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Gold Topped Scent Bottle

Here we present a gorgeous little scent bottle in its original shaped, folding case. The bottle itself is of cut glass (probably crystal) but is simple and elegant. Inside, the bottle has the world’s smallest stopper but the piece-de-resistance of this lovely bottle is its cap. Made in 14 carat gold and etched with a Greek key border and similar ring on the top. It is further imprinted with little four point designs in rows. The work is very fine and beautifully executed.

There are a few marks, quite hard to make out but showing an oak leaf in oval cartouche. Though we thought the bottle may have been 18th century, this oak leaf mark was used in the Netherlands from about 1850 onward. Although stylistically, the Greek Key was more common in the late 18th century; information on the oak-leaf mark prior to 1850 is scant so the bottle may still be earlier but hedging our bets here on mid-to-late 19th century.

The case is leather and is shaped to fit the bottle exactly – even down to having notches for the hinge on the lid. The case is further lined with blue silk and velvet (though the velvet has lost some of its colour. There has been a small amount of damage which means the top section of the case doesn’t meet fully but given its age, this is forgivable.

Dimensions:

Case:
A little over 10 cm x 4 cm,
Leather with swing hook clasp
Top lined in blue silk, base in blue velvet
Bottle:
9 cm tall, 2.5 cm base diameter
14 carat gold top with Greek key design
Marked for Netherlands

If you are interested in this item, please fill in a contact form quoting the stock number AP2024

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A long story, made short and then lengthened again

flatback
Flatback to the drawing board

How time flies…and other such bon mots of clicheville. I hadn’t realised it had been over a month since my last post but it has, it seems, and as the minutes, hours, days and weeks headed south for the winter, so my attention was turned to other things.

Anyone in business will understand that if something isn’t working it needs changing. Cue some hefty decision making and sacrifices on our part to try and head in a more profitable direction. Our main aim (that’s business partner and myself) is to be able to find ourselves a bigger place to live. We currently occupy a shoebox. One where the architect’s aim was to capitalise on the ground space available rather than the living conditions. There is a slight similarity with Victorian living for us: cramped conditions and too many ornaments, though thankfully we do have running water and an inside toilet.

We’re not after a jet set lifestyle (though a holiday would be nice), or loose cars and fast women; there are no ambitions towards rock n’ roll hedonism just a second bathroom, a kitchen with more than a metre of worktop space and a workshop for me so I don’t have to sand furniture outside in the rain.

The first part of realising this ambition began in November with our “Posh Fair”. Our relative success has spurred us on and we have now booked for four more this year. We have revamped our stock: collecting together beautiful objets d’art, fabulous jewellery and rare collectables (ouchies for the bank account). To clear out some of the bits n bobs which have been hanging around for so long they are, quite frankly, starting to hurt our eyes with their lingering, mouldering presence, we are also operating as wholesalers – let someone else deal with all the Staffordshire flatbacks, broken snuff boxes and bright copper kettles ( really not one of my favourite things).

This is a sweeping change. In one corner – top quality antiques, jewellery and fine art and in the other, old bits of brass, diamante and poorly executed daubs. Really? who can tell the difference I hear you ask. Well the discerning collector for a start. One who won’t quibble over price, who will expect to pay what an object is worth and who think the E in Ebay stands for evil.

I actually do, even after a week of cell blindness
I actually do, even after a week of cell blindness

As part of this business partner and I have decided to clear out our Etsy store by having a bit of a sale. Most of the stock will be removed and the shop will retail only the best quality (we may even move to Ruby Lane) Its hard work as there is a lot of sorting involved but we’re closing next  Monday for a complete revamp. So yes there is only one week to grab a bargain with a 25% discount.

All this, plus building the ultimate in office management suites (it should have been done in MS Access but quite frankly that sent shivers down my spine so I’ve ended up creating a rather magnificent, if I do say so, beast in Excel), has torn me away from the interwebs – a rent, I must confess , which has not been so difficult to bear.

So please, forgive our absence for a wee while longer. We will be back with a new name, new branding, new stock and of course our world beating Office Management Suite…if I ever get it finished. Now where did I leave that macro?

Follow us on social media: Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest  for more on these exciting developments as they happen.

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Port out, starboard home

Booking now
Booking now

It may, or may not depending on your point of view, be evident that after a week or so of daily posts, we have been a bit quiet of late. It’s all to do with timetables. We have so many regular (and irregular) engagements that there are obvious times when my laptop (I call it Saucy because its an HP) seems a million miles away and despite the obvious advantages of m-m-mobile technology the rigors of our schedule keep me at a fingertip distance from my beloved interwebs.

We have weathered some real peaks and troughs this week: after a VERY dry spell we have had some spectacular orders online, not least a bulk order of four items and yesterday (while shopping POSH, and more on that in a minute), both mine and business partners phones were cha-chinging like crazy – we are very pleased to have sold some pearls to the costume department at Warner Bros. studios in Hertfordshire so fingers crossed you’ll be seeing our necklaces in the movies very soon.

