Masterpiece London has dubbed itself ‘The Unmissable Art Fair’, and with 160 international exhibitors of art, design, furniture and jewellery, from antiquity to the present day, it is hard to argue otherwise.
The fair is held at Royal Hospital Chelsea and has been shimmering away since last Thursday, 28 June. Get there to be dazzled yourself before the fair closes on 4 July.
A Guide to Masterpiece London for Old and Newcomers
Visiting the Fair
Tickets: General admission £35; Full Access £45; Student £18 . Bookable at masterpiecefair.seetickets
Hours: MONDAY 2 JULY; 11.00 – 21.00 TUESDAY 3 JULY; 11.00 – 21.00 WEDNESDAY 4 JULY
Dining: Le Caprice Dining Package – Two people can enjoy entry to the fair together with a 3 course meal and a bottle of wine at the Masterpiece Londonair’s Le Caprice restaurant between 30 June and 4 July, £150.
Tastings on the Terrace – Experience a Perrier-Jouët tasting of the iconic Belle Epoque cuvées, alongside Blanc de Blancs NV and Blason Rosé. Hosted by Jonathan Simms, Perrier-Jouët ambassador, on the Champagne Terrace. Price includes one General Admission ticket, £70.
Claridge’s, Mayfair – Do you love giving special gifts to special people? Then pop Claridge’s in a presentation box, tie it up with a red ribbon and give it – for a night or maybe two – to someone you love. It has always had a cachet. But while it used to be the staid and stately base for visiting royalty, today it is, as part of the Maybourne Group that includes The Connaught and The Berkeley, a spirited mix of glittering and gracious, hip and dignified, underpinned by superb service. It’s the details that count: pushing through the revolving door, past photographers waiting for a celebrity guest, into the glacial, marble-floored Front Hall; the wrought-iron lift complete with attendant and comfy seat; the Art Deco bathrooms; the 1930s jewel box of a bar, the Fumoir, not to mention fabulous, arboreal Fera restaurant – and so much more. If ever there was a hotel that felt like a present, it is this, now at the pinnacle of its 200-year history. Doubles from £570.
The Sloane Club, Chelsea – A London home from home for legions of well-heeled country folk, The Sloane Club is as cosmopolitan as cucumber sandwiches and as hip as tea on the vicarage lawn, but also as calm, elegant, well-run and reassuringly welcoming as you could wish to find. A private members’ club in a fabulous location, it’s open for overnight stays in its comfortable bedrooms and new, very smart bathrooms, plus spoiling treatments in The Sloane Club Spa. Downstairs, you’ll find inviting sitting rooms and a splendid restaurant, both clubby and contemporary, which sparkles under its glass roof. Tuck in to the best of British food with your fellow diners: squires from the shires, perhaps a covey of vicars and boho daughters dining with their dads. In the morning, enjoy a generous breakfast in the garden room and inspect the dozens of affectionate caricatures of toffs at rest and play – with their dogs and guns, their G&Ts, their gardeners and their village fêtes. You are one of them now. Doubles from £150.
Gain access to the exceptional knowledge of Masterpiece London exhibitors and partners through complimentary, informal stand talks, as well as through a curated lecture series. Daily Highlight Tours depart at 12pm from the Information Point, lasting 30 minutes and led by postgraduates from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
A full line-up of organised talks is available at masterpiecefair. Below are a few that we have our eye on….
2, July: How to Look at Medieval Manuscripts at 4pm with Dr Christopher de Hamel (Fellow of University of Cambridge and Senior Vice-President, Les Enluminures). In the Lecture Theatre, in association with Chopard, bookable at masterpiecefair.
3, July: Transforming – Bringing Ol dMaster to Light Through Animation at 1pm with Ben Brown Fine Arts, Stand A22. No booking required.
4, July: The Insatiable Desire: An Approach to Collecting Sculptures, Drawings and Paintings from the 16th to the 20th Centuries at 5pm with Lullo • Pampoulides, Stand B20. No booking required.
For kids, Download the Little Grand Tour Treasure Hunt, an ideal art challenge for 6-13 year olds which can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet. Printed copies will be available from the Information Desk at the Fair.
A floorplan of the Masterpiece London exhibitors, spanning all eras and disciplines, is available at masterpiecefair, where they are thoughtfully arranged to allow unexpected juxtaposition that opens one’s eye up to new beauty.
Among the exhibitors will be vendors featuring Fine Art, Modern & Contemporary Art, Sculpture, Design, Antiquites, Antiques, Jewellery & Watches, Silver, Ceramics and Objets D’Art.
All Eyes on Wartski
Antique jewellery specialists Wartski are of special interest at Masterpiece London. Notable pieces include a 17th century Iberian carved rock crystal and enamelled talisman (pictured below). This clenched hand, with the thumb protruding between the first and second fingers, is a potent symbol from the ancient world. It was worn as a powerful amulet to promote fertility and to protect its wearer from the evil eye– dark and magical forces. Rock crystal was considered to have powerful prophylactic properties. It was believed that when dipped into a liquid, it would neutralise any poisons which might be present and confer healing properties on the solution. The figa would have been worn from a belt or from a chatelaine containing other talismans. The hand is mounted beneath an elaborate enamelled yellow gold cuff in palette of white and blue, topped with a suspension loop.
A beautiful aquamarine and diamond necklace by Carl Fabergé, circa 1900, will also be on offer from Wartski at Masterpiece London. The necklace is formed of three diamond-set interlocking circles, through which the fine platinum chain is passed, suspending two faceted aquamarine drops, each from a diamond-set circle motif.