July Newsletter

Dear Friends 

Welcome to our July newsletter.

This time last month I was returning from a trip to the beautiful emerald isle, a journey that rekindled many fond memories of past holidays spent in the most gorgeous surroundings of the Connemara national park. This was the place where Ryan and I first learnt to clay pigeon shoot to a decent level and I caught my first ever wild brown trout on a fly, naturally I returned that fish to fight another day. To be able to simply stroll around the vast grounds of a hotel with a shotgun under your arm, shoot unlimited clays over the wild Atlantic shoreline or opt to play golf or fly fish whilst your wife and daughter were riding horses on the beach, seems light years away from todays overbearing health and safety conscious world, but that is exactly how it was. In the evening with the children safely tucked away we retired to the bar often leaving at silly o’clock in the morning to grab a couple of hours sleep, then rather sheepishly arriving for the last serving of breakfast. Wild and exciting days spent in a wild and rugged landscape.

The stunning scenery and warmth of the locals hasn’t changed one bit in over 20 years since we last visited, although our stamina for such wild nights has certainly taken a big backward step. What was very evident was the disappearance of the many antiques shops and public houses along the route we often travelled, a sad sign of the times I guess, however it was a lovely tour and we will not be waiting 20 years to return, that is for sure.

No sooner had I arrived home and unpacked the car I was instantly back to the coal face. The first enquiry and subsequent sale was for the pair of Plique a Jour vases that I had featured in last month’s newsletter. If you recall I had purchased these vases from a USA collection, Texas to be more precise, where are they heading now? you guessed it … Texas, to a long-standing client who very kindly left me the following feedback.

“Hi Steve, The vases made it safely home and are now displayed with other Japanese items. Though diminutive the workmanship is incredible. I am very pleased with this acquisition.”

Remarkably a further four what may be deemed as “Samurai related” objects found new homes last month, the exceptional quality iron and mixed metal mounted dragon Tanto and the most unusual iron koro in the form of a Samurai Kabuto had both featured in my Masterpiece 2022 Exhibition catalogue and have now left my gallery for their respective new homes.

Also, these two remaining Tsuba from a single owner group that I purchased a while back are now heading East to join a high-quality Japanese collection.

Not that I specifically source arms or armour related items, indeed I steer well clear on most occasions, preferring to leave that field to the numerous enthusiastic afficionados out there. None the less, high-quality metalware is just that, and I find it irresistible even if it crosses the collecting lines from time to time, you will know only too well that if it gets “under your skin” you just have to own it.

Another of my very favourite items that featured in the Masterpiece exhibition was the sensational bronze and mixed metal vase highlighting the monkey preening himself, the vase was artist signed Hokugaku I and manufactured around 1875, the Katakiribori carving was exceptional. This was one of those pieces that to be honest I could have lived with forever, whilst maybe not the most commercial of item I consider it was about the best I will ever see of its type. I hope the new owner is as equally fond of it as I have been. Sincere thanks to last month’s clients both old and new.

For this month’s exclusive members item, I am delighted to introduce this large scale reticulated Satsuma Koro artist signed by the highly regarded Ryozan Okamoto for the Yasuda company. The Koro is from the same private USA collection as last months featured item, the Plique a jour vases. The pierced reticulation really is remarkable workmanship, not dissimilar to George Owens highly prized work at Royal Worcester, please don’t miss out on this beautiful piece.

And finally, with all the bad stuff that is going on in the world it was lovely to be sent a photo of one of my three young grandsons just enjoying some of the simpler things in life, sat on the beach caked in sand demolishing a huge ice cream, an ice cream now clearly lacking its chocolate flake, can’t imagine where that has disappeared to?? what great fun!!!

Best wishes for the Summer.