This week Spotlight on: Antique 1610 John Speed map The Kingdome of Ireland
Antiques shop hit by china bowl sting
Antique cabinets unveiled after long months of restoration
Real value of the diamonds
Italian Murano Glass Traditions
Countless antiques collected from waste
Two Welsh sisters jailed for murdering father
Germany returns antique battleaxe to Iraq
New Lalique museum to open in Alsace, France
Yerevan Proclaimed the 2012 World Book Capital
A dealer bailed in fake Winston Churchill signatures probe
Man jailed for theft by deception from Alderfer’s Auction

This week Spotlight on
Original Antique 1610 map by John SPEED The Kingdome of Ireland

London, John Sudbury & George Humble 1610. 350 x 460.
A fine example. One of the most decorative maps of Ireland available, engraved by Jodocus Hondius and printed by John Dawson.

Antique 1610 John Speed map The Kingdome of Ireland

 

John Speed (1552–1629) was a historian and cartographer, whose maps of English counties are often found framed in homes throughout the United Kingdom.

He was born at Farndon, Cheshire, and went into his father’s tailoring business where he worked until he was about 50. While working in London, his knowledge of history led him into learned circles and he joined the Society of Antiquaries where his interests came to the attention of Sir Fulke Greville, who subsequently made Speed an allowance to enable him to devote his whole attention to research. As a reward for his earlier efforts, Queen Elizabeth granted him the use of a room in the Custom House. It was with the encouragement of William Camden that he began his Historie of Great Britaine, which was published in 1611. Although Speed probably had access to historical sources that are now lost to us he certainly used the work of Saxton and Norden, his work as a historian is considered mediocre and secondary in importance to his map-making, of which his most important contribution is probably his town plans, many of which provide the first visual record of the British towns they depict.

 

Antique 1610 John Speed map The Kingdome of Ireland

 

His atlas The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine was published in 1610/11 and contained the first set of individual county maps of England and Wales besides maps of Ireland [5 in all] and a general map of Scotland. Most, but not all, of the county maps have town plans on them; those showing a Scale of Passes being the places he had mapped himself. Just before his death in 1627 Speed published A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World which was the first world atlas produced by an Englishman. There is a fascinating text describing the areas shown on the back of the maps in English although a rare edition of 1616 of the British maps has a Latin text – this is believed to have been produced for the Continental market. Much of the engraving was done in Amsterdam at the workshop of his friend Judocus Hondius.

5 February

Antiques shop hit by china bowl sting

THE manager of an antiques shop believes he was the victim of a sting after a valuable china bowl he bought from a group of travellers was stolen the next day. Rene Cooke, who runs Treasure Trove, St George’s Square, Droitwich, bought a rare Royal Crown Derby old Imari pattern bowl – worth about £2,000 – from a group of travellers last week.
The following day a man and a woman came into his shop and stole it.

Mr Cooke said: “A couple of travellers came in, a man and a woman. The man distracted one of our managers while the woman snatched the bowl and ran out of the shop with it. I tried chasing after them but they got into a silver Vauxhall and drove off.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take down the registration number. The car was parked a bit of a way from the shop, which I thought was a bit suspicious. I think it was a set-up because we bought the bowl and a few other pieces from travellers the previous evening. I think it is more than a coincidence that travellers came and took the bowl the next day.

5 February

Antique cabinets unveiled after long months of restoration

A set of royal antique cabinets, kept at Alnwick Castle since 1930, are ready to be put on display again following a lengthy period of restoration. People visiting the Northumbrian castle from across the border in Cumbria will see the antique cabinets restored to their full glory, when the castle reopens in April.

Alnwick will be familiar as the setting of Hogwarts, for Harry Potter fans in Cumbria. The Victorian dining chairs, antique chests and state room interiors are a joy to behold for Renaissance Revival fans, as much of the interior was remodelled in Victorian Italianate style in the 1860s. Prior to this, Robert Adam had redesigned the rooms in Strawberry Hill Gothic style – some of which remains.

