Wednesday, 26 June 2013

30s Glamour, 40s Style & Last Saturday's Fair In Northampton

Jean Harlow (Hollywood 1930s)

Jean Harlow was one of Hollywood's greatest stars in the 1930s until she sadly died when just 26 years old. She was contracted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and this publicity shot is from their studio. It passed to us from a distant relative who worked as a photographer for the Birmingham Post many years ago. It had been stored away in a pile of prints and forgotten about until I unearthed it last Friday evening.

Muriel Evans In Pensive Mood

The wonderful glamour of the 'golden era' of Hollywood in the 1930s and the 'studio system' is undeniable and has passed on a rich heritage of film and images that still captivate those who look to the past for inspiration. 


A very elegant beauty called Yvette in the form of a wonderful Citroen from the 1940s brought some Gallic elegance to the fair when we visited the Spinney Hill in Northampton for our annual Midsummer Vintage Fair last Saturday.

A Wonderful 1940s Citroen

She looked very graceful resting on the lawn and attracted many compliments, many thanks to Martin and Lesley for bringer her along (and many thanks to the owner of the two other lovely vintage cars which I neglected to take photos of).

Reassuringly Original

It was close to miraculous that the fair took place at all as rain seemed a certainty and we all spent the morning looking up to the sky hoping for the best and for once the weather was kind, even the sun put in a few appearances.

An Old Saxophone On One Of The Stalls

We had a lovely time and welcomed lots of people into the fair (which is my excuse for not having taken a photo of the stalls set out on the lawn, although this is a poor excuse as I was very ably supported at the entrance table which gave me leave to walk around and take pictures, which I singularly failed to do, albeit in favour of taking the time to talk to all the stall holders).

America In The 1940s 

As I walked around the stalls I found this embossed print from the 1940s and hails from the USA, it is interesting how commercial art and design shifted in emphasis from overt glamour to celebrating domestic life and the virtue of family values, a cultural shift brought about by the war raging in Europe.

A Lovely Large Chalk Dog

We found this proud chap and had to take him home where he has settled in very well, he will be looked after and loved.

Vintage Enamel

We also found the large green enamel 'bin' and pretty blue tea-pot, they can been used as they were originally intended or can be put to more decorative use (they look great full of flowering summer bulbs and can be easily cleaned once the season is over).

French Kitchenalia

I really liked this old French storage tin, vintage wares from France are often decorated with pretty floral motifs.

Vintage Anemonies

Old silk and satin flowers are very colourful and make a lovely posy when tied together, they can be found in all colours and types and I would love to find a blue poppy.

End Of The Fair

I managed to get a snap of the fair after the fair had closed and the stalls were being packed away. The fair will be returning to the Spinney Hill in August for a late summer Vintage Fair.

Grab A Vintage Bargain

However before then we have what I think might be two of our busiest events of the year. On 20th July we will be at St Matthews in Northampton for the 4th Vintage Jumble. The hall will be full of stalls and there will be lots more outside outside on the lawn if the weather is good.

Our Second Visit To Leamington Spa

The following week will see the fair arriving in Leamington Spa for our second visit to the The Royal Pump Rooms on Sunday 28th July.

Best wishes for the forthcoming weeks which should be the best of our summer and see you in July.

Friday, 21 June 2013

See You Tomorrow Come Rain Or Shine

The Fair Is On!

The fair will taking place tomorrow as planned regardless of the weather. If the weather is poor in the morning we fill fit as many stalls as possible under the verandah and inside the Spinney Hill. The fair will open at 12pm and close at 4pm.

Pimm's On The Lawn (Or Possibly Inside!)

The forecast is suggesting rain in the morning with the possibility of warm sunshine in the afternoon so may I suggest bringing a brolly and some sunblock. We battled through the snow and ice of a freezing day when the fair visited Abington Park Museum in March and we will not let the hint of rain deter us, it is Midsummer's Day after all.

The Spinney Hill - Kettering Road, Northampton. NN3 6RL.

