Antiques Today – October 2010

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The Annual South African Antique Dealers Association Fair takes place at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg from the 15th to the 17th of October 2010. Entrance to the Fair is R50.00 per person. The gala evening will be held on Thursday 14th October and is by invitation only.

oct2010-1This years Fair follows the very successful World Cup and it will showcase objects of top quality. The association is fortunate in having dealers who offer the best available on the African continent and in some cases in the world.

Burr and Muir from Cape Town specialise in objects from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. Each year the quality of items on their stand seems to get better and this year is no exception. Firstly there is an Art Nouveau table lamp designed by Roaul Larche of the dancer Loie Fuller who was well known for her exotic dances with flowing sheets and this may be seen in the design of the lamp. There is probably no other lamp from the period which is quintessentially of the period.

They will also be showing a table lamp made by Tiffany. The twelve light lamp is made of bronze and has favrile glass shades. The Lily lamp as it is known depicts lily blossoms on a plant and is truly magnificent. This is the sort of piece that one would never be able to afford but it would be a real treat for us to see such a lamp without having to go to Europe or America to do so.

This Fair sees the return to Johannesburg of Deon Viljoen which will be a treat for Fair goers. He has built up a worldwide reputation for Cape furniture and objects relating to the Cape of Good Hope and the Dutch Colonial period. Today he works closely with Guus Roëll from the Netherlands. Together they put on exhibitions with associated catalogues entitled Uit Verre Streken. These exhibitions show pieces from the Cape of Good Hope and the Dutch Colonies all of which are of international quality. Viljoen will be showing a Corner Buffet Cabinet which is of Dutch design and dates from around 1780. It could have been made in the Cape but could also have come from one of the Dutch Colonies. It is made of calamander wood which reminds me strongly of zebra stripes. A magnificent piece of furniture that almost takes your breath away when you look at it. It reminds me of a fall front bookcase from the Elizabeth Marks auction held approximately 30 years ago.oct2010-5

oct2010-4From Holland we have a statuesque long case clock which dates from 1780. This will be shown by Ricus Dullaert. The case is mahogany and the section below the face is painted with a Christmas Nativity Scene. This scene includes the mechanized moon movement which moves across the painted scene during the months of the year. These clocks are tall this one measuring 280cm high and it is surmounted by angels with trumpets. You need a really high ceiling to show off these magnificent clocks at their best.

The Antique Fair is obviously about the old but it is also about the new, as without the new there is no future for the old. A young dealer who I have been watching for some years now is Justin Kerrod. A while ago I remember writing that he had a good future in the world of antiques and I can now see that I was right. He has built himself up dealing in South African ceramics, glass, silver and other interesting objects. This year sees the publication of his book – An Introduction to Southern African Ceramics Their Marks, Monograms and Signatures. This is a considerable achievement. The book he says came about because of his interest in marks and signatures on South African ceramics. As he saw a piece with a signature or mark he did not know he recorded it for his own use. The reason he did this was that there was no source to turn to for information or references, so his information was gathered gradually. The dealer with this thirst for knowledge is rather like a collector. They acquire this knowledge so that they can be one step ahead of everyone else.

oct2010-6Producing and publishing your own book is not easy, believe me. Justin has produced the first book on the subject that will create a new interest and awareness around South African ceramics, still a neglected field.

To find a sponsor in the current times is particularly difficult especially with all the World Cup projects on the go. BoE Private Clients must be congratulated for assisting him to make this book available to readers and collectors.

He has published one thousand copies which sell at R300.00 each. The books text and illustrations are in large format and easy to read. I used to think when a book came out in print runs such as this it would take years to sell. Last year Esme Berman and Karel Nel produced their book on Alexis Preller and struggled to sell all the copies. It is now out of print, one year later and the price has risen dramatically if you can find a second hand copy. The demand for this book was so good that we are expecting a reprint of the biographical section of this book without the volume of colour illustrations.

What of the contents of Kerrod’s book? It covers all the major potteries including Linn Ware, Kalahari Pottery, Ardmore, Rorke’s Drift Pottery and others. It was however written by someone interested in ceramics although some artists who produced pottery have been omitted and will have to wait for inclusion in a later edition. The best example here is Irma Stern who between 1949 and 1954 produced a quantity of ceramic pieces which are seen on auction and collections today. This is a minor quibble when at long last we now have a reference book to consult, already people are contacting him with new information on potters and pottery makers, which shows that the book is already much in demand. It will be available at the Johannesburg Fair otherwise it may be bought from the author. His email address is kerrod@iafrica. com. You can also send him details at this address of any information you may have on this underrated subject.

As always a visit to the fully vetted SAADA Fair showcasing a collection of furniture, silver, carpets, paintings, books, jewellery and much more will excite, educate and delight the viewer and possibly even tempt you into buying something unique and worthwhile.

Anton Wiley




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