SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine
Walter Battiss

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GENTLE ANARCHIST AND KING OF FOOK ISLAND

“I invented myself” is how Walter Battiss described his open-minded approach to life which, in the then staid and conservative South Africa, shocked many people. Much like his contemporaries Pablo Picasso and futurist Gino Severini whom he met whilst exhibiting a collection of

South African art with the International Art Club in Italy in 1949 and who strongly influenced his
work, his joie de vivre, appreciation of beauty and sensual treatment of the human form earned him recognition across the world.

WHO WAS WALTER BATTISS?
Walter Whall Battiss (6 January 1906 – 20 August 1982) was a South African artist, considered to be the foremost South African abstract painter and known as the creator of the quirky “Fook Island” concept.
Battiss was born into an English Methodist family in the Karoo town of Somerset East. He first became interested in archaeology and tribal art as a young boy after moving to Kofefontein in 1917.

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Increasing Global Interest in South African Art

saartArt lovers across the globe are vying for the best in local art and recently established Aspire Art Auctions, with its unparalleled expertise, fresh approach to the industry and astonishing results, is confirming the value of the South African art market. Aspire’s inaugural auction, held on 31 October 2016 at The Park on 7 in Hyde Park, set an impressive standard with a sell-through rate of over 75% across a focused 121 lots, totaling R33 733 818 in sales.
A packed house, supplemented by a stream of local and international telephone and online bidders, conducted by leading South African art auctioneer, Ruarc Peffers, led to competitive bidding and numerous broken records.

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LOCAL IS LEKKER - COLLECTING SOUTH AFRICAN ANTIQUES

local1South Africa, with its English, Dutch, French and German heritage, has a wealth of antiques and collectables that have been handed down from generation to generation and have become highly sought after by collectors. - From the local craftsmen who created local furniture that could be easily transported during the ‘great trek’, - To the French Huguenots and German settlers who brought their own craftsmanship. - From the early Dutch settlers who brought down furniture from their native Holland, - To the many commemorative items commissioned by the English Queen such as Royal Doulton’s Loving Cup or Boer War memorabilia to commemorate colonial events .... South African antiques offer a rich tapestry of collecting intrigue.

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The Inspiration that is Miss Potter

bunnykinsplateIn a world that has gone crazy it is refreshing to be taken into the world of Miss Potter. You are left wondering how many tales or adventures of their own Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton Tail went on. The joy of being in a world where each and every character comes to life from the books is an incredible journey. It goes without saying of course that at some time in the day or night your collection springs to life and all these years later they go on journeys of their own and write more tales - with Beatrix Potter capturing every detail. It is 10 PM here right now and I see some movement in my display cabinet... did Cotton Tail just whisper to Mopsy, “ let the show begin”?

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The Chinese Charm

chinesecharm18th century porcelain

PORCELAIN WAS A RELATIVELY UNKNOWN COMMODITY IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY FRANCE. EXAMPLES OF BOTH CHINESE AND JAPANESE PORCELAIN COULD BE FOUND IN ROYAL AND ARISTOCRATIC COLLECTIONS, BUT BECAUSE OF THEIR COST, THESE OBJECTS WERE AVAILABLE ONLY TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF SOCIETY. DEVELOPMENT OF CERAMICS WIN CHINA

An unprecedented growth appeared in the Chinese industry during the period from the sixth to the ninth century, a phenomenon that can be traced to several factors including the development of high-fired stoneware, the discovery of porcelain, and the growing importance of drinking tea.

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Focus on Furniture

furniturefocusFurniture has been around, in some form or another, for centuries. Fashion in furniture has always revolved around the practicality of storage and utility and has changed according to the needs and lifestyles of consumers. In this issue we look at the various types of antique furniture used for storage. Pieces like wardrobes, cabinets and drawers have largely been replaced today by built-in cupboards and fitted dressing rooms but there has been a strong return to featuring a grand armoire as a centrepiece to a room or including a chest of drawers, credenza or chest to add balance and interest to a décor setting.

Wardrobe:
Called an ‘armoire” in French, the wardrobe is a standing storage closet. The earliest form of storing clothes was in a chest – it was with the rise of the nobility who needed chest, cupboards etc for their sumptuous clothes that the wardrobe came into its own and developed to include hanging space, sliding shelves and drawers. Originally made from oak in the 17th Century and referred to by the British as an ‘oakley’, it was later made from American walnut and then evolved in the 19th Century into more elaborate forms made from mahogany and satinwood. Sometimes referred to as a ‘tallboy’, this term, it is believed, came about as the wardrobe’s size was determined by the ‘8 small men’ method – i.e. the average double size wardrobe was made to hold, in its capacity, 8 small men.

