Curiosities

EVERY OBJECT TELLS A STORY, 33 Fitzroy Square, London W1, until 26 June 2015

Gandhara Schist Head of the Buddha Afghanistan, 3rd Century AD Size: 36cm high

Gandhara Schist Head of the Buddha
Afghanistan, 3rd Century AD
Size: 36cm high

The independent dealer, Oliver Hoare, who specialises in Islamic Art, has put together a fascinating selling exhibition of more than two hundred and fifty pieces drawn from around the world over a time span of five thousand years. Their common denominator is that they are of interest historically and often have an interesting provenance.

Anthology of Poetry Probably Herat, Afghanistan, early 16th century AD Size: 22.5 x 15cm Lacquer binding, circa 16th century AD

Anthology of Poetry
Probably Herat, Afghanistan, early 16th century AD
Size: 22.5 x 15cm
Lacquer binding, circa 16th century AD

They range from a rare surviving Dodo bone to the 13th Dalai Lama’s Double Bass, via a 14th century Alchemist’s mortar, a 16th century anthology of poetry owned by Mughal Emperors and a very rare Eskimo’s baby blanket. A true pot-pourri of objects and pictures that will intrigue and delight visitors although some may find part of the collection of scrimshaw a bit explicit!

13th Dalai Lama’s Double Bass Lhasa, Tibet, 1920s Size: instrument 170 x 56cm

13th Dalai Lama’s Double Bass
Lhasa, Tibet, 1920s
Size: instrument 170 x 56cm

It is best summed up by Oliver Hoare: “The point of the exhibition, as its title announces, is to celebrate the fascinating and often peculiar stories attached to works of art. The criterion for what is presented has little to do with the value of objects and therefore it differs from the more conventional ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’. Nor does it necessarily reflect the current canon of what is seen as beautiful or culturally significant, although there are significant and beautiful works of art by anyone’s standards. The objects will be displayed like a private collection in the magnificent Robert Adam rooms at 33 Fitzroy Square, once home to the Omega Workshop. The catalogue is, hopefully, the work of a storyteller’s art, and I hope that anyone with an interest in history, art, or a good and unusual story, will come to visit and explore the exhibition”.

Bronze skeleton of a dodo Cast in 2000 Size: 70cm high Pangolin Editions

Bronze skeleton of a dodo
Cast in 2000
Size: 70cm high
Pangolin Editions

http://www.everyobjecttellsastory.com

Art & Antiques Fair in Mayfair

The Mayfair Antiques & Fine Art Fair, in association with Wetherell, The London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, London W1, 8th – 11th January 2015

Vauxhall Gardens by Doris Zinkeisen (1898-1991), signed, oil on canvas, 25” x 45”, Cambridge Fine Art

Vauxhall Gardens by Doris Zinkeisen (1898-1991), signed, oil on canvas, 25” x 45”, Cambridge Fine Art

This boutique fair is now in its third year and provides a welcome start to 2015 for all lovers of antiques and fine arts. This vetted event has forty-four exhibitors most of whom are members of BADA or LAPADA and who are representing most disciplines.

Bronze group entitled ‘Zaporozhian Cossack after Battle’ by Eugene Alexandrovich Lanceray (1848-1886), Russian, signed, Woerffel Foundry, 66cm high, c1885, Hickmet Fine Arts

Bronze group entitled ‘Zaporozhian Cossack after Battle’ by Eugene Alexandrovich Lanceray (1848-1886), Russian, signed, Woerffel Foundry, 66cm high, c1885, Hickmet Fine Arts

Here is a selection of some of the things on offer.

