Brambly Hedge

“Brambly Hedge is on the other side of the stream, across the field. If you can find it, and if you look very hard amongst the tangled roots and stems, you may even see a wisp of smoke from a small chimney, or through an open door, a steep flight of stairs deep within the trunk of a tree. For this is the home of the mice of Brambly Hedge.”

In 1980, four picture books, Spring Story, Summer Story, Autumn Story and Winter Story were published. All books were the creation of author and illustrator Jill Barklem.  The books illustrated in detail the lives and adventures of a community of mice who live in Brambly Hedge. Brambly Hedge is an idyllic spot where old values flourish and seasonal self-sufficiency is the order of the day.

Jill Barklem was born in Essex and as a child loved nature. Due to a medical condition which affected her as a child, she was could no longer take part in sports in school but instead spent her time in the library or the art room.

The London underground was the inspiration for Brambly Hedge. As she traveled home each day she would submerse herself into a hedge bank of mice. The bustle of the other commuters eventually came to be the hustle and bustle of the mice of Brambly Hedge going about their daily business.

The success of the first four books was followed by The Secret Staircase in 1983, The High Hills in 1986, Sea Story in 1990 and Poppy’s Babies in 1994. An extensive range of merchandise followed the success of the books. Royal Doulton figurines and tableware quickly became collectors’ items and are still sought after to this day. There have been painting books, stationary, cards, audio books and many more items to accompany the Brambly Hedge book series. 1996 saw Brambly Hedge move from the page to the screen.

Since the first publication, the ethos of Brambly Hedge remains unchanged. It is still a favorite among young and old alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbara Vernon Bailey and Bunnykins

Barbara Vernon

Barbara Vernon

Barbara Vernon Bailey was the daughter of Cuthbert Bailey, managing director of Royal Doulton. As a child she sketched drawings of the countryside and animals, in particular rabbits.

At the age of nineteen, she joined the Augustine Canonnesses of the Lateran in Sussex to become a nun and teach French and history and took the name of Sister Mary Barbara. In 1934, her father decided to introduce a new line of children’s nursery ware and asked her to illustrate the series under the name of Barbara Vernon. Here the range Bunnykins was born.

Her illustrations of rabbits doing everyday activities were an immediate success and after being transformed into china designs by Hubert Light, the Royal Doulton’s Bunnykins ware range was soon in nurseries around the world.

She painted more than 1000 pictures, decorating all types of kitchen and childrens feeding ware. Most were produced as earthenware and the few rare porcelain pieces made are highly collectible. Bunnykins figurines were added to the traditional tableware in 1939.

Eventually, Sister Mary Barbara ceased drawing when her teaching duties became too demanding and her designs were withdrawn by 1952. During the 1940s, Walter Hayward gradually took over responsibility for designing Bunnykins scenes.

Sister Mary Barbara died  in May of 2003 aged 92. Bunnykins continues to be produced and today, collectors of Barbara Vernon’s Bunnykins are just as strong in their desire for unusual pieces as ever before.

Bunnykins teapot

Bunnykins teapot

 

Bunnykins Breakfast Set

Bunnykins Breakfast Set

A collection of Bunnykins figures

A collection of Bunnykins figures

 

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe on the balcony of the Ambassador Hotel in New York in 1955.

After our recent post on collecting movie memorabilia, we decided to zone in on one particular film star and an exhibition which is currently running.

In London’s Getty Images gallery, an exhibition documenting Marilyn Monroe’s transition from aspiring actress to Hollywood icon is on show. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of her death this year. Included are an archive of unseen photographs, rare video footage and memorabilia including dresses worn by the star.

Arriving at the premier of ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, 1954.

The exhibition entitled Marilyn will be on display from now until May 23 at Getty Images Gallery, 46 Eastcastle St  London W1W 8DX.

100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden voyage

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden voyage. Both Cobh and Belfast will host numerous exhibitions on the great passenger liner, with displays of original photographs, passenger letters and a whole host of other Titanic keepsakes.

In recent years Titanic memorabilia has become a found favourite of collectors. Price tags these days are rarely seen below £100 for even a simple 6×4 postcard.

In 2010, a rare set of first class toilet keys from the RMS Titanic sold for £43,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An unique RMS Titanic enquiry profile sold in May 2010 for £220,000. Currently it is the single most valuable piece of Titanic memorabilia ever sold at auction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other items which fetched astronomical prices included a letter which was written aboard the Titanic for £56,000 and a photograph of Titanic passenger Rosa Abbott for £35,000.

So although many of us may not have the thousands to spend on ship profiles, photographs or toilet keys, it is well worth the investment to purchase a smaller item such as a postcard, which is still somewhat affordable. The value of the item will only increase and prices will only rise, so now is the perfect opportunity to purchase a unique piece of history.

 

D.I.Y

These days as cash may be tight or the work hours may be few, a great past time is reupholstering. If you have an antique chair which is looking a bit shabby, why not give it a new breath of life! Start simple, practice makes perfect.

There are courses which teach you how to reupholster. However, typing “reupholstering” into Google returns plenty of great sites that go through reupholstering step by step.