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Art Deco Jewellery

artdeco1The Art Deco period is one of the most popular and enduring design periods in jewellery’s history. The style reflected the flamboyant and playful attitudes of the era and gave birth to forms and motifs that continue to live on today.

Some consumers seek out authentic vintage and antique pieces from 1920 to 1935 for collections, and others purchase contemporary fashion jewellery featuring Art Deco styles simply because they like the patterns and looks.

Art Deco had strong roots in France, and while the name is thought to have been taken from L’Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne in Paris in 1925, the phrase was not commonly ascribed to the aesthetic until 1968, when English art historian Bevis Hillier wrote his definitive “Art Deco of the 20s and 30s.”

Art Deco jewellery is marked by its geometry and symmetry. In this respect, Art Deco has more in common with the highly graphic and stylized designs of Arts and Crafts than Art Nouveau. In addition, Art Deco is a product of the machine age. Thus, Art Deco designs often adhere to grids, while other examples appear to be in motion, as if their lines had been pulled by the mechanical acceleration of the object itself.

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Remembering Diana and her Legacy

collector-dianaWith every passing event that puts the spotlight on Diana's two sons William and Harry – whether it was the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, Prince Harry working with children in Lesotho or more recently the birth of little Prince George, we remember their mother Diana with fondness and a touch of sadness for a life taken in her prime.

For so many of us, Diana had become the jewel shining radiantly in our lives. As she said quite often "All the jewels in the world could not shine if you as a person did not shine." And shine she did – as only Diana could. We all remember the famous wedding - a fairy tale that unfolded before our eyes as Diana emerged from the Royal carriage looking every inch the fairytale princess. There was a vulnerability in the young 19 year old who was thrust into the limelight and had to endure the glare of the world as she tried so valiantly to fit into her 'royal' role.

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Collecting in a galaxy far far away

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RE-ENVISIONING COLLECTABLE TOYS

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, Star Wars was released in cinemas in 1977, forever changing the face of science fiction in modern popular culture.

Its continuing success has helped transform and popularize the toy industry in dramatic ways. Star Wars and the toys it inspired have been forever linked, a story that can just as easily be told through figures as it can through film. The collectible potential of Star Wars has become highly sought after by their fans and science fiction connoisseurs alike.

If you go into any toy store today you will notice that Star Wars action figures are wildly popular. Collecting Star Wars figures has be become a well established hobby with thousands of dollars invested, and modern day collectors continue to look for rare, vintage, and out-of-print figures to add to their growing collections.

Though you can find cool collectibles for affordable prices, adding valuable figures to your life can be costly. Fans prize some of the most valuable action figures, which come at high prices, but for lovers of the films, no price is too much to pay for the figures of childhood from a favorite film.

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Majestic Diamonds

queenelizabethThe Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year has put the spotlight firmly on the pomp and ceremony of the Royal family and in keeping with the ‘diamond’ theme of the Jubilee, we look at the ‘diamonds’ that form part of the Royal Collection. The diamond and jewellery collection of Queen Elizabeth II is by far one of the greatest collections in the world. Many people have witnessed two Diamond Jubilees but for many of us this is our first. The Collector magazine looks at the magnificent Royal diamond collection and in particular looks at the South African connection to the present collection both in terms of not only the largest diamonds but also the most flawless in the collection.

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Collecting Card Cases

cardcase2In the day of genteel manners and formal introductions, the exchange of calling cards was a social custom that was essential in developing friendships. The custom of carrying calling or visiting cards began in France in the early 1800’s. It quickly spread throughout Europe, and then became vastly popular in the United States, especially the New England area from 1840-1900.

Calling cards were carried primarily by the “well-to-do” ladies who made a point to go calling on friends and family on a specified day of the week or month, depending on their location and proximity to neighbors.

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Meissen Porcelain

Meissen vaseSecrecy. Deceit. Imprisonment. The stuff of spy thrillers and international intrigue. True. But they are also words that can be used to describe the early discovery and development of porcelain in Europe.

