Monday 24 September 2012

Antiques Roadshow

Not often I ask anyone for help.  Must be a Man thing, like driving around for a whole day rather than stopping and asking for directions.  Mind you while I was on the Bomb Squad I did crack once looking for the local police station and told my driver to pull up alongside a promising looking native, but merely winding my window down so I could talk to him set the oik orf.

‘WHAT D’YOU WANT, SQUADDIE?’ he bawled at me revealing some quite shocking dentistry.  I got a good look as he insisted on holding his face only six inches away from mine.


You can imagine I was somewhat taken aback. So much so, in fact, that had I recoiled any further, my head would have been in my driver’s lap.

‘…I’m looking for the police station?’


‘You mean there’s more than one?’  Naturally I was confused, this was only a small Norfolk town after all.


While my Corporal Driver was pissing himself at his Captain’s obvious disquiet and, I couldn’t help but notice, chewing the top of his steering wheel to prevent himself bursting out in laughter (which would have been downright insubordinate), I tried again.

‘Er, the police station in THIS town?’


We found it in the end learning the salutary lesson that if you want decent directions, ask a policeman…

What I would like from you, dear readers (all three of you) is advice on a small but very cherished bronze I fell in love with and just had to buy.

It is bronze, not spelter, it is too heavy for that, and is signed either O or D Hafenrichter.  This little lady stands 30cms tall from the base of her plinth to the tip of her outstretched arm.  It isn’t that clear in the following photos but while the rest of her is a golden bronze colour, her garland and the flower between her breasts have a subtly contrasting copper tint.  She is incredibly detailed right down to her finger and toe nails as well as her facial features.  If you were to be ungentlemanly enough to flick her raised foot, she rings softly like a bell.

I have tried googling Hafenrichter but come up with very little.

I would be very grateful if anyone out there in the blogosphere could tell me a little bit more about this Art Deco beauty and her obviously skilled creator.


Just looks a bit tarnished to me so I will get the Scotchbrite and Brasso out.  That'll really make her shine.



    Otto Hafenrichter was an Austrian-German scupltor. The piece you have would fetch around £750 at auction - maybe a bit more as it has his name on it. Always did a similar style of sculpture.

    Not much known about him, mostly liked to work bronze figurines.

  2. Thanks for that John. I just pumped Otto Hafenrichter into Google and was rewarded with a couple of entries for pieces of his that had come up for auction in the last few years (but I have to subscribe to get more info) and nothing at all about him. How sad. I really would like to learn more about him.

    Art Deco Express is a wonderful site, I could spend a fortune there. I have already seen a couple of pieces I like and need to talk to Marcia about!

    Perhaps, once things get going for me here and I am flush again, I can make that pilgrimage to Napier NZ I always promised myself.

  3. Professor JOHN D got there ahead of me. I had just worked out that the artist's name was Otto Hafenrichter but my browsing has revealed little more - just some similar art deco bronzes and a probable link to Vienna. It's a lovely piece by the way. I can see why you were drawn to it.

  4. P.S. Shirley and I were in Napier in January - drove down from Gisborne before driving onwards to Taupo.

  5. Really Sir Pud of the North?

    And for someone who adores art deco architecture (it was the only reason I dragged myself through places as hideous as Miami), is it worth a visit?

    Someone out there must know all about Herr Otto Hafenrichter.

    Hopefully Cro and Master Mason Stephenson of the Candlestick will have some ideas.

  6. Everyone beat me
    It's a lovely piece but
    Please don't clean it!'!!
    You can wipe a bit of worth off it x

  7. Hippo - It's a nice town and obviously views itself as the art deco capital of the world. We were only there three hours. I photographed several art deco style buildings but I am not as well-versed in art deco artefacts as you obviously are so I didn't go rifling through any of the shops. I think you'd need to combine your visit to Napier with other centres too e.g. Taupo, Tonagriro, maybe Wellington. I don't know if you have ever been to NZ before but it's a great country to explore. I hired a car from YourWay - the cars are around five years old so much cheaper than Avis or Hertz etc. They have a facility at Auckland airport. To see some of my Napier pics - check this out:-

  8. JG, I have seen those crestfallen faces on the Antiques Roadshow where the expert says, 'Well, this was a historically significant piece, I saw one similar go for a million squillion at Christie's last year but because YOU gave this a good scrubbing with a Brillo Pad, it is worth... NOTHING!'

    Sir Pud, thankyou very much for the link, I think it is definitely on my list of places I must see, even if only to make an offer for that green car. I hope you never experience an acrimonious divorce but I left the matrimonial home with what I could carry. I put this sculpture, one of six I owned and the smallest, but my favorite, into my briefcase where, for safety with all the building and thieving going on here, it has lived ever since. I only brought it out today to give her a breath of fresh air.

  9. I am one of your readers but do not have anything to add to the art deco convo.


  10. But it is still nice to hear from you, Megan!

    She's a lovely little girl, isn't she? The reason I really liked it is because unlike so many art deco bronzes, she still had her clothes on. Now that may have surprised you but let me tell you, I like to unwrap my own sweets!

