The 27th Florence International Antiques Fair (aka Florence Biennale) will be hosted this year at the enchanting Palazzo Corsini from October 1st- 9th with a layout masterminded by the Maestro Pier Luigi Pizzi. The Biennale, first started by Mario and Giuseppe Bellini in 1959, is the oldest continuous art and antiques fair in Europe and has become the most important Italian art exhibition in the world.
The home to the bi-yearly Florence Biennale since 1997, the Palazzo Corsini in its subdued Baroque style with an 18th-century flair is truly a unique and greatly admired building in Florence and a sight to see in itself. The residence, which was completed only in 1737, is also the proud home of Florence’s most important and historically significant private gallery, boasting a collection, begun in 1765 by Don Lorenzo Corsini, nephew of Pope Clement XII.
The works of art displayed by antiquarians from all over the world–74 Italian and 14 foreign–are the undisputed stars of the show. The vast variety of the over 3,000 pieces presented at the fair range from paintings to plates and antique books to sculptures.
All the works exhibited at the Biennale will be monitored and authenticated by the Scientific Committee. On September 28th, two Committees, the first appointed by the Florence Exports Office, and the second sent by the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage, will examine the works for which the antiquarians request a free circulation certificate, a document which allows Italian works of art to circulate abroad.
The Biennale continues to support Corri la Vita, an association, devoted to the study and prevention of breast cancer presided over by the Marchioness Bona Frescobaldi. On October 1st a charity evening will be held and during the dinner Christie’s will auction works of art donated by exhibitors at the Biennale. The proceeds of the auction will be devolved entirely in favour of the Association.
On October 5th prizes will be awarded to the best painting and sculpture at the Fair. The prizes, amounting to 10,000 Euro each, will be destined to the restoration of a work of art from the public cultural heritage.
On October 6th the “Lorenzo d’oro” prize will be awarded to Piero Angela, for his long and successful career as a director of documentaries.
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Short history of the Florence International Antiques Fair
• The Mostra Internazionale dell’Antiquariato was launched in 1959 in the prestigious premises of Palazzo Strozzi. The Fair was the brainchild of Luigi Bellini Sr., designed to attract to Florence the very best in the international antiques world, and it made its name by offering the choicest selection in the collecting and antiques sector. The overwhelming success of the first Fair, and of those which followed, marked the start of a market season increasingly oriented towards the Antiques Fairs. The originality of the idea, accompanied by an astute selection of the antiquarians, transformed the Fair into a cultural and fashionable event that could not be missed, to the extent that the Florentine Fair was visited both by the members of the international jet set and by a crowd avid for curiosities, knowledge and marvels. The international triumph was triggered by the fact that it was held in Florence and was also accompanied for the entire duration by a series of highly attractive cultural and society events.
- Problems in the utilisation of Palazzo Strozzi, where adaptation work was being carried out, meant that in 1977 the antiquarians had to move to Palazzo Giuntini (now the Grand Hotel), after which they returned to the original site up to 1993. In 1987, Guido Bartolozzi took over from the Bellini brothers as the General Secretary.
- When Palazzo Strozzi became definitively unavailable in 1995 the Fair had to be moved to the Palazzo degli Affari, a fine building designed by Spadolini, but entirely unsuitable for an antiquarian fair of the level of the Florentine Biennale. For the following editions of the Fair, the choice fell on Palazzo Corsini sull’Arno, the current premises of the event, where it has been held since 1997.
• In 2001 the Management Committee appointed Giovanni Pratesi, Chairman of the Italian Antiquarians Association, as General Secretary of the Florentine Biennale. This appointment represented a crucial turning-point for the Fair and it was in fact in 2001, with an absolutely innovative design and the inclusion of numerous novelties in the general programme, that the Biennale set off on the path that has led to its being considered today as one of the three most important antiques events in the world.
• To place the Biennale at the level of the most prestigious international Fairs it was decided to promote strict controls on the works displayed, modify the image of the Fair by entrusting the orchestration to the Maestro Pier Luigi Pizzi, who performed an authentic masterpiece of restyling, introducing a new pavilion in the entrance courtyard of the Palazzo, boost promotion by setting up specialised Press Offices in the major cities of the world (Wiesbaden, London, Paris, New York); extend to the Italian exhibitors the same rights as their foreign counterparts, offering them advance examination of the works on display so as to provide them with export licences before the start of the Fair.
