The collector: Andy, Businessman, Midlands (UK).
The collection: Art Deco
The story behind the collection...
I started collecting Art deco in the 1980s, I think that period was just so decadent, beautiful, cutting edge and 'before its time'... essentially I just loved it.
It all began with a trip to a shop in Altrincham called Bazaar. I went in and thought oh my god they're so expensive but so lovely and I think I spent about £3000 in one afternoon! I bought the HMV heater and the greyhounds and some other bits and pieces and then I started progressing and getting more and more into it. I bought the Epstein dining table and chairs and the Epstein bedroom suite. They are called cloud back or captain's chairs and they're upholstered with Connolly hide and the wood is finished in birds eye maple veneer. I bought those along with the cocktail cabinet, I'm not so sure that they match but the wood does. And then I started filling the cocktail cabinet with glasses. They all came from a member of the Epstein family in Manchester.
Then I bought some Sciaparo and I started buying and selling a bit of Art Deco, because by then I knew what I was looking for and if I saw it cheap I'd buy it and then sell it on. You get a feel about stuff and then you see stuff and your like "I've got to have them". From there I started collecting Art Deco plastics and bakelite too.
It just takes over you. You don't realise how much it's got hold of you until you start totting up what you've spent on it all.
When I bought my house I didn't know how to decorate it. I wanted a new look so I found this place in London where I bought all the posters and then I bought the BP stuff and the Shell stuff later.
I love 1930s architecture. I'd love to live in an Art Deco house but they are very expensive and all the best ones are in Bournemouth (at Sandbanks). Also Art Deco is very 'seaside' and I think that's what I like about them, the ocean liner look and geometrically inspired things.. beautiful. I don't like the flowery Deco, not at all, I like all the geometric stuff. There is some Deco that is a cross between Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Deco and it doesn't really fit in anywhere. I'm a bit more purist than that, I just think OK well I like that.
What wouldn't I sell? The HMV heater, I probably wouldn't sell the green dogs either and one or two posters... the BP ones. They are the original concept designs from the Shell archives. The 'Be Sure of Shell' I bought from a guy I did a job for and he did me a deal on it. I bought the Warwick Castle poster on a whim at Christies in London, it was the last one available that wasn't in someone else's collection. I also bought the ESB one at the same time, which is a Belgian hi-speed train from the 1930s, so purist Deco I had to have it. Actually, thinking about it, I probably wouldn't sell half of my collection.
Other decades after the 1930s that I'm interested in? There are things from the 1960s that are pretty cutting edge. I love Bauhaus stuff too... beautiful, amazing. I have an original Bauhaus lamp upstairs, it's big.
Citroen DS cars, although they're not 1930s, Airstream caravans and Art Deco, that's heaven to me. I'd be quite happy being in a big shed full of Airstreams just doing them up, that would suit me down to the ground.
Why 1930s? It's the shapes... that's it really.
Images © of Obsessionistas with kind permission of Andy