Came across this great blog entry from Jenny Komenda Interiors, which goes through the entire process. Just click on the picture below and it will take you straight to the blog.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Before and After.

Before and After.

Collecting scent bottles

Collecting scent bottles is a great avenue to go down. There are two types of bottles to collect. The decorative bottle and the commercial bottle.

Decorative bottles include any bottles sold empty and then filled with a scent of your choice. Commercial bottles are any bottles that are sold already filled with scent and have the label of a perfume company.

The most popular types of decorative bottles include ancient Roman or Egyptian bottles, bottles by famous glassmakers such as Webb and Lalique and porcelain bottles from the 18th and 19th century.

Rene Lalique perfume bottle France c.1920

Rene Lalique perfume bottle France c.1920

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Popular commercial bottles include bottles by a single perfumer such as Guerlain, bottles by fashion designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, giant factice bottles which are store displays not filled with genuine perfume, tester bottles and miniature perfume bottles which are usually replicas of regular bottles given as free samples.

Delices de Cartier France 2007

Delices de Cartier France 2007

Estee Lauder laydown perfume bottle c.1960

Estee Lauder laydown perfume bottle c.1960

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2009, an empty Yves Saint Laurent perfume bottle sold for €8.9 million at Christie’s Paris. The bottle “Belle Haleine Eau de Voilette never actually contain perfume. It was designed by Marcel Duchamp in 1921.

Belle Haleine by Marcel Duchamp

Belle Haleine by Marcel Duchamp

Check out the video below which I found. The owner of Quirky Finds which specializes in vintage & discontinued perfume/cologne bottles, speaks about collecting scent bottles.

David Dickinson interview

David ‘The Duke’ Dickinson’s sartorial elegance is matched by his immaculate manners and irrepressible charm. From his distinctive head of hair to his designer shoes, he’s the original “bobby dazzler”. Find out more about the legend in our exclusive interview.

How did you make your break into tv?

In 1996, I was at my daughters house and by chance I met a TV producer who was interested in me for a project he was working on.

Where did you love of all things antique come from?

In the 1970’s I opened an antique shop with my childhood friend Chris Haworth. The idea to set up an antiques business came about when, myself and Chris and our wives were sharing time together. Chris enjoyed collecting and I had already started buying and selling antiques. We bought a little shop in the centre of Disley.

What are your top tips for successful bargain hunting?

My top tip is quality, originality and as tough a bargain as you can make, within your budget.

Describe the bargain you are most proud of?

There have been so many, but I recently bought a set of chairs catalogued in the price collection in Sothebys 18 months ago at £20,000 – £30,000. They didn’t sell on the first sale. They were re-entered on the lower estimate of £12,000 -£18,000. They still didn’t sell so were transferred from the Bond Street Sothebys sales room, to Sothebys Olympia, where I snapped them up for £4,000.00 plus commission.

What item has made you the biggest profit?

About fifteen years ago, on behalf of an American client, I flew to Australia and found a very exotic piece of Minton porcelain. A piece about four foot high. It was a peacock, probably one of their greatest pieces by a man called Paul Comolera, and I located this and sold it to an American for what seemed an enormous sum then, of about £25,000. And I suppose made a profit of 25-30% and was very delighted to do so. A couple of years ago just one of those pieces sold in Christies for £95,000.

Why did you stop presenting Bargain Hunt?

It was a difficult decision to stop making the daytime Bargain Hunt shows, I made the decision in October 2002 shortly after picking up The National Television Award for the show. I took Bargain Hunt to a prime slot in 2002, topping 8 million viewers and went on to make many successful series’ of prime time Bargain Hunt. I simply could not continue to make the day time shows and take on the prime time slot
It was a challenge and an opportunity I couldn’t really turn down and I hope it will lead to more opportunities in the future.

Thanks to David for this interview. Hopefully we will get a chance to speak to him again in the future. Until then check out the link below for some Bargain Hunt highlights!

 

The Curious World of Beatrix Potter

Helen Beatrix Potter was born July 28th 1866 in South Kensington, London. She was home schooled. An eager student of languages and literature, she grew up loving classic folk and fairy tales, rhymes and riddles.  Her talent for drawing and painting was discovered at an early age and encouraged.  She drew her own versions of stories such as CinderellaSleeping Beauty, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Beatrix and her brother, kept many animals in their schoolroom, from mice to birds and lizards to snakes. Their pets were often subjects for Beatrix’s sketches and paintings, and were later to inspire the much-loved characters in her books.

In 1893, Beatrix wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit and in 1902, this book was published by Frederick Warne & Co. In 1902, she wrote The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tailor of Gloucester. Beatrix had always loved the Lake District since her childhood. With money she was earning from her Peter Rabbit books she was able to buy Hill Top Farm in the village of Sawrey. In 1913 she married William Heelis and settled permantely in the Lake District.

Beatrix Potter used Hill Top Farm as the backdrop for several of her tales. The first was The Tale of Tom Kitten, which she wrote in 1906. She included favourite views of her new home in The Tales of Jemima Puddle-duck and The Tale of Samuel Whiskers.

