Posts tagged ‘Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market’

May 17, 2017

Generous donation to the Antique Dealer and Art Market Archives

Interest in the antiques dealer and art market archives continues to grow.  The archives, as readers of the blog will probably know, are part of the Centre for the Study of the Art and Antiques Market (CSAAM) here at the University of Leeds, and are deposited in the Brotherton Library Special Collections  You can read about the archives deposited, and promised, to the CSAAM in the archives pages on the CSAAM website – click CSAAM.

The  latest addition, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Executors of the estate of late Anthony J. Evans (1954-2008) the well-known scholar and collector of Chinese Ceramics, and Michael Evans the brother of A. J. Evans, is a selection of provenance material, biographical information and related material associated with the collections of Chinese ceramics assembled by Anthony J. Evans. The material has already been catalogued by the team at the Brotherton Library Special Collections (thank you to Karen Sayers, archivist at the BLSC) and is available for consultation – the catalogue record is MS2071 – 1/2/3 – it’s certainly worth a look!

The archive material donated to the university is mainly devoted to the dispersal auction sales of the A.J. Evans collection at Bonhams auctioneers in London in November 2011.  These collections were primarily of Chinese ceramics, something for which Anthony had a special interest and was a world-leading scholar and author. The market for Chinese ceramics is, as many will be aware, very strong in particular areas, but perhaps it’s surprising  (to some…including me!) how valuable some early 20th century Chinese ceramics can be? A.J. Evans certainly had a very good eye!…For example, this Republic Period (1912-1949) plaque achieved £240,000 at the Bonhams sale in 2013 –

Republic Period Chinese polychrome plaque, from the A.J. Evans Collection. Photograph, Bonhams Auctioneers, 2011.

And this rare pair of fan-shaped plaques c.1900-1920, decorated and signed by Pan Taoyu (c.1887-1926) made an even more spectacular £360,000 at the Bonhams auction sale of the A.J. Evans collection.

Rare pair of fan-shaped plaques c.1900-1920 by Pan Taoyu (c.1887-1926) from the A.J. Evans Collection. Photograph, Bonhams Auctioneers, 2011.

I hope this whets your appetite to take a look at the archive information on the A.J. Evans collection; it has been meticulously assembled by Michael Evans and includes all the dealer invoices for the objects that Anthony collected, as well as biographical information and copies of the auction sale catalogues and provenance notes composed by Anthony J. Evans himself – it is an extraordinary resource for future scholars and researchers on the history of the art market, and the history of the taste for collecting Chinese ceramics in particular. Our warm thanks go to the Executors of the Estate of Anthony J. Evans and Michael Evans for donating this fascinating material to the CSAAM and the Brotherton Library Special Collections.

 

NOTE: (and thank you to Michael Evans and Dominic Jellinek for pointing out the initial error on the first posting of this blog – the A.J. Evans (below) is in fact a different individual from Anthony J. Evans (above) – but it is quite an interesting coincidence that there are 2 collectors of Chinese works of art, both called A.J. Evans, and both collecting in the same period, and both with auctions of their collections around the same time!…)

Anyway – this other A.J. Evans was a also celebrated collector of Chinese works of art, a taste he seems to have inherited from his father Frederick Evans, who worked for an Anglo-Chinese mining company in China during the 1920s. Anthony Evans inherited a range of early Chinese ceramics from his father, including this early 18th century polychrome decorated bowl (below), which was sold at one of the auction sales of A.J Evans collection at Canterbury in Kent in 2013, where it realised £235,000.

Early 18th Century Chinese Bowl from the A.J. Evans Collection. Photograph, Canterbury Auctions, Kent, 2013.

Thanks again to Michael and Dominic for pointing out the initial error!

Mark

 

March 6, 2017

‘Where is it Now?’ – we found the first one!

