Summer News Letter

Dear All.

As no one has seemed to take up the baton to write you a news letter and as I was recently in London I thought I would give you an update from my remote rural idle in the Welsh hills.

I planned to go up to town for The Pimlico Road Private View on the 26th of June anyway but arrived earlier for a friends 80th Birthday celebration on Friday. I highly recommend The Pavilion on the Embankment just opposite Dolphin Square should you require a venue. Our very generous hosts, Charles and Sarah Paterson, Sarah used to have an Antique shop in Suffolk, it was Charles’s birthday, found the perfect spot projecting out over the river with glorious views up and down stream, and across to the new American Embassy. Quite magical as the sun set and turned all the glass facades a rosy pink. I was delighted to be sitting next to Anne Mollo , the brilliant and gifted set designer and near her partner , also in films, Jon Bunker. Friends from the old days when I had a gallery on the Pimlico Road. 100 hundred of us dined in this room, wrapped in glass on two sides, suspended above the Thames

I was lucky enough to be staying with Paulene Stone and we were joined by her son Harry who had flown in from LA. We did some shopping at the market on Orange Square on Saturday morning before he arrived, always a pleasure and a great place to meet friends. We spent a very pleasant half hour looking round Robert Kime’s. He had some splendid old Persian carpets, some beautiful 17th and 18th century Chinese porcelain pots and vases and a stunning set of dinning chairs , probably Italian. At dinner that evening it was wonderful to be joined by Anthony and Annie Outred, David Thomas , Mark Ossowski and his girlfriend Samantha, an exciting artist living and working in England and Italy. Small world, she is a daughter of the renowned Antique Dealing family The Keal’s of Broadway and Knightsbridge, more old friends. Last but not least the ever glamorous and beautiful Marilyn Lownes joined us and made sure we behaved ourselves.

Paulene, Harry and I had a delicious light lunch at the Poule au Pot on Sunday, another treat, at one of my all time favourite restaurants on the Square. The joy of sitting here at one of their pavement tables is that I kept meeting old friends from around the world in town for the various Antique Fairs and Auctions. Afterwards we went window shopping on The Pimlico Road and surrounding Streets. Harry went off to watch the football but joined us for dinner at The Great India on Lower Sloane Street , always a must when I visit London. So much eating and drinking !

Monday boring chores including the dentist but at least on the way back I had a chance to pop into Joanna Woods shop on Elizabeth Street and have a chat with Kathy. Walking back down Ebury Street I said hello to everyone in Robert Kime’s and next door to Christie in John Adams Fine Art. Dashed across the road and popped into to say hello to the Ramsay’s in their delightful gallery and nipped next door to say hello to Tomas Starzewsky and Laura. I paid a brief visit to Gabriel Bernardi , glad to see they are still there despite the threat to move them on. He had a wonderful new glass collection on display and some new furniture designs to admire. In the evening I had two invitations. One to the very generous Sloane Club Summer Party at The Royal Hospital , the other to Anthony Outred and Carlton Hobbs exhibition in Carlton’s wonderful gallery on Bloomfield Terrace. As I could not take a guest to the former, Paulene and I went to the latter where champagne flowed and canapes appeared endlessly. A beautiful selection of rare 19th century items of furniture were presented to coincide with the launch of Christopher Payne’s exhaustively researched book “Paris Furniture: the luxury market of the 19th century”. It was a delight to see Lennox Cato and his wife , dealers from Kent; Paul from John Sandoe’s heavenly book store in Blackwater Terrace; Reiner Zeitz another dealer and many more. We retired to have dinner with Harry at The Ivy on the Kings Road and were very lucky, by chance , to be placed in their splendid gardens. Such a pity they will note let you book a specific spot.

Tuesday dawned with yet more glorious sunshine and rising temperatures. The Pimlico Private View was eagerly anticipated for the evening. I went for a morning stroll and managed to see David Humphrey at Humphrey Carrasco, they were rearranging the showrooms and placed a splendid set of library steps in their window. Had a chat with Nella at Christopher Butterworth’s , Luke at Dale Rogers, where I spotted a sensational plaster cast of a rare dinosaur’s skull . In Holbein place I had a chat with Jude in Bennison Fabrics and next door admired a splendid sofa upholstered in mustard yellow velvet in Paulo Moschino’s beautiful window. Paulene , Harry and I decided the day was too good to waste so we walked to Hyde Park to see the Christo installation on the Serpentine. Quite stunning and the complimentary exhibition in the Serpentine Gallery was well worth the extra few yards. We walked back to Lower Sloane Street and had a light lunch at the ever popular La Bottega where I bumped into Guy Tobin from Rose Uniake’s gallery, Peter Hurford over from Australia , he once had an Antique shop on the Kings Road, and other friends from the area.

Eventually the time arrived to visit The Pimlico Road Private View. Paulene and I were joined by Mrs Hormaeche and her wonderful daughter Alexandra , a successful Barrister. Where to start ?
First into Sybil Colefax and John Fowler, the show rooms were looking as ever glamorous and elegant the outside beautifully bedecked with splendid baskets of summer flowering plants. Then next door to Christopher Howe where I was delighted to see his daughter Holly, who is expecting her first child. Congratulations. On to Jamb to see Will and Charlotte, loved the late 17th century English, black and gold, Japanned Cabinet on chest with a beautifully fitted interior of tiny drawers.
Promemoria and Mark Ransom were heaving with guests, popped in briefly to say hello to all in Poggenpohl Kitchens. Hazardously crossed the busy road to Rose Uniacke’s. Rose was looking deliciously cool in an elegant white linen shirt dress, her gallery as stylish as ever. Alexandra collapsed into a magnificently over scaled blue velvet armchair which looked extremely comfortable.