Sadly, and thanks to a contretemps between business partner, a vacuum cleaner and my camera (a Nikon D60 for anyone interested) we have given the last rights to my macro lens, but every cloud and all that and a new one is winging its way towards me as we speak. But the main excitement has been our extensive buying for our posh fair (see Antiques Takeaway) We have really stepped up the quality of goods thanks to the Wimborne antiques centre and some very generous traders. However in the pursuit of poshiness, our home – a shoe-box of  Borrower’s proportions – has the look and feel of the basement at the British Museum (or Steptoe’s yard for British sit-com fans)

It has also involved us wading through our online stock to find the creme-de-la-creme ready for the fair; this has been catalogued and will be soon relieved of duty on Etsy so there is plenty of “last chance to buy” going on.  We’re telling Twitter all about it but there are a few choice pieces shown in photographic form below as a sort of tribute to the macro lens. We just hope that aiming posh, with a yen for a 1st class berth with port out, starboard home lands us on the QE2 and not the Titanic.

We’d love to see you on Google+ page, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where you can find out all the last minute bargains before a mass delisting occurs

 

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Minimalism or The Bare Essentials?

I read an “interesting” article this morning. It seems that some lifestyle experts have concluded that what is wrong with people’s lives is the lack of intervention by lifestyle experts. The encouragement is that to clear the mind and centre the body we should all live without “stuff”
It serves no purpose but as a talking point
or a thing to brighten up a shelf.
It won’t however affect your state of mind
Basically, stuff is bad: it can really put a crimp on your lifestyle. I mean, all that dusting, maneuvering around pesky chairs and tables, putting holes in the plain white of your walls for the hanging of devilish shelves and of course the ever-present risk of a stubbed toe. The best thing, so we are advised, is to paint everything white, remove all traces of existence from our living spaces and sit on spikes in cold, un-characterful rooms.
The problems associated with everyday life, so the article suggested, are not really as some of us stupidly think, to do with jobs, money or even wider socio-economic problems…nope, it’s just that we all have too much stuff. We fill the void of work, money and environment by having stuff we don’t need. And in having too much stuff we invariably hate our jobs a little bit more, struggle to make ends meet a little bit more and of course all the world’s social and economic problems can be blamed on one too many paperweights.
One too many of these and the whole
fabric of society will collapse
If this is the case however, clearing stuff from one’s life seems merely a case of closing one void and creating another which will still need to be filled. The aforementioned article showed the writer’s before and after home. The minimalizing process had cleared all the books from sight. Nothing on the coffee table, nothing on the shelves. I fail to see how removing literature can be in any way beneficial to one’s state of mind. And the same goes for everything else.
Of course in some ways there is truth to the tale. The accumulation of consumer products does, for many, fill gaps left by unsatisfactory living conditions and there is a lot of stuff out there of poor aesthetic and production quality (a particular bug-bear of ours is random verbs and nouns in italic script to remind you where you are or why you are there: Home, Love, Sleep, S**t). Still it is in essence a human trait to decorate, collect, read, admire and covet.
In case you forget where you are
Minimalism threatens to do away with these traits. Over the last few years we have seen the antiques trade decline as lifestyle magazines and TV programmes decreed that ornaments were clutter, paintings should be replaced with soundbites, carpets and rugs with laminate flooring; the list goes on.
I’d much rather read a book than have nothing on my shelves. I’d much rather look at a good painting than a plaster verb. I’d much rather have talking points than white walls and bare floors. Clutter, décor and collections say a lot about a person. They may say here is a mad cat lady, or someone with a slightly overbearing Smurf obsession BUT a home is a representation of the taste and personality of the person who lives there.
Minimalism creates a uniformity from which there is only a white box to say “here I am”, it represents a blandness of character and lack of imagination under the guise of creating a simpler lifestyle. It creates an ideal that constraint and restriction is somehow better for you – even then Victorians didn’t buy that one.
A home with stuff in it is comfortable, the public face of the inner soul. Scatter a few baubles and vases around the place, find a shelf for that statuette you love. Fill your life with stuff you didn’t know you wanted – and we will be there to find it for you. I guess that’s why we are in the antiques and vintage business. It is previous generation’s accumulation of stuff which provides our bread and butter. And we need people who like clutter.
I’m not a lifestyle guru and it’s not up to me to tell people how to decorate their homes but if anyone out there is not sure, I can do no better than to paraphrase this:
Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a home, choose paintings, books, objets d’art and bakelite tin openers. Choose good chairs, low footstools, and Marcel Boucher jewellery. Choose fixed bayonet rifles. Choose a candlestick. Choose art deco. Choose Victorian matching teaspoons. Choose a necklace on the spur of the moment. Choose craft and handmade online on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch flicking through photos in old family albums, stuffing postcards into neatly ordered boxes. Choose carpets and rugs at the end of the hall, fishing your pennies to brighten your home. Choose nothing more than a living room true to yourself, and ignoring the brats who spawn lifestyle advice.
Choose your own life.
Choose stuff.
Original reference: Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh found at http://bit.ly/1OOG13h
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