June 2016 Newsletter

  • By Antiques-Art-Design Sydney

"I no doubt deserved my enemies but I don’t believe I deserved my friends”

Walt Whitman
Assortment of silver table boxes from 1900-1950 from our current collection.
Hello there,

Thank you to everyone who attended the recent Sydney Fair at Bryon Kennedy Hall at Moore Park. It was a great turn out with something for everyone and plenty to see.  We will be exhibiting again in September at the AAADA Sydney Fair at The Kensington Room, Royal Randwick from 7 September 2016, with details closer to the time.  Once again, if you are interested in attending, please email your name and contact details to and we will be in touch regarding tickets.

Part of our stand at The Sydney Fair, Bryon Kennedy Hall, Moore Park
From L to R: Intricate silver "bamboo link" bracelet and Antonio Fallaci silver blue and white enamel wide link bracelet from our current collection.
Blowing out the Candles in June...
Marilyn serenades Sartre, Stravinsky fawns on Garland, Ginsberg riffs with Pushkin, McCulloch lights a Roman candle, Maynard Keynes cuts the cake, De Sade whips the cream…
Dior dress/frock/gown c.1950 (courtesy of Pinterest)
“I’m on the M7, I’m taking my gowns back to Mum’s place…”
is the reply when I ask my music theatre star friend where she’s taking my call. I picture beaded satin sheaths strapped upright in the backseat, enjoying a rare daylight outing.

Later, after I hang up I start thinking about the word “gown” and what is it that distinguishes a gown from a dress, or for that matter, a dress from a frock? Is it opulence? When Kate Middleton married Prince William it was the wedding dress the commentators swooned over – elaborate lace, hand embroidery, two metre train and a reported £250,000 price tag notwithstanding. So no.

Maybe it’s the occasion. When the humble Mrs Edna Everage first emerged from Moonee Ponds she wore frocks; sensible, floral, possibly Osti, the preferred label of many a young matron. Later as Dame Edna she experienced her own Windsor moments, appearing at Command Performances in elaborate confections of taffeta, sequins and feathers, but somehow they were still frocks. So no again.
Perhaps it’s an aura of serious glamour that elevates a dress to the status of a gown. “Gowns By Orry-Kelly” read the great Australian designer’s Hollywood credit, worn by screen goddesses Bergmann, Davis, Del Rio and De Havilland (but it was dresses for Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot). To add to the confusion there’s the formal: frock coat, dress uniform and ball gown and the casual: house frock, play dress and dressing gown.  

Remembering the great life lesson from primary school (look it up!) I consult the oracle, The Oxford Dictionary which defines the word gown as:
a long elegant dress worn on formal occasions
a protective garment, as in “surgical”
a garment indicating professional status, as in “academic”

The garments making their way down the freeway back to safe storage are long and elegant, they protect the wearer as the armour in which she struts her “divaness” and they are symbols indicating her professional status (you don’t get to wear these numbers in the chorus)... They are truly gowns, in every sense of the word.
By Lorna Lesley
Photos courtesy of Pinterest and thatagnes from WordPress
To get you in the mood…
Before you see “Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera From The Jacques & Natasha Gelman Collection” at the Art Gallery Of New South Wales read Barbara Kingsolver’s 2009 novel “The Lacuna”  in which the young hero Harrison Shepherd finds work as a cook in the Rivera-Kahlo household where he meets the exiled Russian leader Leon Trotsky. Kingsolver blends fiction with real-life events in Mexico and America to explore the relationship between art and politics. Please see the following link to the exhibition:
 Photos courtesy of Pinterest
Discovering Art Deco Gems...

I have been watching with interest as the Metro theatre, one of the Deco Gems of Potts Point, and coincidentally just across the street from the store, has started to undergo restoration. For those that are not familiar, it started life as the Minerva theatre and is a wonderful example of Art Deco at its best. Its “Streamline Moderne” stepped and curved spire has, for some reason, always triggered in me teenage memories of “Xanadu”. 
All of this has led to me to think about Deco motifs and design and acknowledge that this often pared back yet decorative style with its roots firmly based in modernism, is impossible to hide flaws or irregularities in proportion and finish, and so perfection is the only answer…….which probably explains why they have been painting and sanding, scraping, filling and re-painting for weeks, often dangling by ropes, as they have decided rather than mask the building with unsightly scaffolds, to do as much as possible by abseiling. 

This wonderful attention to detail, of thought and consideration, not only for the building itself, but also its place and appearance in the neighbourhood, has to be commended and admired; for none of the time, or for that matter, the expense undertaken in this process could be seen to be the quickest, and needless to say, the most cost effective route to the end goal.

Photo of Luna Park courtesy of
Photo courtesy of
Another Deco Gem which is once again sparkling bright is the ring pictured above (and with further details below) which has just recently been polished before coming into the store. 
It is hard to imagine a better example of this period of jewellery.  What makes this piece special is, not only does it have the stepped top with a not insubstantial diamond as its focus, but the amazing fret work to the sides of the piece. With echoes of the Harbour Bridge or the detail around the face of Luna Park, there is nothing about this piece that does not speak of the period. Of course, all of the detailing in this piece is all achieved by hand and although the two have no comparison to each other in terms of scale, it is just like the Metro Theatre, in that it is pure Art Deco perfection!
Diamond art deco ring c.1930 from our current collection.
The Last Word…
To act like a person of the nineteenth century
 …. what the Dickens?
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