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

At home in Belgrave Square

The Ballyedmond Collection, Sotheby’s London, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1, 23rd and 24th May 2017

A large Louis XV-style gilt and patinated bronze mantel clock (est. £12,000-18,000) A pair of George IV gilt-bronze seven-light candelabra (est. £1,500-2,000)
http://www.sothebys,com

Lord Ballyedmond (1944-2014) came from a humble Irish background but became a pharmaceutical entrepreneur (Norbrook Group) and a politician both north and south of the border. His great success gained him recognition from the United States Government.

The Dining Room at Belgrave Square
http://www.sothebys,com

The contents of his London home in Belgrave Square reveal his deep love for art and antiques. The house transported his guests into a world that recalled Georgian and Regency days with a fin-de-siècle sense of lavish hospitality.  His guests were greeted by paintings, furniture, porcelain and copious amounts of silver. Dinners were his forte and much enjoyed by host and guests alike.

The Drawing Room at Belgrave Square
http://www.sothebys,com

Sotheby’s UK Chairman, Harry Dalmeny sums it up: “This collection is typically extraordinary; typical for an extraordinary man who accepted no boundaries in business, politics, art and friendship. Belgrave Square was where his ambition as a collector reached its zenith; this was the seat for a salon, where politicians and potentates from all sides of everything would find a home together at the dinner table.

http://www.sothebys .com

 

Hal Messel

Hal Messel, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, 89-91 Pimlico Road London SW1, 3rd – 6th May 2017

Hal Messel putting the finishing touches to a candelabra
in his workshop.

It makes perfect sense that this wonderful interior design firm should host an exhibition of the distinctive works of silversmith Hal Messel as they are well-known for commissioning one-offs and bespoke designs in their long, distinguished history.  It is also a great way to celebrate London Craft Week.

A set of sterling silver and cast glass shell salt cellars.

Hal Messel, great-nephew of the celebrated stage and film designer Oliver Messel, turned from painting to silver. He was trained by Asprey silversmith Steve Wager and also by Jocelyn Burton. His love of traditional methods and great skill has led to numerous commissions on both sides of the Atlantic, including a piece presented to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. As well as finished pieces there will also be a display of Messel’s sketches, photographs of his Gloucestershire studio and works-in-progress.

Sterling silver coral and shell encrusted candelabra.

 

http://www.sibylcolefax.com

Hal Messel’s works are available through whttp://www.halmessel.com and www.whiteworksgroup.co.uk.

www.londoncraftweek.com

‘Madonnas and Miracles’

‘Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy’, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, until 4th June 2017

The Christ Child, Italy, Camerino, c.1484–90 – during installation.
The silk velvet is Velluto Venezia by Rubelli.
Courtesy of Helen Edwards PR

This is a fascinating exhibition which reveals through both the fine and decorative arts a glimpse of life in Renaissance Italy.  Combining treasures from the museum’s own collections with those loaned from Europe, the US and Israel we see how important religion and devotion were in a world that we may often think as secular.

 

The Christ Child, Italy, Camerino, c.1484–90.
Photo: Nuns of Santa Chiara, Camerino.

Some of the works were to come from the Marche area of Italy which was affected by earthquakes last October and while it is has not been possible for some objects to be brought over as a result of it I am delighted to share images of this 15th century polychrome decorated wooden doll of the Christ Child with you because to me its survival is a miracle of some sort. It has not only survived through the centuries but also last year’s earthquake which reduced the Franciscan nunnery where it is kept to rubble.

 

The Christ Child, Italy, Camerino, c.1484–90 – during installation.
Courtesy of Helen Edwards PR

Images of the Madonna were an important feature in Italian homes in the Renaissance and her role as a mother was copied by many women who owned such dolls.  One other exhibit that particularly struck me was the set of knives whose blades are decorated with the notes and words for a four-part grace and nearby is a recording of it by members of the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge.

The Viadana family prays to St Nicholas to save them from an earthquake, Italy, Le Marche, 16th century.
Tolentino, Museo di San Nicola.

The three groups of ex-voto paintings were way of giving thanks at shrines for what was deemed to be a miracle by the people or family concerned and I thought this one depicting a family praying for protection from an earthquake especially appropriate.

It is in its own special way a great exhibition.

 

http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/

http://www.rubelli.com

Art Medals!

