Tea was once a luxury. Its price, heavily taxed, placed it beyond all but the well-to-do. The Female Spectator in 1745 declared that the tea table “costs more to support than would maintain two children and a nurse.”
UNLESS YOU count the Press & Journal staffer that accompanied me to the London Olympics, the only Aberdeen photographer known to me is the great George Washington Wilson – renowned, of course, for thousands of high-quality images of Victorian Scotland (now available online thanks to the University of Aberdeen).
MEDAL SPECIALISTS Dix Noonan Web are selling a quality collection of medals and awards this weekend relating to The Black Watch, including medals to the 42nd Highlanders and 73rd Foot, which merged to become the famous regiment.
We could argue all day about the world’s rarest book. Audubon’s Birds of America tends to fetch mega-money. A copy was sold by Christie’s New York on June 14 for £6.24 million, and even that was not its auction record. But if a first of a Shakespeare first folio came up…who knows?
Angus Council was rightly cock-a-hoop at the discovery near Carnoustie of a Bronze Age spearhead with a gold socket at the end of its shaft. The weapon is one of only five gold-bound spears to have been found in Britain and Ireland.
“Show me another” is a well-trodden phrase in the antiques world when a spectacular or uncommonly rare item appears for sale. It’s a saying that adds value normally, but not in every case.
I welcome Rosebery’s Auctions of London to this column for the first time, as I have dipped into their summer antiques sale for a little item which I cannot recall seeing previously.
CHORLEY’S AUCTIONS of Gloucester are the latest saleroom to take a five-figure sum for the work of the ceramicist Dame Lucie Rie (1902-1995).
THE LOWER ground-floor area of Perth Museum – my favourite place – is where the city’s permanent art collection finds a home. A handful of Old Masters grace the left-hand wall, including the magnificent maybe-Caravaggio Prometheus, while the free spirit right-hand surface is presently hung with oil paintings of Perth.
ON WEDNESDAY, Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull will sell an early 19th Century mahogany stick barometer by J. Della Torre of Perth. It carries tempting pre-sale hopes of £300-£500.