A brief respite having chatted to several old friends at Rose Uniacke’s, crossing Holbein Place we spent a few minutes with The Outred’s and admired some very elegant Neo-Classical marble sculptures. Another brief stop to talk to Paul at Haynes Fine Art and to admire a splendid little Lowry industrial scene with his little stick men in profusion. Linley and Soane were shutting up but we managed to catch Paulo Moschino and Phillipe at their shop on the corner of Ebury Street and Bourne Street. Popped next door to see John and Kathy Adams, and Christie, for a last glass of champagne and to admire their lovely exhibition of mid 20th century French paintings. We did not have time to visit Robert Kime’s which was a great shame as I adore his shop, we went home to meet Harry for supper. Luckily a light meal back at the house. I was also moving home that evening to stay with Mrs Babs Thomson in Battersea to whom I caught the bus after our farewell meal. Harry was flying onto Italy the following morning at the crack of dawn.

Despite the warm weather I was up bright and early to visit more friends. I eventually made my way back to Babs’ house. Helped tidy up her front garden, do a few repairs for her as she was going out to lunch with a friend. Had a leisurely afternoon, a shower and change of clothes to accompany her to The Masterpiece Preview opening. I love driving in town in the evening and being able to park any where. We strolled through the magnificent Royal Hospital Grounds to the imposing Marquee on the lower fields. Queues to get in and queues to leave, but all progressed quickly and soon we were enveloped in the glamour and super luxury of the splendid exhibits inside. First stop is always Wartski’s ,as it is virtually the first stand, to admire the Faberge. There are too many staggeringly beautiful things to mention so I will be very brief. Steinitz had a spectacular set of twelve embroidered pilaster panels covered with glass beads over 12 feet tall dating from the 1740’s. These formed the basis for their spectacularly decorated and furnished stand. Somewhere I spotted a stunning Dufy flower still life singing with vibrant colours. Another stand specialised in early illuminated manuscripts but what I really loved were their collection of early personal jewelled pendant reliquaries and crosses. It was great to see our own 88 Gallery with a stunning and elegant stand of mid 20th century furniture. Linley too were present with a very stylish stand displaying some of there outstanding bespoke collection of furniture. A Riva Launch, a huge Picasso painting, Verdura Jewellery, Chippendale furniture, a Gainsborough portrait, a diamond and emerald tiara of breath taking stones, silver and objets d’art to wet the appetite of any Maharajah, Oligarch or Master of Industry. As always friends galore, the Bachofen’s from Austria, the Landrigan’s from America, the younger Steinitz from Paris, Munira Bonnet from France, friends from Italy and Spain . What fun and a pure delight. The huge marquee was filled with glamorous and attractive people of all ages eager to look , learn and hopefully to buy something wonderful. We slipped away just before closing time for dinner just around the corner . Guess where ? The Great India , not so glamorous perhaps but very welcoming as ever and delicious food. It must be good for friends from New York arrived soon after and Tim Langston from the Pimlico Road, with a client, was also having dinner there. So a leisurely drive home along the Embankment passed the twinkling lights of the Albert Bridge and across the illuminated Battersea Bridge, the river looking majestic in the failing light of a Summers evening. Pure magic.

I hope you are managing to stay with me. Thursday dawned and I still had lots of friends to call on. Firstly a few close to home in Battersea within walking distance and then a stroll across Albert Bridge to catch a bus back to The Pimlico Road. I had to pop up to Elizabeth Street to see Joanna Wood, Lucy her PA, Andrew Buchanan, and Kiran who runs the shop. Glad to hear business was booming on all fronts . Back down Ebury Street to buy some Chocolates at “R” Chocolates, a gift, as I was meeting Paulene and Marilyn for lunch at Harry’s behind Harrods . Strolled back and looked at the new shops on Pavilion Road before popping into Paulo Moschino’s , Bennison, Outred and Dale Rogers on our way home. Called in to say hello to Sylvia Mimicopoulou at Jane Churchill, the first of my Pimlico Road friends to visit me when I moved to Wales. At last returned to Babs who had had a relaxed morning without me, what a relief for her. A light supper , a couple of TV programmes and bed. Exhausted.

My trip was sadly over only too soon, but what a trip. I managed to cram in so much and see almost all the people I wanted to see. The Pimlico Road is looking as wonderful as ever and all the changes have not destroyed its charm. New shops like Fermoie , Roberta e Basta and The Odd Chair Company have fitted in seamlessly. Old friends and new continue to make it one of the most welcoming and enjoyable shopping destinations in the country. Friday morning I returned to Gloucestershire for the weekend and then back to Wales on Monday morning. Stimulated, inspired and re-invigorated by all that I had seen and experienced.

I probably will not be back in London until December so I hope you all have a wonderful Summer. Long may the sunshine last.

Regards to you all.
Mark Boyce.

This small pocket of Belgravia - just a few minutes walk from Sloane Square - is home to some of the finest antiques shops and galleries in London. There is a vast array of choice; endless variety that satisfies every appetite from the expert eye to the simply inquisitive looking for something special.