Homes and Antiques

Homes and Antiques

Homes and Antiques

https://www.homesandantiques.com Thu, 20 May 2021 11:56:20 +0100 en-US hourly 1

Collecting antique butter moulds

https://www.homesandantiques.com/antiques/collecting-guides-antiques/collecting-antique-butter-moulds/ Thu, 20 May 2021 11:03:06 +0000


The slap of the paddles, the traditional churning songs, the cool marble tiles of the dairy – there’s something so romantic about old-fashioned butter making and nothing more pleasing than a tray of fresh butter pats, imprinted with a pretty design.

Over recent years, antique butter moulds have become an exciting collecting field – and they make a beautiful addition to a traditional country kitchen.

What are antique butter moulds?

Butter moulds or stamps were used as early as Tudor times to decorate butter with images and words, but it was in the 19th century that they became incredibly popular, both in private kitchens to create attractive butter to decorate the table, and on farms to label and identify produce. They were one of the earliest forms of ‘trademark’. In commercial settings, moulds and stamps also served a practical purpose, demonstrating the consistency in the quantity sold.

Made of close-grained hardwoods such as holly, lime or (most commonly) sycamore, the name of the farmer and any decoration was carved into the stamp or mould in reverse so it would come out the correct way round when the butter pat was turned out. It was often popped out on a cabbage leaf, an early form of biodegradable packaging.

‘There are five different types of butter moulds,’ explains Sally Honey, treen expert and founder of Opus Antiques. ‘These are: single-piece flat prints (stamps); two-piece ‘ejector’ stamps (where the design is on a circle of wood with a handle, which acts like a plunger within a cylinder of wood to push the pressed pat out); two-piece moulds that push together (often held with small wooden pegs in holes) to create a three-dimensional butter decoration; rollers with patterns carved into them (like pastry rollers, but for rolling around the sides of a block of butter); and cup or brick moulds, which are dome-shaped like little jelly moulds or shaped like hollow bricks for producing blocks of patterned butter.’

The majority of moulds and stamps on the market today tend to be 19th-century or early 20th-century. ‘I occasionally get an 18th-century one, but they’re extremely rare,’ says Sally.

Late 19th-century trio of pictorial Welsh sycamore butter prints featuring thistle, cow and strawberry, now sold, Tim Bowen Antiques.

Late 19th-century trio of pictorial Welsh sycamore butter prints featuring thistle, cow and strawberry, now sold, Tim Bowen Antiques.

Which antique butter moulds are the most collectable?

Sally has a treasured mould at home from the Pinto collection. ‘It’s decorated with an apple. It’s a lovely piece – one that I’ll never part with,’ says Sally. ‘Edward Pinto wrote the bible on treen and nearly all of his collection went to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, so it’s a very special one.’

Collectors are always drawn to quirky, unusual pictorial designs – cows, thistles and sheaves of wheat are fairly common, but rarer ones can fetch big sums when they appear on the market. ‘I’ve sold elegant swan designs in the past (perhaps originating from riverside farms), I had a rare reindeer one once and an unusual sunflower stamp that had a removable handle – for easy storage, I assume,’ Sally says. ‘Sometimes, butter moulds and stamps were celebratory. You often see initials on them, carved for some special occasion.’

You might also enjoy:

Honey pot collection belonging to James Hamill, Master Beekeeper and Founder of The Hive Honey Shop.

How much are antique butter moulds worth?

Sally currently has a beautiful 19th-century leaf-design stamp in stock for £65 and a 19th-century sycamore butter mould with carved flowers to the base for £68.

Rarer moulds and stamps can command higher prices. For example, Jonathan Biggs of J. Collins & Son currently has a late 18th-century Scandinavian birch brick-shaped butter mould in stock, with carved initials ‘E.N.D.’ and ‘M.T.D.’ on the base, dated 1793, for £220.

Two-part moulds for creating three-dimensional butter shapes are rare and always highly sought after, too. Mike Witts of Appleby Antiques has a lovely two-part beechwood wheatsheaf mould in stock, c1820, for £285.

Antique treen two-part thistle mould, £125, The Antique Dispensary.

Antique treen two-part thistle mould, £125, The Antique Dispensary.

How to care for antique butter moulds

When buying a stamp or mould, look out for woodworm holes and splits, which might have been mended. A reputable dealer will always clearly highlight any repairs. ‘Butter moulds and stamps were used in hot kitchens and constantly washed, so they’re prone to splitting,’ says Sally.

An excerpt from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management reveals the harsh life that butter stamps and moulds were subjected to: ‘Round butter moulds or wooden stamps are much used and are made in a variety of patterns. They should be kept scrupulously clean and, before the butter is pressed in, the moulds should be scalded, and afterwards soaked well in cold water. The butter at once takes the impress of the mould, and may therefore be turned out immediately into the butter dish.’

Where to buy antique butter moulds

Where to see antique butter moulds

Head here to see a huge collection of butter moulds and stamps including one with a squirrel design, a rectangular one with ‘VALLEY FARM DAIRY’ carved into it and an ejector mould with a dainty strawberry plant pattern.

The museum holds an impressive 8,044 items of treen from all over the world, including the important Pinto collection. 

Words: Ellie Tennant


Where to buy – the UK’s best antiques and vintage shops

https://www.homesandantiques.com/interiors/shopping/where-to-shop/best-antiques-and-vintage-shops/ Wed, 19 May 2021 16:06:29 +0000


Where do you go to find a fabulous mid-century couch? Or an elegant Georgian sideboard? We’ve asked antiques expert and author Mark Hill, homeware designer Sophie Conran, vintage specialist Wayne Hemingway, interior designer Nicky Haslam and Antiques Roadshow expert Katherine Higgins to raid their little black books and reveal the UK’s finest antiques and vintage emporiums.

