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Art and antiques news from 2003

In 2003 the Antique Collectors' Club annual index showed house price gains outstripping antique furniture for the first time in 34 years - a sign of things to come as prices brown furniture began to fall.

In the same year Leslie Hindman reopened her eponymous auction house in Chicago - six years after selling her business to Sotheby’s - and Antiques Trade Gazette was voted Special Interest Newspaper of the Year at the Newspaper Awards.

Cornish confidence

11 December 2003

LAST week, after two years of renovations, Judith and Phil Carrigan officially opened their Uzella Court Antiques Centre and Fine Art in the centre of Lostwithiel, Cornwall. The centre is housed in a partly medieval building which has been a shop of one sort or another – most recently a butcher’s – since 1850.

The hole in the sale’s heart left by beautiful Mrs Baldwin...

11 December 2003

THE secret of great art is supposed to be not what’s put in, but what’s left out, but unfortunately the same doesn’t apply to art sales. The star lot of Christie’s (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) November 26 auction of Important British & Irish Art was meant to be this impressively decorative Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) portrait, right, of the celebrated exotic Georgian beauty, Mrs Baldwin.

Prices take flight for ancient feathered art

11 December 2003

Halphen’s array of pre-Colombian feather textiles from Peru dated back to 100AD. Such textiles continued to be made until the Spanish invasion, and were often used as currency by the Incas; the conquistadors, though, suspected them of having mystical powers, and destroyed them whenever they could.

Chalet girls clean up afterPooh sale

11 December 2003

A DRAWING by E.H. Shepard of Winnie the Pooh playing a balalaika raised bidding on a third edition of The House at Pooh Corner to £7000 in the Greenslade Taylor Hunt sale of November 13 – and although nothing else in the 825-lot Taunton catalogue came remotely close to that in financial terms, a few other lots deserve mention.

Making Battersea bow, intent on ‘wow’

11 December 2003

The Art Deco Fair at Battersea Old Town Hall in South London is to have a new lease of life now ownership has passed to Nottingham-based Nick Cox of Abbey Fairs from Welsh-based organiser Anne Zierold. Abbey host their first Battersea fair on February 15 and Nick, who organises four other Deco events, promises some drastic changes “to bring the fair into the 21st century”.

Seasonal shopping

11 December 2003

LONDON dealer Caroline de Kerangal is happy dealing from home and a couple of times a year at the decorative fair in Battersea Park, but she occasionally gets the urge to work from a shop, and it appears to be a seasonal thing.

EU shelve changes to hallmarks

09 December 2003

By a vote of 9-6 the member states of the European Union opted to shelve plans to change current laws relating to the hallmarking of precious metals. The decision not to proceed with the controversial Precious Metals Directive, taken on November 21, was welcomed by British hallmarkers, anxious to preserve one of the nation’s earliest forms of consumer protection.

The Great Exhibition of 1851: A Nation on Display

09 December 2003

The Great Exhibition of 1851: A Nation on Display by Jeffrey A. Auerbach, published by Yale University Press. ISBN 0300080077 £35hb

Will Venus play a cameo role or take centre stage?

09 December 2003

The Rothschilds were spread so extensively across Europe that it is perhaps not surprising to see dispersals from different branches of this extended pan-European family peppering the auction calendar.

The Story of the Golf Ball

09 December 2003

The Story of the Golf Ball by Kevin McGimpsey, published by Kevin McGimpsey in association with Philip Wilson Publishers. ISBN 0856675661 £49hb

To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting

09 December 2003

To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting by Philipp Blom, published by Penguin. ISBN 0140294805 £8.99pb

Set of six 17th century painted leather chair backs

09 December 2003

Among the more remarkable lots sold outside London this season are a set of six 17th century painted leather chair backs (one shown) sold by Gardiner Houlgate on November 12-13. Discovered by the vendor in a box lot at a West Country sale, each of the six elements were decorated (probably domestically rather than professionally) in oil-based paint with secular figures, flora and fauna in a manner reminiscent of 1660s stumpwork.

François Linke 1855-1946: The Belle Epoque of French Furniture

09 December 2003

François Linke 1855-1946: The Belle Epoque of French Furniture by Christopher Payne, published by the Antique Collectors’ Club. ISBN 1851494405 £75hb

Book of the Year......

09 December 2003

Burleigh: The Story of a Pottery by Julie McKeown, published by Richard Dennis Publications. ISBN 0903685809 £45hb

Amsterdam boss to quit

09 December 2003

John van Schaik, managing director of Sotheby’s Amsterdam, has chosen to step down from his current position at the end of this year. Instrumental in developing Sotheby’s Amsterdam from a local Dutch operation into Sotheby’s main continental auction house, turning over €50m in 2003, Mr van Schaik oversaw a period of major growth and the move of operations from the centre of Amsterdam to its current premises in the south of the Dutch capital.

Nelson’s Spy? The Life of Alexander Scott

09 December 2003

Nelson’s Spy? The Life of Alexander Scott, published by Meriden Publications, 6 Victoria Road, Bridgnorth, Shropshire WV16 4LA. Tel: 01746 765298 ISBN 09543495 £9.95 plus £1.10 p&p and obtainable frome the above address.

Briefing on new Act

09 December 2003

ARTS Minister Estelle Morris will hold a seminar for the trade on the new UK measures to restrict the illicit trade in cultural objects. Slated for January 15 in the BP Lecture Theatre, at the Clore Education Centre of the British Museum, the session will see Miss Morris give a presentation on the UK implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention, the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003 and the new Money Laundering Regulations.

Hand and Machine

09 December 2003

Hand and Machine by Robert Welch, published by Robert Welch, ISBN 0951085506 £20hb, and available from Robert Welch, Lower High Street, Chipping Campden, Glos. GL55 6DY. Tel: 01386 840522.

Gothic Art for England 1400-1547

09 December 2003

Gothic Art for England 1400-1547, edited by Richard Marks and Paul Williamson, published by V&A Publications. ISBN 1851774017. £45 hb

Raise a glass to decanters

09 December 2003

DECANTERS of all types from the 18th century to the present are the subject of an exhibition running at the Broadfield House Glass Museum, Dudley, until April 18 next year.