Mask-wearing in auction houses
Staff manning the phone lines at a previous auction at Neumeister in Germany.

Image: Astrid Eckert, courtesy of Neumeister.

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Masks back in force at antiques firms

Under the government guidelines, retail includes art and antiques auction houses and dealers’ shops, antiques centres and galleries (but not museums) as well as indoor fairs.

However some exemptions for individuals still apply, as before. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new measures to respond to the emergence of UK cases of the Omicron variant.

Details of the latest guidance on face coverings in England are available via the website.

Face coverings were already compulsory in retail venues in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

BRAFA postponed amid Covid alert

Brussels Art Fair (BRAFA) 2022 has been postponed due to the worsening coronavirus situation in Europe. Organisers announced that the event, that had been scheduled for January 23-30 at Tour & Taxis in Brussels, is postponed and details of an alternative version of the event will be announced in due course.

Five Laura Knight drawings stolen

Five drawings by artist Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970) were stolen from outside a home near Woodbridge in Suffolk.

The drawings had been delivered by Royal Mail but were left on a doorstep and then taken.

Art dealer, historian and journalist Richard Morris, who specialises in 20th century British art, is hoping someone in the trade may be offered them and they can be recovered. Morris is also offering a reward.

Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the police on 101 quoting Crime Reference Number 37/67541/21.

New saleroom opens in Somerset

A new auction house has opened in Chard, Somerset. Chard Auctions, founded by Stuart Bull who also owns DP House Clearance and an antiques shop in the town, has leased the former Morrison’s building on Fore Street.

The first sale is scheduled for December 11 comprising jewellery, silverware, antiques, collectables and vintage items.

Bull plans monthly auctions alternating between an antiques and collectables and a general sale, with the general sales to begin from March 2022. Bull is working with specialists and an auctioneer on a consultancy basis.

Diamond is ‘sold privately’ in the end

A diamond due to be auctioned in a single-lot sale on November 30 has been sold privately, according to auction house Featonby’s.

However, the firm in North Shields, Tyneside, did not disclose details of the sale. It had previously described the stone as “an outstanding 34.19ct Round Brilliant Cut, Natural Diamond. H colour, VS1 Clarity with a triple excellent cut grade and laser inscription”.

Separately, director David Haley has left the company which is now run by father and daughter team Mark and Casey Lane.

Grainger heads art team at Bonhams


Leonie Grainger has joined Bonhams.

Bonhams has appointed Leonie Grainger as head of its Post- War and Contemporary art department in London. She has more than 15 years’ experience in the art world, working for auction houses and art galleries, most recently SaatchiYates.

Previously she worked at Christie’s for nine years where she was senior director in Post- War and Contemporary art.

Wilkinson will run Sworders London


Mark Wilkinson of Sworders.

Mark Wilkinson, who joined Sworders in 2016, has been appointed head of the Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, auction house’s London gallery. Based in Cecil Court, alongside several antiques dealers, the branch opened in 2019.

He will focus on events and valuations in central London alongside his specialisms including 20th century design, prints, pictures and posters, photography, sporting art and collectables

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In Numbers


Closing time for dealers participating in the London Art Week late-night opening this Friday (December 10).