Alnwick’s furniture collection has been amassed by successive generations of the Percy family, and there are a number of rare 17th and 18th century European pieces among the later Victorian styles. And there’s a particularly impressive treat in store for lovers of Louis XlV furniture in Cumbria. The antique cabinets being placed back on show are by Italian master craftsman Domenico Cucci, and originated from the Sun King’s Palace of Versailles. Shamelessly OTT, they have been described as the most valuable pieces of furniture in the world. Dating from around 1670, they are two of only three Cucci cabinets ever made. The third was auctioned at Christie’s two years ago, for £4.5 million.

Louis XlV Revival furniture became very popular in the 19th century. Far more sensibly priced (if a touch less elaborate) than that of Versailles, good examples can be found at many antique dealers in Cumbria. Victorian dining chairs and antique desks were both made in this style, and make good investments.

5 February

Real value of the diamonds

People think that diamonds are as valuable as they are marketed to be but in reality diamonds are pretty abundant worldwide and lots of diamonds are taken off the market to increase their value to consumers. It becomes a supply and demand issue without a doubt.

There are actual stones that are rarer than diamonds but due to the marketing of DeBeers throughout the decades the allure of diamonds have captured the imagination of the rich and famous as well as making them desired by those that are not of the elite crowd. Some of the rarest stones that you’ve never heard of due to the lack of marketing include Red Beryl Emerald which can retail for about $10 to $12,000 a carat, Musgravite which can retail for about $30 to $40,000 a carat and Blue Garnet which can retail for about $1.4 to $1.6mm a carat. So the price of diamonds has zero to due with its abundance but more with the marketing behind it.

Way back when stones such as Rubies, Amethyst, and Garnet were in the spotlight, during the Victorian era stones such as Turquoise, Pink Coral and Pearls were in vogue thus more expensive and during the Mourning Period of the Victorian Era stones such as dark Onyx and deep red Garnets took center stage. The same holds true for the various fashion eras such are Art Noveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro, the marketing of the stones increased the value but the reality is that some of these stones are more abundant than others but we as consumers become sheep after a while and believe the propaganda that is shown to us.

5 February

Italian Murano Glass Traditions

In 1960 the oldest furnace for glass, dated for the 8th century, was discovered on a Venetian island. The 8th century established Venice as a prominent center for glass-manufacturing. The origins of glass making in this region are traced back even to the times of the Roman Empire, when glass was used to illuminate bathhouses.

In the 13th century, producing highest-quality glass items became the main industry of Venice. It led to creation of the Glassmakers Guild which was responsible for shaping and voicing rules and regulations which the Venice craftsmen were supposed to follow. The Guild was serving two purposes. Firstly, it was supposed to stand on guard of the secrets of glass making trade. Secondly, the aim was to make sure that the industry brings profit. In order to meet the above mentioned objectives, in 1271 a law was introduced that prohibited importation of foreign glass as well as employment of foreign glass workers.

One of the most significant events in Venetian glass making history is the 1291 move of all furnaces used in this trade from Venice to Murano. Originally, the Murano glass chandeliers were first created in Murano, one of the Islands in Venice. The history of the island is closely connected to the invention of the Venetian glass plus the world famous glassmakers from the same place.

Murano Glass art has been produced on the island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon since the year 1293. Widely collected and reveered for its technical brilliance and stunning colours, it is an Italian art glass lovers mecca.
The art of glass making has been practiced for centuries. The history of man-made glass dates back even to 3500 BC, and the origins are traced to Syria, Mesopotamia or Egypt.

The law triggering this event laid the ground for establishing Murano as a center of glass manufacturing. Several theories exist which try to explain why Venice wanted to move its craftsmen. One of them states that Venice was afraid of fire from the furnaces spreading over the city. It could lead to a complete destruction of Venice as the city’s building were primarily made of wood. What is more, such a fire would greatly endanger enormous in size population of Venice. However, other sources claim that the real reason behind the 1291 law was related to making the craftsmen isolated so they would not be able to share their trade secrets with foreigners. Locating them on the island in close proximity to Venice would serve the purpose: it would reduce the craftsmen contacts with outsiders, but on the other hand would let them sell their products on markets in Venice. What is interesting, in 1295 the law which forbade the glassmakers to leave the city was passed.

