February 2018 Newsletter

  • By Antiques-Art-Design Sydney

“Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.”


Woof!  Italian 9k rose gold and diamond pug dog charm necklace - wearable length 420mm - height of pendant not including bale 20mm - c.2000 Italy $975

Hello again,
As we welcome in the Chinese New Year, we rediscover romance and Lorna Lesley tells us about the Year of the Dog and fascination of the underworld..

Blowing out the Candles in February ... birthday dinner for eight
Bugsy brings the booze, Queen Mary orders oneself bloody, Copernicus circulates, Stiglitz calculates, Carmen Miranda makes eyes at Ronaldo, Edison beams, Joyce gorges on gorgonzola....
Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Happy Chinese New Year of the Dog (although in these parts every dog has his day all year every year – you should see the accessories). According to one expert “Brown Earth Dog is going to be a good year in all respects, but it will also be an exhausting year. You will be happy, yet frustrated, rested, yet tired, cheerful, yet dull!” Frankly, after the chaos of the chattering Monkey and the hubris of the strutting Rooster I’m looking forward to a bit of cheery dullness.
As with all cultural traditions there are do’s and dont's. The latter includes arguing, sweeping, using sharp objects and wishing someone a Happy New Year while they’re still in bed. The "do's" involves gift giving (but not clocks or apples) and of course eating – especially dumplings and desserts including song muffin cake and osmanthus jelly.
As well as the traditional lantern parades, dragon boat races, lion dances and banquets, Sydney’s 2018 Chinese New Year Festival features an art installation presented in conjunction with Guide Dogs N.S.W. and A.C.T 60 Dogs to Celebrate Sixty Years featuring the life-sized canine moneyboxes usually found in shopping malls decorated in a variety of styles from Western Desert dots to Dalek chic. Find them at Scout Place, Alfred St, Sydney from Friday 16th to Sunday 25th February and vote for your favourite with a gold coin.

By Lorna Lesley
Left: Antique English carved treen dog form match safe - dimensions 75 x 28mm c.1830 England $1650
Right: 14k yellow gold essex crystal terrier cufflinks - diameter of face 14mm - c.1990 USA $2450
Left: Austrian silver and enamel dog portrait case - dimensions 82mm x 55mm x 12mm - c.1920 $1450
Right: Austrian silver dogs head table box - dimensions 78mm x 55mm x 13mm - c.1920 $1250


Ahhh where is Romance…..?

February, being the host to Valentines day, is the month of Love, and it seems love is going strong……
But where is Romance (apart from in Bromance behind a B), where is beauty, where is allure and charm, where is subtle, and where is cute?
Has cupid abandoned his bow and arrow to deliver the ecstatic sting of love? Has he found, in these most direct of times, that he needs to employ a more all-encompassing and general hand grenade? Or, for a more impressive result, and to keep up with the cinematographic notions of an awe inspiring moment, has he had to resort to an anti-aircraft anti-tank rocket launcher instead?

Bring Romance back….write a poem, create a trail of rose petals, light a candle!!
I know these all seem out of fashion and out of use, but it is good to keep people guessing what will happen next. Sometimes, returning to the foundations of the tried tested and true, can allow that moment to be unexpected and to shine.
This is in contrast, of course, with the alternative of being so ridiculously innovative that there is a sudden, but necessary, flurry of texts or emails along with a picture to family and friends asking “ what the????” and hoping for some form of divine enlightenment from someone…… and ultimately embarrassing everyone when your niece replies “to all” and suggests it is a part of someone’s anatomy.
It should be like a piece of music, where instinctively you think you know the next note, but instead it is something completely different, and true, sometimes it is just plain wrong, but in most instances it is the memorable and often exquisite sound that whenever you hear the work again, you wait for, expectantly longing for that moment when something of beauty takes your breath away.

Christopher Becker

A French solid silver enamel and pearls portrait miniature box with panel to the lid after Bougereau's "L'Amour et Psyche" - total weight 131grms - overall dimensions 79 x 60 x 33 - c.1895 France $3950

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
The Glamour of Squalor

Sydney’s always been fascinated by crims – from the chancers, cutpurses and con artists of the convict era to bushrangers, bootleggers, colourful racing identities, corporate fraudsters, bent pollies and the current crop of selfie-obsessed shysters.  

So it was no surprise to find a banner advertising the exhibition Underworld: Mugshots From The Roaring Twenties outside the Sydney Museum, or that its poster-boy Mr A.Caddy wouldn’t look out of place in a Tom Ford fashion layout (the exhibition’s website features a link to a 20s fashion blog). Described as a descent into the seedy underworld it includes more than 130 “candid & compelling mugshots” taken by New South Wales police between 1920 and 1930.  

See link for more information:
Announcement on the overnight train from Melbourne to Sydney:
“anti-sociable behavior will not be tolerated”
I managed a forced smile.
The Last Word…

An ornate style of architecture inspired by silverware... in “that cupola’s plateresque”
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