufactured aviation navigational instruments and time pieces, many of which were bought by the British and German armed forces.

Towards the end of WW2 Vertex along withVertex watches Figure 2 11 other watch manufacturers (The so called “Dirty Dozen”) was invited by the British War Department to produce Wristwatch, Waterproof (WWW) military watches (Figure 2). These watches all adhered to the same specifications; a clear luminous dial, an accurate 15 jewel movement, a subsidiary second hand, a shatterproof Perspex crystal and a tough waterproof case. Strangely, these watches were not shock-proofed. The vertex version was fitted with the robust Review Thommen Cal59 movement. WWW watches are now becoming increasingly valuable as they steadily disappear into private collections. Post WW2 in the 1950s, Vertex used this link with military watches as a component of their advertising campaigns in the UK implying that their watches were accurate and durable (Figure 3).

Vertex watches Figure 3Thommens Uhrenfabrik AG continued developing new watch movements for domestic use and for use by Vertex in the UK during the 1950s and early 1960s with the GT 82, GT44, GT54, GT56, GT12 and GT14, however in 1961 MSR Holding was founded (Manufactures d’Horlogeries Suisses Réunies. This consortium consisting of the Phenix Watch Company, Revue Thommen, Vulcain and Buser Freres & Co aimed at rationalising watch production in an attempt reduce manufacturing costs and so enhance profitability. In this consortium Vulcain was responsible for commercialising the products, whilst Revue Thommen was responsible for manufacturing parts and, Phenix was responsible for assembly.  MSR Holding continued operations right the way through until its dissolution in 2000, however, Revue Thommens are still making high quality sporting watches to this day.

The Japanese Netsuke: Form and Function by J.A. Yarwood

Netsuke (pronounced “netskee”) are Japanese functional toggles, often carved and decorated. The kimono, the traditional clothing of the Japanese, had no pockets. Instead a sometimes multi layered box called an Inro was worn, suspended from cords which were pushed up under the Obi, the broad band of fabric that was worn around the waist. The netsuke, through which the cords passed, allowed the suspension of the inro which was used to carry a variety of objects, from seals to medicines.

Hand Carved Wooden NetsukeNetsuke were also used to facilitate the suspension of other items from the obi. Pipe cases, (kiseruzutsu) tobacco boxes and pouches. The collective name for all these items is “sagemono”.

18th Century Ivory Netsuke of SamuraiThe first netsuke were simple sticks or sometimes stones to which the cords were tied, these, over time were replaced by pieces of ivory or bone, still in the traditional stick shape, now with a hole for the cord to pass through. This was called the “himotoshi”. The stick form of netsuke is known as “Sashi”.

Although there are many different forms of netsuke, the most sought after are the “katabori”. These are sculptural netsuke and show a wide range of subjects from mythical creatures, animals, day to day objects and people. Through various levels of research, it is usually possible to identify the meaning behind the carving and sometimes the type of person that would have owned or used the netsuke.

A fine example of this is shown here. This hand carved mid-late nineteenth century ivory netsuke shows two Sennins. A Sennin is a Japanese hermit, known for living Two Seninsin isolation on mountaintops. There are over eight hundred different Sennins in Japanese mythology. The Sennin on the left is Gamma Sennin with his pet toad. He is recognized as a wise man who specialises in medicine. If someone was ill, a member of their family would trek to the top of the mountain to seek his advice. The one on the right is Chokaro Sennin. He is the only Sennin out of eight hundred who travels. He is always depicted with a staff and a gourd, in which he keeps a magical white horse, who will take him wherever he wishes to go.

This is a particularly rare netsuke as Sennins are normally never shown together, so why here? This is one of those rare occasions where it is possible to deduce the kind of person who owned and used the netsuke. He is most likely to have been a traveling Doctor – hence the two Sennins. Anyone who saw his netsuke would have instantly known his profession and would have been able to seek his advice.

Netsuke developed for over three hundred years in Japan and as their use died out at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, netsuke carvers pushed the boundaries of art and developed them as miniature sculptures. They are an endless source of fascination and delight, but as with all valuable and rare works of art, fakes and forgeries abound and if you wish to build a collection it is always worth buying from a reputable dealer, willing to guarantee authenticity.

History of the Timor Watch Company

Military watches have become very collectable over the past few years, especially those especially those made specifically for the British War Department towards the end of WW2. These watches were all marked WWW for Wristwatch Waterproof and all had to meet very strict specifications. The watches had to have black luminous dials, highly accurate 15 jewel movements housed in a rugged shock resistant waterproof case with a screw in back and a Dial positioned beneath a perspex shatterproof crystal. The war department gave the contract to make these watches to 12 Swiss watch manufacturers the so called “Dirty Dozen”. The Dirty Dozen included well-known brands including Cyma, Eterna Buren, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega and Record along with some lesser known brands including Grana, Timor (Figure 1) and Vertex. Of this later group, information about the Timor watch company is very scarce.

