GREATLY influenced by the opening up of Japan to Western trade and acknowledged as the prelude to Art Nouveau, the Aesthetic Movement has an assured place in the annals of decoration and design in the second half of the 19th century.
Oddly enough, this aesthetic importance has not, other than in a very few big-name cases, really been translated into high prices in the auction rooms even during a period when one might have thought
it would have been just the thing for fashionably minimalist black
and white interiors. There is a belief, however, that the Aesthetic Movement will again have its day, so there is understandable
excitement about the current selling exhibition The Aesthetic Movement mounted by The Antique Trader at The Millinery Works, 85/87 Southgate Road, Islington, London N1.
The show, which continues until November 3, is, like a number of past shows at The Millinery Works, staged in conjunction with the Derbyshire dealer David Bonsall.
The exhibition shows that there was more to this movement than the decadence and ‘Art for Art’s sake’ credo which is its public image. It was indeed an eclectic movement incorporating among others Greek and Egyptian motifs and inspiring some of the great artists and designers of the day, names like Rossetti, Godwin, William Morris, Dresser and Aubrey Beardsley.
This Islington venue has developed quite a reputation for excellent selling exhibitions of the applied arts and the organisers have put together an impressive catalogue of furniture, metalwork and ceramics for this event.
Around 120 items are in the £5 catalogue and they are priced from less than £100 for a tile to £12,500 for a stained sofa attributed to Godwin.
There is already much international interest in one of the talking points of the show, a rare Burmantofts monumental sang de boeuf glazed double gourd vase, c.1881, offered at £4500.
After Oscar Wilde’s remarkably successful tour of America the Aesthetic Movement became all the rage across the Atlantic. And it remains popular over there with strong American interest in this show.