The best antiques shops in Scotland and the North of England

‘This is a gem of a shop,’ says Wayne. ‘Tucked away in those lovely serendipitous York streets, it has a brilliantly edited collection of classic vintage and is always worth a visit.’

Prepare yourself for the largest antiques centre in Europe. Set in a pretty area of Lincolnshire countryside, Hemswell has been going since the 1980s and plays host to around 400 dealers. It would be impossible not to find something amid the vast array of stock.



One of Lancashire’s best vintage clothes shops, Wayne and his wife Geraldine have been visiting since they were young. ‘We grew up in East Lancashire and learnt to dress second hand (as it was called then). Revival isn’t a million miles from where ‘rags’ have traditionally been recycled, which might explain why the stock is always so wonderful.

01254 382316

‘For beautiful women’s frocks, this is hard to beat,’ says Wayne. ‘Catherine definitely has an eye for vintage.’ Stock ranges from Victorian dresses and collectable bags to 1980s garb so there is something for all costume-lovers in this pretty boutique.

Mr Ben’s, which was founded in the 1990s, is a stalwart of the Glasgow vintage scene. ‘I have picked up some brilliant Loakes brogues, a super Wigan Casino-style canvas shopper and a truly individual tweed jacket all from this Glaswegian institution,’
says Wayne.

The word eclectic might have been created for RE. Vintage German beer steins sit next to dainty gilt candlesticks while old woodwork catalogues lie atop vintage tea trollies. Some of the stock is re-worked salvage, other pieces are vintage and there’s some new too.

‘Just as it does in a designer fashion store, it really makes a positive difference when the buyer knows how to edit,’ says Wayne. ‘The owner of this shop can certainly do just that.’ Herman Brown stocks high quality 20th-century fashion sourced on buying trips to everywhere from London’s Brick Lane to Amsterdam and Seattle.

You might also enjoy: 

The best ateliers & antiques shops online

The best antiques shops in Central England and East Anglia

‘Worthy of a day trip, you’ll need the whole day to do the numerous large centres spread across this complex of barns properly,’ says Mark. ‘Whether you are a collector or decorator and whatever your budget, you’ll be able to fill a display cabinet.’

‘James Gooch operates Doe & Hope from a lovingly restored historic barn and his business livesup to the romantic address. He has a unique selection of antiques, from neoclassical to Victorian gothic,’ says Mark. ‘Each tempts our senses and has a fascinating back story or romantically conjures up styles and desires of the past. It’s food for the eye and mind.’ Viewing is by appointment.

The Boule-in has two shops, one in Suffolk and one in Kennington, London. ‘Here you’ll find a perfectly on-trend, highly appealing selection of French decorative antiques,’ says Mark. ‘With a focus on the easy to live with, beautiful and affordable, everything on display is sourced in France and curated by a charming husband and wife team. Its ideal gifting territory – self-gifting included!’ By appointment.

‘The emphasis here is on rather striking, decorative antiques that can stand alone and whose quality and style shines through,’ says Katherine. ‘Stock ranges from 17th to 20th-century pieces but my favourites are the 19th-century mirrors.’ By appointment.

Rob’s stock tends towards pieces with patina and a good story, often linked to old trades. Find 18th-century House of Commons journals, skittle alley signs and 1900s dairy creamers. He is in the process of opening a new space in a 19th-century former Royal Ordnance building where stores were kept in anticipation of invasion during the Napoleonic wars. By appointment.

The best antiques shops in London

The wooden floored Vintage Showroom feels more like an old world museum than a vintage clothes shop. ‘You can find proper high-quality old menswear here,’ says Wayne. It specialises in early 20th-century pieces with a fantastic collection of old sports and country wear.

Alfies appeared on most of our panellists’ lists. Wayne heads there for 1920s pieces while Mark’s first stops in this heady bazaar of an antiques centre are Beth Adams and Geoffrey Robinson on the ground floor, followed by Angry-Agent on the first floor for ‘eye-wateringly scarce 20th century design’. Owner Bennie Gray is the driving force behind its success.

Rellik has made appearances in all the big name fashion magazines from Vogue to Vanity Fair, and with good reason. ‘It’s hidden away in Portobello Market,’ says Wayne. ‘You might need to ring the doorbell but once you are in…’ Its New York-style interior is covered with stunning fashion from 1920s onwards.

‘When you venture into the world of classic movie posters, you need to know you’re buying something that’s authentic,’ says Katherine. ‘Simon’s expert eye means you can snap up a striking film poster, and rest assured that it’s right.’ You can view his stock online or book an appointment to see the posters first hand.

‘I just can’t resist this shop,’ says Mark. ‘With a selection that’s refreshed every week, and regular sales to clear the decks, shelves are packed with everything from glass to ceramics, lighting and metalware. Check out the basement for furniture and larger homewares. There’s something to suit every pocket, starting from a couple of pounds upwards.’

A specialist in outstanding mid-century furnishings and French and Italian design, Gordon Watson has been in the trade for 30 years and sources pieces for an A-list clientele. If you’re in the market for a striking investment piece, his showroom on Pimlico Road is an absolute treat.

Among the many dealers on the Pimlico Road, Christopher Butterworth stands out. Specialising in French decorative pieces, Nicky calls him ‘the best antiques dealer ever’. ‘Christopher has a faultless taste and eye and amasses a panoply of desirable things,’ he says.

The dealers of Lillie Road have recently formed a collective – not a surprising move given that, as Nicky says, ‘the whole of this stretch of antiques dealers is well worth nosing around in’. Nicky’s favourite haunts include the shop of James Jackson, who, he says, ‘has an eclectic knack for finding interesting pieces’. Another favourite there is Quindry, whose owner Gwen specialises in 20th-century objects and furniture.

