A Gilded silver and guilloché enamel Tenth Anniversary FABERGE Frame, was a gift in 1901 from the Grand Duke Michael Michailovitch (1860-1929), grandson of Nicholas I and nephew of Alexander II, to his wife, Countess Sophie von Merenberg, granddaughter of Pushkin, with photographs of the Grand Duke, their three children in heart-shaped frames surmounted with their birth years (Anastasia, b. 1892, Nadezhda, b. 1896, Michael, b. 1898), and framed scenes of their residences. By Fabergé, workmaster, Victor Aarne. St. Petersburg, 1899-1908. Descended through the Mountbatten family.
A variety of exceptional objects will be offered for sale this year; from new discoveries in the fine and decorative arts, to rare maps, watches, jewellery, fine wines and contemporary design, Masterpiece London will entice collectors from across the globe. All works will be stringently vetted by a committee of experts before the fair opens, giving buyers every confidence in their choice.
New to Masterpiece London this year are New York dealers Sperone Westwater, Sebastian + Barquet, Siegelson, and Fred Leighton alongside Munich - based dealers Rudigier and Meissen specialist, Robbig. From Norway, the fair welcomes Kaare Berntsen with a stand devoted to Edvard Munch, including an extremely rare print of The Scream, and Hemmerle, also from Munich, add to the already strong jewellery offering with stunning contemporary pieces inspired by Ancient Egypt.
Contemporary art and design has gone from strength to strength and visitors will be greeted to the Fair with the outdoor installation of the sculpture Mountain, by Anish Kapoor, exhibited by Piano Nobile. On the terrace, Robilant +Voena will display a group of extraordinary painted fibreglass sculptures representing the four seasons in the manner of Arcimboldo by Philip Haas. James Hyman will show a stunning and provocative photograph by David Bailey of Angie Hall and Catherine Bailey locked in an embrace. Contemporary designer Linley has specially created a desk for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Fashioned from walnut and Bombay rosewood, the desk features an architectural miniature of the distinctive Horse Guards’ building designed by William Kent in 1745. 20th century design is also well represented at the fair, including a rare black tinted bent plywood armchair designed in 1933 by Gerald Summers to be found on the stand of Peter Petrou, and the colossal bronze map Remembering Knightsbridge from the highly acclaimed Based Upon. Whitfield Fine Art will exhibit a newly discovered and fully authenticated Caravaggio for the first time in the UK since its recent rediscovery. Painted c. 1600 for Cardinal Benedetto Giustiniani, this masterpiece features Saint Augustine and uses the same model that features as one of the apostles in the National Gallery’s Supper at Emmaus. The Giustiniani family once held the largest collection of Caravaggio’s works and this picture remained in the family palazzo until the mid-19th century.
Agnew’s Gallery display their recent discovery of an unknown and unpublished oil on oak panel sketch by van Dyck of Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria with their two eldest children, Charles, Prince of Wales and Mary, Princess Royal. This unpublished sketch is the artist’s first preparatory drawing for ‘Consort and children’, for which the king authorized payment to van Dyck of £100 on 8 August 1632, and which is now part of the Royal Collection. Also, drawing on the influence of van Dyck, visitors will find an important 17th century raised-work mirror embroidered with a series of Stuart Royal portraits on the stand of Witney Antiques. The two standing figures are instantly recognisable as Charles I facing his consort Queen Henrietta Maria, and were most likely taken from a 1643 engraving by Robert van Voerst after the original van Dyck.
Outstanding examples of the fine and decorative arts are plentiful at Masterpiece London. The Fine Art Society will exhibit a rare limited edition aluminium cast of Eros by Sir Alfred Gilbert. The 1988 cast was created by George Mancini, the son of Frederico Mancini who worked with Gilbert for a large part of his career. The young George patinated the cast of Eros destined for Sefton Park under the guidance of Alfred Gilbert in 1928, and came out of retirement to undertake the patination and finishing of this particular sculpture, the last that he did. Waterhouse & Dodd bring a pair of fresh and summery watercolours painted c.1930 by Raoul Dufy that feature the racecourse at Deauville. Famed for putting Victorian artists back on the map in the 1970s, the Christopher Wood Gallery established an incredible legacy and reputation that has served many notable clients with Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian pictures as well as 19th century furniture. After Wood’s death in 2009, the entire collection was taken on by his protégé James Harvey, who will re-launch the gallery at the fair.
