Sheffield’s Antique Quarter Trail

Philip at the entrance to Sheffield Emporium.

Philip at the entrance to Sheffield Emporium.

Part III of our spring shopping trip to England.

When we plan an antique shopping trip, we start with the Internet or recommendations by friends or shopkeepers. That’s how we found the Sheffield’s Antique Quarter. Someone on our fall 2015 trip recommended we check it out and then, we did our research online.

One web listing led to another and soon we discovered several centres and stores in Sheffield. We made our plans and headed off to spend the day at Sheffield’s Antique Quarter. We had been through Sheffield before, since it’s located on the main North/South motorway in England, but we had never shopped there. The Sheffield metro population is over 1 1/2 million. We usually avoid driving in mega-cities!

The Sheffield’s Antique Quarter is located in the south of the city and you definitely need a car to reach all the places. Since we’re shopping for specific items, we skipped the retro, salvage and industrial shops and focused our hunt on the centres. On the printed brochure, over 6 centres and over 20 independent shops are listed.

We visited the following five centres:

  • Langton’s Antiques & Collectables
  • Heeley Bank Antiques
  • Sheffield Antiques Centre
  • Sheffield Emporium
  • Chapel Antiques Centre
This cabinet, sitting outside our holiday rental, was purchased at Langton's.

This cabinet, sitting outside our holiday rental, was purchased at Langton’s.

The first two, Langton’s and Heeley Bank, are located close to each other and parking is available behind them. Langton is a medium-sized centre on two levels. Most items are in cases. Not much furniture, mostly vintage smalls. We bought a few pieces. The staff was friendly. The other centre, Heeley Bank, is located in an old Victorian bank. The building is interesting and there are two levels of antiques and vintage. Worth a visit but we didn’t buy there. The prices were too high for wholesale trade.

Treasures bought at Sheffield's Antique Centre.

Treasures bought at Sheffield’s Antique Centre.

Next, we drove to the Sheffield Antiques Centre because a.) they have a parking lot and b.) we could walk to the Emporium and Chapel. We did pretty well at all three. The Sheffield Antique Centre has a great, helpful staff and a good mix of furniture, smalls, and silver. It’s large and covers two levels. Not too many cases (which Philip dislikes!) We had the most luck in finding our type of antiques at the Sheffield Emporium at prices that work for wholesale. It’s a large quirky centre on two levels. The Chapel Antiques Centre featured painted furniture and items from France. We’re really excited about a cool piece we purchased from them.

Philip serving tea.

Philip serving tea.

Lastly, we had lunch in the Vintage Tearoom, located in the Sheffield Emporium. It was delicious! The girls are super-friendly and great cooks. We had the ploughman’s lunch and an afternoon high tea. Way too much food, but we enjoyed what we ate and what we took back to our house that evening. There are several cafes, tearooms and pubs in the area, but we would recommend the Vintage Tearoom.

Ploughman's Lunch.

Ploughman’s Lunch.

Lunch is served at The Vintage Pantry.

Lunch is served at The Vintage Pantry.

Thanks for joining on our adventures. Up next, in our blog series, we’re antiquing in Lovejoy country.

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Touring Chatsworth

Chatsworth-The view as you drive in.

Chatsworth-The view as you drive in.

Part II of our spring shopping trip to England.

Chatsworth_from_Morris's_Seats_of_Noblemen_and_Gentlemen_(1880)

We planned a tourist day on our first Saturday in England in April 2016. Our destination was Chatsworth in the Derbyshire’s Peak District. We’ve visited the Peak District on several occasions and had previously been in the vicinity of the historic house, but never had the time to stop. We figured if we were ever going to visit, we’d have to make the time.

Chatsworth-The Great Hall.

Chatsworth-The Painted Hall.

Chatsworth-The Oak Room.  Behind the small paintings are doors to the cupboards.

Chatsworth-The Oak Room. Behind the small paintings are doors to the cupboards.

Chatsworth is one of the most beautiful houses in all of England. It is the seat of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and home to the Cavendish family since 1549. It is nestled in a valley along the River Derwent with forested hills providing a backdrop. Most of the vast estate is open to the public. Chatsworth’s been open to the public since the mid-1600s. There is the house, the garden, the park, the farmyard, the estate farm shop, a playground and several holiday rentals. On our visit, we toured the house and walked the garden.

Chatsworth-The Chapel Corridor

Chatsworth-The Chapel Corridor

Chatsworth-One of the Sketching Galleries

Chatsworth-One of the Sketching Galleries

Construction on the house began in 1552. It’s been owned by many generations of Cavendish, each leaving their mark on the house, the art collections and the gardens. The access that the public is granted is amazing. We saw many rooms; too many to pick a favorite, but the Painted Hall was breathtaking. “Wow” didn’t really do it justice.

