Once again, dealers are gathering for the first quality London fine art and antiques fair of the year. The Mayfair Antiques & Fine Art Fair
opens at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6JP for four days from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 January 2020. This annual event, taking place for the 8th time, attracts collectors, interior designers and discerning individuals from around the world.
Some 40 exhibitors, most of whom are members of BADA or LAPADA The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, are gathering to present their finest stock, which includes period, Art Deco and mid-century furniture, antique and 20th century jewellery, traditional and contemporary paintings and sculpture, clocks and vintage watches, early to modern glass and silver, decorative ceramics, antique enamels, tapestries and many other interesting and desirable objets d'art spanning the centuries.
Ingrid Nilson, director of The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited, leading organiser of luxury boutique-sized events said, "We are just a short leap from the centre for shopping in London's West End. Our exhibitors always make a supreme effort to put on an impressive show, finding the most interesting and unusual items. Even though our event is boutique in size, we always work to ensure there is an eclectic and distinguished mix with many different disciplines for sale. We also pride ourselves on providing a friendly welcome and a relaxing atmosphere in which to consider purchases."
Successful dealers returning to exhibit include Mary Cooke Antiques with an important George III toasting cheese dish made in London in 1817 by the most notable of all British silversmiths, Paul Storr, £16,950. This dish is engraved with the arms of Henry Charles Howard, later the 13th Duke of Norfolk, the premier duke in the peerage of Great Britain responsible for organising the major state occasions such as the Coronation. Still with precious metals, but this time from Russia, T Robert brings two interesting and rare late 19th century cigarette cases. One is a fine silver gilt & silver Niello cigarette case depicting the Tsars pushka giant cannon outside the Kremlin in Moscow, made in Moscow in 1887, priced in excess of £4,000. The other is a fine 56 zolotnik gold Imperial cigarette case with cabochon sapphire thumb piece, vesta case compartment, tinder fitting and chord, c.1895, £12,750. It bears the mark of the head workmaster Alexander Treiden, the Imperial jeweller's Hahn stamp and St Petersburg pre-1899 mark. Another Russian piece is a Fabergé two colour gold and unusual royal blue guilloche enamel pencil, fully marked St Petersburg 1908-17, workmaster Andre Adler, priced in excess of £5,000.
Probably created for a special Royal occasion is an 18ct gold, diamond, amethyst, emerald and enamel necklace, almost certainly made by a London jeweller for the 1902 coronation of Edward VII and Alexandra, whom it depicts amongst the cinque ports, priced in the region of £10,000 on the stand of Wimpole Antiques. Gråsilver is an expert in Scandinavian jewellery by such names as Georg Jensen. This year, Gråsilver also has a collection of one-off 18ct. gold pieces of signed art (jewellery) by Matti Hyvärinen from Turku in Finland, dating from the 1960s. Mid-century jewellery by designers, whose pieces are still sought after today, can be found on the stand of Anthea AG Antiques, including a stunning Burma sapphire ring mounted in platinum and signed Van Cleef & Arpels from the 1940s, POA and a Cartier 14ct. gold bracelet and pendant, made in New York in the 1960s, £7,500. Other jewellery exhibitors include Markov and Precious Flora and silver dealer Stephen Kalms Antiques also takes the usual stand.
A newcomer to this event is Robin Haydock Antiques with a magnificent Tiara Necklace in 14ct rose gold and silver with 494 old European cut natural faint brown diamonds, c. 1895, POA. Based on research conducted by Robin Haydock Antiques, this piece is likely to have been inspired by Queen Marys Collingwood Fringe Tiara which Mary wore on her wedding day in 1893, a gift from Queen Victoria. Since that time, the Queen Marys Collingwood Fringe Tiara has been adapted and modified (stylistically) through the various royal members who have inherited it. Currently the piece remains as part of Her Majesty the Queen's Royal collection of jewels. This spectacular Necklace-Tiara has European hallmarks on the clasp, which indicate that this is plausibly of Austro-Hungarian origin. The fine faint-brown diamonds also resonate the colours found and seen within the many celebrated Royal collection high jewellery pieces during the Victorian period. Therefore, the inherent beauty of this unique Necklace-Tiara' with the striking diamonds adorned, combined with the exceptional craftsmanship, makes this a truly extraordinary piece of jewellery.
A highlight on the stand of The Antique Enamel Company is an extremely rare pair of Chelsea porcelain perfume bottles in the form of monkeys and their young, c.1755, priced in the region of £25,000. Glass specialists M&D Moir and Mark J West return to exhibit again as does ceramics expert Carolyn Stoddart-Scott.
Furniture ranges from the traditional to mid-century pieces. A superb quality Regency period mahogany drum type centre table, c.1830, £12,800 can be found on the stand of S&S Timms Antiques. Often referred to as rent tables due to the fact that landlords would use them as a desk for keeping accounts of rent money due and paid, drum tables are extremely popular items of furniture. This particular example retains a lovely old leather top as well as the most unusual feature of the charming bone inlaid lettering on its drawers. For Art Deco enthusiasts Jeroen Markies Art Deco has sculpture, accessories and furniture by renowned designers Harry & Lou Epstein, including a three piece cloud suite, £8,900 and a pair of armchairs in burr walnut, crosswind satin birch detailing and satin birch legs, c.1930, £3,950. Art Deco and Art Nouveau interiors accessories can also be found on the stand of Morgan Strickland Decorative Arts.
