Masterpiece London 2017 – Introduction

Masterpiece London 2017, South Grounds, The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3, 29th June – 5th July 2017

MASTERPIECE PRESENTS
Iván Navarro
Impenetrable Room
2017
Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery

Since its inception this fair has grown into one of the most must-visit events of the art and antiques year. Some thirty-seven thousand visitors last year! It attracts museum directors and private collectors from all over the world to see the artworks shown by a hundred and fifty international dealers. The artworks range from antiquity to the present time. The Royal Bank of Canada is once again the principal sponsor

This year the new MASTERPIECE PRESENTS will reveal a large-scale dedicated exhibition space at the entrance which has been transformed by a special artwork – Impenetrable Room, 2017. Created by the Chilean artist Iván Navarro it has been commissioned by the New York-based Paul Kasmin Gallery who are new exhibitors.

Over the coming days I look forward to sharing blogs on some of the leading dealers taking part.

www.masterpiecefair.com

The 2017 Summer Olympia Art & Antiques Fair

The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London W14, 26th June – 2nd July 2017

Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill who will be speaking at The Art & Antiques Fair on ‘Incorporating Antiques in Design’ on Thursday 29 June at 12.30-13.30.

This is this fair’s forty-fifth year and as ever potentially offers much to its visitors. There is no doubt that change is inevitable and that emphasis and focus changes as one generation of collectors is succeeded by another. Styles of living change and what may have been our ideal does not necessarily resonate with our children and grandchildren.

It is therefore probably a sound idea to launch an Interior Design Talk Series at this year’s fair. The speakers include Henrietta Spencer Churchill, Douglas Mackie, Christopher Vane Percy, April Russel, Emma Burns from Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler, Susie Rumbold and Caroline de Cabarrus from Hotspur Design and the wide-ranging topics covered include Incorporating Antiques in Design and how to Decorate your House in a Day.

The fair’s director Mary Claire Boyd said, ‘We are excited about our new Interior Design Talk Series. There is a strong demand for advice from experts on how to incorporate art and antiques into interiors and previous designer talks have been very well attended. We are taking it to the next level this year by hosting top designers throughout the run of the fair.’ Perfect for inspiration to go out into the fair afterwards and buy!

It is also interesting to note that the number of picture dealers attending this year’s fair will be double that of last year’s. This increase is made up by new and some returning former exhibitors. The Chicago-based show, Sculptural Objects Functional Art and Design Fair (SOFA) who first showed three-dimensional contemporary art and design last year also returns.

Galerie Boccara
Sonia Delaunay.
Serpent Noir’, wool tapestry,151 x 308cm

As these changes evolve over the Fairs I wish this Olympia Fair a fair wind in its voyage to different waters.

http://www.olympia-art-antiques.com

Hetty Feather

I am grateful to John Kirkwood for visiting and writing about this exhibition:

 

Picturing Hetty Feather, The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1, until 3rd September 2017

Emma Brownlow, The Foundling Restored to its Mother, 1858
©Coram in the care of The Foundling Museum,
featuring illustration of Hetty Feather © Nick Sharratt


Fans of  Jacqueline Wilson’s character Hetty Feather will love this exhibition featuring as it does many costumes and artefacts from the  television series  based on the popular and successful books displayed in the Foundling Museum  the actual location of  the stories where you can experience a little of what  Hetty’s  life would have been like.

Girls in the London Foundling Hospital schoolroom, early 20th
century,
courtesy Coram in the care of The Foundling Museum

foundlingmuseum.org.uk

Jane Austen’s Portraits

The Mysterious Miss Austen, The Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street
Winchester, until 24th July, 2017

Jane Austen by James Andrews, watercolour, 1869
(c) Private collection, courtesy of the 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop, Stevenson, Maryland.

I had of course known about Jane Austen for many years but had not actually read one of her novels until I was in my early twenties and found out what an absolute delight they are. I knew something of her life (I just passed where she stayed in Covent Garden’s Henrietta Street this morning) but it was a real delight to come and see this exhibition which marks the two hundredth anniversary of her death and which not only brings together five portraits of her under the same roof for the first time, but includes letters, items of clothing and a manuscript alternative ending to her final novel Persuasion, which was not used in the end. There are also items from both an English and an American private collection which bring the story up-to-date and the rather fine ceramic vase Jane Austen in E 17 by Grayson Perry has been loaned as well.

Installation view:
Jane Austen Pelisse coat

I found it unexpectedly moving and although as the exhibition’s title suggests she does remain somewhat mysterious I felt I had at least encountered her. It was therefore wholly appropriate to pay my respects as I bowed my head to read the inscription on the tablet set into the floor of the north aisle in nearby Winchester Cathedral, commemorating her life and burial there.

Jane Austen ledgerstone – Winchester Cathedral by John Crook

https://hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/the-gallery-at-winchester-discovery-centre

Installation View:
Jane Austen portraits display

Stories Unfold!

Every Object Tells a Story, 5 Cromwell Place, London SW7, until 5th July 2017

Installation view
(photo credit: Exhibition Design and Photograph by Charles Marsden-Smedley)

In May 2015 I shared with you the eponymous exhibition Oliver Hoare held at 33 Fitzroy Square, London W1 (Curiosities, 12 May 2015).  This new edition in the former studio of Sir John Lavery RA is even larger, beautifully displayed and crammed with some four hundred intriguing objects which you just do want to learn more about. There is a wonderful catalogue to help achieve that.

