An ambitious new fair will make London in June the epicentre of the antiques trade. Masterpiece London, combining fine art and antiques with contemporary works, jewellery, wine and cars, now has planning permission to be run in the former Chelsea Barracks on June 24-29. Aiming to fill the gap left by the demise of the Grosvenor Fair, it has signed up such names as Cahn International, MacConnal-Mason and Wartski, and was conceived ‘over lunch’ by five leading figures in the industry.
Thomas Woodham Smith of Mallet, Robert Procop, president of Asprey, Simon Phillips of Ronald Phillips, Harry Apter of Apter-Fredericks and Harry van der Hoorn of Maastricht builder Stabilo will underwrite the new fair. Nicola Winwood, formerly assistant director at the Grosvenor, is the organiser. ‘We felt the industry needed a shot in the arm,’ says chairman Mr Woodham Smith. ‘There is still a tremendous appetite for collecting and decorating and furnishing houses, and we hope this will be something different.’
Masterpiece follows the London International Fine Art Fair at Olympia (June 4-13), Haughton’s Art Antiques London (June 10-16) and the Russian, Eastern & Oriental Fine Art Fair (June 9-12). ‘Overall, I think this is a good thing,’ comments Ivan Macquisten, editor of Antiques Trade Gazette. ‘It will create a critical mass we haven’t seen before. With the Gros-venor gone, there was a vacuum, and the space at the Barracks will mean more opportunities for dealers. There’s always a risk, but I’m optimistic.’