  11. You aren't the first man i've heard say that, Tom.

    And yes, i think she's lovely and can see why you wanted to make a space for her.

  12. You want to know the really sad part about it Megan? No-one around here appreciates her. If I didn't keep her locked away in my briefcase under the bed, some bastard would nick her (like they did the only momentos I had left from my deceased father) knock her base off, give her a good polish with emery cloth and bolt her to the front of a Toyota Corolla as a bonnet mascot. Either that or try and melt her down, these idiots not knowing the difference betweeen brass or bronze.

    I really should send her somewhere safe but she has seen me being cuckolded by successive wives, one of whom robbed five of her companions, yet remained loyal. I can't bear to part with her.

    Megan, in this God awful shithole I find myself with no prospect whatsoever of escape if I want to remain here and have any influence whatsoever on the upbringing of Dominic, she is the only remaining link I have to anything even approaching grace.

    Anyway, enough of this introspective blubbing (call it battle fatigue, slap me in a clinic with the spirits of the recently maligned Wilfred Owen and his pal Sassoon and ensure my fellow club members send me to Coventry), I have just made the most superb lobster curry and this time (sniff, wiping sudden tears of emotion away), I took some photos and am going to have a go at reactivating my other blog, Cooking on the Frontline.

    You are not going to understand half of what I am saying, maybe John Gray would, but I am tired of having to swing my fists and play the hard man. That is why I fetched my exquisite young lady out of the briefcase that is her dungeon and had a look at her.

    Just to remind me that I am a civilised human being. I think.

  13. Mmmmm, lobster curry. I do hope you update the other blog, as i'd love to make some but haven't got a clue how to. Most of my attempts at curry have been not so great.

    And yes, i understand completely, Tom. I'm sorry you have to keep her hidden in your briefcase to keep her safe, but keep her intact and close to you.

    Hmm, perhaps i ought to blog about talismen i've had in my life that have gone the way of all things and how it ripped me up. I don't know that i really want to revisit all that, but you've got me to thinking...

  14. Sorry to get you thinking, Meg, I was just having a bad day.

    The currry was BRILLIANT even though I could not get any fresh coriander. I am sure Sainsbury's, Morrisson's or that other supermarket chain (Texaco?) you have round your neck of the woods will have some in stock.

    I'll post on both my blogs but it is EASY to make. Right now, to quote that famous line given by the bandit disguised as a priest to Jane Fonda in Cat Ballou, 'Please excuse me Madam, I am drunk as a skunk!'

    I must remember that one the next time Marcia lifts the empty bottle off my desk and demands to know if I drank the lot.

    'No Marcia, my Love, light of my life, it was the skunk (hic)'

  15. Neat, neat item and I can see why you love her so. Have to confess that the OCD in me worried about her tripping herself up in that skirt but then, in one of the later photos, I see that she did.

    Can you build her some concrete and steel showcase bunker to live in? One that lights up when you open the doors? Then you could retire for an hour or two in the evenings, lock the room, dial the combination on the bunker and sit with a cigar, admiring her. A cupboardful of art.

  16. Sir Owl, what a splendid idea! Once Hippo Towers starts to give me a return on my investment, I shall endeavor to rebuild a collection of Art Deco Bronzes housed in a room with a club like atmosphere (panelled walls, green leather, that sort of thing), maidlings to hand ensuring the brandy and cigars keep coming...

    Perhaps I could persuade you out of hunting retirement to make one more trip to Darkest Africa, blag a few natives and allow the maidlings to fondle our sculptures?

  17. please do not shine her, it is the patina that makes it more valuable!

  18. Herr Otto seems to be one of those fringe artists who sells rather well on account of his subject matter. If possible you should find a copy of Bénézit Dictionary of Artists... he's bound to be in there.

  19. Thanks Cro.

    Just checked on the internet to buy my own copy, 1700 quid. Me thinks I need to speak to a mate with access to a university library!

    Thanks ever so much for the steer, I was hoping you or Tom S would swing by!

  20. You are not going to understand half of what I am saying, maybe John Gray would, but I am tired of having to swing my fists and play the hard man. That is why I fetched my exquisite young lady out of the briefcase that is her dungeon and had a look at her.

    Just to remind me that I am a civilised human being. I think

    I do understand

  21. Otto Hafenrichter was born on 16 May 1947 in Stirlingshire, Scotland. He met his partner in 1966, and wwas married in 1969.

    The pair formed a comedy duo, and hit the big time in 1978 when they appeared in the Royal Variety Performance.

    During the 1980s they were given roles in several television showsIn recent years, Otto's partner revealed the couple were swingers, and often went sailing with other couples to perfrom sex acts whilst at sea.

    Oh, hang on, you're looking for information about Otto Hafenrichter, the sculptor? I thought you were talking about that irritating bitch who made up one half of the Krankies!

    I'll give you 20 Marlboro and a copy of Razzle from the statue.

  22. IG, Done. Please send fags and mag along with the $2,000 delivery charge to Hippo Towers, Barra de Kwanza, Angola.


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