 Early vintage 9ct gold ‘Borgel’ officer’s or trench waterproof/dust-proof gentleman's wristwatch by Longines, c1922, Anthony Green Antiques

Early vintage 9ct gold ‘Borgel’ officer’s or trench waterproof/dust-proof gentleman’s wristwatch by Longines, c1922, Anthony Green Antiques

 Antique Persian Heriz, 5 x 3.5m, c1870, Pars Rug

Antique Persian Heriz, 5 x 3.5m, c1870, Pars Rug

A frog dress clip by Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris, 1960s, Anthea AG Antiques

A frog dress clip by Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris, 1960s, Anthea AG Antiques

 Late 17th century William and Mary period walnut chest of drawers with arabesque design seaweed marquetry panels, c1680-90, Walton House Antiques

Late 17th century William and Mary period walnut chest of drawers with arabesque design seaweed marquetry panels, c1680-90, Walton House Antiques

 George III large silver tea/water urn, made in London in 1771 by Daniel Smith and Robert Sharp, Mary Cooke Antiques

George III large silver tea/water urn, made in London in 1771 by Daniel Smith and Robert Sharp, Mary Cooke Antiques

Arc de Triomphe, pen and ink with colour wash, 34cm x 24cm, French School, c1905, previously in the Yves St Laurent Collection, Charles Plante Fine Arts

Arc de Triomphe, pen and ink with colour wash, 34cm x 24cm, French School, c1905, previously in the Yves St Laurent Collection, Charles Plante Fine Arts

http://www.mayfairfair.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASIAN ART

ASIAN ART IN LONDON, until 8th November

This is such an exciting week because it embraces the City’s art community, including auctioneers and this year has over sixty participants. There is a cornucopia of art on display, including contemporary. One or two things I will write about separately and as some of you will already know I have already covered the two Eskenazi exhibitions (21st October). Here is just a small selection to tempt you to explore further.

Jewel encrusted Muslim Royal Cap Mughal style, made by Ezra & Sion Co, Bombay, early 20th century Green velvet cap, embroidered with twisted gold thread, gold sequins and encrusted with pearls, rubies, spinels and emeralds. Lined in satin and edged inside in leather around the base of the cap. Stamped on leather 'Primus' 'Ezra & Sion Co., 95-97 Ghendy Bazaar, Bombay' 'Perfect Ventilation - Latest Combination' Height: 10 cm; Diameter: 15.5 cm Francesca Galloway Ltd

Jewel encrusted Muslim Royal Cap
Mughal style, made by Ezra & Sion Co, Bombay, early 20th century
Green velvet cap, embroidered with twisted gold thread, gold sequins and encrusted with pearls, rubies, spinels and emeralds. Lined in satin and edged inside in leather around the base of the cap. Stamped on leather ‘Primus’ ‘Ezra & Sion Co., 95-97 Ghendy Bazaar, Bombay’ ‘Perfect Ventilation – Latest Combination’
Height: 10 cm; Diameter: 15.5 cm
Francesca Galloway Ltd

A t Francesca Galloway you will find an array of Indian treasures which includes this jewel-encrusted Mughal style cap made in the early 1900s by the Bombay firm Ezra & Sion. It bears the label , “Perfect ventilation – latest Combination” and was obviously considered the dernier cri.

SEATED BUDDHA Gandhara, 2nd/3rd century Height: 32 cm Width: 29 cm Depth: 8 cm A carved grey-brown schist architectural element formed as a square tile and with a relief sculpture of a seated Buddha to its centre, framed above by two horizontally carved stepped sections also in relief and separated to the middle by a dovetailed void. Simon Ray Ltd

SEATED BUDDHA
Gandhara, 2nd/3rd century
Height: 32 cm
Width: 29 cm
Depth: 8 cm
A carved grey-brown schist architectural element formed as a square tile and with a relief sculpture of a seated Buddha to its centre, framed above by two horizontally carved stepped sections also in relief and separated to the middle by a dovetailed void.
Simon Ray Ltd

Second and third century Gandharan sculpture can be found at Simon Ray Ltd. They come from the collection of Dr Ernst Lomnitz who was fascinated by Indian sculpture and art. It is thought that his servants used shoe polish when cleaning his home and that this contributed to the patination on the bases.

