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.

John Newgas to quit as LAPADA chief executive

02 December 2003

JOHN Newgas has announced his decision to step down as chief executive of LAPADA, the Association of Art and Antiques Dealers, at the end of December.

Wealthy mainland buyers turn up in force to compete

28 November 2003

Gone are the days when collectors could afford to ignore anything but the finest quality early 18th century imperial porcelain in mint condition. The burgeoning of interest in this field from Far Eastern collectors has ensured that when such pieces come under the hammer, the prices realised are out of the reach of all but the seriously wealthy.

Jade that leaves the rest in the shade

28 November 2003

Christie’s King Street (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) were the only major house not to offer a single-owner sale in addition to their 163-lot mixed owner outing on November 11, but they managed to find buyers for the best quality private entries that sold well.

Four Kangxi blue and white porcelain table legs

28 November 2003

Dealers and collectors with money in their pockets at the end of Asia week were rewarded with a trip to Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) on November 14. The room was full for this 478-lot auction, with mainland Chinese and Far Eastern buyers interested in two conservatively estimated, market-fresh, non-European collections of Chinese calligraphy brushes and archaic jades.

Art Fund celebrate 100 years with another grant

27 November 2003

IN the week of their centenary conference to discuss the future of saving art for the nation, the National Art Collections Fund announced another success. They have awarded a grant of £108,000 to help the British Museum acquire the Guilford Puteal: Corinth’s Monument to Actium (c.25-10 BC).

The gladness of King George III

27 November 2003

BUCKINGHAM Palace will host an extensive exhibition next year entitled George III and Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste. Opening on March 26 in The Queen’s Gallery, it will feature 500 objects, drawn entirely from the Royal Collection and constituting what is thought to be one of the largest and finest groups of Georgian material ever assembled.

Christie’s on the crest of a wave as ship model doubles previous record at £600,000

27 November 2003

This impressive and highly finished late Queen Anne model of a 40/44 gun 5th rate ship, right, created a huge splash in Christie’s South Kensington’s 554-lot sale of Maritime models and marine paintings on November 19 when it sold for £600,000 (plus 17.5/10% premium), single-handedly providing over a third of the sale’s £1.36m total.

Casino deal for Olympia is still only a gamble

25 November 2003

Plans are serious but it will take years to fulfil them: Olympia’s owners have assured the Antiques Trade Gazette that plans for a large casino at the West London exhibition complex will not affect the Fine Art and Antiques Fairs.

Merger heats up art competition Down Under

25 November 2003

AUSTRALIAN auction group Menzies have merged the art departments at their two leading rooms. With a combined art auction turnover for 2003 expected to exceed $35m, Deutscher-Menzies of Melbourne will now conduct all art sales previously split between them and the Sydney-based Lawson-Menzies.

AXA Art strike three-year deal to sponsor Maastricht

25 November 2003

AXA Art have struck a three-year deal to act as principal sponsor for the TEFAF Maastricht fair from 2004. The sponsorship is a natural fit for the global art insurer, many of whose leading clients are exhibitors at what is acknowledged as the world’s top art and antiques fair.


Last firing stamp adds to character

22 November 2003

To mark the last firing of a traditional bottle oven in 1978, the Royal Doulton factory produced a special backstamp to apply to the base of a few otherwise ordinary character jugs.


A rare chamber pot with commercial appeal

22 November 2003

This unmarked mid-19th century chamber pot was one of the choice lots in the mixed-vendor section of Dreweatt Neate’s recent sale.


Indian Sporting summer for Spode collectors

22 November 2003

David Drakard is well known for his contribution to our knowledge of British ceramics both as a longstanding member of the English Ceramic Circle and as the author of two books on blue printed wares.

SOFAA welcomes students

17 November 2003

SOUTHAMPTON Institute is looking forward to a brighter future after the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers confirmed approval of the BA (FAV) degree course and launched student membership.

LAPADA set up fraud alert as they help trap conman

17 November 2003

LAPADA have set up an email alert system to warn members about fraudsters after an indepth investigation by the association led to a serial offender being caught and jailed. John Alderson of Seattle was convicted in the USA and has just been sentenced to 41 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He must also pay restitution of $146,000 to victims.

Sotheby’s to stage Beaton tribute

17 November 2003

IN February 2004 Sotheby’s New Bond Street will mark the centenary of Cecil Beaton’s birth with an exhibition of his most celebrated photographs. Beaton at Large, which runs from February 10 to 20, will complement the National Portrait Gallery’s major retrospective, Cecil Beaton: Portraits, which runs from February 5 to May 3.

Sotheby’s cut back on costs to boost results

17 November 2003

A BIG cut in extraordinary costs for the third quarter of 2003 has boosted Sotheby’s latest results – as a result net losses have fallen by more than a third on the same period last year. The significant reductions in employee retention costs and antitrust-related special charges mean that losses for the quarter this year were down to $27.4m, compared to $43m for the third quarter of 2002.

Late 16th/early 17th century Flanders linen damask banqueting cloth

13 November 2003

Among the highlights of Dreweatt Neate’s mixed discipline sale of November 19 is this late 16th/early 17th century Flanders linen damask banqueting cloth (a detail shown right) recently found by the Newbury auctioneers among a large quantity of table linen in an outbuilding of a country house.

Watson is far from elementary

13 November 2003

Samuel Watson (1649-1710) is not perhaps as well-known as his contemporaries East, Knibb, Graham or Tompion but he is one of the blue chip names of late 17th century London clockmaking – good enough to enjoy the patronage of both Charles II and Sir Isaac Newton.

Pascali’s gun smashes the record

13 November 2003

Italian Sales: FOR the first time in 10 years, neither Christie’s nor Sotheby’s held an October sale of German and Austrian art. The German economy is currently in far too fragile a state to support a major sale of Expressionist material in London and theme-minded Contemporary and Modern specialists concentrated their attention instead on October’s annual round of 20th Century Italian Art sales.