June 24, 2018The Pimlico Road area in London sits neatly between Belgravia and Chelsea. The neighborhood, once down-at-the-heels and unfashionable, is now a smart destination for lovers of contemporary design, antiques, art and other collectibles. It also offers some excellent restaurants and pubs, tucked away on its charming side streets.
Here, we introduce 11 Pimlico Road dealers offering antiques and contemporary wares.
“On one side of the screen is an interpretation, in marquetry, of a reclining nude by British artist Jonathan Yeo. The figure is based on one of his earliest nude paintings, Scarlett (Cassiopeia Study), 1999, and so the piece is named the Cassiopeia screen. It is the first time Yeo has collaborated on a piece of furniture.”
“The Girih cabinet explores Islamic pattern through detailed wooden marquetry in brilliant sapphire blue and rich gold tones. At the center of the design lies an eight-pointed star, taken from a beautiful mosaic-tile pattern that caught my eye on a visit to Doha, Qatar.”
“The World Map table is a unique piece by our specialist craftsmen in the UK, using over forty individually selected veneers. The main body of the table is created out of stained Fulbeck walnut in a high-gloss finish. The base features elegant nickel stringing. The table’s inlay is a combination of ripple sycamore and numerous natural and hand-dyed veneers, including ash burr, quilted maple, lacewood, fumed eucalyptus and ziricote. The contrasting effect of each timber’s color maps out the world with its different countries.”
Founded more than 45 years ago, Anthony Outred’s eponymous Pimlico Road firm specializes in exceptional furniture, sculpture and works of art — as well as the antique door hardware for which he is internationally renowned.
“I am always seeking stand-alone masterworks that are historically relevant in the context of their period and are of groundbreaking design,” Outred says. “I like to think of my eye as unblinkered and discerning.”
His most notable find to date was an exquisite early 19th-century Russian glass-and-bronze table designed by Jean-François Thomas de Thomon, made by the imperial factory circa 1808 “and probably a present from Czar Alexander I to his mother and sister,” he says.
Villa Negroni frescoes, 1778–83, by Angelo Campanella
“This group of engravings comprises the first seven from the set of twelve studies of the frescoes in Rome’s Villa Negroni, house of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, made by Angelo Campanella and published by Camillo Buti, in Rome, 1778 to 1783. It is one of the few surviving sets still in private hands. The clarity of the engraved line and the bright, fresh colors of the watercolor and body color are indicative that the group have been kept in a library and protected from the light.”
Chinese Qianlong period huanghuali bureau cabinets, ca. 1750
“Huanghuali (Dalbergia odorifera) is indigenous to Hainan Island, in the South China Sea, but large trees are no longer accessible. It ranges from light yellow to purplish red in color and was the principal cabinet wood for fine furniture in the Ming and early Qing dynasties, at which time supplies became almost exhausted. This is a unique pair of Chinese Qianlong period huanghuali bureau cabinets, circa 1750. Both the upper and lower sections of the cabinets have beautifully figured sides with original paktong carrying handles. It is probable that this pair of cabinets is unique, as we have been unable to find any other recorded examples.”
Louis XIV carved ebony, fruitwood, rosewood and bone-inlaid cabinet, ca. 1660
“This Louis XIV carved cabinet on a stand belongs to a group of ebony cabinets created during the mid-seventeenth century and attributed to Pierre Gole, active in the Faubourg Saint-Germain. Other ebony cabinets in this group with similar architectural and mirrored interiors can be found in the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Musée du Louvre; the Rijksmuseum; and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.”
“I love mid-eighteenth-century English and Irish furniture,” says Roger Jones, interior design director and head of antiques at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, “in particular, walnut and mahogany pieces with crisp edges but bearing the patina of the years. I also have a predilection, shared by my predecessors, for late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century painted furniture.”
The London antiques business was founded in the 1930s by Lady Sibyl Colefax, who was later joined by John Fowler in a legendary decorating partnership. Jones says the ethos has always been to avoid “polite” furniture and instead aim for “the quirky, the interesting, the impactful and the decorative.”
“A rustic tree-trunk table, the top made from athick cross-section of the trunk of a very large tree and the base from the lower part of the trunk of a smaller tree, its spreading roots forming the foot, all highly polished. I have seen similar tables before but never one as big or sculptural as this.”