Chatsworth-The Sculpture Gallery

Chatsworth-The Sculpture Gallery

 

Chatsworth-One of the lions.

Chatsworth-One of the lions.

 

We visited Chatsworth to see the art. The sculpture gallery is exceptional and we were fascinated by the “Lions of Chatsworth”. As we were touring the house, we entered a small dimly lit room. Philip looked up and said “That’s a Rembrandt!” The room guard smiled and said yes it was. The sheer volume of pieces of art in this family home is outstanding. Galleries, corridors and long halls have every inch covered by ornately framed artwork. In most cases, Philip loved the frames, as much as the oil paintings.

Chatsworth-Rembrandt

Chatsworth-Rembrandt

 

Chatsworth-Afternoon Tea with Scones and Meringues.

Chatsworth-Afternoon Tea with Scones and Meringues.

 

After we had our afternoon tea in the grand Palladian converted stables, we headed out into the gardens. There, we spent the remainder of our afternoon following paths into the different sections of the 100 acres of gardens, which were started in 1555. The sun was shining and the sheep were grazing on the parklands. We relished our time outdoors in the maze, the greenhouses, rock garden and the fountains. It was a welcome relaxing respite to the work ahead of us. We got a little carried away on our walk and found ourselves in a private area, where we happened upon a group of pheasants digging in the dirt. We skipped the Hundred Steps Ascent!

Chatsworth-The Cascade House and Cascade.

Chatsworth-The Cascade House and Cascade.

 

Chatsworth-Maze

Chatsworth-Maze

 

Americans know of Chatsworth through movies and television series. For instance, it’s been featured in “Pride and Prejudice” as Pemberley. And the house has been on our bucket list since the movie. While Jane Austin stayed at Bakewell, a town quite near Chatsworth (and where we shopped for antiques), she wrote Pride and Prejudice. Many believe she based Fitzwilliam Darcy’s home of Pemberley on Chatsworth.

From “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin.

“They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” 

Chatsworth Sheep. Take my photo, I want to cross the road.

Chatsworth Sheep. Take my photo, I want to cross the road.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Chatsworth House and the Capability Brown landscapes. We’ve seen many grand houses and palaces and now, this is one of our favourites.

Up next, we’ll take you to Sheffield’s Antique Quarter as we continue our series of Spring 2016 Shopping Trip blogs.

P.S. Theresa has watched Pride and Prejudice 4000 times (according to Philip).

Chatsworth

Chatsworth-Theresa waiting for Mr. Darcy.

 

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England April 2016 Shopping Report

We’re back from our spring shopping trip in England. The jet lag only lasted a week (thank goodness!) and the container should hit the water later this week. The weather cooperated, for the most part, and we found some cool items for the store. We were there for two full weeks and we’ll be updating the blog with several new blog posts about our comings and goings.

We purchased this outstanding desk companion at Newark.

We purchased this outstanding desk companion at Newark.

First, and foremost, everyone wants to know what we bought. We purchased several boxes of majolica. It’s popular at the store right now and we were lucky enough to find small pitchers and cups that are on our customers’ wish lists. We bought from the same dealers, so we can trust that we got some excellent pieces at a good value.

These fun girls from Hemswell are showing off a large roofer's lead dresser. It's a tool for pounding corners of a lead roof.

These fun girls from Hemswell are showing off a large roofer’s lead dresser. It’s a tool for pounding corners of a lead roof.

It’s always a hit-or-miss when we shop. Some of the items we always carry were hard to find or simply not found at the big antique fairs. Philip was glad he could replenish his stock of sighting scopes and oil cans. These have been selling well at the store. However, we didn’t find much metalware and tins.

We did buy our usual suspects: Black Forest items, antique oil paintings, transferware, religious items and various smalls. And we found some awesome big copper pans.

Isn't this statue amazing?

Isn’t this statue amazing?

Furniture was scarce. People looking to buy quality and quantity were out of luck. There wasn’t much industrial, but shabby was still popular and those looking had to be in line early. Tents that used to be full of brown furniture were fairly empty. We did find what we were looking for and are happy with our selections. We’ve been showing some of the incoming stock on our FaceBook page, so for an insider’s view, follow us there.

ShabbyFair

A French shabby display at one of the fairs. If you like these pillows, we carry grain sacks.

The best part of shopping is bumping into friends at the fairs and dealers and shop keepers whom we have gotten to know. It’s fun to catch up with their lives and we enjoy our visits with them. It’s the people that make the difference; it’s not just work, but a mini-reunion.  We are so grateful that they’re out hunting for great stock and then, they brave the elements to bring them to us at the fairs. We were sad to hear that two of our favourite dealers were at their last fair this time. We’ll truly miss them.