You might also enjoy:

A selection of antique blue and white china on a mantlepiece. Photography by Katya de Grunwald

The best antiques shops in the South and South East of England

John has had a long career in antiques and often exhibits at Battersea decorative fair. ‘You’ll find mostly furniture and larger pieces here,’ says Sophie. ‘John has a great eye and picks up really unusual and quirky pieces.’ Expect plenty of garden furniture too.

‘Probably my favourite shop in the UK,’ says Wayne. ‘It’s tiny but the owner has immaculate taste. She understands the true essence of ‘vintage’ and her items are always timeless and transcend fashion.’

‘The clue is in the name,’ says Wayne. This collective of vintage boutiques and designers is a sumptuous hunting ground for those who enjoy nostalgia. With antiques, vintage and bric-a-brac galore, it’s good for a bargain.

With more than 30 antiques shop in this small Sussex town, it’s not easy to choose a standout but Sophie considers this her go-to place. ‘It’s a veritable cornucopia of dealers,’ she says. ‘It mostly has smaller items with a particularly good choice of ceramics, textiles and small pieces of furniture.’

‘This shop is a real resource for anyone who wants to delve into vintage fashion,’ says Katherine. ‘Fashion enthusiasts will find an impressive range of stock running from the 1920s to the 1980s. You’re almost certain to find what you want as well as a period accessory to match.’ Established for 20 years, it is one of the largest vintage clothes shops on the south coast.

‘Great things often come in small packages,’ says Katherine. ‘Though it’s diminutive in size, Old Barn Antiques is packed with goodies from mouth-watering blue and white china to quirky first editions and vintage toys. It’s a proper old antiques shop where you can hunt to your heart’s content.’

‘This is one my top little black book shops for mid-century modern and retro,’ says Mark. ‘Over the past five years, Ben has grown it, starting from what was essentially a corridor, to become a larger shop hidden at the back of the packed and stacked RG Scott Furniture Mart, which is itself well worth a browse.’

Mark calls this antiques centre ‘a sparkling jewel’. It is located on West Street in Dorking, which is famous for its antiques shops. ‘What marks Christique out is the not only the high level of quality and variety from more than 60 dealers,’ he says, ‘but the way it’s so beautifully displayed and merchandised. It’s just so easy to imagine these things in your own home.’

‘Stuart and Kiel who run Fontaine are veritable alchemists when it comes to display,’ says Mark. ‘Their innate skill and eye at sourcing objects of beauty and desire are unparalleled, but it’s what they do with it that marks them out as truly top-flight dealers and decorators.’ By appointment only.

‘I miss the times when every town had its bric-a-brac shop, so I was delighted that Norman Gibbs recently revived the tradition by opening one in my local village,’ says Nicky. ‘It’s cluttered with anything, from rare books to boulle, which catches his fancy. He knows his onions – and prices ensure a regular turnover.’

Highly-respected dealer Max Rollitt (who has also begun to dip his toes into design) is well known for combining quality pieces with extraordinary textiles, unusual ceramics, pictures and lighting. ‘Instead of upping sticks to London, Max has stayed put in his barn in Lovington where he displays his finds in an equally ravishing setting,’ says Nicky. The showroom is open by appointment only.

Glass etc is Britain’s largest antique and vintage glass shop. ‘If you stopped to count the range of glasses, decanters, decorative 20th-century vases and other vessels in Andy McConnell’s shop, you could be there for a year or more!’ says Katherine. ‘It’s a one-stop shop for antique and vintage glass that’s both home-grown and European. Andy has a special interest in Scandinavian production so you’ll find plenty from the key factories here, along with my favourite firm, Whitefriars.’

The best antiques shops in the West of England and Wales

Both Mark and Sophie nominated Lorfords, which occupies two cavernous aircraft hangars at Babdown Airfield. ‘Lorfords has become the place to source decorative antiques, with buyers coming from across the world,’ says Mark. ‘It‘s filled with exotic and stunning pieces,’ adds Sophie. ‘The staff are really helpful if you are looking for something specific.’ There is also a Lorfords in Tetbury itself.

The interior of a stunning old Georgian town house is a hub for decorative European antiques and elegant vintage pieces. ‘There’s a great collection of classical furniture,’ says Sophie, ‘and fantastic paintings and sculptures too.’

‘Filled with Victorian kitchenalia and high quality household goods, Below Stairs has a wealth of domestic antiques,’ says Sophie. ‘There are spectacular antique doorbells, doorknobs, knockers, taps and fireguards.’ Stock is largely 19th and 20th-century and the stock runs over five themed showrooms.

Tucked away in the antiquing hub of Tetbury is this arcade of dealers. You can easily spend a morning browsing its eclectic mix, including furniture, paintings, prints, china, kitchenalia, clothing and antiquarian books. ‘This is a great
arcade with a lots of little dealers,’ says Sophie. ‘Don’t miss the vintage textiles on the first floor.’

One of the first antiques centres in the UK, Hungerford Arcade proves experience pays, and is home to over 100 dealers. ‘A wonderful place for a rummage,’ says Sophie, ‘with dealers selling everything from silverware to timepieces as well as some proper bric-a-brac.’

Among Hay-on-Wye’s many bookshops are a smattering of top-quality antiques shops too. ‘Hay is such a sweet town to wander round in and my favourite place is Hay Antique Market, a really lovely little arcade with vintage treasures and antique goodies,’ says Sophie. ‘I always find something I fall in love with.’

‘Who doesn’t love to bring a ray of vintage into your home with some fabulous retro styling?’ says Katherine. Organised into room sets, What Katy Did is more vintage experience than shop. ‘Here you’ll find it all, from a 1970s fondue set to a pair of 1950s curtains. There’s always a good dollop of mid-century furniture too.’

