I enjoyed your review of the Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair (ATG No 2500) and wondered if I might add my thoughts as a collector who had a wonderful time there. In fact, apart from the monthly trips to get the family meds, I had not been out for about 15 months – and now I was let loose!
After we were squirted and sanitised, it was very flattering to be recognised by one exhibitor who even knew who I was behind my awful mask. Then I was off…
There was a lovely Glendenning at Cambridge Fine Art. He just seemed to have pulled out all the stops when he painted this one. The more you looked, the more you saw so much detail in the sultry evening landscape. The treatment of the shards of light coming down from the sky to the Earth was rather unforgettable, too.
At the end of a fair, my husband and I always compare notes on our favourites and this Glendenning was the winner for him. On we went and we saw a rather unusual silver bottle label described as ‘bead edged eye shaped’. We were intrigued by its name: Vidonia, a type of wine still available, apparently. This was made by Elizabeth Morley in 1796 and offered for £340 by JH Bourdon- Smith. On the same stand I also admired a pair of lighthouse-type heavy silver sugar sifters. These were made by Asprey in the style of the 17th century.
Luckily for the housekeeping, an unusual Dorothea Sharp at Haynes Fine Art had a red sold sticker on it. It was called Strolling by the sea. There were several Sharps at the fair but this one really had something. A girl, the mother, perhaps, in the foreground and children beyond playing in the rockpools. Not only was it nicely balanced but the slightly ‘mauvey’ palate gave it atmosphere and rarity.
Heart lost to a cupboard
Onwards and upwards and I bounced into Millington Adams’ stand. Beautiful furniture and mirrors surrounded me but my heart was lost to the same serpentine-fronted mahogany cupboard of c.1760 that was described in your article. Characteristic quarter veneering and inlaid ovals, it was very classy and would have been useful for keeping glasses in a dining room. I loved it. Of all the furniture I saw, this was the piece I wanted to rush home with.
I don’t usually like ‘modern’ or at least I can’t afford the sort of modern things I do like. Also, I have a bent towards bronzes, but only those that make me laugh (so I don’t have many). Both these things came together on the stand of Adam Binder. A delightful and modern bronze sculpture of a somersaulting swimming otter in the reeds. He looked as though he was laughing with us. I wouldn’t even have minded dusting him.
Another, albeit older bronze, hit the spot, too. Three bloodhound puppies staring transfixed by a naughty snail hopefully slithering towards their dog bowl. It was shown by Hickmet Fine Arts and titled Trois Chiots by Georges Vacossin (1910), priced at £3650.
Ellis Fine Art had a very pretty pair of small oils on panel: one of a blacksmith and the other a lady drawing some water. They were in original wide gilt frames, early 19th century Norwich School and one had particularly beautiful, luminous light. £1250 the pair.
I have a weakness for blue and white china of every description and I saw some beautiful early Worcester including patterns that I have never seen before. After I had cuddled someone’s eight-week-old spaniel puppy, I spotted a pair, yes a pair, of the most lovely 40cm, I think, Famille Rose bowls of 1760 at Santos London priced at £22,000. These were restrained, with plenty of white background; just beautiful pink and yellow peonies and lots of butterflies. How sublime to have one’s own pot-pourri in those – just dreaming!
The heavens opened and Him-in-Doors and I had to make a run for it to the wonderful Petworth House for coffee and cake. This fair was a totally uplifting experience for me and I’m afraid I bought something: a coaching horn (rather large) from Petworth Antiques Market for my very retro kitchen!
Thank you to the organisers of the Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair for a very special day.