David finds the best oak furniture.

David finds the best oak furniture.

We typically visit England for 10 days, but we extended our trip so we could attend a few more fairs closer to London and see some sights. Watch for more blog posts about our April adventures.

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Repairing Antique Oil Paintings.

Or what is Philip’s Super Power?

Notice the impressions and waves on the old canvas.

Notice the impressions and waves on the old canvas.

Philip has been repairing oil paintings since the mid-1970s. He learned from his great-uncle, who restored paintings for over 20 years. It takes practice to become an experienced restorer and people all over the Ozarks have trusted Philip with their antique paintings.

The painting at the top of the article is good example of a painting in distress. There are cuts and puncture holes in the canvas and the canvas has become loose and waves are noticeable. Not everyone would bother to repair this oil painting, but in this case, the customer wanted it fixed and cleaned. Follow the process as Philip tackles this job.

The first thing you need is to decide if you want to leave it as is or would it be a benefit to clean it,  removing the dirt, the tobacco smoke and removing the old varnish down to the original paint. Almost all oil paintings that are over 150 years have been relined because oil paints tend to flake off and spiderweb crack. Stretcher bars imprints in very old paintings are expected and not a reason to restretch the painting.

Note the square angles on the stretcher strips, so this indicates that it was put together prior to 1895.

Note the square angles on the stretcher strips, so this indicates that it was put together prior to 1895.

The first step is to remove the oil painting from the frame and from the stretcher bars. If it has several rips or punctures to the canvas, Philip completely relines the canvas. To do this, Philip binds the old painting to a new piece of linen with a special wax, through a heat process.

Once Philip relines the old painting with restoring wax, some of the wax comes through the painting, so he uses a specialized cleaner to remove the wax. He uses different formulas of cleaning agents and chemicals which will work on the dirt and removes the old varnish. Only an expert should tackle this process.

A bonus to relining the old painting is there will be extra linen on the edge to re-stretch it tight.

A bonus to relining the old painting is there will be extra linen on the edge to re-stretch it tight.

All of the painting has been cleaned except the center brown spot to show the difference in the “sky”.

All of the painting has been cleaned except the center brown spot to show the difference in the “sky”.

Once it’s cleaned, Philip fills the tears and puncture holes with filler and once it dries, he sands it down. Using oil paints, Philip touches up the filler, carefully matching the original paint. Then he allows the paint to dry. And finally, he applies a fresh coat of varnish on the entire oil painting.

Note the tears, indicated by the white lines along the side of the painting.

Note the tears, indicated by the white lines along the side of the painting.

The same painting repaired with filler and paint.

The same painting repaired with filler and paint.z

The final step is to re-stretch the oil painting. Old paintings are always stretched and tacked down with small tacks, never staples. In most situations, the painting is return to the original frame or a new frame is selected.

So there you have it…Philip’s super power is repairing valuable works of art to their original beauty!

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Mad for Majolica in Missouri

MajolicaWelshDresser.JPG

A sampling of our majolica offerings. 

Our goal is to offer shoppers in SW Missouri a wonderful and unique assortment of beautiful antique and vintage objects for the home. Philip uses his 45 years in the art world to pick those items that are an affordable mix of color, design and value. One category that we are excited to carry at the store is the colorful majolica.

What exactly is Majolica?

Our majolica refers to pieces of earthenware (clay), formed in a mold, coated with white opaque tin enamel glaze, fired at a very high temperature, and then coated with bright colored glazes and then, fired again. The bright glazes, up to nine colors, were applied all at once. There are vibrant and rather heavy objects.

Majolica has its roots in the 16th century, but what we carry is a Victorian adaption and an anglicized version of Italian pottery. Shown first at The Great Exhibition in London in 1851, the English majolica was all the rage until the turn of the 1900s. This was the time of the Englishman’s great fascination with the nature world and the majolica pieces reflect this by using natural motifs, animals and plants.

How do you know what you are buying?

We are not experts so we rely on purchasing the majority of our majolica from three sources in England. These persons are experts and help us to find affordable pieces to pass onto our customers. Without their help, it would be too frustrating to bring in majolica. There are many reproductions on the market from overseas. The big three companies, Minton, Jones and Wedgwood, used a three to four digit black number to identify their pieces, but many of the Victorian majolica manufacturers left their wares unmarked. One important tip for a potential buyer is that the undersurface of a piece, including the bottom rim, is almost always glazed.

At our store, we stick to plates, pitchers, compotes and platters. Rather than purchasing a shelf-sitter, majolica can be hung on a wall, along with transferware or used on the table. We usually have several sets of green salad plates with raised designs of different leaves. With the emphasis on food and gourmet, these salad plates add another level of enjoyment to a dining experience.