Guanyin, seated with her hands covered by her long flowing robes above her raised right knee with one foot exposed, her hair neatly tied and pinned with a ruyi-head pin and lingzhi diadem, with serene features, elongated earlobes and urna mark on her forehead and wearing a lotus flower head necklace, covered in a cream glaze. The back with an impressed double gourd mark of He Chaozong. 9 1/4 inches, 23.5cm high. Ming dynasty, circa 1630. Carved openwork wood stand with rockwork, pine and lingzhi. Formerly in the Collection of Captain Meuldijk, the Netherlands. Marchant & Son

Guanyin, seated with her hands covered by her long flowing robes above her raised right knee with one foot exposed, her hair neatly tied and pinned with a ruyi-head pin and lingzhi diadem, with serene features, elongated earlobes and urna mark on her forehead and wearing a lotus flower head necklace, covered in a cream glaze. The back with an impressed double gourd mark of He Chaozong. 9 1/4 inches, 23.5cm high. Ming dynasty, circa 1630. Carved openwork wood stand with rockwork, pine and lingzhi.
Formerly in the Collection of Captain Meuldijk, the Netherlands.
Marchant & Son

Noted dealers Marchant & Son have an exciting exhibition of over one hundred pieces of Blanc de Chine which they have taken over a decade to assemble for this special show. Chinese Export Wares are not neglected either as, for example, the stunning rare embroidered silk coverlet exhibited by Jacqueline Simcox (at 17 Ryder Street, St. James’s, London SW1) shows. Dating from the early 18th century and made for the European market it retains its original colours and allows us to see why our ancestors were such keen admirers of Oriental Art.

A large Chinese yellow silk embroidered wall hanging made for export to Europe. The design of two mermaids, rising from the sea and holding large bowls above their heads. The mermaids stand upright, their faces with a slightly smiling expression and framed with long curly hair extending down their backs. Flowers decorate their chests and more flowers and fruits surround them, cascading from the bowls above their heads.  The mermaid's fishy tails curve down amongst small waves carrying fish, sea monsters and rocks, while sailing boats and Chinese sanpans cross the water.  Branches of exotic fruits and  flowers spread upwards from the vessels to fill the background, accompanied by numerous butterflies, small birds and four larger birds, spied on by two small hunters, with blow pipes, hidden amongst the branches.  Chinese, for export to the West, 18th century Length: 249 cms (98 inches) Width  (excluding fringe): 211 cms (83 inches) Provenance: From a private European Collection Jacqueline Simcox

A large Chinese yellow silk embroidered wall hanging made for export to Europe. The design of two mermaids, rising from the sea and holding large bowls above their heads. The mermaids stand upright, their faces with a slightly smiling expression and framed with long curly hair extending down their backs. Flowers decorate their chests and more flowers and fruits surround them, cascading from the bowls above their heads. The mermaid’s fishy tails curve down amongst small waves carrying fish, sea monsters and rocks, while sailing boats and Chinese sanpans cross the water. Branches of exotic fruits and flowers spread upwards from the vessels to fill the background, accompanied by numerous butterflies, small birds and four larger birds, spied on by two small hunters, with blow pipes, hidden amongst the branches.
Chinese, for export to the West, 18th century
Length: 249 cms (98 inches)
Width (excluding fringe): 211 cms (83 inches)
Provenance: From a private European Collection
Jacqueline Simcox

This year there are a dozen or so exhibitions of Contemporary Asian Art as well so that Asian Art Week really is a celebration of ancient and modern.

‘Mudfish Bowl’ porcelain modeled and carved, celadon glaze, 13cm h x 37cm across.  Photograph by Derek Au. Sladmore Contemporary

‘Mudfish Bowl’ porcelain modeled and carved, celadon glaze, 13cm h x 37cm across. Photograph by Derek Au.
Sladmore Contemporary

I am sure that many of you will remember the celebrated Roger Law, the man behind the puppets in Spitting Image (30th anniversary this year). His interest in ceramics has grown over the years and so much so that he moved to China’s ‘porcelain city’ Jingdezhen, where for over two thousand years the Chinese have made porcelain. The beautiful ceramics he created there have their first gallery exhibition at Sladmore Contemporary.

