News

6 March 2018

TEFAF, Maastricht (2018): all set

Blairman at TEFAF 2018

Our shippers, stand builders and lighting specialists have overcome the hazards of late winter weather to help us to create, we hope you will agree, another beautiful display in our familiar corner of the MECC. The backdrop to our stand…

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27 January 2018

‘Works of art and ivory: what are the issues?’, Curator: The Museum Journal 61 (1), January 2018

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna Attempts formally to remove bona fide antique ivory from the raging debate on the preservation of the African elephant, threatened by poaching and illicit trade, rumble on confusingly.  In the United States of America the ban on imports…

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17 January 2018

Winter Antiques Show: we got there in the end

Winter Antiques Show 2018

It seems that no Winter Antiques Show is complete without the intervention of weather-related issues.  Perhaps the clue is in the timing: winter.  This year, our sea container was diverted to Virginia and only docked in New York on the…

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9 January 2018

China announces ‘total ban’ on ivory, or does it?

Eighteenth-century Anglo-Indian furniture at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.   Since the turn of the year, the British press and conservation groups have been justifiably applauding China’s ‘total ban’ on the trade in ivory.  The stringent Chinese onslaught on their…

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22 December 2017

Yesterday in Parliament: ivory

  In one of the final debates in the House of Lords before the Christmas recess, peers discussed the impact of the ivory trade on an elephant population under siege.  Lord Carrington of Fulham (no relation of the former Foreign…

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16 November 2017

A pen (and paint brush) made by William Morris

In 2012, when the Brandon-Jones collection was acquired by the Nation through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, Red House in Bexleyheath (designed by Philip Webb for William Morris) was allocated several personal items that had belonged to Morris’s close associate…

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1 October 2017

PAD London, 4-8 October 2017

Thanks to some careful planning, and expert technical assistance from Aston Spinks (logistics) and Nicky Aubury (lighting), the set up for PAD 2017 was completed speedily, and with remarkable ease. By 8 am Berkeley Square was lined with trucks grabbing…

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3 August 2017

An anonymous workshop Daybook, 1851-1885

While considerable evidence, such as insurance records, bills (perhaps matched to surviving furniture), letters, rate books and, sometimes, personal accounts, exists for the activities of larger cabinet-making firms, day-to-day records for smaller, more general workshops are far scarcer. Thus, it…

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29 March 2017

Expertise and enthusiasm: present and future appreciation of the decorative arts

For many years now, there has been a perception that so-called ‘traditional areas’ under the umbrella of the ‘decorative arts’ have fallen from favour.  But what does this mean?  Is this a reference to the market, or to public appreciation?…

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6 March 2017

TEFAF, Maastricht, 2017: still the best

We spent an enjoyable weekend unpacking a truck-full of crates, each revealing a piece of furniture, an object or a picture, soon to be placed or hung on our expanded Maastricht stand.  Thanks as ever to Aston Spinks (see below)…

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18 January 2017

The Winter Antiques Show: ready to go

On Tuesday morning, so far spared the traditional Winter Antiques Show snow, we arrived at the nonetheless frigid Armory. Our shippers battled the mêlée of ‘troublesome trucks’ jockeying for position on a gridlocked Lexington Avenue. But, without the slightest hint…

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27 May 2016

Ivory: what is the latest?

According to the entirely justified headline to an online article in Apollo, ‘Antique ivory poses no threat to elephant conservation: in fact, it needs protection itself’ (see here). We all love elephants, and who brought up on Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar (below)…

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17 May 2016

Summer is coming, so we are told…

Just back from Chicago, where I was kindly invited to speak to the Antiquarians at the Art Institute of Chicago, on ‘Alfred Morrison (1821-97): an overlooked patron and collector of decorative arts’.  This remarkable maecenas lived in Carlton House Terrace,…

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7 March 2016

Local authority budget pressure threatening Lancaster’s Gillows collection at the Judges’ Lodgings

Time is rapidly running out to find a solution for the Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster, and its renowned collection of furniture by Gillows, the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ cabinet-maker. Against the brutal background of cuts to local authority budgets, Lancashire County…

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3 February 2016

News from New York: that was the WAS that was…

A long stay on the East Coast for the Winter Antiques Show began with a day in Washington.  It seems that fatigue is casting a shadow over many of the groups involved in the battle to retain the free movement…

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19 January 2016

The Winter Antiques Show 2016

The year is barely three weeks old, but here we all are, back in New York for the Winter Antiques Show.  This long running fair, established in 1955, supports the East Side House Settlement, which was itself founded in 1891….

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