Majolica makes a great gift and a colorful addition to any home.

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Wedding Luck

IMG_4949

The traditional rhyme for bringing good luck to a bride:

Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.

What is a sixpence? Minted in England from 1551 to 1967, it is no longer legal tender in England since 1980. When it was, it was only worth 6 pennies. Not much to attract wealth and success to a new marriage. Cheaper than a lottery ticket and probably more wise.

It is thought to be of Scottish influence and the sixpence would be placed in the bride’s left shoe by her father. By doing so, he was wishing the best for the bridge. Luckily, it’s a small coin, about the size of an American dime. A bride has enough on her mind than worrying about a coin in her shoe.

Silver stopped being used in 1946. It hasn’t stopped the tradition of the lucky coin. Besides brides, Royal Air Force crews use them as lucky charms.

We picked up a couple on our last trip, so if you want to surprise someone getting ready to race down the aisle, stop by and pick one up for them.

 

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Closing in on the End of the Year.

Wrap up 2015 with some savings. Save 20% off any one item over $300 from December 21 – December 31. Sale items are excluded. Located at 1055 South Glenstone, Springfield MO. One block south of Grand; next to the Cottage Consignments.

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Opening up an Antique.

Philip has been sharing his favourite “magic” antiques on the store’s Facebook page. Take a look.

  
  

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New European Items in the Store for your Holiday Shopping

  
Thinking unique and out-of-the-box? Stop by 1055 S Glenstone, Springfield Missouri.

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No Treats on Portobello Road.

Proof that we were there.

Proof that we were there.

Jump on the Tube and exit at Notting Hill Gate, follow the crowds and you will arrive at one of London’s most visited attractions. It’s a street. Portobello Road. Anyone not heard of it? Anyone else visited there? Seen bumbling Hugh Grant’s movie Notting Hill? Here’s our short review: if you are looking to buy antiques or vintage or collectibles for resale, go elsewhere.

Another early morning start.

Another early morning start.

We arrived early to beat the crowds on a Saturday, which we had heard were tremendous. That is an understatement. At 8 a.m., we had the south antique section of the street to ourselves and we started off by wandering in and out of the private small over-priced stores that line both sides of the road. We casually browsed tables set up on the sidewalks and tented booths that set up in the street.

A friendly shopkeeper on Portobello Road. This is where we bought some Polo balls.

A friendly shopkeeper on Portobello Road. This is where we bought some Polo balls.

Then we ventured into the antiquated antique stalls built into rooms of tiny buildings. Close your eyes and imagine…..You’ve entered into a retail building, but instead of open shelving and displays, there are small glass closets and each of these closets are crammed with grandma’s finest crap, from floor to ceiling. Next to the first closet is another closet and another and so on. Besides the stuff, there is a person sitting on a tiny chair reading the daily newspaper. No eye contact, although they may decide to break their silence and talk with the person on the chair opposite them. There is room for one person to carefully walk down the hall between the closets. This is not a comfortable way to shop if you are claustrophobic or carrying a child. Follow the hall as it turns the corner and exits back onto the street. There are many of these buildings and we went into each of them.

It's 10 a.m. and the crowd is growing.

It’s 10 a.m. and the crowd is growing.

By 11 a.m., Portobello Road is full of people, wall to wall people. Casually strolling is now off-limits. The throng of tourists pushes you down the road. Think about if Madison Square Gardens had only one exit and everyone was using it to go in and out at the same time. Chaos!

Jam filled donuts from a food stall on Portobello Road.

Jam filled donuts from a food stall on Portobello Road.

The road itself has developed specific sections. The south part is the antiques section, followed by food and groceries. We thought there would be flower stalls, but there weren’t many, maybe due to it being October. The food stalls were the most interesting. All types of international open air cooking were offered. The Spanish paella smelled out of the world, but we were unwilling to eat and try to walk at the same time. Then there are house ware vendors and rows and rows of vintage or simply old clothing. At the most northern end, regular people put out secondhand garage sale items. At the end, you turn around and let the mob push you back to south of the road which empties out at Notting Hill Gate.

By now, everyone is looking for a place to eat and all the eateries are full of stressed out foreign people. Luckily, we found a sushi restaurant, where we could unwind and recuperate. We did buy a few items and got to visit with a fellow Transferware Collectors Club member who sells from a double-wide glass closet. He has amazing transferware.

Sushi at itsu on Notting Hill Gate.

Sushi at itsu on Notting Hill Gate.

So, we’ve been there and done that. We’ve checked it off our bucket list. No treats on Portobello Road, but the real treat is that we are living our dream and shopping for antiques in England and the rest of Europe to bring some great pieces back to our friends in Springfield Missouri.

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