These beautiful and delicate icons that adorn our homes were once the objects of ferocious competition and the precious prizes coveted by kings. Today, avid collectors share the passion for porcelain and are no less voracious in their appetite for rare and beautiful examples.

The name Meissen is synonymous with handcrafted porcelain of exceptional quality. This porcelain, known as “white gold” in Germany, has captivated people for centuries. Today Meissen Porcelain Manufactory is famous around the world for its luxury tableware, limited art works and craftsmanship of the highest quality. Besides its popular tableware, the company produces limited art editions, interior design concepts, ornaments, jewellery and products to create your own individual world for living. Traditional as well as modern, partly contemporary, aesthetics find new expression in Meissen Porcelain.

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THREADS OF SILK AND GOLD - The enigmatic Kimono

kimonoI have had a lifelong fascination with Asian textiles, especially kimono and obi and have, admittedly, long ago crossed the fine line between collecting and hoarding. Textiles and costume are fascinating and virtually inexhaustible fields of study.

Think of Japan and a few images immediately come to mind – cherry blossoms, samurai, kimono and sushi. Kimono literally means ‘thing to wear’ and includes a vast range of garments of various descriptions. A kimono is never just a thing to wear. It is a personal statement replete with clues about the wearer’s status, education, interests and understanding of this most recognisable form of national dress.

Up until the beginning of the Meiji era, silk was only worn by the upper classes. The poor had to make do with various bast fibres and cotton. Sumptuary laws regulated who could wear what, but they were more often than not flouted or ignored by those with the means to do so.

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Coco Chanel

cocoOfficial records show that her mother, Eugénie, gave birth to Gabrielle on 19 August 1883 in the poorhouse in Saumur, a market town on the river Loire.
Eugénie (known as Jeanne) was 20, Chanel’s father Henri-Albert (known as Albert) was 28, and listed as a merchant, on Gabrielle’s birth certificate. They were not yet married but already had one daughter, Julia, born less than a year previously.

Chanel was born into poverty and was taught to sew by the Catholic nuns who raised her from the age of twelve. Gabrielle Bonheur, a nun in the hospice where Chanel was born, was made her godmother, and so, according to Chanel, ‘I was baptised Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel’. Gabrielle she stayed throughout her childhood - Coco was a creation that came later - although she invented a story that is revealing in its untruths: ‘My father used to call me “Little Coco” until something better should come along,’ she told Marcel Haedrich (editor-in-chief of Marie- Claire). ‘He didn’t like [the name] “Gabrielle” at all; it hadn’t been his choice.’ At times Gabrielle declared Coco to be an ‘awful’ name; and yet she was proud of its recognition throughout the world, evidence of her indisputable presence.

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The Expertise of Antique Dealers

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Since the formation of the NAADA Association five years ago to conform to the promulgation of the 2nd Hand Goods Act, the fairs that are organized under the auspices of The Collector are all accredited NAADA Association fairs. So, whether you visit the Nelson Mandela Square Antiques Fair on the first Sunday of every month; the Hyde Park Antiques Fair on the last Sunday of every month or the Brooklyn Square Antiques Fair on the first Saturday of every month or the National Antiques Faire at the Sandton Convention Centre, you can rest assured you are dealing with professionals.

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The Rupert Museum

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In Stellenbosch, a town that offers so much culturally, it takes a lot to stand out. The Rupert Museum, located in the middle of vineyards at the bottom end of Dorp Street, makes a statement both by its stunning design and the art treasures it holds. Completed in 2005 after the late Huberte Rupert briefed architect Hannes Meiring to give shape to her vision of having an art museum to house the family’s considerable collection, this urban gem offers a sense of peace and tranquillity, far removed from the busy surroundings.

Hannes Meiring was asked to create a building that was representative of all Stellenbosch has to offer: Boland architecture embracing the architectural history, the wine industry and the natural beauty of the place. The simple H-shaped building, which is white washed with a grey corrugated iron roof, offers light and space inside.

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The Fascination of Celebrity Collections

CELEBRITYYou could say that celebrities collect because they have so much money they don’t know what to do with it. That’s probably true - the clever ones though collect as an investment and have a passion for what they collect. Take the actor Tom Hanks, whose fondness for old typewriters even prompted him to have his own iPad app The Hank Writer which allows users to simulate the typewriter experience on their tablet. Reese Witherspoon collects antique linen and embroidery, Whoopi Goldberg collects Bakelite Jewellery, whilst Dolly Parton and Claudia Schiffer have gone nature’s way – by collecting butterflies and insects. Talk show host Jay Leno has one of the greatest car collections in the world, ranging from rare cars to jet-powered cars and Quenton Tarantino collects board games. Throughout the decades we have seen some impressive celebrity collections going under the hammer.

