Art, Antiques & Museums Arts & Culture

The Summer Season in Arts & Antiques

  • June 27, 2022
  • 4 min read
The Summer Season in Arts & Antiques

by Anthony J Lester

During the summer season, the art market, more than any other period, belongs to London! Here, art specialist, Anthony J. Lester, recommends some of the exciting events taking place.


I bought my first painting when I was just eleven years old; an animated watercolour by the celebrated Scottish painter, William McTaggart (1835-1910). That was over six decades ago. I still have the painting and it continues to give me pleasure. During those intervening years, I have witnessed many changes in fashion, but one aspect has always remained constant – quality always sells. With this very much to the forefront, there is a wealth of fabulous art and antiques to discover, and there is no better showcase than Masterpiece London

Taking place on 30th June – 6th July, at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, this unmissable art fair brings together, via some 125 international exhibitors, an unparalleled selection of treasures. The most ancient is the extraordinarily complete skull of a mature Triceratops, a dinosaur that roamed the plains of what is now North America, around 68-66 million years ago. Carrying a six-figure price tag, the 1.7 metre by 1.5 metre skull, is being offered by David Aaron on Stand 316. Those with an interest in antiquities are certain to find much of interest on the stand of Charles Ede. A showstopper is a Roman marble statue of Aslepius, the god of medicine, dating to around 100-150AD.

St. James’s based art dealer Philip Mould, well-known for his appearances on the BBC Antiques Roadshow and Fake or Fortune?, has teamed up with interior designer Sims Hilditch, to present the theme Feminine Glamour – A Celebration of Women in Art. As Mould elaborated, “Art, and the way it functions and is appreciated, is reliant upon context. Furnishings, colours and textures – in other words ambience – will often set the rules of engagement by which it can be enjoyed.” Among the display is a stunning portrait of the socialite, the Hon Mrs Philip Leyland Kindersley, granddaughter of Edward Guinness, head of the Guinness brewery. Painted in 1931 by Philip de László (1869-1937), and now priced in the region of £400,000, the sitter told the artist “Most people say it is the loveliest picture they have ever seen.”

For decades the art world has been reluctant to fully embrace the artistic talents of women but thankfully that has now dramatically changed.  Karen Taylor Fine Art offers work by the likes of Marian Emma Chase (1844-1905), and a colourful rendering of a macaw by Sarah Stone (1760-18844). However, many eyes will be focusing on a sketch by Laura Knight (1877-1970). Best known for her intimate scenes captured at theatres and circuses, many are unaware that in January 146 Knight went to Germany to observe the Nuremberg Trials. For three months, she regularly visited the courtroom making numerous sketches of the proceedings that culminated in a large oil painting, which is now in the Imperial War Museum. On offer by Karen Taylor is one of Knight’s charcoal and watercolour studies. Priced at £35,000, it depicts a line of white-helmeted military police standing behind the defendants, including Adolf Hitler’s close ally, Albert Speer.

For those with stamina, there are many more events awaiting art aficionados beyond Masterpiece. A little less opulent, but nonetheless brimming with quality goods, is the summer Art and Antiques Fair, taking place from 23th to 26th June, at Olympia Grand. A good selection of 20th century British art is on offer ranging from Fruit in a Bowl by the ever-popular Mary Fedden (1915-2012) offered by Kaye Michie (stand E16) to Terry Frost’s (1915-2003) 1958 watercolour Landscape in Red, Black and Yellow on the stand of Manning Fine Art. Another BBC Antiques Roadshow expert, Lennox Cato travels from his Edenbridge showrooms to display an impressive range of 18th and 19th century furniture for which he is well-known. These include a very stylish pair of Regency chairs made by the firm of Thomas Reynolds around 1810. They carry a price of £7,800.

Running from 3rd – 8th July, the London Art Week is another unmissable event. Taking place at galleries and auction houses around London’s traditional art district, the range of art works is by any standards, impressive – for full details www.londonartweek.co.uk. As if that was not enough, from 29th June – 2nd July, there is Asian Art in London (asianartinlondon.com). 

Finally, if contemporary art, within a more affordable price range, is more your aspiration, then a visit between 27th July – 6th August to the Mall Galleries, The Mall, SW1, might be a front-runner. Entitled Winners: Award Winning Artists 2020-2022, it offers an electric mix by acclaimed artists from across the nation’s leading art societies.

Image: Patchwork in Blue II by Annie Williams

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