“An elegant painted Adam-style console table, made in the middle of the last century for the Royal Box at Ascot Racecourse. One can imagine the conversations, excited or downhearted, to which it bore witness.”
“A late eighteenth-century English open armchair with an oval caned back and caned seat. This chair has been expertly repaired and is structurally sound, but its distressed paintwork has been left untouched: visible evidence of a long and checkered history.”
“I am drawn to pieces which have a well-worn character, a story to tell,” he says. “I am not restricted to a time period, but gravitate toward intelligent, timeless design.”
Many of his original customers are still with him today, buying both original pieces and the in-house Made by Howe range, “which emulates the craftsmanship of the eighteenth century, with makers living and breathing their work.”
“Since discovering the Raynham Hall Angel bed, my greatest passion has always been for beds. Not just state beds, but any nice old beds — brass, wood or even wrought iron; romantic or rudimentary. They are places where dreams are made. At the moment, this French Louis XVI is a fave both for its original dusty painted carved frame and for the choice of a sunny yellow vintage linen covering.”
“To switch from the most luxurious to the most utilitarian, my next love would be lighting, which brings atmosphere to a room if chosen well. Beside the bed or on the desk should sit a trusty lamp! We always have a good collection of modernist lighting, which demonstrates the innovation of this period. I particularly like this unnamed example from the late 1920s or early ’30s, which is in remarkable original condition.”
Barratt-Campbell launched her firm in 2013 as an offshoot of her eponymous decorating business. “I was consistently finding that it was difficult to source textural pieces that suited my taste and projects, so there was a gap in the market that needed to be filled. FBC London was born out of that decision.”
“The base of this console is made of the most exquisite Calacatta Viola marble and is trimmed with cityscape-inspired metal detailing. I designed this console, whose name derives from the Latin word meaning ‘strong,’ with the idea of bringing a protective warmth to an interior through the rich tones emanating from the marble.”
The Opuntia series, 2017, by Marco Tullio Siviglia
“These are our limited-edition Marco Tullio Siviglia ceramic vases. We asked Marco to design something especially for Belgravia in Bloom, and he created three beautiful vases that we launched during London Craft Week 2018.”
Dale Rogers was sitting in a café in Morocco in the mid-1980s when he noticed the table’s exquisite surface, embedded with what at first appeared to be shells.
“It turned out that the slab of stone was in fact three hundred fifty million years old and contained fossils of ammonites and squid,” he recalls. “I promptly hired a Berber to take me to the mine where the stone came from — and I was hooked!”
Today, he is recognized as the authority on fossils, crystals and minerals, having built an enviable network of like-minded dealers and collectors around the globe. “There is a Wild West attitude that pervades this business, with some fascinating characters.”
“A piece of electric blue labradorite. The color is extraordinary — we haven’t ever seen this blue before, so vivid and iridescent. It is refracted light from thousands of minute fractures in the rock.”
Mark Punton managed a gallery for eight years before setting up Ebury Trading in 2007.
“I have always been intrigued by the classical world,” says Punton “Every piece of architectural and furniture design traces its origins to the classical, and I like to play around with that idea.”
As well as buying show-stopping pieces — “we are not afraid of bold color” — the Pimlico Road antiques business also undertakes extensive restoration projects. “Giving pieces a new lease on life makes me happy,” he explains, “particularly when they then go to homes where they will be much loved.”
“Another amazing piece is this huge chandelier taken from the original Royal Adelphi hotel on the Embankment here in London. It was made for the hotel in the early thirties and is a wonderful example of an Art Deco chandelier with great provenance. At nearly three meters high, however, it requires a very large space!”
Thanks to his father, Albin, who founded Ossowski in 1960, Mark Ossowski grew up surrounded by spectacular 18th-century giltwood mirrors and tables, developing an eye for quality that is best described as subliminal.
“I particularly look for genuine eighteenth-century items that are within their style but that also display inventiveness,” he says.
His love of such antique finds goes deeper, however, due to the Ossowski in-house workshop. “By taking them apart, you can learn so much and heal them from neglect and damage. It is extraordinary to lead such a privileged life, surrounded by the fruits of some of the masters of the eighteenth century.”
“This is a gorgeous early eighteenth-century gesso-work mirror. The basic outline is unremarkable for the period — swan neck pediment, cartouche, straight sides — but every detail within that standard outline is inventive and artistic. The person who made this was an artist who really knew what he was doing and didn’t skimp on the time it would take.”