Drew Pritchard is one of the country’s best known antiques dealers by virtue of his eternally-popular TV programme, Salvage Hunters. His warehouse is, as you’d expect, a wealth of quirky finds, solidly-made furniture and other, mostly British, pieces. The business is about to move to a new space so it’s worth making a call in advance when planning a visit.

LAPADA member Tim Bowen specialises in Welsh and English country furniture and folk art, which he sells from a gallery in Ferryside on the mouth of the River Towy. Everything from spongeware pepper pots to beautifully-patinated Welsh stick chairs to cricket tables and oak chests are on offer.

* Tim Bowen Antiques, Ivy House, Ferryside, Carmarthenshire, SA17 5SS. 01267 267122; timbowenantiques.co.uk

The best antiques shops in Northern Ireland

In a picture book thatched cottage in County Fermanagh, Rosemary Cathcart curates and sells a stunning collection of antique and vintage lace, wedding headpieces, fans, dresses, embroidery and cards. It’s a fairytale world. Next door you’ll find Rosemary’s lace museum, which showcases around 700 exhibits.

In an expansive showroom just off the main road between Antrim and Ballymena you’ll find a hoard of high quality walnut, mahogany and rosewood furniture. Other than his specialism in wooden antiques, David also holds a stock of fine porcelain, silver, jewellery and the occasional piece of Clarice Cliff, which all makes for some pleasurable browsing.


Collecting antique honey pots

https://www.homesandantiques.com/antiques/collecting-antique-honey-pots/ Wed, 12 May 2021 16:13:46 +0000


James Hamill, Master Beekeeper and Founder of The Hive Honey Shop in London, knows a thing or two about honey pots. ‘My grandfather was a beekeeper and my family has been collecting bee items for 100 years, so I grew up around antique honey pots,’ he explains.

James has amassed a vast bee-related collection that spans coins from 400BC with bees embossed on them, ancient Egyptian mud beehives from the time of the pharaohs and elegant vintage basketwork beehives known as ‘skeps’. But it’s his stash of ‘around 700’ honey pots that captivates him the most.

Honey pot with no identifying marks, believed to have been made in Japan for the American market, from the collection of John Doyle.

Honey pot with no identifying marks, believed to have been made in Japan for the American market, from the collection of John Doyle.

What are antique honey pots?

Antique honey pots are decorative pots for storing and serving honey. They were made in abundance during the early 20th century, but date back to the Victorian era. Most pots are decorated with bees or honeycomb, or are crafted in the shape of a beehive, and come with a matching spoon for serving the honey.

Antique honey pots come in a range of materials including ceramic, earthenware, stoneware, china, porcelain, acrylic and even wood, silver and pewter (with glass liners).

How much are antique honey pots worth?

Early, rare honey pots occasionally come up at auction and can fetch huge sums. For example, a Staffordshire slipware honey pot c1700 sold for £3,800 in 2019 at Woolley & Wallis. But most of the honey pots on the market date from the early 20th century and are more affordable. ‘There was a huge surge when pottery began to be mass-produced in the early 1900s,’ explains James. ‘The old British makers like Crown Devon, Brunswick, Poole Pottery, Clarice Cliff and Shorter & Son all made beautiful honey pots, and designs by these names are highly sought after. They all had their own patterns and styles and that’s what makes collecting honey pots so exciting.’

An entry-level honey pot can cost as little as £10. ‘That would get you something like a Portuguese Secla honey pot from the 1970s,’ says James. ‘But you can pay £5,000 to £10,000 for older pots in good condition. For example, silver 17th-century honey pots always fetch large sums. In my opinion, bricks and mortar and honey pots are the best investments these days!’

You might also enjoy:

Antique silver napkin rings on white frilly napkins

What makes an antique honey pot collectable?

Honey pots are going up in terms of popularity and price. ‘Finding a perfect honey pot gets harder over time,’ explains James. ‘They get broken easily, so if Wedgwood made 5,000 honey pots in 1930, there aren’t many left intact today. Prices go up as more get damaged over time.’ Lots of pots have a bee on the top as the handle, which makes them quite vulnerable. ‘Wings get chipped easily,’ James points out. ‘Also, if somebody doesn’t lift the lid completely, the spoon hits the lid, so you often get chips around the cut-out hole on the interior.’

Collectors are quite particular about what actually constitutes a honey pot: it has to have a bee on it or have a clear connection with bees, such as being in the shape of a beehive. ‘If it’s got fruits on it or is just a general pot that could be used for jam, true connoisseurs aren’t interested,’ says James.

Collector John Doyle founded The European Honey Pot Collectors’ Society, is the author of Collecting Honey Pots, and has 3,000 honey pots in his personal collection, which spans the Victorian era to the 1900s. ‘My favourites are Japanese Marutomoware ones, which date from the 1920s and 1930s,’ he says. ‘They’re cream, bright yellow or green and decorated with beautiful hollyhocks.’

wo Marutomoware honey pots, Japanese, c1920s–1930s, from the collection of John Doyle

Two Marutomoware honey pots, Japanese, c1920s–1930s, from the collection of John Doyle.

James’s most treasured honey pot is a 1930s one from Buckfast Abbey, the monastery where Brother Adam (who bred a disease-resistant ‘super-bee’ and is credited with saving British bees) lived and worked. ‘It’s a waxed conical container with an embossed picture of the monastery and a monk,’ describes James. ‘They’re impossible to come by. It’s so fragile and full of history. An antiques dealer came into my shop one day and showed me a pristine one with the top still in place. It’s in my glass case of treasured items.’

