Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Oh avid antique lovers, feast your eyes on this!
Masterpiece London is the cream of arts and antique exhibitions and their mission was to hand pick the invitees and provide them only the best of the best. My second last day in the UK and I was fortunate enough to have been given an invitation to attend. June 2010 was the first year Masterpiece has been run, and was designed to showcase the best there is to offer of art and antiques of all periods and styles. My mind was blown from before I even walked in the door, although I didn't quite realise why until too late. If you haven't noticed already the very first image above of the building, is actually a marquee. Of course clever as I am I failed to notice this until inside, and instead stood marvelling at such a lovely brick building. Unfortunately the penny didn't drop inside either, I still thought I was in a building. It wasn't until a dealer started talking about the 'time it had taken to set this tent up', that I started to realise there was something I just wasn't getting. One very nice man obviously saw the dumb confusion on my face and very kindly whispered in my ear and pointed up to the slightly transparant ceiling where a sea of scaffolding could just be made out. Well done Jess.

Strolling around though it was hardly surprising the place was amazing. I really just could not believe it. Never have I seen anything like some of what was in this fair, and whether the pieces are your taste or aren't, at the very least you have to appreciate the them for their age, their quality and their detail. Like Bonhams bed to the left from the Masterpiece catalogue.

The fair featured some of the worlds most famous clock makers, like Tompion, Patek Philippe and Quare.
This was my particular favourite. It was a massive gold clock wheel, and sitting above it was a giant grasshopper, and as the hand swung one way, the grasshopper hopped forward in a continuous circle as if stuck forever chasing his tail.

My fair favourites however was this pair of 18th century North Italian commodes in the manner of Maggiolini. Actually part of my uncle Charlie Wallrock's stand at the fair, they had rectangular tops with three disguised drawers and were inlaid with rosewood, olivewood, sycamore and box in the form of insects, dragonflies, birds and flowers. Imagine them in a room with mirrors above them!
Provenance was Sir Francis-Palmer and then by descent, born 1845 - 1917 was a direct descendant of Rear Admiral Francis Beaufort, the Hydrographer of the Navy who invented the Beaufort scale of wind strength.

These also were a part of his collection and are a pair of early 20th century Japanese porcelain dragon vases, decorated with gaping dragon jaws and bulging eyes rendered in underglaze green, which has been crackled to simulate scales. Gilt and bronze has been utilised to bring out the nostrils and manes. Gorgeous!

Some more favourites of mine belonging to another dealer was this pair of really formal armchairs with such a beautiful shape, but they have covered them in a really informal fabric and I think it just brings them to life and makes them a more interesting piece.

I really could have quite happily photographed the whole exhibition but my camera died, which put a stop to that but I did manage to scan this image out of the catalogue which I thought was pretty amazing. A 19th century circular centre table in amboyna, tulipwood and satinwood marquetry inlays on a tripod base with ivory berries and ormolu mounts.


No comments:

Post a Comment