Mari Kim  Amy Winehouse Acrylic color marker and paint on printed canvas 110cm x 148cm 2014 Shine Artists London

Mari Kim
Amy Winehouse
Acrylic color marker and paint on printed canvas
110cm x 148cm
2014
Shine Artists London

Japanese manga and anime culture is recognised in the “Eyedolls” that are created by Mari Kim. Her pictures are representations of the famous, fairy-tale characters and even super heroes, including Amy Winehouse, Supergirl and Angelina Jolie. They are being shown by Shine Artists London at the Albemarle Gallery.

Zhang Guojun Dream in Xin’An, 2014 (detail) Jingdezhen Porcelain Panel FitzGerald Fine Arts

Zhang Guojun
Dream in Xin’An, 2014 (detail)
Jingdezhen Porcelain Panel
FitzGerald Fine Arts

Making their first appearance at Asian Art London is Fitzgerald Fine Art (at the Weiss Gallery). Their group exhibition ‘The Scholar and the Sentinel’ is a combination of contemporary Chinese works in porcelain and ink by artists working in the traditional manner. The result is an exciting fusion of old and new.

http://www.asianartinlondon.com

LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair 2014

LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair 2014, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1, 24th September – 28th September 2014

 The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair Berkeley Square 2013

The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair Berkeley Square 2013

This is the sixth edition of the fair in its prime central location and it has very much become a place for collectors from around the world to come and buy some of the many fine pieces of furniture, jewellery, carpets, tapestries, antiquities, clocks, ceramics, silver and fine art that are on offer.   All works are vetted by an expert committee before being displayed.

Chinese School, 19th century,  selection of works from a collection depicting various subjects, from Crispian Riley-Smith Fine Arts

Chinese School, 19th century, selection of works from a collection depicting various subjects, from Crispian Riley-Smith Fine Arts

Among newcomers to the fair is Crispian Riley-Smith Fine Arts Ltd who will be showing the Cesare Maccari Collection of Chinese Watercolours. Their subject matter is natural history and biology and they were originally commissioned by an officer in the British East India Company and were aimed for the growing European interest in such subjects in the 19th century.

 B-1

As my regular followers know leading furniture dealers Butchoff Antiques are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year and at the show they are exhibiting the winning piece of their 50th Anniversary Design Competition. Called‘E-Scritoire’, it is a small writing cabinet or portable laptop table and was designed by Giulia Liverani and combines both elegance and utility well as these images show.

 B-2B-3

The Italian textile company Dedar has collaborated with Butchoff to use their textiles to upholster period furniture such as the pair of French Régence style armchairs which have been upholstered in the Turkish inspired fabric Bukara. Seems a great way forward to me.

A fine pair of salon armchairs in the Régence manner by Maison Krieger of Paris, circa 1870. Dimensions H 113 cm, W 70 cm, D 60 cm. Upholstered in Bukara, a pattern of Turkoman inspiration embroidered with bulky textured yarn onto a Tussah silk ground.

A fine pair of salon armchairs in the Régence manner by Maison Krieger of Paris, circa 1870. Dimensions H 113 cm, W 70 cm, D 60 cm. Upholstered in Bukara, a pattern of Turkoman inspiration embroidered with bulky textured yarn onto a Tussah silk ground.

The Fair’s charity party will benefit The National Osteoporosis Society.

 

Cuenca rug, Spain, circa. 1920, 2.46 x 2.02 metre, from Gallery Yacou

Cuenca rug, Spain, circa. 1920, 2.46 x 2.02 metre, from Gallery Yacou

Fine George III mahogany table  clock by J & F Vigne, London, c. 1795, from Montpellier Clocks-1

Fine George III mahogany table clock by J & F Vigne, London, c. 1795, from Montpellier Clocks

www.lapadalondon.com

OLYMPIA INTERNATIONAL ART & ANTIQUES FAIR and a Q&A Session – London’s gallery heartland under threat – is Mayfair losing its soul?