Where to buy antique honey pots

Where to see antique honey pots

Words: Ellie Tennant


How to have your antiques insured

https://www.homesandantiques.com/antiques/how-to-get-your-antiques-insured/ Tue, 11 May 2021 14:55:24 +0000


Insurance may not seem the most exciting consideration when it comes to your most-cherished antique, but it’s certainly worth thinking about, as establishing the right cover is vital for protecting any high-value pieces. And while you should also ensure that your items are well-stored, cared for and secured, insurance offers a reassuring back-up, should the worst occur.

Does ordinary household insurance cover antiques?

Not necessarily, says Cyrus Wakefield Dip Cll, Director at insurance brokers Anthony Wakefield & Co Ltd. ‘Many standard household policies will contain limited cover for art, antiques and similar items as these are usually defined as ‘valuables’ within the wording and are subject to a limit within the contents sum insured,’ he explains. Therefore, the cover offered by a general contents policy may be sufficient protection for smaller collections. ‘However, if the value of the antiques collection exceeds standard limits, specialist cover (arranged through a broker) should be considered to avoid disappointment in the event of a claim.’

Where to begin when getting antiques insured

A specialist broker is a recommended starting point for insuring high-value antiques, as their access to a range of insurers will help to ensure the correct policy and cover. BADA has several recommended service providers for antiques insurance, and it’s also important you check that your broker is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

You might also enjoy:

A selection of antique blue and white china on a mantlepiece. Photography by Katya de Grunwald

How to choose a policy when insuring antiques

After selecting a suitable company, it’s time to begin the search for the right policy. ‘An insurance broker acts on your behalf and will source suitable quotes from reputable insurers,’ says Cyrus. ‘They will usually make a recommendation to you on the most suitable cover for your needs. Whereas, if you purchase cover directly from an insurer, you must ensure you read the quote documents carefully and check that the cover for antiques as defined in the wording is adequate for your needs.’

Do you need to have antiques valued before they can be insured?

While it can be useful to have a detailed valuation before taking out a specialist policy, it is not always necessary. ‘Such policies usually contain high limits for any one item, pair or set. If you have a rough idea of the value of your collection, this can be used as a basis for calculating the premium,’ Cyrus asserts. ‘A client can get cover without a formal valuation but this should be considered as a matter of priority to ensure that the values on the policy are updated and that any particularly valuable items are specified on the documents.’ It’s worth remembering this can be adjusted if valuations change or new items need adding.

In the hands of an experienced broker, the process of insuring antiques can be remarkably straightforward. Good insurance means peace of mind and that you’ll be suitably compensated should anything happen to your precious items.

NB Cyrus’ contributions to this article are general comments and are made without responsibility. For professional advice, contact Anthony Wakefield & Company, authorised and regulated by the FCA (307545).

Top tips for insuring your antiques:

• Ensure your broker is regulated by the FCA, and ideally recommended by a specialist organisation such as BADA.

• Make sure you insure the collection for its full value to avoid the risk of insurers reducing or refusing a claim payment.

• Get updates on your valuations every three to five years.

• Tell your broker if you acquire a new item during the policy period.

• Don’t assume the least expensive cover is right – it’s often not the case and any claim may end up being declined.

• Don’t withhold any information from your insurer or broker (this could result in a claim payment being reduced or refused).

Words: Jenny Oldaker


How to get an antique valued

https://www.homesandantiques.com/antiques/get-an-antique-valued/ Mon, 10 May 2021 16:56:35 +0000


Whether you own an army of carefully curated heirlooms, or just one fine antique, arranging a valuation for them is a worthwhile pursuit. Not only is this information important if you’re thinking about selling, it’s also necessary for determining the right level of insurance cover. Antiques valuations may also need to be undertaken for probate purposes.

How to find out the value of an antique?

‘It can be as simple as sending in some photographs of the item,’ explains Briony Harford, Valuer and Head of Auctioneering at Sworders. ‘Try to take photos in daylight with a plain background, and provide as much information as possible. Provenance and history are key.’ It’s important to focus on detail when sending photos for valuation. ‘You can often tell far more about an object by the interior of the furniture, the back of the painting, or the bottom of a vase,’ says Briony. ‘It helps to examine the structure of the piece and any clues as to the maker, age or story behind it.’

Who can value an antique?

Knowing that you are consulting a trustworthy, knowledgeable organisation, which will offer an honest, unbiased assessment is vital. If you’re looking to sell, reputable auction houses and BADA or LAPADA-affiliated dealers are a good starting point. ‘Bear in mind that dealers will try to buy the item at a reasonable price in order to sell it on and make a profit,’ says Briony. ‘Though when you sell via auction, the auction house does take a commission, which is usually a percentage of the hammer price agreed before sale.’

You might also enjoy:

How to buy antiques on Instagram

What kind of antique valuation should I get?

The kind of valuation you receive will depend on your purpose – whether it’s for insurance, probate or to sell – and the results may differ accordingly. ‘Auction valuations give an indication of the price we would expect the objects to achieve when they are sold under the hammer,’ says Briony. ‘A probate valuation is similar to that of an auction estimate but, whereas auction estimates may tend to be slightly lower in order to attract more buyers, probate valuations on a deceased’s chattels tend to reflect an average price that similar items repeatedly fetch at auction. Insurance valuations give you more of an idea of what you might expect to pay in the current retail market if you were to replace the item.’ Probate and insurance valuations are a more official process than sale estimates and will generally have a set fee attached.

Whatever your reason for a valuation, the most important considerations for achieving accurate and reliable information are enlisting a respected specialist and making sure you are able to offer them as much information as possible. ‘Valuations go hand in hand with research,’ attests Briony. ‘And the more clues you give to the history of the object, the more in-depth and relevant research the valuer can do for you!’

