Two objects recalling aristocratic ladies of the past feature at the next Art & Antiques for Everyone fair.
A colour printed stipple engraving of Marchioness of Townshend (c.1752-1819) after a portrait painted by Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807) comes from Chester’s Farm Antiques.
Thomas Cheesman’s (1760-1834) print was made c.1798 at a time when, the gallery says, “the cult of celebrity was alive and well”. It shows the marchioness with her eldest son together representing Venus and Cupid. The original oil is now in the Burghley House collections while the print is offered in a period frame for £435.
Eighteenth century colour printing such as this was done by inking the engraver’s plate by hand, a technique that Cheesman learned from Italian artist Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815).
The process required considerable skill and added a lustre and level of detail to the print not always achieved by simply colouring a black-and-white version. The technique was both laborious and expensive – and was soon made obsolete by new forms of colour printing in the 19th century.
Superb dressing case
Also on offer at the fair, which runs from April 4-7 at Birmingham’s NEC, is a superb antique dressing case from 1867, which once belonged to Lady Mary Stanhope, Countess Beauchamp. She married into the family that owned the Lygon Arms, still a famous Cotswolds luxury hotel, which has hosted figures such as Edward VII, Elizabeth Taylor and Evelyn Waugh.
The brass-bound coromandel box was made by Halstaff & Hannaford of London and contains 12 engraved silver lidded glass jars of various shapes and sizes by silversmiths Williamson & Horton. Each is marked with Lady Mary’s coronet and initials. There are also lockable velvet-lined compartments for jewellery and a framed portrait of Lady Mary herself, as well as a bible inscribed Mary C Stanhope, Feb 9th 1856 – from her very affectionate Papa.
It is offered by Mark Goodger of Hampton Antiques for £3650.
Around 200 exhibitors stand at this staging of the fair, which takes place three times a year. It includes a table-top Weekend Collective of 40 dealers that exhibit only on Saturday and Sunday.
Digby Antiques, offering collector’s items and small silver, English porcelain specialist Simon Pirzada and Sue Gray Antiques and Collectables are among the newcomers. J Collins & Son Fine Art of Bideford also return to the fair after more than 10 years.
“We’re looking forward to a very busy four days. With an increase in exhibitors last year the fair is broadening its appeal, not only with traditional art and antiques but more 20th century pieces than ever,” says fair director Mary Claire Boyd of Clarion Events.
As well as talks by a representative of the New Baxter Society, there will be a series of daily Celebrity Talks from BBC’s Antiques Roadshow expert Will Farmer.