VICTORIAN values will be tested at auction during this most glittering week of the art market year, whose star event is the opening of the annual Grosvenor House Antiques Fair, Wednesday (5-8pm) to June 19. There are big auctions of Victorian paintings at both Sotheby's, Tuesday (7pm) and Wednesday (10.30am) and at Christie's, Friday (10am).
Their size is due to some spectacular green-shoot prices for Victorian paintings, mainly in New York, where a Tissot made a record sterling price at Christie's in February ( pounds 2,076,923) and an Alma-Tadema doubled its estimate to dollars 2,532,000 ( pounds 1,640,000), an artist's record, at Sotheby's last month.
Enthused dealers and collectors are itching to offload the dead stock of a decade. Can the market stand it? By the end of the week we shall be talking either of sustained recovery or a mini-glut. Meanwhile, seek quality among the many lots under pounds 10,000.
Grosvenor House, Britain's premier art and antiques fair, has styled itself as having 'international appeal' and is promoting under- pounds 10,000 affordables in an unusually sensitive response to lesser rivals. It has had no difficulty in filling its 92 stands, despite losing 18 of the dealers who exhibited last year. Charity gala Thursday (6.30-9.30pm). Single tickets pounds 100 from Help the Aged (071-253 2926). Openings: Thursday, 10 June (11am- 5.30pm), subsequent weekdays (11am- 8pm), weekends (11am-6pm). Entry: pounds 12 single, pounds 20 double (including handbook), Saturday 19 June, pounds 6.
The Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fair is still on (until 13 June). By tradition, dealers trundle Olympia bargains into Grosvenor House.
The International Ceramics Fair and Seminar opens at the Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, London W1, Friday. Openings Friday-Sunday (11am- 8pm), last day Monday (11am-7pm). Entry: pounds 8 (including handbook). Lectures extra.
Sotheby's first sale of film and animation art has fascinating film props and memorabilia. (Christie's first two sales in this sector made 94 per cent last April, 71 per cent a year later.) Early country furniture: Christie's South Ken: Wednesday (1pm).
Auction of British banknote paper submerged in 1940 after the ship taking it to India was bombed by Heinkels near Oban. Dried in the warmth of a cowshed, 100 lots, each with paper for 10,000-20,000 notes, are estimated pounds 100- pounds 200 each at Buckland, Dix & Wood's coin, medal and banknote sale, Tuesday (10.30am, banknote paper from 2.30pm). 1 Old Bond Street, London W1 (071-499 5022).
The Antiques Drive-In at Herts County Showground is on Friday 9 July (9am-5pm), not yesterday as stated in the Independent last Saturday. We apologise for any inconvenience.Reuse content