Best wishes and see you at the fair.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Searching For Vintage At Newark & Yesterday's Fair In Market Harborough

The First Kiss

"The First Kiss" is a print which was published by Cosmopolitan Magazine in 1914, I found it leaning against a pile of old picture frames on one of the stalls at yesterday's Market Harborough Vintage Fair, a first kiss that has remained constant for almost one hundred years. It is an image that I would like to use on a poster for a future fair however I unsure whether it best suits Valentine's Day or Christmas (as a sprig of mistletoe hangs above the lovers' embrace).


Jackie from the The Antique and Vintage Shop had some lovely things on her stall including this old chemistry rack holding pink columbines and cow parsley. This morning I replaced the wilted flowers with some roses from the garden.

Rosa Crown Princess Margarita

Before I share some more photos from the Market Harborough Fair I will wind back the clock to Thursday last week when we visited Newark Antique Fair in the pursuit of vintage. It is the largest event of it's kind in Europe and it took ages to walk around which did not matter at all as the early morning cloud burnt away leaving a gloriously sunny afternoon for everyone to enjoy.

Vintage Finds At Newark

The exhibition halls were full of specialist antique stalls and there was a few specialist vintage stalls including David from 'Paper & Plastics' and Carole from 'Vintage Treasures'. We decided to search through the mass of stalls outside and hours searching resulted in some interesting finds.

A Sturdy First Aid Box

I especially like the old tin box which was transformed with a coat of paint many years ago, perhaps using some Kingston back in the 1930s.

1930s Paint

At the far side of the show-ground was a barn housing even more stands and I found this old noticeboard which would have been discarded at the end of the day if I had not taken it home.

Salvage & Vintage From Newark

As we walked around it was great to see Naila and Claire who have stalls at our fairs and Suzanne from Hearets and Kisses who has just started in her role as agent for Homes & Antiques magazine. 

20s/30s Advertisement

This is an original advertisement for Lux soap from 1930s and the The Golden Story Book for Girls is from the same decade.

Holiday Rambles

From a similar time is this calendar from Germany which features embossed characters in a colourful rural scene.

Vintage From Central Europe

The attractive kitchen cabinet is from Hungary and was part of a load brought over especially for the fair at Newark, we spent a long time looking at it and should have taken it home

A Hungarian Cabinet

The pretty bag from the 1920s and French storage tins with pretty floral motifs did join us for the drive home.

French Vintage

Thursday came to end and Friday was spent preparing for the following day's fair at the Three Swans Hotel in Market Harborough. Stall holders began to arrive shortly after 8am and patiently waited for me to complete the table layout before setting up their displays, by 11am there were thirty-eight stalls which filled all three rooms of the historic hotel's conference suite.

Some Of The Stalls In The Main Hall

The hall was a mass of colour as clothes sat next to lovely homewares and visitors to the fair worked their way around to a sunny 60s soundtrack (many thanks to Alan who is championing the more lively sounds of the 50s and 60s much to the appreciation of lots of stall holders and visitors who are enjoying an extended respite from my taste for Ragtime, Swing and Blues). However I can assure fans that Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith and all the others will be returning soon!

A Decca Gramophone

And returning in some style - thanks to Ian who has been looking out for a blue Decca gramophone for me since the fair in Stamford last December. Once I have familiarised myself with its simple operating mechanism and sourced the right 78s the summery notes heard around our fairs in recent weeks will be under threat of displacement!

"A Pretty Point Of View"

This pretty display is by Stenya from Rambling Rabbit, it was much depleted by the time I arrived to take a photo but still looked very colourful.

Vintage Jaeger

I spotted a wonderful rail of dresses on a small tucked in a corner,  am glad I paused to take a closer look as they were lovely originals from the 50s and 60s and included this lovely Jaeger shirt dress from the mid 1970s. The dresses will be on display again at Leamington Spa and I will feature them in a post in July.

The Antique & Vintage Shop

Here is the Antique & Vintage Shop stall on which we found some lovely vintage 'bits and pieces'.