Thanks to Simon Spier, one of our Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market PhD students, we have found the first of the ‘Where is it Now?’ objects. The object in question is a ‘Lambeth’ Delftware plate, dated 1717, with the initials ‘W D C’ painted on the top rim.

ms1999-4-1-52-plaque

Delftware plate, dated 1717. Phillips of Hitchin Archive MS1999/4/1/52. Photograph courtesy of the Brotherton Library Special Collections, University of Leeds, 2017.

The plate was in the stock of the antique dealers Phillips of Hitchin in c.1900, shown above in one of the photograph albums of stock that are part of the Phillips archive at the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds.

We have discovered that the delftware plate is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA. The plate is currently part of the Met Museum’s collections of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts – here’s a link to the Met Museum collections online for the PLATE 

And here’s the plate itself, in full, glorious colour! The plate is on display in Gallery 710 in the Met Museum if you want to go and see it for yourself.

delftware-plate-1717

Lambeth delftware plate, dated 1717, diameter 9 inches.. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 12.279.9 Rogers Fund, 1913. Photograph copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Metropolitan Museum acquired the plate in 1913 (via the Rogers Fund), through the well-known antique dealer Frederick Rathbone (1837-1919). Rathbone was, by 1913, trading at 20 Alfred Place, South Kensington, London, and would have been in his mid 70s when he sold the plate to the Met Museum. He was an acknowledged expert on antique ceramics, especially on Wedgwood and ‘Old English Pottery’; he was famous for helping to assemble the collections of William Hesketh Lever (1851-1925) 1st Viscount Leverhulme, and the extensive collections of 18th century Wedgwood ceramics assembled by Lord Tweedmouth (1820-1894).

It’s not known when, for how much, or to whom, Phillips of Hitchin sold the plate – it may have been sold direct to Rathbone, we have yet to discover that information, but it will be buried in the extensive archives at the Brotherton Library Special Collections.  What we do know is that Phillips bought the plate from the collection of the well-known collector W.H. Booth of Ipswich in Suffolk sometime around 1900.

Anyway, we are pleased at least to have found the first of the ‘Where is it Now?’ objects, and to have provided a little more provenance information to the delftware plate in the collections at the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Mark

 

March 8, 2016

In the Footsteps of Roger Warner

As some of the followers to the project blog will know, part of the growing legacy of the AHRC Antique Dealer project has been the donation of several highly significant antique dealer archives to the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds. The archive of the well-known antique dealer Roger Warner (1913-2008) is part of this growing corpus of antique dealer material coming to Leeds – all part of a broader research initiative focused on the histories of the art and antique markets, and under the auspices of our new Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market. We have exciting plans for research activities based in the new Centre in the coming months and years so do keep an eye on the Centre!

Anyway, Roger Warner – I was in Burford to oversee the collection of the first part of the Roger Warner archive – which in an extraordinarily generous act has been donated to the University of Leeds by Roger’s family, Sue Ashton, Deborah Warner and Simon Warner – we cannot thank Sue, Deborah, Simon, and Sue’s husband, Hugo, enough for their generosity and for their enthusiastic support to this ever expanding project on the history of the antique trade.

Roger Warner ran his antique shop for almost 50 years, from 1936 to 1985, and was, as many of you will know, an iconic antique dealer (perhaps one of the most emblematic antiques dealers of the 20th century) – indeed, his autobiography ‘Roger Warner, Memoirs of a Twentieth Century Antique Dealer‘ was published by the Regional Furniture Society in 2003.

The archive will be an absolutely amazing resource and, once we have it all conserved and catalogued, will be available for future researchers, scholars and those interested in this highly significant part of social and cultural life.  The Warner archive is a fascinating and exceptionally detailed history of an antique dealer;  Warner was certainly an antiquary by inclination, recording minute details of the everyday business of a dealer – he even kept a record of the footfall in his shop each year!….His ‘Annual Review and Policy Reports’ produced every year, continuously from 1951-1985, (together with two earlier annual reviews for 1947 and 1949), are fascinating personal reflections on the previous year’s trading, with commentaries on the changing markets conditions, details of auctions visited, observations on other dealers, information on significant objects bought & sold, and summaries of business accounts – they will be a key resource for anyone studying the history of the antique trade in the 20th century.

