The United Kingdom accounts for more than one fifth of the global art market sales and is the second biggest art market after the US.

Through auctioneers, dealers, fairs and markets - and a burgeoning online sector - buyers, collectors and sellers of art and antiques can easily access a vibrant network of intermediaries and events around the country. The UK's museums also house a wealth of impressive collections

Blowing its own trumpet at last

28 November 2002

In the warm dirge of the Victorian brass band, this serpentine instrument was king of the pumping bassline. But the sad journey of the ophicleide from fame to obscurity in a little under 50 years illustrated the pace of musical change in the 19th century.

Farmer’s dance image reaps a record at £480,000

28 November 2002

Korean Art: IT was the half dozen pieces of Korean works of art that rounded off the Japanese sale at Sotheby’s Olympia rooms on November 11 that provided the auctioneers with their sale highpoint in the form of this painting by Park Sookeun (1914-65), one the country’s most sought-after artists.

£12,500 chairs justify ‘realistic’ furniture market

28 November 2002

While many provincial auctioneers berate the slowing down of the brown furniture market, Phillip Taubenheim of Gloucestershire auctioneers Wotton Auction Rooms (10% buyer’s premium) is finding it pretty healthy. “As long as we are realistic with our vendors and they are realistic with us, everything seems to be OK,” he said.

Barlow’s horses gallop home

28 November 2002

Auctioneer Geoffrey Barfoot has noted increased activity at the general sales in the Campsea Ashe rooms of Abbotts (10% buyer’s premium) and the mood has spread to fine art – “provided the lots are fresh to market and good or rare”.

New dawn for Apollo

25 November 2002

AT the last moment London-based international arts magazine Apollo has been saved. The December issue was to have been the last of the magazine, which was established in 1925, but late last week it was announced that The Spectator (1828) Ltd. had acquired all the assets of Apollo in a private sale, with immediate effect.

Asian Art in London

21 November 2002

Asian art in London, the annual nine-day celebration of the capital’s artistic, academic and commercial expertise in the Asian art field, was in full swing last week with auctions, dealers’ shows, lectures and exhibitions. The highlight of this year’s Asian auction series was this Chinese 15th century Chenghua mark and period ‘Palace’ bowl, part of the collection formed by the 2nd Baron Cunliffe offered at Bonhams on November 11 where it sold for £820,000 (plus 17.5/10 per centpremium).

The cat’s whiskers

21 November 2002

THE sale at Amersham Auction Rooms (15 per cent buyer’s premium) on October 3 had a number of items with collector appeal – none more so than this Wemyss cat, right, a speciality within a speciality. The vendors had no knowledge of the value of the 123/4in (32cm) black and grey cat but bidders at Buckinghamshire didn’t need the Wemyss Ware Made in England painted mark to the base to recognise it for what it was and the cat sold to a local dealer at £4000.

Wood yew believe it? Burr cabinet rates a £5200 bid

21 November 2002

Robert Finan has been holding these specialist sales at the Ship Hotel for six years and next year intends to go quarterly. With the major UK auctioneers having shipped their tribal art departments to Continental Europe and America, the valuer’s biannual outings are just about the only chance for the serious connoisseur to root out African totems and Maori weapons from the colonial timecapsules of the British countryside.

Red granite bust sees estimate tripled

21 November 2002

Egyptian material is the current antiquities favourite, especially Egyptian sculpture, so perhaps it was no surprise to see just such a piece top Sotheby’s November 6 sale of antiquities from the Charterhouse collection.

Success on the plate

21 November 2002

Some dealers believe that the market for plated silver has never been the same since the Italians ducked out in the mid 1990s, and while it is true that types such as entrée dishes and tureens have gone off the boil, there is still (always?) demand for candelabra, anything set with mother or pearl or ivory (American interest here) and table centrepieces like the three examples illustrated here which were offered at Bonhams Chester (buyer’s premium 17.5/10 per cent) on November 6.

Bonhams’ stylish new look

19 November 2002

BONHAMS have continued their bullish programme of expansion and modernising with a complete facelift – internal and external – of their Knightsbridge salerooms. With a grand launch on November 25, the new-look rooms have seen much more of a change than the makeover they enjoyed in the late 1980s.

Best foot forward

19 November 2002

New look Olympia fair puts a spring in its step: CLARION Events, the in-house team who organise the Fine Art and Antiques Fairs at Olympia, are adopting a radical new approach to bring in customers for their Spring Olympia fair next February.

Caughley tops the 1000 ceramics

15 November 2002

THAT the Berkshire auctioneers Law Fine Art could garner more than 1000 lots, sell more than 70 per cent of them and reach a total of £160,0000 for this latest of their thrice-yearly ceramics and glass sales says as much about Mark Law’s and Nicholas Lyne’s operation as it does for the general strength of ceramics in these generally difficult times.

Commercial mix and keen estimates help standard offering to high take-up

15 November 2002

There were no massed ranks of Prussian royal silver on offer at Sotheby’s Olympia (17.5/10% per cent buyer’s premium) on October 24. On offer here was a good 350-lot commercial mix of English and Continental fare from a variety of sources which netted £310,000.

Bids blossom for Greenock rarity

15 November 2002

Back on October 8, Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% per cent buyer’s premium) held one of their periodic silver sales where the emphasis is on Scottish and Irish silver. There is a keen collector’s market for such pieces if they are unusual in some way (carrying scarce Scottish provincial marks, for example), but standard material, as with much else in the silver field, is less eagerly snapped up unless very keenly priced. So it proved here.

Egyptians try to reverse sale over clause on profit

12 November 2002

Antiquities dealers could find their trade in legally exported artefacts threatened despite due diligence if the Egyptian government succeeds in reversing Sotheby’s sale of a granite bust of Ramses II.

Theft ‘insider’ claims dismissed

12 November 2002

UK: SOTHEBY’S have denied reported claims by a gang caught in possession of stolen antiques that they had an insider working at the auction house. The theft was highlighted after the arrests of four Romanians and one Kosovan last week during a police sting to uncover an alleged plot to kidnap the celebrity Victoria Beckham.

AXA winners

12 November 2002

LONDON: AXA Art Insurance, sponsors of Asian Art in London, have announced the winners of the two AXA Art Awards, one for two-dimensional and the other for three-dimensional works.

Toovey to open huge new Sussex saleroom…

12 November 2002

UK: AUCTIONEER Rupert Toovey is to open a huge new saleroom at Washington, just off the A24 outside Storrington in West Sussex. The move, which he has been working on for more than a year, will bring him a purpose-built auction space that is two and a half times the size of his current Partridge Green rooms.

Bond St rings in the new for Christmas

07 November 2002

LONDON: DESIGNERS of today for tomorrow is how the Fine Art Society describe their annual Christmas show which will be held at their extensive galleries at 148 New Bond Street, London W1 from November 30 to December 11.