THE CORSINI PALACE
Maria Maddalena Machiavelli, wife of Marchese Filippo Corsini, purchased the Palace from the Grand Duke Ferdinando II in 1649. Her son, Bartolomeo, began remodelling and redecorating the Palace in 1650. Initially the work was done by Alfonso Parigi the Younger, and then by Ferdinando Tacca, who continued with the project until 1671. Actual construction work on the Palace as it stands today was commissioned by Filippo Corsini junior, in 1685, after the death of his father Bartolomeo. Construction was directed by Antonio Ferri, a versatile exponent of the late Baroque Florentine culture. He was a set designer and engineer, who built machines and fortifications and than poured his extraordinary elegance and creative skill into Palazzo Corsini, making it one of Florence most unusually luxurious palaces.
The decorations, executed between 1692 and 1700, are among the finest examples of Florentine painting. Among the artists the Corsini family commissioned to decorate the located, we must mention the outstanding maters Anton Domenico Gabbiani, Alessandro Gherardini and Pier Dandini.
Palazzo Corsini, located on the banks of the Arno river, is in the heart of Florence, just a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo and near the smart Via Tornabuoni.
The Salon and the Aurora Gallery
When the Salon in the Palazzo Corsini was inaugurated in the late seventeenth century, Antonio Ferri’s designs (1694‑1696) must have aroused widespread amazement. Entering the room from the grand staircase, which forces a corner view, is an enormous source of wonder. The visitor sees an extraordinary room flooded with light reflected from the walls with their columns, bases and rippling cornice. The ceiling in the Salon is decorated with a glorification of the Corsini family, and it supports two gigantic painted wooden chandeliers that were carved by Antonio Francesco Gonelli between 1698 and 1700. The doors of the Salon open onto the adjacent decorated rooms.
Size and prestigious location make this splendid salon one of the most sought after reception rooms in the heart of Florence.
The impressive main staircase leads to the Aurora Gallery which is part of the main building: its large, arched windows look onto the courtyard and offer a splendid view of hills on the opposite side of the Arno river.
This luminous and completely frescoed gallery was decorated by Bartolomeo Neri and Alessandro Rosi, and with the other luxurious rooms of Palazzo Corsini, will house, from the 30th September to the 9th October, the 24th edition of the International Antique Fair.
The Ballroom, that overlooks an internal courtyard, is reached via the middle door (on the left) of the Salon. The large crystal chandelier and the gilded eighteenth century wall sconces complete the decorations.
The fresco, painted by Alessandro Gherardini between 1695 and 1696 is set in a plasterwork frame enhanced with flowers and two scrolls. In the middle of the composition in Aurora’s chariot drawn by Pegasus. The goddess of dawn, sister of Helios, the sun god, is surrounded by three maidens, the Hours, one of whom is holding a floral crown, while a Putto holding a torch, symbol of the goddess, precedes the chariot. On one edge of the fresco, Gherardini painted the Kingdom of Flora, with Zephyr, the young god with butterfly wings and some nymphs accompanying the goddess. On the opposite side is the Triumph of Galatea: the sea nymph is on a shell drawn by dolphins, and Polyphemus with his heard is in front of her, playing a love song on his pipe. The care the artist dedicated to the fresco is the further enhanced by the decorative elements he added: four vases in the corners of the arch; those near the Kingdom of Flora are decorated with garlands of flowers, the other two with sea creature and fish. It can be easily said that this fresco is the finest decorative work in the entire Palace.
During the Antiques Fair, the padded and lined with precious silk seats will be removed to protect their integrity.
Morphy Auctions’ team of experts set to hit the show circuit in July Visits planned in Seattle, Portland, Anaheim and AllentownJuly 6th, 2011 by Admin
DENVER, Pa. – Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions, and several of his on-staff experts will be visiting antique shows this month, with stops planned for Portland, Seattle, Allentown, Pa., and Anaheim, California.
Morphy and his team have issued an open invitation to collectors who may have an interest in obtaining a free evaluation of their collection and learning how to consign to a future auction. Visits can be arranged at collectors’ homes or wherever else their articles may be kept.
“There is no obligation whatsoever, and all visits are kept strictly confidential,” said Morphy.
