Art and antiques news from 2003

In 2003 the Antique Collectors' Club annual index showed house price gains outstripping antique furniture for the first time in 34 years - a sign of things to come as prices brown furniture began to fall.

In the same year Leslie Hindman reopened her eponymous auction house in Chicago - six years after selling her business to Sotheby’s - and Antiques Trade Gazette was voted Special Interest Newspaper of the Year at the Newspaper Awards.

Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies & Society 1700-1880

09 December 2003

Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies & Society 1700-1880 by Antigone Clarke & Joseph 0’Kelly, published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd, distributed by Bushwood Books, 6 Marksbury Avenue, Kew Gardens, Surrey TW9 4JF. ISBN 0764316885 £69.95hb

Echoing Voices: More Memories of a Country House Snooper

09 December 2003

Echoing Voices: More Memories of a Country House Snooper by John Harris, published by John Murray. ISBN 0179564921 £8.99sb

20/21 British Art Fair no longer homeless after deal

09 December 2003

Return to original Art College venue: FACED with the unexpected loss of their 2004 fair venue, the organisers of the 20/21 British Art Fair have struck a deal for a new space at short notice. Next September 15, the five-day fair will return to its previous venue, The Royal College of Art.

To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting

09 December 2003

To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting by Philipp Blom, published by Penguin. ISBN 0140294805 £8.99pb

Set of six 17th century painted leather chair backs

09 December 2003

Among the more remarkable lots sold outside London this season are a set of six 17th century painted leather chair backs (one shown) sold by Gardiner Houlgate on November 12-13. Discovered by the vendor in a box lot at a West Country sale, each of the six elements were decorated (probably domestically rather than professionally) in oil-based paint with secular figures, flora and fauna in a manner reminiscent of 1660s stumpwork.

Book of the Year......

09 December 2003

Burleigh: The Story of a Pottery by Julie McKeown, published by Richard Dennis Publications. ISBN 0903685809 £45hb

Christie’s Rock and Roll Memorabilia

09 December 2003

Christie’s Rock and Roll Memorabilia by Peter Doggett and Sarah Hodgson, published by Pavilion Books/Chrysalis Books. ISBN 1862055386 £25hb


Lights out – but Lissadell sale on

06 December 2003

The news earlier this year that Lissadell House and its 400-acre estate in Co. Sligo was on the market for the first time since its completion in the 1830s led to immediate calls to save the country seat of the Gore-Booth family for the Irish people.

Knotty Ash Ale – a £2500 tipple

05 December 2003

RARE pub jugs have a habit of turing up in unusual places. The previously unrecorded Knotty Ash Ales jug, right, made in the latter years of the 19th century for Joseph Jones & Co., had been spotted in a thrift shop in British Columbia earlier this year.

Collection of 18th century Chinese monochromes

05 December 2003

Private consignments of Chinese porcelain are increasingly difficult to source and competition is rife between provincial and London rooms. Prices regularly spiral for the best quality works whether they are offered in the provinces or in the capital.

Best crowds at New York fair that’s so good they hold it twice

05 December 2003

REGARDED by the professionals as the place to spot trends, New York’s double weekend Triple Pier Antiques Show, on November 8 and 9 and then November 15 and 16, pulled in its best crowds since the 1990s and private buying proved very strong.

An old reputation serves London trade well among Basel antiquities

05 December 2003

SINCE the Second World War, Switzerland has been the world’s premier marketplace for antiquities, so it is no surprise that it is this discipline which not only dominates but defines Cultura, the international Swiss fair in Basel which ran at the city’s exhibition halls from November 14 to 19.

Amazon to compete for share of antiquarian book trade

05 December 2003

Amazon are to compete for a share of the thriving online trade in antiquarian and secondhand books, having acquired rights to use the British Library’s bibliographic catalogue as a searchable database.

Russians turn up the heat in Lewes

05 December 2003

With Sotheby’s £6.7m Russian Pictures sale notching a hatful of records four days earlier, it was hardly a surprise to see some unfamiliar leather jacket-wearing, mobile phone-wielding characters turning up at Gorringes’ (15% buyer’s premium) November 21-23 sale at Lewes to view four paintings from the estate of a Knightsbridge-based lady who had once dealt in Russian objects.

Tsar is the star as Russian works enjoy a new popularity

05 December 2003

SILVER, VERTU AND RUSSIAN WORKS OF ART £1 = $1.67: Christie’s (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) New York silver department has reasons to be cheerful: their October 21 sale, which saw selling rates of 78 per cent by lot and 82 by value for a premium-inclusive total of $5.95m (£3.56m) was boosted further when New York dealers Shrubsole bought the magnificent Charles II silver-gilt toilet service once in the collection of J.P. Morgan for a low-estimate $450,000 (£269,460) after the sale.

$10,000 hammer horror…

05 December 2003

JUST in time for Halloween, a warm-blooded and unidentified mortal paid $10,000 (£5920) for this box of tools designed for vampire killing, pictured right. Sold as part of Sotheby’s New York 19th Century Furniture and Decorative Arts sale on October 30, a label on the kit says: “This box contains the items considered necessary for persons who travel into certain little known countries of Eastern Europe where the populace are plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires.”

NAVA tackle the latest issues

05 December 2003

NAVA, the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers, welcomed 70 members to their weekend conference and annual general meeting in Edinburgh, that started on November 20. Highlights included a paper presented by auctioneer Martin Spencer-Thomas entitled: A Revolutionary Concept with Potential or Complete Lunacy?

Billie Pain’s legacy proves its worth with £31,000 jug

05 December 2003

IT was one of those landmark events that generated a perceptible buzz of expectation and drew the English porcelain collecting fraternity out of the woodwork en masse. Bonhams’ November 26 auction of the collection of the late Billie Pain pulled a capacity crowd to their Bond Street rooms and saw the trade and private collectors contest the 341 lots of prime early English porcelain to almost £782,000, getting on for twice the pre-sale predictions.

... planning for summer

05 December 2003

West End public relations firm Focus PR have been appointed to head up communications services for next summer’s Fine Art and Antiques Fair at Olympia.

Legal challenge on the question of attribution: Auction conditions of sale to be tested in High Court

02 December 2003

AUCTIONEERS may be forced to change the way they catalogue objects if a High Court ruling goes against them next year.