Art Deco is an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with modern imagery and materials is characterised by rich colours, symmetrical lines, bold geometric shapes and patterns and lavish ornamentation. As a style it flourished in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
For those who are interested in Art Deco Springwood is conveniently located to visit the museums and art galleries in London but we also recommend a few hours spent at one of the area’s most popular antique and collector’s events – The Woking 20th Century & Art Deco Fair. There are various dates throughout the year, with the next one scheduled for 28th December 2015. The Fair comprises a vast array of quality stalls, including furniture, offering eclectic items from Nouveau Art (late nineteenth century) through to the Deco period – and even some of the ‘retro’ styles of the 1960s.
Whatever your interest – or budget – the 20th Century & Art Deco Fair offers pottery, porcelain, glass, metalware, lamps, furniture, paintings & prints, ephemera, textiles and many other decorative objects including jewellery and ladies’ accessories.
Art Deco artists have grown in popularity over the past few years and none more so than the decorative arts designers such as Louis Tiffany and Clarice Cliff.
Tiffany (1848-1933) is predominantly known as an Art Nouveau artist and glass-master, and his styles are internationally recognised. Although Tiffany’s glassware now sells for incredible prices his metal pieces are more affordable; for example a patterned bronze ashtray might cost around £200-300, while enamelled gilt-bronze bookends can fetch in the region of £1,000-2,000.
Compare these prices to those of Tiffany glass with prices ranging between £5,000 for a simple single colour lamp-shade to over a million pounds for the most rare and exquisite examples; in 1997 Christies auction house sold a Tiffany Lotus lamp, formed from a delicate arrangement of stained glass, for a record-breaking £1.5 million!
Other iconic work and specifically defining the Art Deco style is the ceramics of Clarice Cliff (1899 – 1972). Cliff’s work had a significant impact on the UK ceramics industry beginning with her startling designs from 1928 – using geometric shapes such as the ziggurat and pyramid, derived from Aztec and Egyptian cultures, as well as stylised representations of the sun, the chevon, and geometric patterns based on repeated lines and overlapping rectangular shapes. Stylised floral decoration is common on ceramics and the vast majority of Clarice’s ‘Art Deco’ output was between 1927 and 1936 and these years are commonly known as The ‘Bizarre’ years.
“Bizarre” ware was predominantly brilliant colours of orange, blue, yellow, and green pieces with abstract patterns used. Examples of these are called Deecia, Patina, Caprice and Summerhouse.
However, one of the most recognisable pattern is the Crocus and was designed in 1929; it became her signature design. Each flower in the Crocus was executed with a few skilful brush strokes. The design was so popular that teams of painters were needed to decorate it and they became known as the ‘Bizarre’ girls.
The ceramics range hugely in price: an assembled tea set in the ‘Crocus’ pattern (circa 1930) comprised of an octagonal panelled teapot and cover, two bowls, and six cups and saucers sold for approximately £500 at Bonhams in July 2008. However, rare combinations of shape and pattern attract very high prices at auction. The world record price for a piece of Clarice Cliff is held by Christie’s, who sold an 18-inch ‘charger’ (wall plaque) in the May Avenue pattern for £39,500 in 2004. More ‘reasonably’ priced pieces include an 8-inch vase in Sunspots for £20,000 (2004), a ‘Triple Bonjour’ vase in Blue Firs for £6000 (2008), and an 18” charger in the May Avenue pattern sold for £20,500 (2009).
Having said that, keep your eyes peeled at The Woking 20th Century & Art Deco Fair as it is still possible to find pieces of Crocus for as little as £30–£50 – why not start a collection?!
Book a post-Christmas treat at Springwood and enjoy all the fun of the fair!