Auctions

THE top-notch Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair (from Thursday to 18 June, 11am) is celebrating its diamond jubilee by abandoning the 'dateline' that has hitherto restricted exhibits to artworks at least 100 years old. As a result, a virtually uncharted market in top-priced 20th-century artworks has opened up. But what can a fair, rather than a dealer or auction, offer the rich and slightly conservative buyer?

The Dover Street Gallery has Stanley Spencer's 1956 portrait of his patron, J L Behrend, for pounds 50,000. It was last on offer at the Peter Nahum gallery in 1988 at pounds 4,500. Also for pounds 50,000, Dover Street has John Armstrong's surreal Pro Patria tempera of 1938 showing broken columns and ruined buildings of the Spanish civil war. Spink & Son is backing modern Brits, too: it has priced an Ivon Hitchens of a large garden of 1933 at pounds 18,000.

Iona Antiques is banking on less adventurous taste in 20th-century art: its 1914 portrait of a prize shire horse, Ivy Victor Chief, by W A Clark is pounds 5,500. Christopher Wood is exhibiting Herbert Richter's 1935 view of the White Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace, 'in the region of pounds 15,000', and, of the same date, Phillip de Laszlo's society portrait of Joan Clarkson, the actress and dancer, at pounds 35,000. Is this the place to be seen buying a Matisse lithograph? William Weston has one of a seated nude of 1926 for pounds 10,000.

Garrards is getting right up to date and right up the price ladder with an 18-carat gold tea and coffee set made in its workshops last year to an archive design by Robert Garrard II: price pounds 135,000.

Entry: pounds 12 single, pounds 20 double including handbook. Charity gala preview, Wednesday (6.30- 9.30pm), pounds 100 entry (071-793 1011).

BEST OF THE REST

Besides the most important camera seen at auction, a 1923 Leica expected to fetch more than pounds 100,000, the Christie's South Kensington sale of Leicas, Nikons and Canons, Thursday (2pm), also offers classic cameras for a couple of hundred pounds upwards.

Garden statuary at Clifton Little Venice, London W9, Monday (11am), offered by Christie's. Modern Brits at Phillips, Tuesday (11am). A trumpet orchestrion ( pounds 100,000- pounds 160,000) in Sotheby's sale of mechanical musical in-

struments, Wednesday-Thursday (11am and 10.30am).

COUNTRYWIDE

Woodmansey village hall, between Hull and Beverley: one owner's lifetime collection of models, toys, cameras and collectables, tomorrow (2pm). Haltemprice Auctions (0482 224362).

Market Drayton: Collectables, furniture, glassware, garden implements, many from estates and private vendors, Monday (9.30am). Barber & Son, Tower House, Maer Lane (0630 653402).

Stafford: Entire contents of a cycle shop, including 50 adult mountain bikes, 60 children's mountain bikes, three battery-powered cars, four battery-powered motorcycles, today (10.30am): Hall and Lloyd, South Street (0785 58176).

Birmingham: Televisions and videos; 20 boxed Grundig televisions, seven Grundig loudspeaker systems, compact disc players, portable radios, hi-fis, Wednesday (11am). Stevens, Champion and Slater, Berkeley Street, off Broad Street (021 643 1942).

FAIRS

Newark International Antique and Collectors at the Newark and Notts Showground, Tuesday (IACF; 0636 702326).

Stafford Antiques, at the County Showground, today and tomorrow (West Midland Antique Fairs; 0743 271444).

Decomania: tomorrow at Chiswick Town Hall, London W7 (081- 397 2681).

Countrywide: Antiques Trade Gazette (071-930 4957) and Government Auction News (hotline 0891 887700).

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