Robert Adam giltwood and carton-pierre mirror, ca. 1790
“An oval mirror from later in the century, about 1790. First, note the basic oval shape. Not all ovals are created equal — for example, oval mirrors made in the Edwardian era tend to be more pointy and to my eye look skinny and wrong. The master stroke is what is not there: There are a lot of spaces between the inner oval and the decoration, which helps to make it light and floaty. Harmony and symmetry lead to calmness.”
“This piece of contemporary sculpture is a new venture for us. I have always preferred my clients to mix antiques with good modern or contemporary art, so I thought it was probably about time I was prepared to do the same in my gallery. My big problem was I know very little about modern art, while I actively loathe most contemporary. Then, I came across the work of Sam Keil, and it was a great relief. Here was work that was complex and intriguing, something you can spend time looking at without getting bored. It also goes remarkably well with the eighteenth-century giltwood.”
“For me, it is all about exceptional craftsmanship and respect for materials, be it leather, silver or bronze.”
Even while at school in the city of Cambridge, Bent ran a business, selling Edwardian bespoke suits to like-minded friends. So when he opened Bentleys to sell antiques in 1989, not long after graduating, he already knew that a market existed for the accessories of an Edwardian gentleman.
“I rarely buy things that predate the 1860s, the exception being leather, which I have always loved,” says the Pimlico Road antiques dealer. “For an obsessive collector like me, this is the perfect job!”
“If I were to choose a singular example of a cabin trunk, it would be this Louis Vuitton one from 1905. It is the top specification for a monogram Louis Vuitton trunk — brass handles, leather trim and brass corners. Unrestored and in exceptional condition, it retains the original interior and tray. To me, it signifies a moment in time when travel was exclusive and genuinely luxurious.”
“During the 1952 season, Alberto Ascari and his Ferrari F500 F2 were in a class of their own: He dominated the world championship, winning each of the six grands prix he entered that year. He retained the championship in 1953. In order to celebrate Ferrari and Ascari’s achievements, in 1953 the Italian company Toschi teamed up with Ferrari. They commissioned the model maker Marchesini [Marchesini Luigi Bologna], to build a one:six scale model of the F500. These generous promotional gifts were given to racing drivers, celebrities of the day and favored customers.”
Timothy Langston has a love of seventeenth-, eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century pieces, focusing mainly on British and Continental examples.
However, he says, “we also incorporate Chinese- and Japanese-export ware, and I occasionally buy twentieth-century items, too. I like to maintain a degree of eclecticism to ensure there is always a surprise!”
Langston studied at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and then worked at Mallett & Son for four years before setting up his own gallery, in 2005. He moved to the Pimlico Road in 2012. He thinks of his business as treasure hunting: “I love traveling, but it is the discovery of a rare object that makes my spine tingle.”
“This convex mirror is a good example of Regency furniture. Looking directly to the revival of classicism with its ocular form and carved acanthus leaves, it also embraces fantasy through the hippocampus which sits upon the cresting.”
Portrait of King George IV as Prince of Wales, after Sir William Beechey, ca. 1806
“This portrait depicts the Prince Regent as a young man before he became King George IV. He is looking into the distance, as was fashionable in portraiture of the late eighteenth century. This painting has swagger, and the uniform tremendous flair. It is historically interesting and very eye-catching.”
“I started buying and selling at the age of ten,” says Will Fisher, founder of Jamb. “I must have been born with an innate love of antique furniture, fireplaces and objects, always drawn to surface texture and faded grandeur.”
As soon as he was able, Fisher set up in business. In 2006, he and his wife, Charlotte Freemantle, moved Jamb to Christopher Gibbs’s old showroom before locating to their present premises. Here, Jamb’s fine reproductions of fireplaces and lighting sit happily alongside Fisher’s expertly curated furniture, objects and eccentricities (including Darwin, Sinke & van Tongeren taxidermy).
“I am addicted to the thrill of the chase,” he says, “those moments where you find something so wonderful you almost can’t bear to sell it.”
“I love everything about this mantle — the way it is made out of single blocks of statuary hand-tooled at the back edges, with the hieroglyphics incised in the most precise and beautiful fashion decorating the entire body of the piece. In my view, Egypto artifacts are both unbelievably chic and unbelievably rare.”