Cultural weekend in Petworth as antiques and fine art fair returns

'Samburu Warriors' by Emily Lamb (b.1985) SUS-160302-102713001
'Samburu Warriors' by Emily Lamb (b.1985) SUS-160302-102713001

After a successful inaugural event last year, The Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair returns to The Marquee, Petworth Park, Petworth House from Friday May 6 to Sunday May 8.

Organised by The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited, the fair is held in a purpose-built marquee in the glorious grounds of Petworth Park.

With the backdrop of Petworth House and its ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, the location is quite spectacular.

The fair is supported by Savills, the worldwide estate agents.

Petworth House is home to a magnificent collection of art, including works by Turner, Constable and Van Dyck. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown this year, Petworth Park received his treatment when Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont, commissioned him to transform the formal landscape in the 1750s.

Petworth House’s ‘Capability’ Brown Festival exhibition ends on Wednesday 11 May 2016. Ingrid Nilson, director of The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited said: “The National Trust is very supportive, as are the Petworth Business Association (PBA), the Petworth Antiques And Decorative Arts association (PAADA) and Savills.

“Visitors to the fair will be granted free entry to Petworth House, the ‘Capability’ Brown exhibition and grounds, during the three days of the fair, upon production of the fair’s ticket. In return, National Trust members and holders of Petworth House tickets can take advantage of complimentary access to the fair.

“Antiques fair tickets, £10 each, allow entry across all three days, so people who come from further afield can enjoy a whole cultural weekend visiting the fair and the environs of Petworth.”

Over 40 specialist dealers, predominantly members of the British Antique Dealers’ Association and LAPADA The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, are showcasing a cornucopia of treasures with the majority of dealers returning to the fair to re-engage with contacts made last year.

New faces, all well-known on the fairs circuit, are Kaye Michie Fine Art, Shapiro & Co and Wakelin & Linfield. The fair is well supported by local Sussex dealers such as Augustus Brandt, Moncrieff-Bray Gallery, John Bird Antiques, Tim Saltwell, Thomas Fine Art and Wilsons Antiques. PAADA is showing a variety of items from the 28 antique shops and 70 member dealers of the association.

Highlights include Cheval Turc, the most important single animal sculpture of the 19th century by Antoine-Louis Barye (1796-1875) on Hickmet Fine Arts’ stand (£48,500).

This superb bronze study has an exquisite deep autumnal patination of green, black, brown and orange.

For a more contemporary feel, William Cook is showing Thoroughbred Grazing by J K Brown, ingeniously made from recycled kitchen utensils (£8,900) and a specially commissioned polo group, as the surrounding area is well known for the sport of kings.

Garret & Hurst Sculpture is bringing Dionysis Portrait, a bronze bust by Margot Homan (£10,450). Dancing Cranes in bronze by Simon Gudgeon comes from The Jerram Gallery (£14,500).

The fair is the perfect hunting ground for decorative items, both large and small.

Tim Saltwell is bringing a pair of Napoleon III gilt bronze and champlevé enamel vases in the Japanese style (£1,250) as well as a Napoleon III kingwood and ormolu mounted inkwell (£595).

From Hickmet Fine Arts is an attractive Art Deco opalescent glass figure Nue au Bra Tendu, signed Etling and designed by in-house artist Lucille Sevin (£4,450).

Mark J West, specialist dealer in antique glass is displaying a rare pair of Venetian-style carafes by Paul Raoul de Facheux D’Humy, Aurura Glass Co, London, c1880 (£440) and a most unusual Burmese silver monk’s bowl, c1890, made in Mandalay, probably as an exhibition piece (£980).

A Minton majolica teapot, c1873-88, can be found amongst many other ceramics at Duveen Art & Antiques (£750). Last year, Olde Time’s stand proved most popular.

A wide selection of interesting antique clocks and barometers is promised for this May.

Freshfords Fine Antiques decorates its stand as a room set and this year plans to include a George IV Regency rosewood three-door breakfront cabinet, c 1830, (£3,750), a rare George III Sheraton period mahogany and ebony inlaid Davenport desk, c 1795, (£4,850) and an early 19th century Regency period George IV rosewood armchair bergère (£3,950).

For a more eclectic look, local dealer John Bird Antiques presents a wide range of decorative furniture. Other furniture dealers exhibiting are Guy Dennler Antiques & Interiors, Melody Antiques and Wilsons Antiques.

The fine art section in the fair is very varied with works from the 19th century to the contemporary.

Two interesting works on The Canon Gallery’s stand include a very early watercolour by Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828), painted in Normandy in 1820 entitled ‘The Young Angler’ (£10,000) and ‘Gone Away’ by John Frederick Herring Snr (£25,000).

Sarah Colegrave Fine Art, dealing in 19th & 20th century British pictures is bringing a watercolour, Teazel on the Saltings by Elizabeth Sorrell RWS (1916-1991), (£2,800). Her works are represented in the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne.

Christopher Clark (1875-1942) was famous for his paintings of London’s ceremonial occasions and this example, Great Britain 1932, depicts the magnificent colour and pageantry of the State Opening of Parliament from Elford Fine Art.

Baron Fine Art brings Yankee, Endeavour 1 and Candida racing on the Solent off the Royal Yacht Squadron by one of today’s leading marine artists, Richard Firth (b. 1971), £17,000, whilst Thomas Fine Art includes local subject, The Quay, Old Bosham, oil on canvas by Percy Robert Craft RCA (1856-1934), £4,650.

Moncrieff-Bray Gallery, based on the edge of the Petworth estate, is previewing an exhibition of eight tutors from the acclaimed Newlyn School of Art in Cornwall, the first group exhibition of tutors’ work to be held outside Cornwall.

Prices range from £1,000 to £10,000. A series of interesting work on Rountree Tryon Gallery stand is by Emily Lamb, grand-daughter of wildlife artist David Shepherd, who has spent time in East Africa painting Samburu warriors and Maasai scenes.

From The Jerram Gallery are paintings and sculpture by Ann Armitage, Marcus Hodge, John Maddison and Simon Gudgeon.

Other art dealers include Ashleigh House Fine Art, Cambridge Fine Art, Haynes Fine Art of Broadway, Merville Galleries and The Canon Gallery. Richard Ogden Ltd is returning to the fair with an appealing selection of antique scarab beetle jewellery, and amongst the display with Markov is an amazing colour-changing Ceylonese sapphire ring set in platinum which changes from pale blue to violet in different lights, c 1915 (POA).

A charming Belle Epoque platinum, pearl and diamond bow and tassel pendant brooch with a separate diamond clasped platinum chain by Harvey & Gore, is to be found on T Robert’s stand (£6,850).

Other jewellery specialists exhibiting are Sue Brown and Shapiro & Co.

Parking for antiques fair visitors is free in a specially located nearby car park. Entry to the fair is at New Lodges, with the pedestrian entrance at the Cricket Lodge.

A courtesy bus will take visitors to and from the antiques fair from the centre of Petworth.

Light snacks and refreshments can be found in The Marquee, and in Petworth House’s Audit Room. Stephen Morris Shipping is on-site at the fair and can look after safe delivery of purchases to anywhere in the world.

Report and pictures contributed by Gail McGuffie.