Paintings abound at the fair with an eclectic mix to satisfy many interests and aspirations from Haynes Fine Art - London & Cotswolds, Burlington, Cambridge Fine Art, Ashleigh House Fine Art, Berlin Walls Gallery, Granta Fine Art, Paul Mayhew Fine Art and newcomer Thomas Spencer Fine Art. Rountree Tryon Galleries has two paintings that mark historic occasions. H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth leading other capital ships of the fleet in line ahead by Charles Edward Dixon (1872-1934) is an oil on canvas dated 1915, which sold at Christie's in London in 1964 for 30 guineas. At the fair, it is priced at £16,500. H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth was the name-ship of the five Queen Elizabeth class of battleships ordered in 1912-13, all of which were completed in time to play major roles in the Great War. Not only was the class the first to mount 15" guns and to be able to steam at 24 knots, it was also the first to be equipped with oil-fired boilers thus signalling the beginning of the end of the coal-burning era at sea. Laid down at Portsmouth and launched in October 1913, Fleet Flagship to Admiral Beatty from 1916-19, the historic surrender of the German High Seas Fleet was effected aboard her on 21st November 1918. Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953) painted many depictions of the battle of Jutland (31 May to 1 June 1916) including a watercolour illustrating the height of the action in the early evening of 31st May 1916 with a ticket price of £7,250. Frank Watson Wood was born in Berwick-on-Tweed but following a move to Portsmouth in 1900, he rapidly acquired a clientele amongst the many naval officers based there and his work found much favour.
A rather romantic piece for sale is LAmour Irresistible by model turned sculpture Marie Cassavetti Zambaco (1843-1914), a sizeable white metal sculpture at 91 cm high, which depicts Cupid mending his bow, 1896, £4,995 from Garret & Hurst Sculpture. Zambaco studied at the Slade School under Alphonse Legros and in Paris under Auguste Rodin. As a model, she was popular with the pre-Raphaelites and sat for Edward Burne-Jones, James Whistler and Dante Rossetti. Hickmet Fine Arts has a magnificent bronze and ivory group of the historical beauty Salammbô looking down with hidden passion as her secret lover wraps his arms around her, imploring her attention. The enamel painted bronze and ivory Salammbo et Matho by Theodore Rivière is priced at £26,500, c.1900. Another bronze on the stand is a rare and important early 19th century numbered cast of Cerf qui Ecoute from Antoine L Barye's own workshop from 1838, £6,850.
BBC Antiques Roadshow clock specialist, Richard Price, is offering a rare French mystery sphere timepiece, number 8842, by A. R. Guilmet, c.1885, £18,750. The movement contained in a silvered sphere with gilt numerals is supported by three chains from the arm of a female figure via complex suspensions, the sphere caused to revolve by the upper pinion bearing on a suspended plumb line. The spelter figure is that of Ceres, goddess of the harvest and fertility, holding a sheath of corn. Guilmet was a prolific inventor, who took out a large number of patents to protect his inventions and improvements. He took out his first patent in 1853, followed by others which included an electric motor and a bicycle chain. He focused on clocks from the 1860s onwards and created various mystery clocks; the most famous having a glass bob pendulum supported from the arm of a statue which, whilst swinging, caused the base (of the statue) to move indiscernibly, as if by perpetual motion. Vintage watch specialist, Timewise, brings ladies' and men's watches by such names as Patek Philippe and Rolex and is showing a pilot's watch of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm by Lemania, issued between 1945 and 1950, selling for £2,950.
Joining the fair for the first time, from South Africa, is vintage specialist Moonstruck Experience. Amongst the items for sale on the stand is a collection of limited edition Lalique perfume bottles from The Flacon Collection, 1997-2004, priced between £1,350 and £1,650. Still intact and with the original boxes, the collection belonged to an influential and wealthy Indian family during the apartheid period in South Africa.
The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited supports the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association. Amongst the scholars representing QEST at the fair is Ben Laughton Smith. Ben paints portraits, still life and landscapes, working predominantly in oils. For portraits he prefers to work directly from life, finding this the most rewarding approach to a commission and adding character to the final art work. Ben and fellow returning QEST scholar, lettercarver, typographer and sculptor Wayne Hart are demonstrating the tools of their crafts and are happy to show examples of their work and discuss potential commissions.
The 5 star London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square provides an excellent location for those wishing to stay or simply enjoy a day visiting the fair. Light refreshments are available within the fair, however the hotel's restaurants, which include Gordon Ramsay's Bar & Grill and Lucky Cat by Gordon Ramsay, offer great alternatives to those seeking a more substantial meal without having to leave the hotel. Tickets to the fair are £10 each on the door or in advance through Eventbrite and include re-entry across all four days.