The most beautiful boats in the world?

As a fan of Art Deco, I’ve been fascinated by the J Class yachts. These are the luxury yachts built inbetween the two world wars by some of  the wealthiest men in Britain and America – King George, Mortimer Singer, Thomas Lipton and others. They were built to race across oceans and despite being functional they are extremely beautiful. Sadly, they were all either sunk, abandoned or recycled by the beginning of the Second World War when such displays of austentation were not ‘the done thing’. Besides, I would imagine that trans-Atlantic racing was a bit too dangerous in the middle of a War!

About three years ago, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a box of negatives in a Cornish auction room. In amongst the family holiday photos were pictures of a regatta held off Falmouth in 1927. And there were negatives of the yachts that preceded the J Class! It took a long time to find a way to move the images from negatives to digital, but I did it, and here’s a picture to prove it:

Westward, Britannia and Lulworth mid-race

Westward, Lulworth, Britannia and Shamrock racing off Falmouth in 1927.

The reason I’m so excited about this today is that I have spent the day watching the modern J Class yachts racing off Falmouth. These gorgeous yachts are sleek, fast and just as beautiful as the originals.

Here’s a picture from Lottie Richardson, who is following the racing on Twitter for the host marina:

b J Class racing off Falmouth in 2012

You can see more of Lottie’s amazing photos at: and follow the link for her twitter blog: #jclass_blog

I’m using the visit of the J Class to launch an on-line shop selling both the vintage and modern images:

I hope that this will grow to include the best of my collection of vintage pictures, please let me know what you think.

On the hunt for new old stuff

I have been buying stock from auctions for some time now, and thought that I had all the local auctions sussed. There’s a group of dealers in the area and they all tend to keep their sources close to their chests. So I was very excited to hear on the grapevine that a new auction house had opened locally. The only problem was that no-one could/would give clear directions to the place, and it was too new to be listed in any directories.

So, on the supposed date of the auction I went hunting. Armed with a set of instructions that said ‘turn right at Morrisons’ I drove round housing estates and dead ends until I was in danger of running out of fuel, but could not find the place.

Flash forward to this week and I went hunting again. And this time – success! I turned left at Lidl and there it was. Strange how the original instructions were so close and yet so different.

And after all that effort, there were only about 100 lots to chose from, and nothing I was intersted in.

But, I will persevere. It’s only their third auction so it should get better as they get better known. But of course, then the competition will be greater. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Starting something

There’s something about starting a new venture that makes me want to go out and buy new stationery. I don’t know if it’s the memories of the new school year with a bag full of blank notebooks and that lovely clean paper smell together with the sense of possibilities ahead, or perhaps it’s the more prosaic reason that I am a disorganised worker and I am always on the hunt for that magic notebook/filing system/online solution that will suddenly make the disorder around me fall into place.

The problem with starting an online venture is that there’s no real reason to buy (invest in) traditional paper based solutions. But that doesn’t stop me from coveting things I find on the internet. Perhaps the answer is to make a virtual collection of business items to go with my virtual office!

These items would definately make it onto my wish list:

Vintage 80s Desk Organizer / Pen Holder / Stationery Stand - from Russia / Soviet Union

A vintage (80s) Russian desk tidy, from Cherryshop on Etsy. I love the Deco style eagle on the side holder.

This desk is being advertised in a magazine from the 1960s. I’d love to see it for real.

Vintage ad Cole Steel office furniture early 1960s modern desk chair Mad Men - Free U.S. shipping

Or finally, for working on the move, how about this fantastic student’s portable desk. Designed to fold out on top of a table, it’s been set out as a bar in this photo, but has compartments for stationery, a blackboard for making notes and a scrolling roll showing maps, flags, birds and other essentials. I’d say this is the closest thing to a laptop and Wikipedia that they had in 1903.

Antique Folding Student Desk Chautauqua Industrial Art Desk Unique Bar Idea with Scroll of Illustrations Map

I found this great item being sold by TheDirtyLoft on Etsy