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Pictured (from left to right): Uma Parvati, Naga Buddha, and Shiva Nataraja that were among the stolen items allegedly possessed and restored by Neil Perry Smith.

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UK restorer to face antiquities charge

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is investigating a multi-million-pound Asian antiquities ‘trafficking ring’ and has arrested a British antiques restorer as part of the case.

District Attorney Cy Vance Jr announced the indictment of Neil Perry Smith, 58, following his extradition from London.

Charges are for possessing and restoring 22 stolen pieces, with an estimated value of more than $32m. The items were alleged to have been stolen from Cambodia, Thailand and Nepal and were to be sold at dealer Subhash Kapoor’s New York gallery, Art of the Past.

Perry Smith, Kapoor and six other co-defendants were indicted in October 2019 following a year-long investigation.

Cawdron-Stewart joins Mayfair firm

Robin Cawdron-Stewart

Robin Cawdron-Stewart of Offer Waterman.

Dealer Offer Waterman has appointed Robin Cawdron- Stewart as director.

Having spent the past decade working at auction houses, most recently as director of Modern British art at Sotheby’s, he will now join the Mayfair gallery in September.

A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he previously led Sotheby’s Made in Britain sales and also worked on the sales of prominent single-owner collections including those of David Bowie, AJ Thompson and Mary Soames as well as the studio sale of artists Mary Fedden and Julian Trevelyan.

He is a specialist in both Modern British art and contemporary and studio ceramics.

Artemis promotes Rubin-Dienstfrey

Sydelle Rubin-Dienstfrey

Sydelle Rubin-Dienstfrey of Artemis Gallery.

US auction firm Artemis Gallery in Colorado has promoted Sydelle Rubin- Dienstfrey to head of the company’s new fine and visual arts department.

She joined the firm, which specialises in online auctions of ancient and ethnographic art, in 2013. From 2002-13, Rubin-Dienstfrey was a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder and taught classes at the university.

Frieze October dates announced

Frieze London and Frieze Masters will be held on October 14-17 in Regent’s Park, with the invitation-only preview day on October 13.

Phillips reports latest sales figures

Auction house Phillips reported $542.7m in total sales in the first half of 2021 (January to July), up 15% on the same period in 2019.

Private sales were up 107% in the period to $90.7m and auction turnover was $452m, up 15%. Asia-based buyers accounted for 34% of Phillips’ global sales.

Swiss design fair set for September

The 15th edition of design fair Design Miami/Basel will be held on September 21-26 in Switzerland. There will be 40 exhibitors including 15 debut galleries. The federal regulations for events in Switzerland require all those attending to be fully vaccinated, supply a recent negative Covid-19 test or have proof of antibodies.

Strong demand for Sylvia Plath lots

Letters, photographs and gifts once owned by writer and poet Sylvia Plath doubled pre-sale estimates when they were offered at Sotheby’s on July 21.

The 55 lots took a premium-inclusive price of £780,000 with the poet’s tarot cards (a birthday gift from Hughes) selling at 25 times their top estimate at £120,000 (or £151,000 including premium).

Museum burglars take artist’s medals

RSPB gold medal

The RSPB gold medal awarded to Charles Tunnicliffe in 1975 which was stolen from The Silk Museum, Macclesfield.

Two medals awarded to the late artist Charles Tunnicliffe (1901- 79) were stolen when The Silk Museum in Macclesfield was burgled last week.

Tunnicliffe, born near the Cheshire town, received a gold medal for his services to bird protection by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in 1975 and an OBE for service to the arts in 1978.

The museum said: “On top of the thieves creating a huge amount of damage to the museum building, they have smashed our donations box, taken public donations as well as stealing the two medals.

“This a callous act and is a huge blow to the museum in what is already a difficult year.”

Anyone with information on this incident should call 101 quoting the Cheshire Police incident number IML 1051920 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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In Numbers

12

The number of Barbour jackets dealer and TV star Drew Pritchard owns and wears. He admitted to the collection on Twitter after an enquiry from a viewer of his Salvage Hunters TV show. “I have a quite ridiculous 12 Barbour jackets … my fave is the lightweight Bedale I bought 20 years ago … as worn in every series #15 so far … I’d be lost without it.”