OLYMPIA INTERNATIONAL ART & ANTIQUES FAIR, 5-15 JUNE 2014

 Olympia Fair

It somewhat takes me aback to realise that this is actually the forty-second Fair and as always it offers a very wide-ranging mixture of old and modern art, furniture, antiques and collectibles. There is almost certainly something for everyone.

Archibald Knox Cymric silver tankard Liberty & Co 1902

Archibald Knox
Cymric silver tankard
Liberty & Co 1902

One feature of this year’s fair is the exhibition Archibald Knox: Beauty and Modernity – a Designer Ahead of His Time which marks the 150th anniversary of his birth. This will bring together fine examples of his work, including exceptional and rare pieces of Liberty & Co. Cymric silver, a large collection of Knox’s Liberty Tudric clocks and jewellery, some of which are being shown in public for the first time.

Archibald Knox  Tudric pewter and mother of  pearl clock Liberty & Co_c. 1902

Archibald Knox
Tudric pewter and mother of pearl clock
Liberty & Co_c. 1902

They certainly prove his important role in the Arts & Crafts movement and British Art Nouveau. His celebrated partnership with Liberty & Co achieved the shop’s avant-garde reputation, although Knox himself was unrecognised in his own lifetime. His work is of course now eagerly sought across the world. The V&A’s Eric Turner says: “It is very appropriate that the Archibald Knox Society wishes to acknowledge the 150th anniversary of Knox’s birth this year. Knox was an enormously accomplished designer, not only in silver and pewter for the Liberty Cymric and Tudric ranges but also as a designer of carpets, other  textiles and jewellery. A shy and retiring man, his reputation was not properly acknowledged in his lifetime because of Liberty’s policy of anonymity for their designers. It was only in the latter part of the 20th century that his talents came to be fully appreciated. The Society serves to bring recognition of these to an ever-widening audience.”

Danish School c.1835 Elaborate drawing room interior with family portraits Watercolour with gouache CHARLES PLANTE FINE ARTS

Danish School c.1835
Elaborate drawing room interior with family portraits
Watercolour with gouache
CHARLES PLANTE FINE ARTS

Among the many special events taking place during the Fair is one that will have resonance and interest to those interested in London’s Mayfair as a leading art market centre which it has been for the last ninety years. Entitled London’s gallery heartland under threat – is Mayfair losing its soul? it will be chaired by Ivan Macquisten, Editor of the Antiques Trade Gazette and will be a Q&A session with Robert Davis, Deputy Leader of Westminster Council, on the subject of the crisis faced by galleries on Cork Street and in the surrounding Mayfair area in light of soaring rents and recent property developments. One thing that will receive attention is Westminster Council’s strategy of developing Special Policy Areas (SPAs) in recognition of the unique character of places such as Mayfair, where art galleries and auction houses cluster to create a local “brand” and arguably make a vital contribution to the regional culture and economy. However, it should be remembered that while the SPAs are part of the council’s core strategy they have no legal standing under planning law. It promises to be an emotive session but one that needs airing as the loss of this gallery heartland will be an almost irreversible blow to Westminster and London’s international standing.

Tuesday 10 June, 12.00pm – 1.00pm

Location: London Room Lecture Theatre

 

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

Court and Craft: A Masterpiece from Northern Iraq, until 18th May 2014, The Courtauld Gallery

Court and Craft: A Masterpiece from Northern Iraq, until 18th May 2014, The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2

  Bag, Mosul , northern Iraq , 1300-1330   Brass, inlaid with gold and silver   Height: 15.2 cm; width: 22 cm; depth: 13.5 cm   © The Courtauld Gallery, London

Bag, Mosul , northern Iraq , 1300-1330
Brass, inlaid with gold and silver
Height: 15.2 cm; width: 22 cm; depth: 13.5 cm
© The Courtauld Gallery, London

This exhibition is the first that the Courtauld Gallery has ever held devoted to Islamic Art. The raison d’être is the brass container, inlaid with silver and gold depicting scenes of court life. For many years it was not known what its intended use was but in this exhibition the idea of it being a shoulder bag or handbag is strongly put forward.

