The Treasures From The Masterpiece Design Fair in London – The 9th edition of Masterpiece Design Fair took place from June 28th to July 4th. Here are some of the highlights of this years’ edition.
Masterpiece London is an unmissable art fair at where visitors can view and buy the finest works of art, design, furniture, and jewellery – from antiquity to the present day. It’s the premiere event for “looking,” in the words of Chairman Philip Hewat-Jaboor, “at thousands of years of art history under one roof for one week.”
This reputation is deserved for two reasons. In terms of atmosphere and design, Masterpiece is cheerful, light, and a pleasure to peruse. The tent is so pleasantly top-lit and well laid out it adds hours to the capacity of walking the show. The food is excellent, with pop-up representations of London favorites like Scott’s and Le Caprice.
The works you will find on offer are dazzling and consistently un-cynical, meaning dealers are not treating the show like an ATM and bringing easy-to-sell favorites. Masterpiece deserves its title, to say the least, but along with the prestige, there is lots of sincerity.
There are daredevil surprises, like a portrait of Jimi Hendrix by Patrick Procktor (1973) at Christopher Kingzett, where courage and connoisseurship are conspicuously hand in hand. Given the shriveling of the London antiques market, one reassuring feature is the strong presence of traditional English “brown furniture” taste, with dealers like James Graham-Stewart and Edward Hurst holding the line with superb presentations.
The two categories of collecting that still provide an opportunity to get the very best for what amounts, in Masterpiece terms, to good value: antiquities and 18th century silver. Galerie Chenel has a Roman porphyry cinerary urn in exceptional condition from the 2nd/3rd century, and the pair of pilgrim bottles at N&I Franklin are superb examples of the silversmith’s art.
Good times, but let’s end on a cautionary note. After a few days in London, one begins to experience the unsettling feeling that what is happening here is not real, not sustainable–and mostly, not British. The weight of international money bearing down on the city affects every level of experience. Still, don’t miss next years’ edition, from the 27th of June to the 3rd of July 2019.
See Also: Design Adventure in London
See Also: BROMPTON DESIGN DISTRICT IN LONDON
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