Chelsea’s crowning glory

The Masterpiece experience can be sampled for a third time from June 28 to July 4, with the preview on June 27. Once again, the fair that claims to offer ‘the best of the best from around the world’ is stationed on the South Grounds of The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, in the pavilion that must be one of the world’s more remarkable temporary structures. As before, it is the work of Stabilo Inter-national, the firm responsible for stand-building at Maastricht, whose entrepreneurial president, Harry van der Hoorn, is a founding partner of Masterpiece.

In fact, the fair will begin on the Terrace outside, where there will be an Anish Kapoor sculpture installation, Mountain, shown by Piano Nobile, and a set of painted fibreglass ‘The Four Seasons’ by Philip Haas in the fruity manner of Arcimboldo. The latter is from an edition of five produced in 2010.
Last year, the fact that this is primarily an art and antiques fair was lost sight of, and the publicity gave the impression that it was all about lifestyle, bling and celebrity.

This year, the balance has been redressed. Although the lifestyle element is rightly very much there, with classic cars, wines, ‘design’ and-naturally jewels, my pre-impression is that there will be rather less of it. There is a stronger contemporary-art component, too, including Gagosian, and there are more high-level overseas exhibitors.

Inside, as well as up to 170 exhibitors’ stands, there will, once again, be a range of restaurants and bars from the Urban Caprice stable, offering informal dining at The Mount Street Deli, Le Caprice with a full à la carte menu, Scott’s Seafood and Champagne Bar and Harry’s Bar, serving its legendary Bellinis to accompany classic Italian insa-late, secondi and dolci. Last year’s Midsummer Party raised more than £400,000 for the cancer-support charity CLICSargent; it is to be hoped that that impressive sum will be bettered on July 3.

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Other features include a truly spectacular loan display of diamonds curated by Carol Woolton of Vogue in celebration of the Jubilee, and, from 11.30am to 4pm on June 30, the Wallace Collec-tion is hosting a free symposium on the fine art of collecting. It will be followed by a tour of the fair conducted by the Wallace’s new director, Dr Christoph Vogtherr. As usual on these occasions, the following selection comes with the caveat that some things may have been sold before the fair.

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