LONDON.- The 41st Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair
(6-16th June) is Londons largest and most diverse collection of fine furniture, art and objects ranging from pre-historic fossils to contemporary art. Beautifully presented and encompassing a Mosimanns restaurant and champagne bar, the show is a must visit for anyone looking to spend anywhere between £100 and £1million on a one-off piece for their home.
The annual fixture attracts over 32,000 collectors, interior designers and homeowners all looking to buy from the 180 international exhibitors. Many of these are the leading experts in their field and keep their best pieces back just for this event. For the uninitiated, buyers can be reassured by the stringent vetting process which checks that both the dealers and every piece of their stock reach a high standard. New exhibitors this year include: G Tomasso Ltd, 3 Details Ltd, Alessio Ponti Galleria d'Arte, Lucy Campbell, Roberto Cocozza Antichita S.R.L, ArtCast21, James Strang, John Newton Antiques, Mayflower Antiques, Raffaello Pernici, Salamon CC and Vivioli Arte Antica.
Making it a favourite with decorators, the Fair has over 30 furniture dealers covering all manner of genres from Asian to Queen Anne, as well as continental and 20th century design. Kensington-based dealers Butchoff Antiques are selling some exceptional 18th and 19th century pieces of furniture from notable makers. A centre table in the Louis XVIth manner of Holland & Sons, c1850 can be seen alongside an exhibition-quality, oval centre table by Jackson & Graham, c1870. This is on sale for close to £100,000. They also have an 18th Century Silvered Wood Looking Glass, c1780.
BBC Antiques Roadshow expert, Lennox Cato, brings an English chest on chest from c1710. This Queen Anne period tall boy is walnut veneered and has fine feather and crossbandings throughout. The sides retain the original brass carrying handles.
Asian textile and furniture dealers, Galerie Arabesque, has a pair of 18th century scholar´s chairs also called yoke back, in fine Chichimu wood. Scholars were much respected authority figures in ancient China and all their tools are highly sought-after. The dealer also has some early 17th century pieces including very rare Imperial dragon roundels from the Yongchen dynasty, China. The robes with these dragon roundels were reserved for the immediate male kinship of the Emperor - his brothers, uncles, sons and nephews. He himself would wear a yellow dragon robe. Joanna Booth has a later, early 18th century brocaded French silk panel from Lyon depicting a floral pattern on a vivid yellow background.
The neo-classical genre is well represented by several dealers including Craig Carrington and Rome-based dealer, Coronari. The former brings a Neo-Classical Italian marble figure of Venus bathing, dating from the 1st half of the 19th century, finely carved and retaining its original surface, it is attributed to Adamo Tadolini (1788-1868).
Continuing the classical theme, new exhibitor G Tomasso Ltd has an important sculpture by GIAMBOLOGNA (1529‒1608) Prometheus bringing Fire to Mankind in gilt bronze and standing 23.7cm high. The relatively small size and careful, though sculptural (as opposed to goldsmith-like) finish, combined with the rarity of this cast, all suggest that it may have been created quite early in Giambolognas career, when he was only just beginning to work for the Medici. It is on sale for in the region of £1million.
Ceramics specialist, Andrew Muir sells works by Clarice Cliff including a shaped tube vase decorated in the Applique Blossom design c1931. The 464 shape tube vase was very rare, only appearing a few times in any design and this pattern is also very rare.
Alexandra Alfandary has a 19th century Meissen coupe with a boar hunting scene on a pale green background with burgundy red cartouches, decorated with gilded flowers. Dated c1870-80, it stands at 9.5 inches in height and 13.5 inches in width and is priced at £23,500.
Art makes up a large component of the fair. American dealer, Charles Plante has a charcoal, mixed media on paper work by the Singer and actress Grace Jones. Inscribed and signed 1983, it shows an Eskimo in a row boat and is on sale for £4,500.
Collectors looking for world famous artists at lesser prices could look to Gildens Art Gallery for prints. They have a hand signed and numbered colour lithograph by Marc Chagall, Saint Jean Cap-Ferrat, 1952-1953.This work was printed by Charles Sorlier in 1952 after Chagall's important painting from 1949. It is signed in the plate "Marc Chagall 1949" at the lower right corner of the image. It was printed in a very small edition and in fact only a very rare few impressions were ever hand signed by Chagall.
For more traditional English art, Nicholas Bagshawe has an oil on canvas by William Hounsom Byles titled The Stewards Cup at Goodwood, signed and dated 1920. It would probably have been commissioned by the owner of the winning horse. The race is still part of the meeting known as Glorious Goodwood that takes place at the end of July.
Haynes Fine Art has a very English Cricket Match scene by Brian Shields (1951 1997). The oil on canvas is on sale for £28,500 as well as an oil on canvas by the Welsh artist Sir John Kyffin Williams (1916-2006), titled Snowdonia Peaks. Haynes is also selling a Camille Pissarro Le Pont de Camp Pencil drawing, which measures 4 x 6 ½ inches.
For contemporary works, London gallery Long and Ryle sell paintings by John Monks, Simon Casson and Spanish artist Ramiro Fernandez. Simon Cassons work is sometimes described as a contemporary destruction of the past and he has held solo exhibitions across America and at the largest contemporary art space in Canada. They bring his oil on canvas Aghest II, dating from 2013 and measuring 140 x 180cm.
The Reel Poster Company sells original film poster art from some iconic movies such as King Kong (1933) by Roland Coudon, which has a price tag of £25,000 and Batman (1966), by Tom William Chantrell (1916-2001), which is on sale for £4,500.
Smith and Robinson has a large leather Gladstone bag by Harrods of London c1950 as well as a modernist silver box by A. Styles for Garrard, hallmarks, London 1968.
Silver is found in numerous guises around the fair, even in the form of hidden treasure by South African dealer, The Old Corkscrew. The dealer will be showcasing an unusual coin mounted tankard and box that was made using coins discovered as part of a treasure trove in 1896. The treasure amounting to 1,885 silver coins was discovered in Crediton Church, Devon. The story is inscribed on the base of the tankard. Under the law of the day known as Treasure Trove any gold or silver that was found hidden belonged to the Crown and the local coroner would hold an inquest in order to decide whether it was treasure or not.
Among the smaller, decorative objects on sale, there are a number of jewellery and clock dealers selling all manner of works. Visitors can expect to see jewellery by the big names in their 20th century design heyday such as Cartier, Tiffany and Van Cleef and Arpels as well as diamond engagement rings, watches and cufflinks from dealers such as Anthea AG, Wimpole and van Kranendonk Duffels.
Clock specialists, Jillings, has a rare Louis XVIth ormolu mantel clock by Mercier, Paris, c1785, which is on sale for around £35,000.
Beloved of returning visitors looking for the unexpected, Olympia has long been a source of the unusual. David Wacket has a Feld spathic lunar meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 3163 and may be an example of nearly pristine lunar crust. It is most likely that this rock is from the far side of the Moon. Geoffrey Breeze sells only antique walking canes which he describes as a status symbol for the Victorian gentleman, not a perambulatory aid*. Oprah Winfrey and Mick Jagger (both previous visitors to the fair) buy them as gifts. For anyone browsing the elegant aisles looking for present ideas there are hundreds from tiny silver objects or jewels to pictures or even a first illustration from the Noddy books by Harmsen van der Beek (1897-1953), for £2,350, which could make the ultimate Christening gift.