The Masterpieces of Masterpiece By Hannah Norman
It isn’t every day you go to an art fair, only to wander past exotic tanks of oysters, perhaps better suited to an aquarium. But then, Masterpiece London isn’t any old art fair. Ask style doyenne Sarah Jessica Parker, who joined the throngs of invited press and guests for the preview day. After all, if it’s good enough for Carrie Bradshaw….!
Now in it’s fourth year, Masterpiece London has firmly cemented its position on the summer art fair calendar and attracts exhibitors from all walks of the artistic spectrum, showcasing everything from paintings and sculptures to antique furniture and fine jewellery.
The jewel in the crown – literally – was Symbolic & Chase’s showcase of the Mary Tudor pearl (hence the aforementioned oysters). With a provenance dating back to 1526, this exquisite saltwater pearl is an impressive 64.5 carats, and is the third largest well-formed natural pearl documented today. Originally owned by Empress Isabella of Portugal, it was passed on to her daughter, Juana of Austria, following her death in 1539. The pearl then became part of the dowry that Juana’s brother, Philip II of Spain, gave to Mary Tudor, the first queen of England, after whom it is now named.
From a jewel perspective, other Masterpiece highlights included Bogh-Art’s sparkling array of beauties. Exhibiting it’s jewels in the UK for the very first time, Bogh-Art’s rare gems certainly captured buyers’ attentions, and are testament to why the art of inlay (for which the company is famous) is an art indeed.
Bogh-Art weren’t the only ones making their masterpiece debut. Anthony Outred Antiques, celebrating their 40th anniversary, sold five pieces on the preview day; three to an international museum.
On to sculptures, and it was a case of heads turning heads with Jean-Marie Fiori’s Macaw Head and Blue Ara Head, displayed as part of Galerie Dumonteil’s stand – I’m informed that both later sold. The bright injection of colour was continued with Helmut Koller’s fabulous animal paintings.
From beautiful paintings to beautiful cars. Two stunning Jaguar E-TYPEs were on display from specialists Eagle, giving visitors a view of the luxurious interiors and upholstery, and the craftsmanship of the engine.
The craftsmanship continued with Les Enluminures’ display of Guillaume Le Roy the Younger’s 16th Century breath-taking Book of Hours, a luxuriously beautiful manuscript produced for an evidently wealthy patron.
Whether you’re a serious collector, or just curious to find out more about some truly amazing artworks and antiques, Masterpiece London has a broad spectrum of exhibitors to satisfy all tastes. If it achieves nothing else, Masterpiece London surely demonstrates that behind some of the most fascinating and varied artworks available to buy today, these are no mere artists, but truly artisans of their craft.