Venetian government was also undertaking less direct steps in order to keep glass making secluded and make Venice a leader in this industry. It was providing glass makers and their families with special treatment and high location in the Venetian social ladder. Privileged status and related to this perks were a great incentive for glass makers who encouraged their offspring to stay in the trade and carry the tradition on. Internal politics as well as convenient location of Venice as a city on a path of trade between East and West allowed it to flourish as a European monopolist in making and selling high quality glass products.

6 February

Countless antiques collected from waste

After 20 years of collecting antiques, Nguyen Van Tuan set up his own museum in Da Lat with around 4000 items, all closely linked to Da Lat’s history. Tuan is nicknamed Tuan “khung” (mad) because of his eccentricity. Already over 50, he is still single and doesn’t have a stable job. He spends most of his time strolling on the roads or around waste dumps looking for things he calls “children that the civilized society mislays”.

At first sight, Tuan appears to be a simple farmer but he is in fact a well-educated man. After purchasing some fake antiques, which the sellers advertised as ancient plates of the Chinese Song Dynasty (960-1279), Tuan was determined to enter university. At the age of 33, He passed the Dat Lat University’s entrance exams to study at both history and business management faculties at the same time, . After graduation, he showed the diplomas to his mother and then locked them in his sideboard, to be a freelance guitar and organ teacher and an antique collector.

Tuan now has around 4000 antiques that are all connected to the history of Da Lat city, and which are worth millions of US dollar but historically and culturally invaluable. He said most of the antiques were founded at dumping grounds or from waste collectors. Tuan began collecting antiques in 1992. In 1995, he had over 100 items, including special plates used to detect toxic chemicals in food of the royal family, the oldest calculators, banknotes and coins in the world, old type-writers used in the French-ruled period, geodesic equipment used by the French after they discovered Da Lat, the first television sets, ancient lime-pots, ancient documents of King Bao Dai (Vietnam’s last king) etc.

Tuan bought very special things from waste collectors, including an Indochina Football Cup of 1941-1942, which was sponsored by Vietnamese King Bao Dai, Cambodian King Shihanouk and Indochina Governor Decoux and Indochina Cup for cycling in 1947. Some people didn’t believe that Tuan owns these cups until they saw pictures of the cups on newspapers.

Tuan said he only collects antiques, and doesn’t sell them. In 2005, a French couple offered $2 million to buy some of his antiques but Tuan refused.

Do Van The, director of Lam Dong province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that Tuan’s collection is a  museum of culture and history of Da Lat, illustrating its history since the city was set up. The collection is also the evidences of East-West cultural interaction.

9 February

Two Welsh sisters jailed for murdering father

TWO sisters have been sentenced for their parts in the murder of their retired antiques dealer father. Ashleigh Robinson, 19, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years, while her 16-year-old sister Holly was detained for a minimum of 18 years. Antoni Robinson, 61, was stabbed 15 times in his home in Old Colwyn, north Wales in July last year. His daughters and their boyfriends launched the murder plot to get their hands on the contents of his safe.

The sisters “supported and encouraged” the frenzied late-night attack on their father, Mold Crown Court heard.
They were convicted of murder alongside boyfriends Gordon Harding, 20, and Sacha Roberts, 19, following a month-long trial.

9 February

Germany returns antique battleaxe to Iraq

Mainz, Germany – Germany returned an ancient Mesopotamian battle axe to Iraq on Wednesday, after police discovered the item with an antiques dealer in Munich. Iraqi ambassador Hussain Mahmood Fadhlalla al-Khateeb accepted the decorated axe head, which dates back roughly 4,500 years and was found on territory belonging to modern-day Iraq.

Police found the axe in 2004, and sent it to the Roman-Germanic museum in Mainz for evaluation, after the owner was unable to produce a certificate documenting its origin.

The axe is typical of the military equipment used by early Mesopotamian city states, the museum found.

10 February

New Lalique museum to open in Alsace, France

A new museum spotlighting the work of the famous French Art Nouveau jewelry and ornament designer Rene Lalique will open in Alsace in June this year. The museum (musee-lalique.com) has been built in the heart of the Northern Vosges Nature reserve, in the village where Rene Lalique set up his factory just after the first World War.
Reissues of some of Lalique’s older works and contemporary designs are still produced in the company’s factory at Wingen-sur-Moder and the museum is close by, on the site of an old glassmaking works which operated in the 18th and 19th centuries.

