Fire Control Room by Eric Ravilious is offered by first-time British Art Fair exhibitor The Fine Art Society for a six-figure sum.

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Running from September 28 to October 1 at Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London, it unites around 80 galleries for its 32nd edition including The Fine Art Society, a newcomer this year.

The firm, which has galleries in London and Edinburgh, offers as the star piece a pencil and watercolour by Eric Ravilious (1903-42).

This is one of a series of pictures he completed in 1941 as a commission in his role as an official war artist. It shows the Fire Control Room in the basement of the Home Office of the London Fire Brigade. The painting includes the mobilising board listing the number of fire appliances available, with the names of familiar Essex villages visible in the first column substituted for the high-priority sites that would really have been visible.

The picture was previously with The Fine Art Society in 1988 before entering a private US collection, and it is offered for a six-figure sum.

Changing rooms

First launched in 1988 by Gay Hutson and the late Bunny Wynn, BAF spent many years at The Royal College of Art before moving to the Mall Galleries.

In 2016 it was purchased by the Sandelson brothers before being added to the portfolio of Will Ramsay last year. He oversees 20 international events including the Affordable Art Fair series, all of which are contemporary.


Emma Mason British Prints, a newcomer to the British Art Fair, brings a large body of work by Alistair Grant (1925-97). The Eastbourne gallery acquired his estate and archive recently, and will be showing works, some of which have not been exhibited since the 1970s. Shown here is 6th June, an oil on canvas c.1990, which is available for £6500.

Last year’s debut was deemed a success by the organisers. Around 10,000 visitors were recorded and though there were few big-ticket sales to report, steady selling was evident throughout the event.

Many of these sales were made by a loyal base of exhibitors who recognise the importance of a regular London art fair.

Hutson has stayed on board as director, and this year there are nine exhibitors who appeared at the inaugural fair 35 years ago. Among these names are David Messum, Jonathan Clark, Christopher Kingzett and Whitford Fine Art.

Also standing are Willoughby Gerrish, Redfern Gallery and Osborne Samuel, while newcomers this year include Stow Art House and Zuleika Gallery.

French colour


FCB Cadell’s Cassis Sur Mer oil on panel is priced in the region of £200,000-300,000 by Portland Gallery at the British Art Fair.

Portland Gallery, which is among those that stood in the first edition, brings as a highlight an oil on panel of Cassis Sur Mer by FCB Cadell (1883-1937), the Scottish Colourist.

The French resort was a favourite haunt of the artist in the 1920s, and there he painted Cézanne-inspired landscapes.

It is a change from his best-known scenes, interiors of his Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh – Cadell described his hobbies in his Who’s Who entry as “bed and billiards” – and is available for a price in the region of £200,000-300,000.

For several years BAF has hosted a special exhibition alongside its regular offerings.

This year the show is Crossing Borders: Internationalism in Modern British Art, which focuses on the work of artists that came to Britain from all over the world during the 20th century.


Robert Upstone offers Jubilee Special by Cleveland Brown for £12,000 + ARR at the British Art Fair.

Among the works featured there is Jubilee Special by Jamaican artist Cleveland Brown (1943-2011). Brown came to Britain as a carpenter in 1961, worked as a porter at Sotheby’s and, in 1973, started painting.

Jubilee Special celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. The oil on canvas, 3ft 4in x 4ft 3in (1.02 x 1.3m), is offered by Robert Upstone for £12,000. Also represented in the show are works by David Bomberg, Frank Auerbach, Frances Hodgkins, Jacob Epstein, FN Souza and Richard Lin.

Last year marked the introduction of a new section, Solo Contemporary, which hosted 10 dealers each presenting a set of works by a single artist. At 20 participants this year, the section will be twice the size.