Tips for getting an accurate antiques valuation:

• Ensure you approach a knowledgeable, reputable organisation for valuation advice.

• Give the valuer a detailed description of the item, including close-up photos if it’s not a face-to-face valuation.

• Getting more than one valuation is a good idea if you want additional assurance of
an item’s value.

• Keep a record of all valuations. This will help to build a complete history of your collection and may be useful for future owners.

• Antique values change over time so consider getting your antiques valued every few years to see how the market is fluctuating – especially important if you’re looking to find an optimal time to sell.

Words: Jenny Oldaker


What is an antique?

https://www.homesandantiques.com/antiques/what-is-an-antique/ Mon, 10 May 2021 16:32:37 +0000


Spanning from a chipped dinner service found at a flea market, to a priceless heirloom sold at auction – what makes an item antique can be baffling. But with the trend for sustainable decorating and classic English style on the rise, their popularity is increasing. So, what exactly is an antique?

What is considered an antique?

The Oxford Dictionary definition of an antique is ‘a collectable item’, such as a piece of furniture, an artwork or an item of jewellery, ‘that has a high value because of its age and quality.’ Though the word is often used casually to describe any old or nostalgic man-made object, strictly speaking, an item needs to be of a certain age in order to be categorised as an antique.

How old is an antique?

An antique is a man-made object that’s over 100 years old. Though this is a hot topic among antiques dealers! As antiques are categorised by their age, new objects become antiques every year. Antiques can be items made of any material (glass, ceramic, wood, metal, textile etc) and an item does not need to be of a high value in order to be classed as an antique.

You might also enjoy:

How to buy antiques on Instagram

How to identify an antique

For many antiques enthusiasts, researching the history and social context of an item is all part of the fun of collecting! However, certain items sometimes feature symbols which can help you to identify its place and date of manufacture. For example: hallmarks on silver, makers marks on ceramics, tags on furniture or labels on textiles. For more specialist information about an antique, we recommend contacting your local auction house or antiques dealer.

How much are antiques worth?

Though we all dream of finding a priceless heirloom in the attic, the value of antiques varies greatly. The prices of certain antiques can rise and fall according to the vagaries of fashion. And while some wear can make a piece charming and tell the story of its journey, a different set of flaws can devalue it completely. The benefit of this however, is that whatever your budget, you can find an item or collecting field that suits you!

How to find out what an antique is worth

For a ballpark figure, you can always search online for similar items for sale with antiques dealers, or for pieces which recently sold at auction. However, for more specific advice, the experts at your local auction house can be a fount of information – and many host free valuation days. You can also take a look at our guide on how to get an antique valued.

Where to buy antiques

There are plenty of brilliant places to buy antiques at a range of price points, though the antiques shops on your local high street are always a good place to start. To make a day of antiques-hunting, antiques fairs and flea markets or local auctions and car boot sales can be great spots to pick up bargains. Or, if you prefer to shop online, there are an array of online antiques shops and antiques dealers on Instagram.


Create displays with fruit and vegetable ceramics

https://www.homesandantiques.com/antiques/display-ideas/decorate-with-fruit-and-vegetable-ceramics/ Thu, 06 May 2021 10:00:20 +0000


Eccentric vegetable and fruit ceramics have always baffled and bemused, but their popularity is unrivalled. From the 18th century until the mid 20th century, weird and wonderful designs have been highly sought-after and, today, they’re back in fashion once again. Hip high-street stores, from Oliver Bonas to Divertimenti, are now selling vegetable-inspired tableware to the masses.

Antique pieces are fetching huge sums, too. When Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon’s collection of 18th-century vegetable ceramics was sold by Sotheby’s in New York in November 2014, prices far exceeded expectations. A pair of Chelsea asparagus tureens (c1755), for example, sold for $118,750 (£76,000) against an estimate of $20,000–$30,000 (£13,000–£19,000).

How to display fruit and vegetable ceramics

It’s clear that the appeal of these intriguing pieces is far from waning. But how do you display them once you’ve got your hands on a piece of the produce-inspired action?

Make a meal of it

Eclectic table displays are a hot trend at the moment: we’re taking patterned tablecloths, bright napkins, Murano glass tumblers and an array of vibrant ceramics. Quirky cabbageware is a perfect addition to this look – and a plate rack filled with vintage pieces creates a striking focal point in the dining room. It also means you have your favourite pieces close to hand for setting the table…

A plate rack filled with vintage pieces creates a striking focal point in the dining room. As well as being an intriguing display, it also means you have your favourite pieces close to hand for setting the table

Photography by Katya de Grunwald, styling by Marisa Daly

Curate a display on a sideboard or dresser

A sideboard in your dining room makes the ideal spot to group together pieces of your collection – a contemporary, understated piece of furniture offsets the unmistakable look of the ceramics. More exotic pieces such as pineapple-shaped jugs add extra interest to your display (and serving from one in the 17th century indicated that you were a person of great wealth and importance).

A display of quirky fruit and vegetable ceramics on a living room sideboard.

Photography by Katya de Grunwald, styling by Marisa Daly

Make the most of open shelving

Use open shelves to display your collection of statement plates and vases. A fabric that follows the same theme pulls the look together. Colourful fruit and vegetable designs look best against a natural background, so paint your walls in earthy colours to create a real impact.

An array of fruit and vegetable plates on open shelving, with vegetable-print curtains to match

Photography by Katya de Grunwald, styling by Marisa Daly

You might also enjoy:

Collecting Staffordshire Dog figurines. Image: Rachel Whiting

Create a wall display of cabbageware plates

Create a smart, ordered look by displaying a set of plates above a fireplace and framing them with a bold paper border or neon washi tape. Stock up on invisible adhesive disc plate hangers (£2.50 from Hobbycraft). If your plates are too precious to hang, dispel any worry and prop them on a shelf using wooden plate stands.