W.W. Warner will show a rare Meissen group of the 'Story of Adam and Eve’. The subject is contentious: these pieces were usually made to be the subject of dinner table conversations which is why most pieces, unlike this one, illustrate gentle pastoral scenes and mythology. For the Chinese, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, and Jacqueline Simcox will bring a large, Qianlong period, Imperial silk tapestry wall hanging, woven with five-clawed gold dragons, representing the emperor. The symbols on the tapestry form a rebus, meaning, "May you live for 10,000 years" and was reserved for the emperor's exclusive use during celebrations. Also sure to be of interest to collectors is a rare pair of Chinese nodding figures made for the export market and to be exhibited by Ronald Phillips that were included in the 1788 inventory of Count Johan Liljencrantz.
Kentshire Galleries will show an exquisite pietra dura table made for Lady Augusta Kennedy- Erkine, born Princess Augusta, the daughter of the Duke of Clarence, who later became King William IV. The couple went to Italy on their honeymoon in 1827 and stayed on because of Lord John's health. He suffered from consumption and tragically died in 1831, the same year the table top was completed. Also from Italy, Alessandra Di Castro’s stand will reflect the golden collecting era of the ‘Grand Tour’ including a portrait of Emma Hamilton and 6 views of Rome by Franz Kaisermann.
Amongst the more eclectic offerings at the fair, The KB Collection, a one-of-a-kind collection of 600 rare, mechanical pencils from the 19th century will be for sale. From sporting to hardware pencils, figural, regal and fruit pencils, the collection epitomises the very best of whimsical British design with the majority created by English manufacturer Sampson Mordan, alongside examples from other makers including Tiffany and Asprey. Robert Young will exhibit a set of 12 privately commissioned plaques by Copeland Spode created in 1876-1877, each illustrating a different sporting pursuit, 6 of which are or have been Olympic events: Ice Hockey, Running, Cricket, Polo, Football, Putting the Shot, Shooting, Tent Pegging (a horseback pursuit created by the Lancers), Stalking, Fishing, Hunting and Hare Hunting. For the sporting and petrol head enthusiasts, Shaw Speed and Custom is bringing a marvellous group of bespoke Harley Davidson motorcycles to the fair.
This year there is a remarkable group of partners and projects. London’s internationally renowned Design Museum will participate with a special project. Candy and Candy, property developers to the international wealthy, will showcase their new approach to design and New York designer Jamie Drake will give visitors a master class in the imaginative and stylish display of great works of art. To celebrate Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee, there will be an amazing loan exhibition of diamonds entitled Brilliant, curated by Carol Woolton, the jewellery editor of British Vogue. This will include a remarkable holographic portrait of Her Majesty by Chris Levine encrusted with diamonds and a splendid ashoka cut 31 carat D flawless diamond which will be set in a headpiece designed by Philip Treacy. The Wallace Collection is collaborating once again this year and is hosting a symposium on the fine art of collecting on Saturday 30 June.
The rarity and quality of the pieces for sale make Masterpiece London a truly unmissable event. With each object on display a masterpiece in its own right; there really is something to appeal to everyone from seasoned collectors to first time buyers.
,John Wonnacott (b. 1940), Portrait of Prince William, 2000. Oil on canvas 12 x 9 in (30.5 x 22.5 cm). Agnew's, Stand A44. Masterpiece London
An Italian 17th century table cabinet. Poplar, rosewood, pearwood, various hardstones, marble, gilded bronze ans gilded copper. Manufactural by the Grabducak workshop in Florence during the third quarter of the 17th century. Antichità Bacarelli, stand C14. Masterpiece London
Pietra Dura Table, 1831. Kentshire Galleries. Stand B30. Masterpiece London