René Lalique (1860 – 1945) was one of the foremost creators of Art Noveau and Art Deco glass and crystal and was influenced by the Arts & Crafts Movement whilst studying in England. He is also widely regarded as the founder of modern jewellery.

In addition to displaying the many facets of Rene Lalique’s work up to his death in 1945, Lalique crystal, which his family concentrated on after his death, will also be given prominence in the museum and homage will be paid to the Alsace glassmakers who perpetuate the expertise.

Exhibits will be based on works belonging to the museum’s permanent collection as well as loans from the Lalique Company and major Parisian museums such as the Musee des Arts Decoratifs and the Musee des Arts et Metiers.

10 February

Yerevan Proclaimed the 2012 World Book Capital

One of the world’s oldest continuously-inhabited cities, Yerevan is also considered a cradle of tradition and culture. In recognition of its programs to promote books and reading, UNESCO has chosen it as the 2012 World Book Capital, following this year’s candidate, Buenos Aires.

Yerevan’s programs are “very detailed, realistic and rooted in the social fabric of the city, focused on the universal and involving all the stakeholders involved in the book industry,” according to the official UNESCO announcement. Yerevan presented a varied program, with many different themes, and many activities for children. Subterranean bookshops, in an underpass beneath one of the road junctions in central Yerevan, – image courtesy Shaun Dunphy.
The city will organize a number of complex cultural events to meet the 2012 challenge, including live entertainment that will enrich the cultural program for the year. These events are more reasons for travelers to visit Yerevan, aside its main attractions, which include Erebuni Fortress, a nearly 3,000 year old fortress that established Yerevan; the Sculpture Park, part of Cafesjian Museum – the Armenian version of Guggenheim; and the Cascades – an Art Deco version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon stretching nearly the height of the Empire State Building.

Yerevan is the twelfth city to be designated World Book Capital after Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010) and Buenos Aires (2011).

12 February

A dealer bailed in fake Winston Churchill signatures probe

A dealer arrested in Hampshire in connection with allegations of forged Winston Churchill memorabilia has been released on police bail. Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Art and Antiques Unit arrested the 65-year-old man in Lymington last week on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation.

The arrest came after officers were alerted to a number of the wartime prime minister’s books and memorabilia, alleged to have fake signatures, being offered for sale on auction website eBay or directly during the last 18 months. These items were all said to be signed by Churchill himself, thereby increasing their value by as much as 1,000%, a police spokesman said. He added that officers seized a number of calligraphy pens with ink and around 30 signed books by authors such as JRR Tolkien, TS Eliot and Robert Louis Stevenson, which are also alleged to have fake signatures. The arrested man was bailed to return to Lyndhurst police station in early May.

8 February

Man jailed for theft by deception from Alderfer’s Auction

A Snyder County man is headed to jail for fleecing a Hatfield auction company out of more than $3,500 when he failed to pay for silver and antiques that he purchased.

Joseph Michael Bova, 49, of Shamokin Dam, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Monday to six-to-23-months in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of theft by deception in connection with the September 2010 incident. Judge William R. Carpenter, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered Bova to complete three years’ probation after he’s paroled from jail.

Bova also must pay the Sanford Alderfer Auction Company, of Hatfield, $3,597 in restitution, the judge said.Bova, according to a criminal complaint, went to the auction company, located at 501 Fairgrounds Road in Hatfield, on Sept. 2, 2010, to attend an estate auction and he registered as a buyer.

During the sale, Bova used a personal check to pay for sterling silver, cast iron toys and other antiques that he purchased. However, that check was returned to the auction company for insufficient funds on Sept. 9, according to the criminal complaint. “Sanford Alderfer Auction Company employees made several attempts to contact Mr. Bova by phone and were unable to reach him,” Hatfield Detective Richard F. Hoffner wrote in the arrest affidavit.
On Sept. 16, the company sent a certified letter to Bova’s home demanding payment and the investigation determined Bova signed a receipt indicating he received the letter. However, by October, Bova still had not forwarded a payment and police were notified.

Under state law, by pleading guilty to the theft-related charge, Bova admitted that he intentionally obtained or withheld property of another by deception by creating or reinforcing a false impression.

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