Saturday, 3 April 2010

Mark Hill has moved...

I have a new website!
As such, I will no longer be updating this page, but you can continue to read my new blog, and so much more, on my new website - click here to visit it!

Please bear with me though - it's all new to me, and I'm still getting to grips with it. So please excuse any teething problems or glitches - they'll be sorted out soon.

For those of you who like to know such things, my new site was built by KoalaCube using the Archeronne theme for Wordpress.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Exciting New Ceramics & Glass Fair in London

I love a good fair, especially those run by Specialist Glass Fairs. The dynamic duo behind the rapidly expanding portfolio are delighted to announce an all-new fair to be held at Dulwich College in South London on Sunday 28th March. To be held in the beautiful and aptly Modernist style Christison Hall from 10.30am until 4pm, the fair sees the addition of ceramics dealers to the usual stable of fabulous glass dealers. Visitors will be able to browse all types of decorative and collectable glass and ceramics from across the centuries; from Powell to Poole, Moorcroft to Murray and faience to Fat Lava.
Specialists in 18th century drinking glasses, stylish and hotly desirable Scandinavian and Italian pieces, antique continental glass such as Gallé and Lalique, and British art glass will exhibit alongside trusted quality ceramics experts and contemporary glass and ceramics makers. Amongst them, these two stunning pieces will be displayed. The first is a rare 1960s Poole Pottery 'Tree of Life' charger by Tony Morris, available from Mark Hitchings, and the second is an Arts and Crafts candelabra in 'Straw Opal' glass by James Powell and Sons, c1890, which will be available from Nigel Benson.
I'll also be there signing a full range of my books and the new edition of the Miller's Collectables Price Guide and Handbook 2010-2011, together with a limited quantity of the book that accompanies my new BBC2 TV series, 'Cracking Antiques'. For more information, check out the fair's website at Make a note in your diary, and I hope to see you there!

They're still out there...., I mean. Too often do I hear the moan that 'There's no point looking, everything that can be found has been found...' Not true! Last month my glass collector friend Bob discovered this gem in his local charity shop in South London. Designed by Frank Thrower in 1967, and numbered 'FT23', it was part of the first range offered by the now world-famous Dartington Glass. Produced in the company's characteristic early Kingfisher' blue, Flame red, Midnight grey, and colourless glass, it was expensive at the time and did not sell well. Compared to smaller Dartington, few were sold before it was withdrawn in 1970. Examples are rare today, particularly in colours. I think it would cost from £200-300 from a specialist dealer - so the couple of pounds hawk-eyed Bob paid could really pay off!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Are books dead...?

I work for a publishing company, and also publish my own books. I'm also a big believer in the internet as a way forward for publishing. Will it replace books, magazines and newspapers, as many say it will? I don't think so, but it'll be an important part of how we work in the future. Publishing doesn't just mean books, but audio, video and web-based content too - publishing will integrate the many forms of media available to us in the future. This short video was produced by DK, a company I used to consult for. I think it's brilliant. If you have two minutes to spare, I'd urge you to check it out. Click here to view it.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

To the circus!

With a bit of Polish blood flowing through my veins, I've always been fond of decorative arts produced in the former Eastern Block. Amongst my favourite areas are postwar avant garde Czechoslovakian and Polish film and event posters. Over the past two decades, those from the former country have become widely popular and highly desirable meaning the best pieces can cost a pretty penny - or thousands of them! Polish posters can offer better value for money. For example, Wiktor Gorka's iconic 'Kabaret' poster is often considered amongst the best, but originals can still be found for around £500-600.
There are many artists to consider, most of them mouthfuls, from Franciszek Starowieyski to Lucjan Jagodzinski. I'm particularly fond of Waldemar Swierzy, and his name was brought to my mind again recently after I stumbled across this handsome design by him in a country antique shop. The circus (or 'Cyrk' in Polish) was a popular form of entertainment in Poland right up to the fall of the Iron Curtain, and numerous artists produced posters to market the event from 1962 onwards.
Styles and inspirations were diverse, and there's something here for everyone within this smorgasbord of avant garde design. An award-winning designer, Swierzy produced a large number of different designs across his career. I think his star is still to rise, but the market is still young and defining itself. The poster I saw is considered by some to be very rare and was priced at just under £200 (attractively framed), but examples have sold for over double that, undoubtedly due to its appealing and decorative nature that has a strong whiff of the Art Nouveau about it. Flicking through a Christie's catalogue today and seeing an Edward McKnight Kauffer newspaper poster valued at £20,000-30,000 made me feel that the mileage still to go with these posters is rather extensive. It's long term rather than short term. But if you like the look and sound of this area, you can read more here and here.

Dexter Loves Mdina

Regular readers of my blog will know I'm rather fond of spotting retro and antique pieces in TV series and films. After watching Tom Ford's beautiful, visually stunning and relaxing 'A Single Man', I had felt spoilt already this weekend. Poirot (lovely as it is) is too easy, so it's the less obvious ones that prove more of an enjoyable challenge. Like me, my German friends Marc & Maiken of Utopia 2000 are fans of US hit TV series Dexter. I'd already spotted the late 1970s-80s Mdina 'Earthtones' Fish vase that the anti-hero lead has on his desk, but for those who missed it, here's another shot from the latest series.