Morphy’s July event schedule includes the following stops:
July 8-10 – Dan Morphy and Brian Estepp at the Portland Expo Antiques & Collectibles Show in Portland, Oregon
July 15-16 – Brian Estepp at the Seattle Marble Show in Seattle, Washington
July 16-17 – Mike Landis at the Allentown Paper Show in Allentown, Pennsylvania
July 28-30 – Dan Morphy at the UFDC Doll Convention in Anaheim, California
Morphy’s is known for its high-profile auctions of toys, banks, antique advertising, mechanical/coin-op and gambling machines; fine and decorative art; clocks and Americana. The company holds the world record for the highest-grossing one-day auction of a single-owner toy collection: $7.7 million achieved with the 2007 sale of the Stephen and Marilyn Steckbeck collection of antique mechanical banks.
To make an appointment to meet with Morphy Auctions team members during their July show tour, please e-mail email@example.com.
Military firearms are highly collectible antiques that peak a lot of buyers interests. One rare antique that fits this category is the matchlock weapon. The matchlock first came into existence in the 14th century. The significance of the matchlock was that it had a mechanism or “lock” invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. Its design removed the need to lower by hand a lit match into the weapon’s flash pan. The matchlock also made it possible to have both hands free to keep a firm grip on the weapon at the moment of firing, and, more importantly, to keep both eyes on the target.
The classic European matchlock gun held a burning match in a gun that was known as the serpentine. A variety of matchlock was also developed called the snapping matchlock, in which the serpentine was spring-loaded and released by pressing a button, pulling a trigger, or pulling a short string passing into the mechanism. This type fell out of favor with soldiers, but was often used in fine target weapons. One weakness of the matchlock was the necessity of keeping the match lit. The sole source of ignition for the powder was the match. If the match was not lit, then the mechanism was useless and the gun became little more than an expensive club. This was mainly a problem in wet weather for the matchlock gun. It became an issue when the damp match cord was difficult to light and to keep burning. Another drawback was the burning match itself. At night, the match would glow in the dark, possibly revealing the carrier’s position. The distinctive smell of a burning match-cord was also a dead giveaway of a musketeer’s position. This was one reason why soldiers in charge of transporting and guarding ammunition were amongst the first to be issued self-igniting guns like the wheel lock and snaphance. The matchlock was also uneconomical to keep ready for long periods of time. The matchlock first appeared in Europe in the middle of the 15th century. By the 16th century, the matchlock was universally sold everywhere. The Janissary corps of the Ottoman army adopted matchlock arms from Hungary gradually from the 1440s onwards. Improved versions of the musket were transported to India by Babur in 1526 and then to Japan by the Chinese. The Japanese were technically able to produce tempered steel such as swords and blades. However, they preferred to use work-hardened brass springs in their matchlocks. The low cost of production, simplicity, and high availability of the matchlock kept it in use in European armies until about 1720. Both the Qing Dynasty and the Joseon Dynasty used matchlock arms as late as the 1850s and 1870s. They used these during the Second Opium War and the United States expedition to Korea. Improvised matchlock guns were last used by pro-Indonesia Timor Leste militias in the 1999 conflict.
John Taylor Arms’s “Stokesay Castle”, is a world famous historical antique. Arms created this etching and work of art in 1942. It is printed on black on blue-green handmade laid paper. The image presents a side view of the famed thirteenth-century fortified manor house located in Shropshire, England. The scene shows the castle and adjoined church next to it. It is pencil signed and dated the year 1942. The print is titled and inscribed “To my friends Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Smith with Best wishes from John Taylor Arms 1942.” The technique used is engraving. Overall, this exquisite print is inexpensive and in very good condition.
From the Norman Conquest until 1241, the area was held by the Lacy family, a powerful dynasty with lands in the Welsh Marches. Stokesay Castle is a fortified manor house in Shropshire, England. It was built in the late 13th century. Stokesay Castle is a grade 1 listed building, which means it has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. This gigantic fortress was owned by the Lacy family. On the death of the last male heir, Walter de Lacy, it was left to the husbands of his two granddaughters to divide the family estates. The Stokesay Castle manner went to John de Verdon. Verdon went on a crusade leaving his property to a tenant. This tenant sold the manor in 1281 to Laurence of Ludlow. The main construction of Stokesay Castle was undertaken by Ludlow, the richest local wool merchant of his generation. Extensive research done on Stokesay Castle’s structure was done and concluded that virtually the whole present structure was completed before 1291. One of the oldest elements of Stokesay Castle is the lower two story’s of the north tower. One of Stokesay Castle’s most magnificent features is its great slate-roofed hall, which stands thirty-four feet high. The original wooden staircase also remains intact today. The Elizabethan gatehouse, added in the 16th century, is also half-timbered and is decorated with elegant carvings. The interior of the castle contains a selection of rare wall paintings from the medieval period.
