Here at Styling Secrets, one of our favourite activities is looking for vintage and modern treasures, which are exquisite and beautiful.
We also love that items purchased earlier in our lives, often become rarer and more valuable over time. For example purchasing Troika pottery in St. Ives, in Cornwall, when it was first produced, and loving it because of the designs, colour and texture and then finding out years later that it had a value and was highly collectable.
Or being left a Shelley tea set by my grandmother, which, while it may not be very valuable is so exquisite and beautiful it can take centre stage in styled shoots today.
Or recognising that the curtains, which I loved because of the beautiful designs when I was growing up, were actually a famous Lucienne Day design.
We have built our collection over many years but we are also attracted too by the unusual; something that may stand out because we cannot immediately identify it. Some people develop specialist knowledge in particular types of ceramics, glass, paintings, but for us it’s almost the opposite. When we find a piece that looks unusual, we love the thrill of the research trying to identify what it actually is. It isn’t about the value of the item it is more a curiosity about what it could be, who the maker is, and the story behind it.
For example at a recent Antique Fair, we saw a very little tile, almost covered by the price label, it was unusual because of the size 3.5 x 3.5 inches, but it was also beautifully decorated and it depicted a yellow cable car/tram, our initial reaction was to think that perhaps it was from San Francisco, but the buildings didn’t look right, then we turned it over and on the back it said Portugal. Intrigued we bought it and came home and researched it and found it was created by an artisan artist called José Carboila, who specialized in creating miniatures. It’s just a very special little piece.
Sometimes we find things that we cannot identify and one such piece is this week’s curiosity, simply marked in our local Antiques Centre as a ‘Paperweight’. We are intrigued, it is a celestial map in French, with no obvious maker’s mark. Initial research has revealed nothing obvious but we have started a journey…… watch this space.
There are so many places where you can join in the search for your own curiosities, charity shops, car boot sales, artist galleries, vintage and online shops, or spotting something that may over time become a modern treasure. One of our favourite magazines is Homes & Antiques, which as well as always having fascinating information, also has the latest listings of antiques and vintage fairs.
You can also take a look at our lovely items in our new Etsy Shop!