 A lady walking with two pages, from the Diez Albums  Iran, possibly Tabriz , early 14th century  Ink on paper  Height: 9.5 cm; width: 14.4 cm  Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK, Diez A fol. 72, S. 11

A lady walking with two pages, from the Diez Albums
Iran, possibly Tabriz , early 14th century
Ink on paper
Height: 9.5 cm; width: 14.4 cm
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK, Diez A fol. 72, S. 11

It is thought that it is a “superior” version of textile and leather bags depicted in illustrations of the period and later, such as shown here. Because of the inlaid metal decoration the bag is thought to have been made in Mosul in Northern Iraq where there were metal workshops producing similar metalwork. Indeed this exhibition allows us to compare the bag with other items produced at Mosul.

Bag: detail of lid showing court scene with a couple and their retinue

Bag: detail of lid showing court scene with a couple and their retinue

The inlay on the bag’s lid depicts a Court scene which is thought to represent the Il-Khanid Court. At the centre is a richly dressed couple surrounded by attendants and to the right of the woman is her page who wears her bag suspended across his chest.

Nearby, to help set the scene in context, there is a group of objects similar to those depicted on the lid and these are a wide-ranging mixture which gives us a very good idea of the trading and cultural practices of this Court.

 Humay and Humayun in the garden, from the Khamsa of Kwaju Kirmani  Baghdad , dated Jumada I 798 (March 1396)  Height: 32 cm; width: 24 cm (closed)  © The British Library Board, BL Add.18113, f.40v

Humay and Humayun in the garden, from the Khamsa of Kwaju Kirmani
Baghdad , dated Jumada I 798 (March 1396)
Height: 32 cm; width: 24 cm (closed)
© The British Library Board, BL Add.18113, f.40v

I found this a really fascinating exhibition which sets the whole story in its time and culture. And as a Twenty-first century rider to this I was recently at an exhibition opening and during the event an obviously important Middle Eastern couple arrived and with them was an aide carrying the wife’s large handbag.

http://www.courtauld.ac.uk

Fine Art Asia, 4-7 October, Hong Kong

Fine Art Asia 2013, 4-7 October, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

 

Palden Lhamo China or Dolon Nor, Inner Mongolia, 18th century Gilt copper with polychrome H. 118 cm Rossi & Rossi, London

Palden Lhamo
China or Dolon Nor, Inner Mongolia, 18th century
Gilt copper with polychrome
H. 118 cm
Rossi & Rossi, London

This important fair brings together the best of Oriental, Islamic and European fine and decorative arts.  There is a strong UK contingent exhibiting there, including Trinity House Paintings, Shapero Rare Books and Bowman Sculpture and those illustrated here.

 www.fineartasia.com

George Chinnery Boatwoman seated near the shore Macau, c. 1830 Pencil drawing H. 6 1/2 x W. 8 1/2 inches Martyn Gregory, London

George Chinnery
Boatwoman seated near the shore
Macau, c. 1830
Pencil drawing
H. 6 1/2 x W. 8 1/2 inches
Martyn Gregory, London

A monumental 19th century silver wine cistern and stand 19th century, French Silver Maker’s mark of Sazikov (after a design by August Karl Spiess) L. 86.3 cm Koopman Rare Art, London

A monumental 19th century silver wine cistern and stand
19th century, French
Silver
Maker’s mark of Sazikov (after a design by August Karl Spiess)
L. 86.3 cm
Koopman Rare Art, London

Images are copyright