During the reign of King Charles I, Stokesay’s Castle fell into the ownership of a different family and was used for a supply base for the King’s forces in the area, in the early stages of the English Civil War. The manor was used as a farmhouse and a barn until the early nineteenth century. In 1869, it was purchased by John Derby Allcroft. Allcroft, realizing the historical significance of Stokesay’s Castle, set about to restore and maintain it. He also had Stokesay’s Court built nearby. Stokesay’s Castle is currently in the guardianship of the English heritage, which provides a recorded audio tour of the entire premises for visitors. This is a print that will add nicely to an antique collection for any collector.
Jacobean furniture dates all the way back to the year 1600. The revival of this style lasted for almost a century. The period represents the growth of foreign influence and the passing of the oak styles. The Jacobean style was made popular during the reign of James the first and was also popular under his son Charles the second.
The earliest Jacobean furniture was influenced mainly by Elizabethan (1603 -1688) styled furniture. During this time the furniture took on different styles. Early Jacobean furniture was somewhat inward looking, not fully embracing exotic influences that were more ornate. Colonial Americans copied the early styles of the furniture as best as they could since they did not have skilled furniture makers.
Commonwealth Style (1649-1660) marks the middle of the Jacobean Period, when the furniture was of simpler design and undecorated. The late Jacobean Period is that of the Carolean period, named for King Charles II. Charles the first was more cultured than his father and took much care and interest in the furnishings of his palaces and mansions and especially in the collection of great art and paintings. During Charles’s reign over England, he paid more attention to domestic comfort with much more use of padded upholstery, carpets instead of rush mats, and finer embroidery. The Latin name for James is Jacobus. The English style in vogue beginning with James I’s reign is referred to as “Jacobean”. The Jacobean, or Jacobethan, era was another phase of English Renaissance architecture, theatre, and decoration and formed a continuation, begun in the Elizabethan age, of the Renaissance’s penetration into England. In America, Jacobean style furniture is synonymous with Pilgrim style because the early English settlements in America took place during the Jacobean era. Very little American furniture of the earlier part of the Jacobean period is still surviving; but later pieces, from about 1670, are more numerous. Most of the American primitive furniture was produced during this period by colonists to make do, because there were few skilled cabinetmakers in the colonies.
There were many different features in the Jacobean furniture style. Oak was the chief wood and Ash and maple were used for turning and whittling. Using pine wood was also a popular method. There were also a few different types of Jacobean furniture. This included turned chairs, highly carved mirror frames, footstools, and gateleg tables. Upholstery was used to improve chairs. Upholstery is the work of providing furniture, especially seats, with padding,springs,webbing and fabric covers. Materials such as silk, tapestries, crewelwork, linen, velvet, and even leather were used on various types of chairs. There were four different chair styles in the Jacobean era that included three-legged, carver, and Brewster. Almost all flat surfaces on chairs, chests, etc. are carved in low relief. Jacobean furniture was very sturdy, massive in size, notoriously uncomfortable, and made to last. The furniture pieces that were produced consisted mainly of chests, cupboards, trestle tables, wainscot chairs, and gate legged circular tables. Some veneering and inlay were used, and many pieces were painted. Spiral turning was also very popular. Tables were rectangular in shape, with small melon ball turning on the legs. As a rule, Jacobean furniture construction was simple. It was assembled with mortise and tenon joints, held together with pegs.
Jacobean period furniture can mainly be found in the auction houses of England. Being built to last, many pieces have not only survived, but are still in good condition. Understandably expensive, most “Jacobean antiques” available for sale are actually 19th century reproductions. Lines of furniture today have the same styles and will reference the Jacobean era.