Celebrating Eighty: Art in the Hand, The Goldsmiths’ Centre, 42 Britton Street, London EC1, until 20th April 2017

Stephanie Holt, Weight of the World,
Winner of the Grand First Prize
© Photography Stephen Dodd, British Museum

The British Art Medal Society’s 24th Student Medal Project seeks to keep the art of bronze casting alive and well.  This year’s delightfully engaging exhibition combines eighty contemporary art medals by students from UK art colleges with work by the renowned Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli and some of his former students who are marking his 80th birthday.

Parviz Tanavoli, Hand on Hand
© Photography Stephen Dodd, British Museum

The noted goldsmith, sculptor and medal maker Julian Cross sums it up well saying: “The medal, as object, with all its constraints, can act like a half open door. We, the viewers, are on one side looking through the opening. But the artist has a job to do on the other side, to engage, communicate and express. The narrower the gap in the door makes the artist rise all the more to the challenge, working harder and smarter to be seen and heard. This is when the art medal comes into its element; it can be a highly charged object, beautiful or ugly, it can appear to be as soft as watercolours, as sad as a lock of hair, as violent as an explosion, as political as a revolution, it can sing, shout, whisper, cry and laugh.” 

I Count Goats, Linda Crook, 2008.
Photography Stephen Dodd, British Museum

www.goldsmiths-centre.org/whats-on

A new exhibitor at The Spring Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair

The Spring Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, London SW11, 4th – 9th April 2017

Alison Elliott
Tinker
Oil on gesso panel
5.91 x 4ins (15 x 10cm)
Courtesy of Jonathan Cooper
Copyright Alison Elliott

This edition is slightly earlier than usual and its special stand – The Morning Room Revisited – near the fair’s entrance updates the traditional idea of such rooms by transforming them into a space where the outside can be brought in or as a place of display for collections.

Rebecca Campbell
The Artist’s Muse
Oil on linen
35.2 x 45.75ins (89 x 116cm)
Courtesy of Jonathan Cooper
Copyright Rebecca Campbell

The highly successful gallery Jonathan Cooper makes its first appearance at the fair and I feel sure that visitors will find much of interest among its fine contemporary artworks.

 

www.decorativefair.com

http://www.jonathancooper.co.uk

Fit for an 18th century dining table!

Four Private Collections – including a collection of ceramic handled cutlery, Stockspring Antiques, 114 Kensington Church St, London W8, 27th March – 4th April 2017

A boxed set of Worcester knives and forks c. 1758-60, in a ray skin covered standing box lined with crimson silk velvet and silver braid with twelve pairs of knives and forks, English steel blades of scimitar shape and three pronged forks with silver ferrules.

This exhibition comprises ceramics from four different private collections and includes Japanese and Worcester porcelains and a group of cane handles.  Of special note is the collection of more than seventy pieces of ceramic handled cutlery.  The majority of these are French and English but there are some interesting examples of Chinese and Continental porcelain too. They provide an exciting and fascinating guide to not only the changes in ceramic handle shapes but also the development and dating of the silver and steel fittings during the course of the 18th century.

A Bow knife and fork, painted in polychrome with the crest of Moses (Luis) Mendes, c. 1756, a merchant in the City of London.

www.antique-porcelain.co.uk 

THE 2017 BADA FAIR

BADA 2017, Duke of York Square, King’s Road, London SW3, 15th — 21st March 2017

Joseph Walsh (b. 1979)
Lilium I – A Unique Sculptural Form
2014
Olive Ash
325 x 215 x 74 cm
Courtesy Peter Petrou © Peter Petrou

From the moment you arrive at the BADA Fair you know that you have come to a place which will inspire and tempt you to buy pieces for your home or collection – things which you can live with and enjoy and understand why you acquired them.

An Irish George III white statuary marble and brocatelle marble chimneypiece of Neo-classical design,
Attributed to George Hill and Arthur Darley.
Courtesy of Mallett

The noted firm of Mallett’s are exhibiting there for the first time and as always provide an interesting selection to choose from.

A lantern in parcel-gilt bronze in the Gothic style.
Courtesy of Mallett

It’s hard to believe that this is the twenty-fifth BADA Fair and one feature that has always drawn interest and appreciation is the Loan Exhibition and this year’s is no exception. Entitled Samuel Prout: A Grand Tour in Watercolour it celebrates the life and work of Samuel Prout (1783-1852) from his simple beginnings to achieving the status of being ‘Painter in Water-Colours in Ordinary’ to both King George IV and Queen Victoria. His highly detailed works revealed the cities and towns of Europe to his wealthy compatriots who were once again able to do a ‘Grand Tour’ following the defeat of Napoleon. One can quite understand why his views of Venice are so popular. The exhibition has some thirty works drawn from both private and public collections and has been organised by John Spink of John Spink Fine Watercolours.