A 1930s Magnifying Glass

I love this early plastic magnifying glass and its jade green leather pouch, it was made in Leeds and would have been used in the 1930s for needlework and sewing. 

Our Next Fair

Our next fair is taking place in Northampton on 22nd June, there will be forty stalls on the lawn of the Spinney Hill and Pimm's will be served by the pitcher.

Best wishes and see you at the fair.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

A Lovely Silk Painting & Last Weeks Vintage Fair In Stamford

My Latest Vintage Find

I found this charming picture when went to Leicester to take some posters for the forthcoming Market Harborough Vintage Fair. I took it home it thinking that it was a print only to find that it is an original from the 20s or 30s painted onto old ivory coloured silk. I found it in White Elephant which can be found at 117 Clarendon Park Road.

Vintage Anemones

I found the oil of anemones in the same shop, a little 'detective' work revealed the artist to be Walter Dyke Carter who studied at Manchester and the RCA, it was probably painted in the 40s or 50s. 

Stuff at 245 Clarendon Park Road In Leicester

Further along the same road is Stuff, I always call when I am near and on the day I visited there was a great collection of vintage radios including a lovely HMV made of Bakelite.

Vintage Utopia - Montague Road 

A short walk down the Queens Road leads to Vintage Utopia (closed on Tuesdays!), I found a lovely old painted towel rail and a tea set from the 30s. I had intended to go into the city centre to visit Dollymix Vintage as they have some great clothes and accessories (as well as textiles, leather luggage and ephemera) but I was distracted by the SalvadorDeli cafe and ran out of time!

Dollymix Vintage - Leicester

Dollymixture can be found in 'The Lanes' area of Leicester. The Market Harborough Vintage Fair is taking place on Saturday, our home for the day will be The Three Swans Hotel on the High Street, it is a historic coaching inn dating from the 1400s.

The Fair Starts At 11am

We had a lovely day in Stamford when the fair visited last week, especially so as the sun shone for the first time in ages.

Found At The Stamford Fair

This is an illustration from a book I found at the Stamford Fair, inside there is a very useful chapter on using passe-partout to edge pictures, this method was used extensively during the 1930s as an easy and affordable means of framing small prints and embroidered panels. 

How To Passe-Partout

It was the fair's third visit to Stamford Arts Centre which is situated in the heart of town and surrounded by beautiful stone houses, most are Georgian and the grandeur is undeniable.

Our Home For The Day - Stamford Arts Centre

On the day of the fair the weather was kind and we were bathed in sunshine from early morning, bright light glinted from the polished windows and even a lion emerged to soak up the warmth. 

Sunny Stamford

I had spent most of the before the fair day waiting for the rain to stop in order to drive over to Stamford to put up a pile of posters, I finally arrived around 7pm leaving a rain soaked Northamptonshire behind me.

Some Of The Stalls In The Ballroom

The stalls filled the Ballroom and Blue Room, most were displaying original wares including kitchenalia, textiles, ceramics and glass. 

A Colourful Collection In The Ballroom

Quite a few of the stalls complemented their displays with a rail of clothes and we were joined by two stalls specialising in 60s and 30s fashion. 

Subtle Shades In The Blue Room

Rails of dresses stretched around one side of the Blue Room, large old gilt mirrors hanging on three of the walls created a lovely effect as soft light poured through the floor to ceiling windows.

60s Fashion In The Blue Room

The stage was dressed with 30s inspired art and attire from the same period.

'The Stage Being Set' 

Vintage inspired handmade often created from original fabrics or made using old techniques. Pretty original textiles and papers can be sourced relatively easily and can be made in to so many things.

Felt Work 

The wreath was displayed by Cherry from Merriman's Vintage Jamboree.

A Lovely Handmade Display

I love the colours of Grace Face Boutique's stall.

Vintage Reading

Hope to see you at the fair on Saturday, have a safe journey if you are travelling from afar and best wishes for the week ahead.