Blue Onion is a popular china pattern that has been in use for hundreds of years, but did you know it was originally not an onion at all? European craftsmen in Meissen (outside of Dresden in Germany) interpreted the unidentifiable peaches and other fruit from older Chinese patterns. Before it was called the onion pattern, it was originally named the bulb pattern. The early patterns first produced were closely modeled by the Chinese in 1740. Blue Onion china was made into plates and bowls in the Meissen Factory that had a feel of one of a kind. One of the early examples of this was the blue and white porcelains of the early, powerful Ming Dynasty in 1420. The colorful flowers and fruits pictured on the original Chinese pattern were unknown to the Meissen painters. Therefore, they created hybrids that were more familiar to Europeans.
The Blue Onion design most likely originated from an east Asian model, specifically Chinese. Its artistic style also demonstrates that Blue Onion derives also from European influence. The Blue Onion creative pattern was designed as a white ware decorated with cobalt blue. Some rare dishes have a green, red, pink, or black pattern instead of the more common cobalt blue. A very rare type is called red bud, because there are red accents on the blue-and-white dishes. Porcelain found in Europe with the onion pattern is manufactured in Czech Republic by the famous stock company Czech Porcelain.
A highly rare blue onion antique listed on antiques.com is the Meissen Blue Onion soup tureen that includes an under plate. This primitive antique is from 1920. In the images below, you will see the mark of Meissen printed out and this denotes a 20th century manufacture of this very popular Blue Onion pattern. This distinguished mark of the crossed swords dates back to circa 1800. The under plate measures 15″ X 10″ and the tureen is 16″ from handle to handle and the height of the tureen to the top of the finial on the cover is 10 1/2″. The opening of the tureen is 11″ X 8 3/4″. The antique is in relatively in good condition with the exceptions of a few scratches. No restoration is currently needed. This Blue Onion antique is a real collector’s treat as tureens with under plates are rare to find, even in 20th century manufacture. The opening on the cover is for a ladle. We have a non matching white ladle that we will include in the purchase of this tureen. This exquisite antique is a collector’s dream and will not disappoint!
Ivey-Selkirk Auctioneers’ May Jackson Rooms Auction is finally here! You’ll see a variety of beautiful pieces – far too many to list here! But here are a few of the many pieces available at this amazing auction:
- A Fine Selection of English Furniture and Decorative Art including a Harvest Table, Welsh Dresser, Pew, Cupboards, Bookcase, Terra Cotta Chimney Pots and Mirrors
- Exceptional Painted French Louis XV Style Armoire with Beveled Edge Mirrors, Louis XV style Marble Top Bombe Chest, Pair Louis XV Belle Epoque Armchairs and a Louis XV Belle Epoque Settee
- Antique American Bookcases, a Baker Armoire, China Cabinets, Contemporary Design Furniture and Wrought Iron and Patio Furniture and Outdoor Elements
- Oil Paintings and Prints including a large Floral Oil by Sebouten
- Asian Decorative Art, Lamps & Chandeliers
- Handwoven Carpets and Area Rugs, Sterling and Plated Silver
- Flo Blue, Ashworth Bros., Mottahedeh, Limoges, Staffordshire, Waterford, Baccarat and More
- Large Selection of Silver, Costume and 14k Gold Jewelry
- American Samplers and Longaberger Baskets
- Toys & Collectibles, Much More!
Hong Kong – May 31st
This May, Sotheby’s Fine Chinese Paintings department is thrilled to offer its first ever off-season sale, The Mei Yun Tang Collection of Paintings by Chang Dai-Chien. This monumental collection was assembled by the late Mr. and Mrs. Kao Ling-Mei over the course of half a century, and is internationally recognized as the most comprehensive Zhang Daqian paintings collection of all times. The sale features 25 works from the collection and is estimated to bring more than HKD 130 million. It represents the very first time that any of these works have appeared on the market.
The selection for sale offers a detailed account of the stylistic evolution of the artist, from his early traditional styles to the bold splashed ink and colour of his later years. It also reveals the close friendship and camaraderie between the celebrated artist and Mr. and Mrs. Kao Ling-Mei – dear friends for over 40 years. The couple acquired many of Zhang Daqian’s most prized works from exhibitions or as gifts from the artist himself. Lotus and the Mandarin Ducks (Lot 4), was bought in an exhibition of the artist’s work; and Children Playing under a Pomegranate Tree (Lot 13) – painted especially to compliment the couple’s large family – was received as a present from the artist.