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Collecting Antique Jade

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Danish Modern

danishAs time marches on, antiques become rarer, harder to find and more expensive and becomes the preserve of those who enjoy the opulence of the 18th and 19th Century. Art Deco and Art Nouveau is coming of age and will soon enjoy the title of being ‘antique’ and become highly collectable. But there is another trend in collecting and that is that of the ‘modern’ collectable – pieces from the 1920’s through to the 70’s that are recognised as iconic trends that will most definitely be tomorrow’s collectables.

Danish Modern is one such vintage style associated with the Danish design movement started in the 1920’s by minimalist wood furniture designers such as Kaare Klint who embraced the principles of Bauhaus modernism in furniture design, creating clean, pure lines based on the understanding of classical furniture craftsmanship but using modern materials.

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Collectors Love Ice Cream Memorabilia

icecreammakerSummer is around the corner!!! Collectors love ice cream-related memorabilia. Ice cream dippers, scoops, molds, serving dishes, and soda fountain and ice cream advertising items are all cool collectibles.

But here’s the scoop on cones. The ice cream cone was invented in 1896 by Italo Marchiony, an ice cream pushcart vendor in New York City. He wanted to stop customers from stealing his serving dishes. In 1903, he patented a special mold for waffle cups with sloping sides.

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Marie-Antoinette’s AFFAIR OF THE DIAMOND NECKLACE

marieIt was the biggest scandal at the court of Louis XVI in the late summer of 1785 that discredited the French monarchy on the eve of the French Revolution.

The diamond necklace at the centre of this affair was made by Parisian jewellers Boehmer and Bassenge and contained 647 flawless diamonds, some of several carats each – totaling 2 800 carats in weight!

It was originally commissioned by Louis XV for his mistress, Madame du Barry – however the king died a year later, long before the necklace was completed. The jewellers hoped that the new king, Louis XVI, might agree to buy the necklace for Marie Antoinette. Such was the size of the necklace that gathering the diamonds to assemble it almost bankrupted its creators.

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The legacy of Irma Stern

irmaThe Irma Stern Museum


The Museum, established in 1971, is governed by the University of Cape Town and the Irma Stern Trust. It aims to promote an understanding and appreciation of the life, work and travels of Irma Stern, a major South African artist, by displaying a collection of her art and artifacts in the domestic setting of her home. The collection shows Irma Stern’s development as an artist, who worked as a painter, sculptor and ceramist. Her life-long interest in depicting people is evident in the predominance of portraits and exotic figures interspersed with lush landscapes and vibrant still life’s.

Her two illustrated journals published of travels undertaken in Zanzibar and the Congo vividly convey her experiences, while the private writings in German kept during the period (1917- 1933) were translated into English and published posthumously; provide another insight into her personality.

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Automobilia Mascots

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Some people go to car events and take lots of pictures of the cars on display; others seem less interested in the actual cars but contort themselves up and down, or side to side, in order to take a picture of a car mascot. But back in the 1920s and ‘30s, it was not the famous badges of these revered cars which the powerful and rich of France wanted to display, it was the actual cars themselves!

According to the author of A History of Cars written for youth, the first “hood ornament” was a sun-crested falcon (to bring good luck) mounted on Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s chariot.

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COLLECTING TRENDS FOR THE FUTURE

collectingtrends1The more things change, the more they stay the same. Applicable to so much in life and trends, this saying also applies to the world of antiques and collectibles. Whilst what is collected changes, the art and passion of collecting remains a basic human trait. What our grandparents collected might not appeal to young collectors who are looking at more ‘modern’ collectables but underlying this transition in collecting lies the most important thing about antiques – their ‘value’.

This goes beyond the monetary value of a piece to its intrinsic value as a living piece of history and its role in preserving our collective culture. More and more of the younger generation, conscious of global warming and rampant consumerism, are starting to surround themselves with things that have a ‘green’ footprint and have meaning and a story to tell. A Victorian mahogany chest of drawers that has survived more than a century of use and will easily survive for another century, has a carbon footprint 16 times smaller than that of one made today.

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