Samuel Prout (1783–1852)
Ducal Palace, Venice
Circa 1828
Watercolour with scratching out
69.8 x 101.2 cm
Courtesy John Spink © John Spink

 

www.badafair.com

BOOK REVIEW: Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court

Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court

gouthiere-lo-res-frontcover

Christian Baulez and Charlotte Vignon. Contributions by Anne Forray-Carlier, Joseph Godla, Helen Jacobsen, Luisa Penalva and Emmanuel Sarméo

UK£54.95 / US$79.95
ISBN — 978-1-907804-61-8
Published by GILES in association with the Frick Collection

 

This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in 18th century French decorative arts and interiors. Published to accompany an exhibition – just closed at the Frick Museum but opening in Paris on March 16th – it is a detailed consideration of Gouthière’s work in every way.

9781907804618_interior_03

The essays by leading experts and scholars reveal his life and work; the architects and designers for whom he worked for and the craftsmen he used for the production of the finished commissions. There is a fascinating section on techniques and skills used in the creation of these stunning mounts.  Indeed Gouthière is believed to have invented dorure au mat – a matt finish for which his work is noted. The last essay considers the appeal of Gouthière’s name to 19th century British collectors and how things were often wrongly attributed to him.

gouthiere-0422-90

The last major work on Gouthière was published in 1912 and so this beautifully illustrated volume is extremely welcome, especially as it includes a catalogue raisonné of the forty-nine pieces that are definitely attributable to him. It’s interesting to note that he only once made furniture mounts and that was for a jewellery cabinet for Marie Antoinette which was sold after the French Revolution and most probably dismantled. I also hadn’t realised that he worked in silver-gilt on a dessert service and toilette set.

9781907804618_interior_04

It is sad to think that Gouthière (1732-1813) never regained the popularity he enjoyed up until the French Revolution in his lifetime but this book allows us to fully understand and appreciate just quite how talented a man he was and what a stunning legacy he left for us to enjoy today. While I will probably not get to see the exhibition I am more than consoled by the fact that I have a copy of the book – possibly the next best thing to owning a Gouthière piece!

The authors: Charlotte Vignon is Curator of Decorative Arts at The Frick Collection, New York. Christian Baulez is an historian of French 18th-century decorative arts and architecture and former Chief Curator at the Château de Versailles. Anne Forray-Carlier is Chief Curator of 17th- and 18th-Century Decorative Arts at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Joseph Godla is Chief Conservator at The Frick Collection. Helen Jacobsen is Chief Curator at the Wallace Collection, London. Luisa Penalva is Curator of Gold, Silver, and Jewelry Collections at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon. Anna Saratowicz-Dudyńska is Curator of Silver and Bronze at the Royal Castle, Warsaw. Emmanuel Sarméo is an independent scholar.

gouthiere-0422-9-1

Paris Exhibition: Or virtuose a la cour de France: Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813) will open at the Musée des Arts décoratifs,, 16th March – 25th June 2017.

gilesltd.com

The Palais Rose recalled

Boni de Castellane & Anna Gould, La Mémoire Du Palais Rose, Christie’s Paris, 9 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris, 7th March 2017

GRAND SALON, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

GRAND SALON, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

This sale takes us back into the Belle Époque where Boniface de Castellane, known as Boni, was one of the more famous dandies of the time and regarded as a tastemaker.  In 1895 he married the American railway heiress Anna Gould and her substantial dowry allowed them the following year to start building the Grand Trianon inspired Palais Rose which was completed in 1902.  It became a major centre in Parisian social life where Kings, Queens and aristocracy were received. The house was sumptuously furnished with old master paintings and drawings, furniture and porcelain of the best quality.

LOT 19 NÉCESSAIRE DE BUREAU ART DÉCO « JARDIN JAPONAIS », PAR CARTIER Estimation : €1.000.000-1.500.000 AN ART DECO 'JARDIN JAPONAIS' DESK SET, BY CARTIER Mouvement no. 2968872 ©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

LOT 19
NÉCESSAIRE DE BUREAU ART DÉCO « JARDIN JAPONAIS », PAR CARTIER
Estimation : €1.000.000-1.500.000
AN ART DECO ‘JARDIN JAPONAIS’ DESK SET, BY CARTIER
Mouvement no. 2968872
©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

However this idyll was not long-lived for in early 1906 Anna filed for divorce with Boni’s extravagances and expenditure being a major cause. Some of their collections were disposed of after the divorce and more after Anna’s death in 1961.  Anna however did leave a mixture of wonderful things to her grand-daughter Diane de Castellane and she lived surrounded by these elegant pieces, including the group of Boulle furniture which so evocatively recalls the interiors, sadly not photographed for posterity, with the exception of the staircase and a fireplace of the Palais Rose.  The building was demolished in 1969 but its large Salon des Arts decorated with marble carvings celebrating the arts by Jean-Paul Aubé are remembered in the four tinted plaster preparatory studies which hung in the dining room of Diane de Castellane’s apartment.

