As far as Quy is concerned, antiques dealers are selling slices of history, so he considers himself a student of the objects he collects. “You don’t have to be born with good taste and great instincts,” he says. “You can cultivate an eye for things by looking at a lot of art, reading books, and learning about how objects are made.”
His curiosity to unearth the stories behind objects is most apparent in his love of antique Wedgwood tableware. “There was a lot of innovation on the part of Josiah Wedgwood in the 18th century in regards to materials. He gave birth to basalt ware, jasperware, and pearlware, to name a few.”
Insider Tip: “The further you go back, the more modern and simple the shape of ceramics becomes,” Quy says.
When it comes to patterned textiles, classic 18th- and 19th-century toiles de Jouy have always impressed Quy. “The clever use of creating a repeat image is very inspiring to me,” he says. “And the subject matter can range from the whimsical to the macabre.”
Insider Tip: “The printing on antique toiles maintains the quality and fineness of the engraved plates, which can be lost in more-contemporary pieces,” he explains.
Over the years, Quy’s finds have included 18th- and 19th-century mouth-blown glassware. What’s most captivating to him is the artisanal element of these pieces. “Inconsistencies and the unpredictability of something in the glass, like bubbles or swirls, show that it was handmade.”
Insider Tip: Quy suggests to “look for a pontil mark,” which is a sign that the glass was blown and not molded. “It’s where the metal pipe used for blowing the glass broke off, so it leaves a jarred or serrated edge there.”