Masterpiece London’s top art and antiques fair which is often compared to Maastricht has opened with reports of strong sales the highest visitor number to date. Collectors, curators, and designers are drawn here for the astonishing diversity of material with over 7,000 visitors crossing the threshold of the stunning fair in the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, an increase of over 17% on last year.
Fairgoers included Charles Saatchi, Jay Jopling Wilbur Ross, Jasper Conran, Audrey Gruss, Rod Stewart, Penny Lancaster, Diana Rigg, Freddy and Muriel Salem, Tom Ford, Nasser David Khalili, Nick Foulkes, artists Howard Hodgkin and Marc Quinn, Hilary and Guy Pelley, Maria and Malek Sukkar, Fatima Maleki, Maryam Eisler, Zandra Rhodes, David Sassoon, Gabrielle and Louis Bacon, Audrey Gruss, Kim Heirston-Evans, Ellie Cullman and Scott Snyder all of whom added to the buzz of the Preview Day.
Museum collectors and patrons included Jeffrey Munger (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Steven Harrison (Cleveland Museum of Art), Museum of Fine Arts San Fransico , Tim Knox (The Fitzwilliam Museum), The Victoria & Albert Museum and Abraham Thomas (Sir John Soane’s Museum), amongst many others. The calibre of work this year is second to none with evidence that the exhibitors have saved their very best treasures for this eight day extravaganza.
Within the first hour of the fair Apter Fredericks had sold an important mirror, a sale that was soon eclipsed by selling their pair of chinoiserie cabinets by Vile and Cobb to an American collector for a seven figure sum. The most valuable sale to date belongs to Symbolic and Chase who have sold a 1912 Cartier Corsage for in excess of $20 million. The newly introduced design committee, led by Philip Hewat-Jaboor and including Sasha Wilkins (Liberty London Girl), Tamarie Dobias (RBC Wealth Management), Francis Sultana (Interior Designer) and Abraham Thomas (Director of the Sir John Soane’s Museum), decided upon a more extensive selection of awards this year to reflect the breadth and quality of works of art at Masterpiece London.
The prize for Best Stand went to Sladmore Contemporary (stand D7) who have meticulously recreated sculptor Nic Fiddian Green’s studio. As well as being an impressive feat of design it has paid dividends with at least 10 sculptures and 2 drawings being sold by the artist to date. The prize for Object of the Year went to Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s ‘The Masterpiece 2014’ exhibited by Blain Southern (Stand D31) and Painting of the Year to an ‘en grissaile’ maritime work by William van der Velde The Elder (1611-1693), offered for sale by John Mitchell Paintings (B17).
Strong sales across the board John Mitchell Paintings (B17), the Old master and British picture gallery sold a work by Sir Joshua Reynolds of Major General Alexander Dury, Lieutenant Colonel, 1st Guards (.1704-1758). Philip Mould and Company (A3) sold a portrait of Sir Peter Lely, a portrait of female artist Mary Hill and a portrait miniature of Lady Killner, while Elle Shushan (C15) has sold over six miniatures including selling a portrait of the Countess of Craven to actress Diana Rigg. Osborne Samuel (D26) sold their Lynn Chadwick ‘Back to Venice’ sculpture for £250,000, while Anthony Outred Limited (D27) sold a 19th European ivory skull at the Patron and Curator Evening. Silver dealers Koopman had their best opening to date and Tomasso Brothers (C2) sold two eye-catching works to European private collectors including the sculpture ‘Greyhound’ (1834) by Joseph Hall the Younger (b. 1789).made from Derbyshire Alabaster and Ashford Marble
Photo: © P C Robinson Artlyst 2014