Masterpiece London opens tomorrow
We select five highlights from this year’s Masterpiece fair
International art and antiques fair Masterpiece London celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. And, naturally, it will be doing it in style with champagne tastings, deli food, a charity fundraiser and an exhibition of contemporary outdoor sculpture by Philip King, renowned for his brightly coloured metal works.
There are the 150 individually selected exhibitors made up of international galleries and dealers. But, if you're not sure where to start, here are five standout pieces chosen by the H&A team.
New York jewellery dealer A La Vielle Russie will be showing this intricate A Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed Tiffany brooch in honour of Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary.
Dating from around 1900, the art deco style pin features Titania, Queen of the Faeries, reclining amid a dragonfly and a wasp, and holding hands with a winged Puck. Decorated with an oval cabochon star ruby and a natural pearl drop, it’s a magical piece.
Michael Goedhuis owns a London gallery specialising in contemporary ink painting. At this year’s Masterpiece he is devoting his stand to Chinese artist Lo Ch’ing. We love his take on traditional Chinese landscapes with their unexpected bright colours and geometric flourishes.
Robert Young Antiques (whose pieces you can also see in the Tate Britain’s new – and brilliant – 'British Folk Art' exhibition) has a sweet hand-carved Noah’s ark toy with the majority of its original animals. It was made c1880 and hails from the Erzgebirge region of Germany, which is renowned for its folk art.
A piece with fabulous provenance being shown by Ursus Books, a New York dealer, is the personal walking cane of F Scott Fitzgerald. After a visit to his great friend and publisher Maxwell Perkins in 1927, Fitzgerald found he had lost his cane and wrote to Perkins asking if he had seen it. Perkins hadn’t found it and responded by sending Scott Fitzgerald this beautiful replacement inscribed ‘Scott Fitzgerald from Maxwell Perkins, New York, 1927’.
Fitzgerald’s letter of thanks to Perkins reads: ‘The nicest [cane] I ever saw and infinitely superior to the one mislaid. Need I say I value the inscription? This is the cane I shall never lose’.
Needless to say, Fitzgerald did lose the cane, probably on a trip to Dartmouth, New Hampshire, in the 1930s.
Finally, we are rather taken with this World War I copper soup kettle by Fabergé, also on display at A La Vielle Russie’s stand. Dating from 1914 and made with the surprisingly humble materials (for Fabergé) of copper and brass, it was part of a trend of objects made for the aristocracy of the time to ‘pretend’ austerity in the face of wartime shortages.
Masterpiece London, The Royal Chelsea Hospital, Chelsea Embankment, London, SW3 4SR, from 26th June to 2nd July, £25. 020 7499 7470; masterpiecefair.com
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