The Steeple Times chooses six of the best items on display at Masterpiece 2014
Thursday marks the official opening of the fifth annual Masterpiece art and antiques fair featuring over 150 leading galleries from across the world. To accompany today’s preview, The Steeple Times asked six of the exhibitors to choose their highlight from their stands and here we share them below.
We begin with Oliver Newton of Koopman Rare Art whose favourite is a magnificent pair of George III silver-gilt wine coolers, collars and liners baring the mark of Benjamin and James Smith, London, 1810. Identical to a set of eight in Her Majesty the Queen’s collection at Windsor Castle, here is a masterpiece that would delight any wine connoisseur.
Franck Laverdin of Galerie Dumonteil is well known at Masterpiece for superb sculptures of animals and in his showcase this year, he does not disappoint. The undoubted highlight of this New York gallery’s stand has to be a bronze hare by Daniel Daviau priced at £150,000. Cast in 2013 at the de la Plaine Foundry, this stunning work measures 136cm by 57cm.
Steven Beale of the Maddox Street based Trinity House’s selection of an oil on canvas by Jacques Emile Blanche is timely given the 175th Henley Royal Regatta begins on the day Masterpiece closes. Priced at £42,000 and titled Régate a Henley, this painting evokes the style and refinement of this annual rowing regatta through the use of “traces of vivid colours”.
Emma Ward of Jermyn Street based Dickinson’s choice is Les Belles Réalités by René Magritte. Painted in 1962, this oil on canvas features an apple hovering freely against a hazy sky and gives “connotations of Newtonian physics and the Fall of Man”. The table perched on top adds to the ambiguity of the painting and offers the viewer the chance “to consider the possible interpretations of this enigmatic scene, which has no definitive narrative”.
Fulham Road based Apter-Fredericks ‘star of the show’ is a pair of pagoda top cabinets that are attributed to Vile & Cobb, cabinetmakers to King George III. Alice Freyman comments: “This is one of the rarest pieces of furniture we have had the honour of handling. These cabinets were clearly commissioned by a patron of the utmost discernment”.
A truly historic work is being exhibited by Peter Harrington – also of Fulham Road – in the form of a presentation copy of A Tale of Two Cities that was given from Charles Dickens to George Eliot. Dickens “tremendously admired” Eliot’s first book of fiction, Scenes of Clerical Life, and inscribed this first edition: “Charles Dickens, To George Eliot, With high admiration and regard. December, 1859”. A price of £275,000 is sought for this piece of literary history.