The United Kingdom accounts for more than one fifth of the global art market sales and is the second biggest art market after the US.

Through auctioneers, dealers, fairs and markets - and a burgeoning online sector - buyers, collectors and sellers of art and antiques can easily access a vibrant network of intermediaries and events around the country. The UK's museums also house a wealth of impressive collections

When Sheffield silver first made its mark – 1773

09 December 2003

As York silver becomes both too hard-to-find and too expensive to buy, there is increasing interest in early wares from the Sheffield assay office. The manufacture of silver in Sheffield did not begin until the second half of the 18th century – a direct offshoot to the Old Sheffield Plate and the cutlery industry.

20/21 British Art Fair no longer homeless after deal

09 December 2003

Return to original Art College venue: FACED with the unexpected loss of their 2004 fair venue, the organisers of the 20/21 British Art Fair have struck a deal for a new space at short notice. Next September 15, the five-day fair will return to its previous venue, The Royal College of Art.

Billie Pain’s legacy proves its worth with £31,000 jug

05 December 2003

IT was one of those landmark events that generated a perceptible buzz of expectation and drew the English porcelain collecting fraternity out of the woodwork en masse. Bonhams’ November 26 auction of the collection of the late Billie Pain pulled a capacity crowd to their Bond Street rooms and saw the trade and private collectors contest the 341 lots of prime early English porcelain to almost £782,000, getting on for twice the pre-sale predictions.

Russians turn up the heat in Lewes

05 December 2003

With Sotheby’s £6.7m Russian Pictures sale notching a hatful of records four days earlier, it was hardly a surprise to see some unfamiliar leather jacket-wearing, mobile phone-wielding characters turning up at Gorringes’ (15% buyer’s premium) November 21-23 sale at Lewes to view four paintings from the estate of a Knightsbridge-based lady who had once dealt in Russian objects.

Collection of 18th century Chinese monochromes

05 December 2003

Private consignments of Chinese porcelain are increasingly difficult to source and competition is rife between provincial and London rooms. Prices regularly spiral for the best quality works whether they are offered in the provinces or in the capital.

... planning for summer

05 December 2003

West End public relations firm Focus PR have been appointed to head up communications services for next summer’s Fine Art and Antiques Fair at Olympia.

Wealthy mainland buyers turn up in force to compete

28 November 2003

Gone are the days when collectors could afford to ignore anything but the finest quality early 18th century imperial porcelain in mint condition. The burgeoning of interest in this field from Far Eastern collectors has ensured that when such pieces come under the hammer, the prices realised are out of the reach of all but the seriously wealthy.

Four Kangxi blue and white porcelain table legs

28 November 2003

Dealers and collectors with money in their pockets at the end of Asia week were rewarded with a trip to Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) on November 14. The room was full for this 478-lot auction, with mainland Chinese and Far Eastern buyers interested in two conservatively estimated, market-fresh, non-European collections of Chinese calligraphy brushes and archaic jades.

Jade that leaves the rest in the shade

28 November 2003

Christie’s King Street (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) were the only major house not to offer a single-owner sale in addition to their 163-lot mixed owner outing on November 11, but they managed to find buyers for the best quality private entries that sold well.

The gladness of King George III

27 November 2003

BUCKINGHAM Palace will host an extensive exhibition next year entitled George III and Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste. Opening on March 26 in The Queen’s Gallery, it will feature 500 objects, drawn entirely from the Royal Collection and constituting what is thought to be one of the largest and finest groups of Georgian material ever assembled.

Christie’s on the crest of a wave as ship model doubles previous record at £600,000

27 November 2003

This impressive and highly finished late Queen Anne model of a 40/44 gun 5th rate ship, right, created a huge splash in Christie’s South Kensington’s 554-lot sale of Maritime models and marine paintings on November 19 when it sold for £600,000 (plus 17.5/10% premium), single-handedly providing over a third of the sale’s £1.36m total.

Casino deal for Olympia is still only a gamble

25 November 2003

Plans are serious but it will take years to fulfil them: Olympia’s owners have assured the Antiques Trade Gazette that plans for a large casino at the West London exhibition complex will not affect the Fine Art and Antiques Fairs.

Sotheby’s to stage Beaton tribute

17 November 2003

IN February 2004 Sotheby’s New Bond Street will mark the centenary of Cecil Beaton’s birth with an exhibition of his most celebrated photographs. Beaton at Large, which runs from February 10 to 20, will complement the National Portrait Gallery’s major retrospective, Cecil Beaton: Portraits, which runs from February 5 to May 3.

Watson is far from elementary

13 November 2003

Samuel Watson (1649-1710) is not perhaps as well-known as his contemporaries East, Knibb, Graham or Tompion but he is one of the blue chip names of late 17th century London clockmaking – good enough to enjoy the patronage of both Charles II and Sir Isaac Newton.

An extra Scone

13 November 2003

NORTH Yorkshire organisers Galloway Antiques Fairs have events coming thick and fast this month and less than a week after shutting up shop at Dunscombe Park in their home county, they head north for The Scone Palace Antiques Fair, Perth from November 14 to 16. The popular Scottish fixture has been fully booked for some time with 33 exhibitors.

Pascali’s gun smashes the record

13 November 2003

Italian Sales: FOR the first time in 10 years, neither Christie’s nor Sotheby’s held an October sale of German and Austrian art. The German economy is currently in far too fragile a state to support a major sale of Expressionist material in London and theme-minded Contemporary and Modern specialists concentrated their attention instead on October’s annual round of 20th Century Italian Art sales.

Art Fund host conference as report on future policy nears completion

10 November 2003

THIS week sees a two-day international conference at The Savoy in London to mark the centenary of the National Art Collections Fund. Saving Art for the Nation, A Valid Approach to 21st-Century Collecting? runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 11 and 12, and will focus on whether it matters if works of art that were once the pride of British private collections go overseas and how they should be rescued for the nation if we believe it is important to keep them here.

Dreweatt Neate join Fine Art Auction Group

03 November 2003

Deal cements southern network of rooms: Berkshire auctioneers Dreweatt Neate have become the latest and the largest business to join The Fine Art Auction Group’s rapidly expanding network of regional auction salerooms.

Galloway head for Duncombe Park

30 October 2003

NOT far from their Harrogate base, Galloway Antiques Fairs mount their Duncombe Park Antiques Fair in the stately home of Lord and Lady Feversham in Helmsley, North Yorkshire from November 7 to 9.

Abbey launch new date at Kelham Hall

30 October 2003

NOTTINGHAM-based organiser of specialist Deco fairs Nick Cox, who trades as Abbey Fairs, has increased his stable to five since last December and he launches a new event at Kelham Hall, a gothic manor house near Newark, next year.