Pick up your stick and head out for ‘Canemania 2014’, the ninth international cane conference, to be held from September 10-13 in London.
The four-day stick fest, which has previously been held in the United States, France and Italy, comes to Kensington's Royal Garden Hotel for two full days of presentations, talks, special exhibits and even a meet swap for like-minded dealers and collectors on September 11 and 12.
Speakers will include dealers, collectors, curators and trade professionals. In all there are 16 lectures and presentations planned, ranging from Art Nouveau and Art Deco canes by Swiss dealer and author Patrick Gutknecht to The Story of System Swordcanes by John Monek, a collector and owner of Cane Through the Ages auctions.
Mark Dodgson, secretary general of the British Antique Dealers' Association, will look at the effects of CITES regulation on collecting, while Drs Mark Nesbitt and Caroline Cornish will focus on Kew Gardens' interest in walking canes and the Howell factory archive collection. There will even be a talk by collector and dealer Shaun Winfield on the subject of Canes on Film.
Bonhams will help to launch the festivities with a drinks reception on September 10 in Knighstbridge, where delegates will be able to register for the whole conference and take in the view for the auctioneers' single-owner collection being sold on September 24 (see below).
And on September 13, the conference will round off with a guided tour of historical Kensington (doubtless accompanied by walking canes) and a gala dinner at the Ironmongers' Hall in the City of London.
Dominic Strickland, the specialist cane dealer at Michael German Antiques of Kensington Church Street, is chairing the conference. "Antique walking canes have become an interesting and much-admired collecting field in recent years," he says.
"Their attraction for the collector is obvious. They have interesting decorative handles that cover every theme and subject that you can possibly imagine and so often make a connection to an individual."
His business has been dealing in canes for over 30 years, "and we still come across examples and subjects that we have not seen before".
A recent discovery was a beautiful gold-handled cane made for an Italian count, which opened to reveal a vesta and striker, accompanied with its original bill of sale, from the crown jewellers Garrard, with details of the further engraving that the count had specially commissioned on the item.
Tickets are still available.
Following on from Canemania, Bonhams will offer the S&L collection of sticks on September 24 in Knightsbridge.
Michael Moorcroft, head of silver and objects of vertu at Bonhams, describes it as "one of the best collections of canes in private hands in the UK".
"The collectors have been very precise in their selection over nearly three decades to ensure quality, originality and authenticity. Seeing them en masse allows the viewer to understand the collectors' innate sense of taste; the soft sheen of the ivory and the honey-coloured Malacca shafts," he says.
The rarest cane has a chased gold knop by William Collins c.1740, with relief decoration after Watteau's depiction of a comedia dell'arte scene: Pour garder l'honneur d'une belle. It carries an estimate of £4000-6000.
The collection also contains an impressive selection of late 17th and early 18th century piqué-decorated mushroom knop canes, the most sought-after canes for any collector, with estimates ranging from £1000-3500.
The collection will be on view during the registration for Canemania 2014 alongside the conference's own exhibition collection.