Beatrix died on the 22nd December 1943. Her books are loved today by all generations and her legacy remains in her art work and her books.

In 2006 a movie about Beatrix’s relationship with Norman Warne,  which developed while they worked together on the publication of the first few Peter Rabbit books, starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor was released. Many of her characters have been produced into figurines by Beswick and Royal Albert.

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

Peter Rabbit
The Tailor of Gloucester

The Tailor of Gloucester

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Memorabilia.

In the past thirty five years, movie memorabilia has emerged as an important and unequivocal collecting category. Movie memorabilia ranges from lobby cards, movie posters, autographs, still pictures, costumes, industry magazines and commercial collectables to name a few!

Collecting movie memorabilia is one of the most fascinating areas to be involved in. There is such a wide variety of items to collect, each with their own unique story.

You can source movie memorabilia from a number of different places. The most popular being online, auctions and collectors’ shows. eBay is a great site to purchase movie memorabilia, as prices range from low to high and in between. There are items to suit everyone!

Many people chose a theme to follow while collecting. This could be items with a Disney theme, items from the Golden Age of Hollywood era or the most recent Hollywood blockbusters. Some collections are built around a single film like the Wizard of Oz or a particular actor/actress such as Charlie Chaplin or Marilyn Monroe.

The cardinal rule of movie memorabilia collecting is to always go for quality rather than quantity when you can. Look for items in excellent to pristine condition, since they’ll hold their value much better in the long run. Also be wary of reproductions. Still photographs from movies tend to be the item most commonly reproduced. Technology today allows for high quality prints to be reproduced and many people can get caught out with this especially when purchasing from online sites such as eBay.

So start your collection today and happy hunting!

Click on the image below for a link to a great article on collecting movie memorabilia written by expert Judith Miller.

Antique collectors' corner: film memorabilia

Life Magazine 1952 featuring Marilyn Monroe

Life Magazine 1952 featuring Marilyn Monroe

Breakfast At Tiffanys lobby card 1961

Breakfast At Tiffanys lobby card 1961

Clark Gable autographed photo as Rhett Butler

Clark Gable autographed photo as Rhett Butler

Apollo 13 helmet and backpack movie prop

Apollo 13 helmet and backpack movie prop

An eye patch worn by actor John Wayne in "True Grit" 1969 and a pair of calvary riding boots worn in "The Undefeated 1969

An eye patch worn by actor John Wayne in "True Grit" 1969 and a pair of calvary riding boots worn in "The Undefeated 1969

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy signed photo postcard

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy signed photo postcard

Edith Head’s design for a pink cocktail dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”.

Edith Head’s design for a pink cocktail dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”.

 

 


Parlez vous Français?

Here at Darcy Antiques, we love nothing more than boarding a plane or ferry and crossing the English channel to France. France has numerous amounts of flea markets, trade shows and antique fairs and with hundreds of events over the year, you will be spoilt for choice! Also as the currency of France is the euro, there is no need for currency exchange, losing out on valuable cash for bargain hunting.

 Salon des Antiquaires de Biarritz, in La Halle d’Iraty, Biarritz is one of the most popular, with over 6300 visitors to its August 2011 fair. The fair brings together three worlds in one place, Antiques, Contemporary Art and Design from the 50s-70s. The show is held at the new exhibition center in Biarritz providing comfort and easy access to exhibitors and visitors. The next show will be held on the 5th April to 9th April 2012.

 Salon des Antiquaires des Pays d’Aix Marseille is another popular fair which attracts both professional and amateurs alike each year. The fair is held in Parc Chanot, Marseille. The show is also a host to a wide range of antique and contemporary paintings. The fair runs from the 20th October to the 28th October 2012.

 

 Porte de Vanves flea market in Paris is a weekend flea market sitauted near the Porte de Vanves metro stop in Paris. It is one of the best flea markets in France, in terms of size and eclectic nature of its wares. There are more than 300 hundred vendors and most usually stay until 1pm. There is a huge variety of pieces for sale here including paintings, ceramics, silver, art deco, 60s and 70s items, linens, books, militaria, kitchenware, and vintage clothing.

  Villeurbanne situated on the outskirts of Lyon is a flea market which runs every Sunday morning, hosting 400 vendors. The market has a focus on rustic collectables of all kinds – agricultural items, garden accessories, furniture, kitchenware, glassware, and copper ware. Some of the merchandise has a strong local connection – implements for wine-making, wooden blocks and spindles for the textile industry, and chocolate molds. You will also find general collectables of all sorts such as paintings, books and toys.

  Vieux Quartier, Belfort holds a good size flea market on the first Sunday of every month, except for January and February.  Located in the Franche-Comté region, not far from Alsace, this is a great place to find collectables of all kinds from the northeast of France – Alsatian bowls and milk pitchers with flower motifs, grey stoneware jugs, classic ceramic baking molds, and folkloric dishware from Lorraine. You will also see clocks, linens, militaria, books, toys, glassware, copper ware, wooden items of all sorts and some furniture.

 

For further information on any of the above, you can contact the local tourist information office of each town/city. They are more than happy to email or post on information to satisfy your query.

Safe travels and happy hunting!