To give you a flavour of the richness of the archive, and to draw attention to its potential significance, I’ve traced just one object in the archive from its acquisition by Warner to its eventual new home at Temple Newsam House, in Leeds. The object in question is the now famous Four-poster painted bed, made to commemorate the marriage of Francis and Anne Hall, 1724.

painted bed TN

Four-poster painted bed, 1724. Temple Newsam House, Leeds. Image by kind permission of Leeds Museums & Galleries. Copyright Leeds Museums & Galleries.

The bed was acquired by Temple Newsam House (Leeds Museums & Galleries) in 1979, following a grant from the Art Fund of £2,500, for £13,000 from the London antique dealers Jellinek & Sampson, then trading in Knightsbridge.  The Warner archive records that had he sold the bed to Jellinek & Sampson on 4th November 1978 for £2,500.

The Warner archive also records the acquisition of the bed in the stock book for 1977-78 on 4th January 1977, from ‘George Carr, Lilac Hse, Kirkbride’ (Cumbria), for the sum of £850 (see image). Warner also notes, in his annual review for 1978, ‘purchase and removal early in the new year Of painted oak Tester Bed from Kirkbride, Cumbria, the bed never having been moved since its erection in room in 1724.’ (see image).

RW stock book 1978

Roger Warner Archive. Stockbook 1977-78. The Brotherton Library Special Collections, University of Leeds, currently uncatalogued. Photograph AHRC Antique Dealers project. Copyright University of Leeds 2016.

RW review

Roger Warner Archive. ‘Annual Review 1978’. The Brotherton Library Special Collections University of Leeds, currently uncatalogued item. Photograph AHRC Antique Dealers Project. Copyright University of Leeds 2016.

These fascinating insights into the provenance of just one of the 70,500 objects that Roger Warner sold illustrate the rich potential of antique dealer archives, not just for provenance research, but also for the insights that they can reveal into the social and cultural practices of the, still as yet, unexplored history of the antique trade.

But whilst I was in Burford collecting the Warner archive I also had an opportunity to ‘walk in the footsteps’ of this extraordinary dealer – thanks to Sue Ashton, Roger’s daughter, and to Nicky, who with her partner Tim now owns Roger Warner’s shop, I was taken on a journey through the spaces of Roger’s old shop.

rw shop burford

Roger Warner antique shop, High Street, Burford. Warner traded here from 1936 until his retirement in 1985.

It was fascinating and illuminating to hear Sue reminisce about the activities that took place in the various rooms – the shop had been, after all, Sue’s home for much of her life. The interior spaces had changed over the years of course, but not substantially, and Sue recalled many happy memories of her father in the shop and home. I got a sense of how Warner had used the spaces of the shop through Sue’s recollections….and also got a sense of how he had furnished the private spaces of the house/shop through some of the photographs in the Warner archive – here is Roger’s bedroom, as it was in the 1980s.

rw bedroom

Roger Warner’s bedroom, High Street, Burford, undated photograph, but early c.1980s. Roger Warner archive, The Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, currently uncatalogued item. Photograph AHRC Antique Dealer project. Copyright University of Leeds 2016.

The tour of the shop was an extraordinary personal experience, and will be invaluable in navigating the richness of the Warner archive now at the University. Thank you Sue, and Nicky, for taking the time to walk in the footsteps of Roger Warner.

Oh and for those that never met Roger – and I regret I never did – we have, thanks to the Web, some recordings of Roger Warner from the TV show ‘Going for a Song’ – this was an early precursor to the hugely popular (and still going) Antiques Roadshow. Anyway, here is Roger Warner in a 1971 episode of ‘Going for a Song’ (with that other former doyen of the world of antiques, Arthur Negus).

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yblWjTU7Vek

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn5GAmLoWdo

Mark

 

 

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