Create a focal point on a wall by hanging antique cabbageware plates and framing with neon washi tape

Photography by Katya de Grunwald, styling by Marisa Daly

Use your hallway as a gallery space

Create a welcoming hallway with a decorative display of plates and bowls in complementary shades. Pair with vintage botanical prints for a cohesive look.

Create a welcoming hallway with a decorative display of plates and bowls in complementary shades. Pair with vintage botanical prints for a cohesive look.

Photography by Katya de Grunwald, styling by Marisa Daly

Make the most of your coffee table

Place unusual plates on the bottom shelf of a glass coffee table for a display that’s easy to update and experiment with mixing old and new ceramics.

Place unusual plates on the bottom shelf of a glass coffee table for a display that’s easy to update and experiment with mixing old and new ceramics

Photography by Katya de Grunwald, styling by Marisa Daly


Luke Honey’s cabinet of curiosities: 1920s mahjong sets

https://www.homesandantiques.com/antiques/collecting-guides-antiques/experts/luke-honeys-cabinet-of-curiosities-1920s-mahjong-sets/ Tue, 04 May 2021 15:26:08 +0000


‘Welcome to the mysterious world of mah-jongg: that most ancient of Chinese games, as played by Mandarins for thousands of years – its origins hidden in the mists of time…’ 

I have to admit that I’ve made this quote up, as it’s just the sort of thing you’ll find in a 1920s mahjong rules book. But don’t believe a word of it! Or, at least, not all of it, for the game of mahjong is not quite what it seems.

Whats the history of modern mahjong?

Mahjong, in its modernised Western form, was reinvented by an American, one Joseph Park Babcock (1893–1949), an executive of the Standard Oil Company. In 1912, Standard Oil sent Babcock to Soochow, China, where, in the gambling dens and English colonial clubs, he came across an addictive 19th-century tile game that had taken China by storm. Sensing an opportunity, he came up with a simplified version and repackaged it under the trade mark ‘Mah-Jongg’, which, these days, we tend to spell ‘mahjong’. There are many variations across the world but, as with playing cards, the aim is to build up a winning hand.

An unusual ‘Red Lacquered’ Chinese mahjong set c1920, £650, Luke Honey Ltd.
An unusual ‘Red Lacquered’ Chinese mahjong set c1920, £650, Luke Honey Ltd.

In 1920, W. A. Hammond, a lumber merchant from San Francisco, formed The Mah Jongg Sales Company and began to import large quantities of sets to the United States. Abercrombie & Fitch sold the first mahjong sets. The game took off and became a huge craze across America and Britain. In a sense, Babcock was lucky: his game coincided with a revived fashion for chinoiserie, which flourished in the years after the First World War.

Enterprising businessmen set up numerous workshops in the area around Shanghai. Here, large quantities of mahjong sets were produced, specifically for export to the West. Artisans fashioned the tiles from American cow bone mounted with bamboo and, during the height of the mahjong craze, vast quantities of bone were shipped to China from the Kansas and Chicago cattle sheds. To finish, local children engraved, stained and coloured the tiles with Chinese characters, symbols and motifs.

You might also enjoy: 

A Whippet on a four poster bed

And then, at the end of the decade, the rage for mahjong died out almost as suddenly as it had started, replaced by an instantaneous obsession with miniature golf. Today, almost 100 years later, mahjong is fashionable again, and demand for vintage sets is rising.

How to buy a vintage mahjong set

First, don’t believe anybody who tells you the tiles are made of ivory. They’re usually not. The majority of 1920s mahjong tiles are made from either cow bone or ‘ivorine’ (an early form of celluloid), mounted onto bamboo. I have never – as yet – seen a mahjong set with ivory tiles. Jade, yes. But not ivory.

The typical 1920s mahjong set comes in a stained wooden case with a sliding panel to the front, often decorated with Chinese characters, and sometimes intricately carved with dragons, foliage, insects, plants and trees. There will be a brass carrying handle and protective brass mounts to the sharp edges. Inside, pull-out drawers will hold the tiles (with a space to ease removal), and there will be a divided drawer to hold the bone counting sticks, miniature dice (often in a box with a sliding lid), Ming box and wind discs. 

How much are vintage mahjong sets worth?

Vintage mahjong sets turn up for sale at auction, and can fetch in the region of £200–£300 for good 1920s Shanghai versions. Expect to pay more from a specialist dealer – as is so often the case in the world of antiques, it’s the rarer and more unusual examples that command the higher prices.

Antiques dealer, Luke Honey
Luke Honey is an antiques dealer and writer. Find out more at lukehoney.co.uk


Explore the June issue of Homes & Antiques

https://www.homesandantiques.com/magazine/explore-the-june-issue-of-homes-antiques/ Mon, 03 May 2021 23:01:40 +0000


Embrace the magic of midsummer with our June issue

The longest day will soon be here and, as long as we’re allowed to, we’re looking forward to celebrating with friends and family. Now is the perfect time to start planning a midsummer soiree, and Selina Lake’s styling ideas are sure to add romance and a sense of joy to the occasion. Our houses this month are bursting with inspiring elements, from a medieval Welsh hall house to a mid-century gem in London’s Dulwich Estate. Meanwhile collecting is a thread that runs through the magazine and this issue is no exception: Luke Honey discusses fire insurance marks and exhibition posters; Ellie Tennant discovers the craftsmanship of ships in bottles; and Willa Latham begins her journey in pursuit of British porcelain. Plus we round up six of our favourite heritage lidos and give you ideas for designing a blissful bathroom of dreams.

