May Morris

May Morris in Iceland.

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Morris Iceland trips recalled

William Morris’ former Oxfordshire country retreat is holding an exhibition on his and his daughter May Morris’ visits to Iceland.

Running from June 5 to October 26, the show “explores the profound connection the family had with Iceland”. Many of the journals, documents and photos from the exhibition are from an acquisition that the museum made from a private institution (price undisclosed).

It is the first time this archive has been shown publicly. There are also items on loan from the British Library, William Morris Gallery and the Haslemere Educational Museum.

West Dean reopens its London branch

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation near Chichester in West Sussex has relaunched its London hub to provide full and part-time degree and diploma courses from September 2024.

The location will provide more than 100 short courses at the Bloomsbury location this summer. One-day, two-day and weekend creative courses across the arts, craft, design and conservation are offered until July 2.

Then, from September, the newly renovated site on Malet Street will become the home for the full and part-time students studying on degree and diploma courses at West Dean’s KLC Design School (which is relocating from its current location in Chelsea Harbour).

Getty acquires drawings selection

Eva Gonzalès

The Maid of Honour (La Demoiselle d’honneur), 1879, by Eva Gonzalès.

The J Paul Getty Museum has acquired 17 drawings dating from the 16th to early 20th centuries from a private collection.

The private collector is believed to have assembled his collection in the UK from the late 1990s. He sold his first tranche of 16 artworks to the Getty in 2018. The group i ncluded works by Michelangelo and Goya.

This time the group comprised another range of European artists, including a pastel by Eva Gonzalès, a nude by Edgar Degas, a rare genre scene by Guercino and drawings by Joseph Wright of Derby. No price was disclosed.

Timothy Potts, director of the J Paul Getty Museum, said: “The addition of these 17 highly important sheets by major artists of the 16th to 20th centuries will greatly enrich the status and quality of our already renowned collection of drawings.”

He highlighted a pastel by the French Impressionist Eva Gonzalès, The Maid of Honour (La Demoiselle d’honneur), which he is said is “a major addition to our holdings by women artists”.

The drawing received rave reviews at the 1880 Paris Salon where her mentor, Edouard Manet, praised her for this success. The National Gallery in London recently announced its first acquisition of a Gonzalès artwork (ATG No 2641).

Group of antiquities returned to Egypt

Egyptian gilded wood coffin face

This c.332-275 BC gilded wood coffin face has been returned to Egypt from the US.

Another 10 antiquities from Egypt are being returned to the count ry fol lowing an intervention by the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L Bragg Jr.

The DA’s office said the group of 10 is collectively valued at $1.4m (£1.1m). It added that eight of the artefacts were recovered as part of an international investigation into a trafficking network with the Antiquities Trafficking Unit.

Among the group was a c.332-275BC gilded wood coffin face believed to be from the Nag el-Hissaya necropolis.

According to the DA’s office it changed hands many times in the US since 2001 and was seized by the office from New York’s Merrin Gallery in 2023.

Another key item is a c.3100-2670BC alabaster royal vase believed to have been excavated by Br i t i sh Egyptologist Cecil M Firth in Saqqara between 1924-35 but subsequently stolen. It passed through the hands of dealers and collectors and was also seized from the Merrin Gallery.

The group was returned during a repatriation ceremony with Ambassador Howaida Essam, the Consul General of Egypt, in New York.

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1 On the hunt for a record-breaking Dunhill Aquarium lighter

2 Caravaggio rediscovered in a small Madrid auction house to go on display in the Prado

3 Shahmoon family Giambologna bronzes sell at over 400 times estimate

4 Getty Museum buys 17 drawings from private collection

5 Original cover artwork for Harry Potter comes to auction with record estimate

In Numbers


The number of minutes, according to Google Maps, that it takes to cycle between the Firsts book fair at the Saatchi Gallery and the PBFA London Summer Fair at the Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury - just one minute longer than going by car at peak times. For previews of both fairs see page 34-35.