Oslo Telephone cabin

I recently travelled to Oslo to give a talk at AHO. I only had a very brief time in the city, but was taken with this little newspaper kiosk in what seems to have been an old Telephone cabin. If you look at the reliefwork above the end doors then you'll see the word Telefon. Always nice to see an old bit of infrastructure being reused.

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Bonhams Sale 17191 - Decorative Arts

Bonhams are having a decorative arts sale - some very nice objects in it:

Lot No: 2

A Gordon Russell double helix mahogany sideboard, designed by David Booth, circa 1950, for the Festival of Britain of 1951

Estimate: £400 - 600

I know very little about David Booth (I know very little about furniture designers generally, but that's another story). This piece is very striking, not in a flashy way, just nicely proportioned and with a handsome bit of detailing on the front. The helix detail was apparently achieved by cutting through the veneer, to show the material underneath (so smart as well as elegant), you can read more about David Booth here.

Lot No: 122
A George Anton Scheidt silver mounted bird's eye maple cigarette box

Estimate: £200 - 300

The wood and the silver harmonise so well with this box, the patina of age completes the effect., lush!

Lot No: 175
A Georg Jensen brooch designed by Arno Malinowski (1949)

Estimate: £100 - 150

Just a very charming design

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Bonhams Sale 16805 - Watches & Wristwatches

Bonhams are having another sale - here are some pieces that caught my eye


Lot No: 1
Cabrier. A fine and rare silver and underpainted horn triple case pocket watch
London Hallmark for 1794

Estimate: £800 - 1,200

Very nice calligraphy / typography on the dial, loving that sweep on the 'L'!


Lot No: 112
Patek Philippe. A rare integrated Electronic Master Clock System with independent minute and seconds comparators in a five-piece tower
Circa 1975

Estimate: £4,000 - 6,000

hmm not sure I have the space for this, but I love some of the detailing on it , why for example would they use wood on the side panels which (I assume) wouldn't be visible ? I guess if you're going to be buying an integrated electronic master clock system that you should go for a Patek, just for details like that.


Lot No: 109

Corum. A limited edition stainless steel automatic centre seconds wristwatch together with fitted presentation box and papers

Estimate: £1,000 - 1,500

I don't love the design, but the hour and minute hands have something quite special about them, I always like a cut-through indicator hand. Incidentally the seconds hand is supposed to be a voodoo pin.

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Frank Sinatra

Antiquorum, who are an auction house specialising in watches, are selling a number of watches that belonged to American icons.

What caught my eye wasn't one of the watches though - I'm loving this necklace that once belonged to Frank Sinatra that spells out his name (estimated at US$10,000 - US$15,000 but hey it comes with a free watch!)

Full details of the sale etc here

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Some interesting automobile related stuff from Bonhams:

Aston Martin engine plate (I guess, I've lost the page).

Fiat 600 beach car(?)

F1 1:6 scale wind tunnel model (from 1979)

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Bonhams watches & clock sale 16793

Bonhams are having another sale of clocks and watches, here are a few that caught my eye:


Lot No: 100

Movado. An 14ct gold centre seconds triple calendar wristwatch
15-jewel manual wind movement, silvered bi coloured dial with applied alternate Arabic and dot hour markers, outer calendar scale, apertures for day and month, addition date hand, sweep centre seconds, polished case with snap on back, fancy lugs, fitted associated leather strap, case, dial and movement signed

Estimate: £400 - 600


Lot No: 287
A rare late 19th century continental digital mantel timepiece in a contemporary case
The arched crossbanded boxwood strung mahogany case with moulded plinth base on brass bracket feet, the cast brass seven inch dial with sunburst mask and winged cherub between the numeral apertures with painted metal flip-down numerals driven by a single barrelled movement with tapering plates and adjustable deadbeat escapement 35cm (14in) high.

Estimate: £1,000 - 1,500


Lot No: 338
Two early 20th century bulkhead timepieces
Smiths Astral, number AP160174 and Sestrel, signed by the retailer Capt. O.M. Watts Ltd.
The Smiths Astral clock with eight inch signed and numbered dial, with concentric inner hour ring and outer seconds/minute track, painted hands, locking bezel, hand-set and stop/start lever to the side of the brass case, single barrelled movement with lever escapement, the second clock with six inch signed dial, going barrel movement signed by Elliott and lever escapement 27cm (10.5in) and 20cm (8in) wide. (2)

Estimate: £250 - 350

[i'm fascinated by the red sections on the dial - are they the point when shifts changed?)


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The only pub with a pool

One of my favourite Kennington landmarks is the George & Dragon pub. I've no idea when it closed, but certainly several years ago (I think I first stumbled upon it around three or four years ago).

I do wonder exactly why a pub with a pool would fail as a business, especially as it's the only one.

And then again.

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Meeting new friends...

I found this strange advert in the window of a newsagents on the Walworth Road in south London. The text if you can't quite make it out reads, "meeting new firends going out clubbing" and a telephone number.

I have no idea what they're after...



Brasilia National Cathedral

I love how the bells are held in the concrete structure (bell-tower?)

From here



hmm Friday's not the most productive day...

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Pearly Kings & Queens

I love all kinds of vernacular craft / tradition and I particularly like ones that are very associated with place (in this case London). The Pearly Kings and Queens were originally elected from amongst the costermongers (street-sellers / market traders) of different areas to protect and represent them (I guess a kind of proto-union boss). The Pearly Kings make all the costumes and they have a nice line in coded symbolism (a heart symbolises charity, a dove peace, a playing card = life is a gamble etc). These days they are mostly concerned with charitable activities. There is precious little information about them available (no book of photos, nor history of them).

I wrote to the Museum of London with an enquiry for information about them, but they hold no records. It seems a terrible oversight, I wonder if they will be rolled out for the London Olympics (probably not - it's a bit too sophisticated, doubtless they won't get much beyond red-buses, Big Ben and Beefeaters...)

I was all geared up to go and see the Pearlies when they came to visit the Cummings Museum on Walworth Road on Tuesday, but went to the Vivienne Westwood lecture at the RCA instead (frankly a mistake on my part)

Below is my favorite Pearly picture - extraordinarily melancholy, I especially like the King's tie with Charity on it. I am thinking about approaching them to do some future MJW photos.

Good history of them here
Official home here

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