Take a look inside our June issue

Homes & Antiques - June 2021 cover

Image by Sussie Bell, styling by Selina Lake


Where to go for a vintage afternoon tea

https://www.homesandantiques.com/events/travel-events/where-to-go-vintage-afternoon-tea/ Thu, 29 Apr 2021 09:37:32 +0000


What could be nicer than catching up with friends over an old-fashioned afternoon tea? We’re talking a vintage cake stand laden with delectable cakes, finger sandwiches, scones with lashings of jam and clotted cream, plus a piping hot cup of tea served from antique tea pot – delicious!

We’ve scoured the country for the best vintage-themed tearooms to enjoy a a delicious brew and a generous piece of freshly baked cake, all served up with a slice of nostalgia. Milk and one sugar for me, please!

Check ahead – please contact tearooms or keep an eye on websites and social media for updates regarding bookings, opening hours or menu changes.

Lady Scarlett’s Tea Parlour 

The Isle of Wight led the trend for stylish, period-themed holidays when the original cool campsite, Vintage Vacations, started renting out airstream trailers and reconditioned caravans near Ryde almost two decades ago. If you’re just after a retro pot of tea rather than a full nostalgia-tinted stay, though, the island is also home to Lady Scarlett’s Tea Parlour. Overlooking the sea in Ventnor, this 1940s-style tearoom does a brisk trade in homemade cakes, local ice-creams and crab pasties. Era-appropriate music is played through a 1940s radiogram and the toilets are reached via a mocked-up Anderson shelter. 

Esplanade, Ventnor, Isle of Wight. ladyscarlettsteaparlour.co.uk

Lady Scarlett’s Tea Parlour on the Isle of Wight overlooks the sea

Lady Scarlett’s Tea Parlour on the Isle of Wight overlooks the sea.

Mackintosh at the Willow

Glasgow’s original Willow Tearooms were designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903. Commissioned by local tearoom empress Kate Cranston, the site was restored by a charitable trust and re-opened in 2018 as a social enterprise, Mackintosh at The Willow. (‘The Willow Tea Rooms’, operating at a different site in the city, is a separate business). The only tearoom designed both inside and out by Mackintosh, right down to the high-backed chairs that became one of his trademarks, it is now a 200-seat restaurant spread across three floors. The big draw is afternoon tea in the Salon De Luxe.

215–217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. mackintoshatthewillow.com

Mackintosh at the Willow re-opened in 2018 on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow and is now run as a social enterprise.

Mackintosh at the Willow re-opened in 2018 on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow and is now run as a social enterprise.

The Fourteas Tea-Room

A quill’s throw from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, The Fourteas is just the place for a pot of tea (try the house blend, a perky mix of Keemun and Ceylon custom-designed by a specialist local company) and a homemade scone laced with jam and cream. Owner Zenios Loucas once worked in the Palm Court at The Ritz and, while The Fourteas has a more utility-chic, 1940s feel than the hotel’s famously lavish Louis XVI dining room, there’s an equally palpable focus on indulgence. The business has recently started selling hampers and cream teas online, the latter neatly packaged in replica gas mask boxes.

24 Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon. thefourteas.co.uk

The Fourteas Tea-Room in Stratford-upon-Avon is the place to go for an indulgent cream tea served up in 1940s style

The Fourteas Tea-Room in Stratford-upon-Avon is the place to go for an indulgent cream tea served up in 1940s style.

You might also enjoy:

An elegant tea party scene in a Georgian living room

The Vintage Tearooms

A polished, modern spin on the vintage tearoom, The Vintage Tearooms is a large cafe on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, with tables spread over two floors and a leafy tea garden. Downstairs is a Cath Kidston-inspired room with large windows painted duck-egg blue and a sideboard brimming with seriously good homemade cakes, while the upper floor takes its cues from the 1940s. Grab one of the wingback chairs and gaze over the village of Tealby through large bay windows while you nibble your way through smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, warm scones or a slice of white chocolate and raspberry cake (served on vintage china, of course). 

12 Front Street, Tealby, Lincolnshire. thevintagetearooms.co.uk

mouthwatering sandwiches and cakes served on a dainty stand at The Vintage Tearooms in Tealby

Mouthwatering sandwiches and cakes served on a dainty stand at The Vintage Tearooms in Tealby.

The Hidden Treasure Tea Room

Stylish and fun, with plants blooming from china teapots and a constellation of flouncy vintage lampshades overhead, The Hidden Treasure Tea Room in Exeter has an impressively original menu. It also has a sideline selling vintage crockery, Devon cream teas, bake-your-own kits and seasonal afternoon teas for local delivery. All the usual suspects make an appearance on the menu but thanks to owner Vicki Parks’ background organising bespoke tea parties and pop-up supperclubs, so do cranberry scones, madeleines dipped in dark chocolate and honeycomb, devilled eggs, fig and goats cheese canapés and elderflower mojitos. 

5A New Bridge St, Exeter. hiddentreasure.biz

Cocktails are served at The Hidden Treasure Tea Room

Cocktails are served at The Hidden Treasure Tea Room.

Northern Belle

One of a handful of vintage trains running luxury day trips from stations around Britain, the Northern Belle is a restored 1930s showstopper. Book one of its sepia-tinted afternoon tea journeys and you’ll find yourself in a glitzy tearoom on wheels. The train’s historic Pullman-style carriages are decorated with mosaics and marquetry panels created by A Dunn & Son (a 126-year-old Essex firm known for its work on ocean liners RMS Titanic and RMS Queen Mary). Sip champagne between bites of dainty sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries as your chosen corner of the British countryside sweeps by.


one of the beautifully appointed carriages aboard Northern Belle

One of the beautifully appointed carriages aboard Northern Belle.

Words: Rhiannon Batten


Published at