SALLE À MANGER, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

SALLE À MANGER, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

I think you will agree with me that the photographs of the apartment show what a beautiful place it was, filled with great treasures and giving us a fascinating glimpse into a world gone by.

BIBLIOTHÈQUE, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

BIBLIOTHÈQUE, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

LOT 74 JEAN-HONORÉ FRAGONARD (GRASSE 1732-1806 PARIS) L’heureux ménage huile sur toile, circulaire Diam.: 34,2 cm. (12.3/4 in.) Estimation : €500.000-700.000 J.-H. FRAGONARD, THE HAPPY HOUSEHOLD, OIL ON CANVAS, CIRCULAR ©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

LOT 74
JEAN-HONORÉ FRAGONARD (GRASSE 1732-1806 PARIS)
L’heureux ménage
huile sur toile, circulaire
Diam.: 34,2 cm. (12.3/4 in.)
Estimation : €500.000-700.000
J.-H. FRAGONARD, THE HAPPY HOUSEHOLD, OIL ON CANVAS, CIRCULAR
©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

 

SALLE À MANGER, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

SALLE À MANGER, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND SALON, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

GRAND SALON, Diane de Castellane’s apartment rue d’Andigné, Paris
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

LOT 52 PAIRE DE "VASES" EN PORCELAINE TENDRE DE SEVRES DU XVIIIe SIECLE, A MONTURES EN BRONZE DORE CIRCA 1770, MARQUE EN CREUX P Hauteur totale: 44 cm. (17.3/8 in.) Estimation : €80.000-120.000 Provenance: Boni de Castellane et Anna Gould, Palais Rose, Paris A PAIR OF 18TH CENTURY SEVRES PORCELAIN "VASES", WITH ORMOLU MOUNTS ©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

LOT 52
PAIRE DE “VASES” EN PORCELAINE TENDRE DE SEVRES DU XVIIIe SIECLE, A MONTURES EN BRONZE DORE
CIRCA 1770, MARQUE EN CREUX P
Hauteur totale: 44 cm. (17.3/8 in.)
Estimation : €80.000-120.000
Provenance: Boni de Castellane et Anna Gould, Palais Rose, Paris
A PAIR OF 18TH CENTURY SEVRES PORCELAIN “VASES”, WITH ORMOLU MOUNTS
©Christie’s Images, Ltd, 2017

 

LOT 142 PAIRE DE MEUBLES À HAUTEUR D’APPUI DU DÉBUT DE L’ÉPOQUE LOUIS XVI ESTAMPILLE DE JEAN-LOUIS-FAIZELOT DELORME, VERS 1770-1780, RÉEMPLOYANT DES ÉLÉMENTS DE MARQUETERIE D’ÉPOQUE LOUIS XIV Estimation: €1.000.000-1.500.000 Provenance: Boni de Castellane et Anna Gould, Palais Rose, Paris. A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED TORTOISESHELL AND COPPER BOULLE MARQUETRY AND EBONY MEUBLES-A-HAUTEUR-D’APPUI STAMPED BY JEAN-LOUIS-FAIZELOT DELORME, CIRCA 1770-1780, REUSING SOME LOUIS XIV MARQUETRY ELEMENTS ©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

LOT 142
PAIRE DE MEUBLES À HAUTEUR D’APPUI
DU DÉBUT DE L’ÉPOQUE LOUIS XVI
ESTAMPILLE DE JEAN-LOUIS-FAIZELOT DELORME, VERS 1770-1780, RÉEMPLOYANT DES ÉLÉMENTS DE MARQUETERIE D’ÉPOQUE LOUIS XIV
Estimation: €1.000.000-1.500.000
Provenance: Boni de Castellane et Anna Gould, Palais Rose, Paris.
A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED TORTOISESHELL AND COPPER BOULLE MARQUETRY AND EBONY MEUBLES-A-HAUTEUR-D’APPUI STAMPED BY JEAN-LOUIS-FAIZELOT DELORME, CIRCA 1770-1780, REUSING SOME LOUIS XIV MARQUETRY ELEMENTS
©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.christies.com