Installation view
(photo credit: Exhibition Design and Photograph by Charles Marsden-Smedley)

I shall let Oliver Hoare sum it up: “What is assembled here might look like a modern ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, an assemblage of the exotic and curious from the four quarters of the world. There is an intention behind it, however, that goes beyond presenting a wide variety of curiosities. We are today linked up to all those four quarters, and while a huge amount of information is available to us, unlike to those who awaited the ships in the ports of Amsterdam, Genoa, Lisbon, London, Marseille, Seville or Venice, the horizon of what interests us seems to have shrunk. The art market is an interesting barometer of this shrinkage. The point is, therefore, that we can connect with the whole world on a more profound level than can be gained from package touring, through the possession of, and study of even the most modest objects of different cultures. The purpose of collecting, as Molière might have put it, should not be limited to becoming rich through the investment in one’s purchases, but to become enriched through the intelligent possession of what one has acquired.”

 

Installation view
(photo credit: Exhibition Design and Photograph by Charles Marsden-Smedley)

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm
(Closed on Mondays (except by appointment))

www.everyobjecttellsastory.com

An Artistic Friendship

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: MICHELANGELO & SEBASTIANO, North Galleries, The National Gallery, London, until 25th June 2017

 

Sebastiano del Piombo, after partial designs by Michelangelo
Lamentation over the Dead Christ (Pietà), about 1512-16
Oil on poplar
248 × 190 cm
Museo Civico, Viterbo
© Comune di Viterbo

 

The North Galleries of the National Gallery provide a good background for this engaging exhibition which takes us back to Rome in the High Renaissance.  It was a time of war and religious conflict and against this the collaboration and friendship of Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Sebastiano del Piombo (1455-1547) is revealed.

Michelangelo
The Risen Christ, about 1532-3
Black chalk on paper
37.2 × 22.1 cm
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 (RCIN 912768)

The talented oil painter Sebastiano arrived in Rome in 1511 and became part of the city’s vibrant art scene and he soon met Michelangelo who was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling. They became friends and were allies against Raphael (1483 – 1520) who had been called to Rome in 1508 by the Pope to undertake the redecoration of the papal apartments.

Sebastiano del Piombo
Letter from Sebastiano del Piombo in Rome to Michelangelo in Florence, 2 July 1518
© Casa Buonarroti, Florence (IX, 468)

Paintings, drawings, letters and sculptures are used to tell the story with some exceptional loans such as the Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c1512-16) which was the first joint collaboration of Sebastiano and Michelangelo. Another of their projects the Borgherini Chapel in S. Pietro in Montorio, Rome (1516–24) – which obviously could not be brought to London – has been realistically re-created using modern technology.

Michelangelo
The Entombment (or Christ being carried to his Tomb), about 1500-1
Oil on poplar
161.7 x 149.9 cm
© The National Gallery, London (NG790)

Lasting over twenty-five years the friendship ended when Michelangelo returned to Rome permanently to paint the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel.  The reason for the falling out is thought to have been an argument over painting techniques – a difference which had brought them together but now drove them apart.

HRH The Prince of Wales viewing The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Michelangelo & Sebastiano on 13 March 2017
© The National Gallery, London

This is an exhibition that demands to be seen in the flesh and I warmly urge you to do so.

Michelangelo, finished by an unknown seventeenth century artist
The Risen Christ (‘The Giustiniani Christ’), 1514-15, finished in the early 17th century
Carrara marble
250 (201 without the cross) x 90 x 51 cm
Church of San Vincenzo Martire, Monastero dei Silvestrini, Bassano Romano (Viterbo)
© Photo Alessandro Vasari

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk

The Love of Books!

The Library of the Late Hubert Dingwall, Dreweatts & Bloomsbury  Auctions, 16-17 Pall Mall, St James’s, London SW1Y 5LU, Thursday, 27th April 2017

Hubert Dingwall
(Images courtesy of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions)

I think it totally appropriate that the dedicated book collecting of Hubert Dingwall (1912 – 2001) should be celebrated in this inaugural auction at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auction’s new Pall Mall saleroom.

Lot 215 – Annie R. Rentoul, Elves and Fairies, edited by Grenby Outhwaite, first edition, Melbourne & Sydney, 1916, est. £600 – £800
(Images courtesy of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions)

An Oxford graduate Dingwall started collecting books in his early 20s often browsing the booksellers’ barrows in Charing Cross Road seeking out bargains (I wish they were still there). But as collectors often do he started going to more established dealers and later became a good client of the renowned firm Maggs Bros. Ltd.

Lot 69 – Cervantes Saavedra (Miguel de) El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha,1780, est. £10,000-15,000
(Images courtesy of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions)

There are more than fifteen hundred books in the auction and estimates range from £100 – £15,000. The books were housed in every room of his Wimbledon home – excepting the kitchen and bathroom – but including two especially fitted-out cellar rooms.

Lot 223 – Gregynog Press.-Aesop. The Fables of Esope, 1932, One of 25 specially bound copies, est. £2,000-3,000
(Images courtesy of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions)

Dingwall summed his approach up saying: “I have remained to a great extent an accumulator. I think this is because I derive pleasure from so many different aspects of books. It is my hope that [I] give those of you who have not been bitten by the bibliomania bug an inkling of what interest is inherent in books above and beyond the reading matter they contain”.

 

Now is your chance to prove him right!

Lot 198 – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, one of 500 deluxe copies signed by the illustrator, 12 tipped-in colour plates by Arthur Rackham, 1915. est. £800-£1,200
(Images courtesy of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions)

 

http://www.dreweatts.com