Figure 1 Timor Military WatchThe Timor Watch Co.SA was first registered by Bernheim and Luthy (Bernhiem & Co) in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland on the 30th may 1923 and was then later registered in 1927 in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Montilier. Switzerland (see Mikrolisk The Horological Trade Index) It seems that the company assembled watches from ebauches and cases supplied by other watch manufacurers and case makers. However, by 1939 Timor had developed and started to make its own high quality lever movement in their Montilier factory. The majority of the Timor watches were manufactured for export to England and the US. As a result of this Timor became an obvious choice for the British War Department as a supplier of wristwatch waterproof timepieces for the British military. The military watches they produced were very robust and fitted with the sturdy Timor Cal. 6060 movement, which was based on a highly modified A. Schild 1203 movement (Figure 2a).Figure 2 Timor 6060 Cal. Movement

Figure 3 1952 Timor 9ct Gold WatchPost war Timor seemed to use 17 jewel AS 1200 movements in their manual wind watches (Figure 2b). These watches, because of strong advertising campaigns, brand awareness related to the military connection and the rather catchy “trust Timor it’s tested” punch line acquire some popularity. During the 1950s Timor produced a range of watches in stainless steel, gold filled and solid gold (Figure 3) cases including the Voxor alarm watch fitted with the famed A. Schild 1475 Cal. movement. Post 1960 the Timor watch company seemed to steadily decline and disappear into obscurity.

 

Tea Drinking And The Origins of English Porcelain Manufacture

The history of tea drinking in England begins with Portuguese traders importing tea to Portugal. The exotic oriental nature of this new drink, along with its high price, soon brought it to the attention of the Portuguese Royal Court, where tea became highly fashionable. Samual Pepys diary records that small amounts of tea were being imported into England by 1660, but tea didn’t acquire popularity. It took the Restoration of the Monarchy and the marriage of Charles II to the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza in 1662 before tea gained favour in England. Catherine had been brought up with tea in the Portuguese court and brought the tea drinking habit with her to the English court. Very soon tea became fashionable at court from where tea drinking spread to the aristocracy. This led to the East India Company, founded in 1600, making its first order of 100lbs of China tea from Java in 1664. Throughout the rest of the 17th century the amounts of tea shipped into Britain by the East India Tea Company steadily increased, but tea really took off as a popular drink in the 18th century, such that by 1750 the East India Company was shipping in just under 5 million pounds of tea.

During the early to mid 18th century, the East India Trading Company shipped tea along with other goods from China to England. One of the problems with the shipping of perishable commodities from China to England was the length of the voyage. The return trip could take up to 22 months and sea water could get into the holds. In order to use this space profitably, the East India Company and its officers, who traded privately, began to buy inexpensively manufactured Chinese porcelain teaware from dealers in Canton. As the teaware was sea water resistant, it could be used as ballast by packing it into the lower, leaky parts of the hold. The teaware could then be sold at 3-4 times the price paid on arrival in England. The availability of teaware further promoted tea drinking and the sale of tea.

Most of the Chinese porcelain imported by the East India Company was landed at the company wharf at London Bridge and sold via East India House in Leadenhall Street to a group of English merchants referred to as the London Chinamen. This had the effect of centralising the supply of teaware and Chinese porcelain in London.

Chinese porcelain was quite different to English and continental earthenware based ceramics. The Chinese porcelain was hard, glass-like and could withstand large changes in temperature, making it the perfect choice forFigure 1 New Hall Boy With The Butterfly Patterned Tea Bowl and Saucer C1790 tea drinkers. European pottery makers recognised the value of Chinese porcelain and strove to emulate it. In Europe, this was first achieved at Meissen near Dresden in 1709 by the development of a feldspar based paste supplemented with kaolin, fired at high temperatures. The English pottery manufacturers came up with an alternative, so called soft paste porcelain, formed from a combination of clay and frit (ground quartz) fired at lower temperatures than hard paste porcelain. One of the earliest manufacturers of soft paste porcelain was Bow circa 1749. Such was the value of the Bow paste, which incorporated bone ash, that it was said Robert Brown, the founder of Lowestoft, hid in a barrel at the Bow works to watch the mixing of the paste.

Figure 2 Worcester Tea Canister Circa 1770The development of English soft paste porcelains by Bow, Lowestoft, Chelsea, Derby and Worcester, and the later production of hard paste porcelains by New Hall and Keeling allowed English pottery makers to emulate the Chinese porcelains styles/patterns (Figures 1) or Europeanised Chinese styles (Figure 2) by producing tea wares of comparable translucency and quality. This rise in good quality English tea wares combined with an ever increasing import duty on Chinese porcelain, made the continued trade in Chinese tea wares unviable. This resulted in the East India Company ceasing its trade in imported Chinese porcelain in 1798, which left the English tea ware market to the English ceramics manufacturers.