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Summer antiques fair set for Firle Place

PUBLISHED: 11:56 07 June 2016 | UPDATED: 14:19 07 June 2016

Firle Place

Firle Place


Oil paintings by The Viscount Gage, owner of Firle Place, will go on sale at an exciting new event, The Firle Place Antiques Fair, 1-3 July.

Taking place in the historic setting of the 18th century Riding School at Firle Place, the fair will be a major event for anyone with an interest in antiques, fine art, collector’s items and decorative accessories.

Firle Place is a well-known stately home, part of the Firle Estate, the country seat of the Viscount Gage and family for 500 years, and hosts numerous events throughout the year.

Picasso Vase by Henry Nicholas Gage 60cm x 50cm, 2009.Picasso Vase by Henry Nicholas Gage 60cm x 50cm, 2009.

Art dealer Nicholas Bowlby from Uckfield will be representing Viscount Gage, owner of Firle Place. The 8th Viscount and owner of Firle Place grew up with the well known artists and writers now known as the Bloomsbury Group, and recently launched his first art exhibition aged 81. Firle Place and Bloomsbury have been inextricably linked, ever since members of the artistic set arrived one day at the Gage Family’s ancestral Sussex pile, announcing themselves as the illegitimate off-spring of the 6th Viscount.

“As my grandfather was extremely churchy, this was rather unlikely,” says Nicolas Gage. “But they loved pranks and rather enjoyed the act of poking fun at him.”

The leading Bloomsbury couple, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, were so drawn to Firle that they rented a nearby farmhouse, Charleston. Young Nicolas was surrounded by incredible art and artists. Grant came to Firle to work on the estate during the First World War when he was a conscientious objector, and ended up living at Charleston until his death in 1978. He even sat for Gage: “He was never rude about my paintings and was highly amusing,” says the Viscount.

This new event is organised by Penman Fairs. Specialist dealers from across the UK will be exhibiting, encompassing fine art, furniture, silver, jewellery, ceramics, metalwork, glass, sculpture and all kinds of rare and interesting collectables. ‘We’ve got something for everyone’, explains organiser Caroline Penman from Penman Fairs, ‘prices will range from less than £20 for small items of antique silver to more than £10,000 for the finest paintings.’ Visitors are expected from across the South of England.

Firle Beacon, by Frank Wootton from E.Stacy-Marks 6500 guineas (£6825 ).Firle Beacon, by Frank Wootton from E.Stacy-Marks 6500 guineas (£6825 ).

A fine oil painting of Firle Beacon will be just one of the many fabulous treasures going on sale from E. Stacy-Marks Ltd, who have a long association with the artist. The painting is by the Sussex artist Frank Wootton (1911-1988), well known for his aviation paintings and landscapes. Says Adam Stacy-Marks: “My father knew Frank since he was 16 years old. He was a gifted young artist who volunteered when World War II broke out and became the official war artist for the R.A.F and Royal Canadian Air Force. After the war his paintings received international recognition and his works hang in major aviation museums throughout the world. He was also an extraordinary landscape and equestrian artist.”

Fine art will also feature on the stand of Derek Newman from the Cotswolds who is showing a number of historic watercolour paintings connected to Sussex and Kent. These will include a view of the old chain pier, Brighton, attributed to John Skinner Prout, NWS (1805-1876); at £575; a view of Hastings Old Town by William Collingwood Smith RWS (1815-1887) at £1,200; and a stylish depiction of bathers on Brighton Beach by Therese Lessore (1884-1945) for £1,150. Therese Lessor was the third wife of the well-known painter Walter Sicker who was a member of The Campden Town Group and an important influence on the avant-garde art of the early twentieth century.

Brighton Beach by Therese Lessore (1884-1945)Brighton Beach by Therese Lessore (1884-1945)

Also exhibiting will be Melody Antiques from Chester, with a range of country furniture, unusual decorative pieces, pottery and metalwork; Henry Nicholls Antiques from Worthing, specialising in fine silver and jewellery; and Parkside Antiques with period furniture, mirrors, paintings and textiles.

Early bone dominoes box with decorative engraving. From Parkside Antiques.Early bone dominoes box with decorative engraving. From Parkside Antiques.

A stunning display of fantasy art will feature from Art of the Imagination from Salisbury, whose fabulous range of paintings and sculpture encapsulate everything from early 20th century original works by Edmund Dulac to contemporary works by leading book illustrators.

Also showing will be local dealers Gallery 16 from Lewes with glass and fine boxes; Caroline Gee, specialising in early English and 20th century watercolours and drawings; Terry Robert from Norwich, showing fine jewellery; and Santiago Ventura Real, Antiques Art & Design from Essex.

Harley, a bronze sculpture of a hare by Matt Duke, from Art of the Imagination. Region of £8,000.Harley, a bronze sculpture of a hare by Matt Duke, from Art of the Imagination. Region of £8,000.

All exhibits at The Firle Place Antiques Fair will be vetted for quality and authenticity, and all will be priced and accurately labelled. ‘This is what distinguishes our events from others,’ explains Caroline Penman who also organises other antiques fairs around the UK, (the nearest in Petersfield, East Hampshire) ‘Buyers canmake their purchases confident in the knowledge that exhibits are checked for authenticity by a panel of experts prior to going on sale.

Appraisal service

Visitors can also take advantage of an appraisal service provided by four experts well-known from their TV appearances: Mike Melody, Mark Stacey, Ben Cooper and Henry Nicholls. Visitors can bring up to four pieces for appraisal by their favourite expert. Fifteen-minute appraisals will be undertaken by prior appointment at a charge of £5.00. (For appointment bookings Tel 01825 744074/or email


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