Harry Moore-Gwyn offers Thérèse Lessore’s Swallow’s Circus at New Worlds Fair, Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, c.1929-30, oil on canvas, 22½in x 2ft 6in (57.5 x 76.5cm), priced around £8500 at London Art Fair

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Modern British art dealer Harry Moore-Gwyn brings to the London Art Fair (LAF) an image of its venue as it was in the late 1920s.

The fair runs from January 17-21 at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, which was built in 1862.

A picture by Thérèse Lessore (1884-1945) on Moore-Gwyn’s stand shows the venue when it was still known as the Royal Agricultural Hall and used for such shows. This oil canvas shows a scene from the circus at the New Worlds Fair of 1929- 30 which took place in the Hall and was known as Swallow’s Circus.

From examining old records of the circus, the gallery has identified the scene as the third act on the programme, listed as ‘voltage on unsaddled horse,’ performed by Ekaterina Wassillowna. The same programme includes several other acts that Lessore also recorded. It was the final season of the fair.

Moore-Gwyn offers the picture at LAF among a series of works by Lessore, wife of fellow artist Walter Sickert. Among his other highlights are designs for John Piper’s stained-glass windows at Coventry.


On the stand of Thomas Spencer Fine Art at London Art Fair is Christopher Wood’s Paddle Steamer, Poole Harbour, a pencil on paper, 1926, which is offered for £9500.

London Art Fair is the first major event of the year for many art dealers in the city and beyond. In this 36th edition, it hosts more than 120 galleries from around the world, including Japan, Portugal and Turkey. Among the newcomers are Liss Llewellyn, Stowe Arthouse Gallery and Bluerider Art.

Though much of the fair is geared towards Contemporary art, there is a good selection of Modern art as well Among the highlights this year is a small exhibition organised by Christopher Kingzett on the work of Elisabeth Frink with prices ranging from £10,000-60,000.

It includes a small bronze, 9in (22cm) long, of a boar from 1967-68, which was part of an edition of seven commissioned by The Zoological Society of London.

It was inspired also by her move to The Camargue in 1967 where there were many wild boars, which appealed to her with their Celtic associations of warfare and aggression.

Also bringing Modern works is John Swarbrooke who offers works by Gwen John, Ben Nicholson and Duncan Grant, and Alan Wheatley Art, which features a never-before-seen picture by Alan Davie to mark the 10th anniversary of his death.

As usual the fair will host a number of specialist curated sections - Encounters, which supports emerging and international galleries; Photo50, highlighting recent developments in photographic practice; and Platform, this year focusing on Queer art - as well as partnering with a museum, in this case Charleston, once a meeting place for the Bloomsbury set.

This edition also hosts a new section within the larger event devoted to prints and editions.