Our favourite things – at the Fair

As we approach the inaugural Connect Art Fair, we are posting here some of the most attractive and most intriguing artworks that our exhibitors will be bringing with them to the Fair. A little sneak preview of treasures and finds….


‘Astonishing’, was my first reaction when this impressively large canvas arrived from St Petersburg.  A still life like no other.  Feast your eyes on the complexity of the subject, be wowed by the lyrical nature of the grasses, seed pods and textures, then realise the scale of the work.  At an impressive 80x100cm this oil by Alexander Kirillov is packed with information from which I have not tired.  

A graduate from the Repin Institute, Alexander is a modest man who quite rightly has work in Museums and art collections across the globe and I’m thrilled to be so absorbed by this new artwork after a lifetime in the business.

This surely is a collection of the artists’ favourite things too; he has managed to imbue inanimate objects with a life of their own.    

The balance and tone of the work allows the eye to travel from one item to the next without discord.  Appreciating the delicacy, total harmony and sheer brilliance of the composition, I gaze covetously – quite the wrong attitude for a dealer, or maybe it’s exactly the right attitude ?     Nettie Iles    Francis Iles Stand 27

Find this truly stunning piece on the stand of Francis Iles Gallery in Main Gallery of the Fair.


Pearly Kings + Queens  Lithograph 1953 by Richard Platt.

Emma Mason represent the work of Richard Swaby Platt (1928-2013) and they will be exhibiting some of his wonderful lithographs made in the 1950s. Following his studies at the Royal College of Art (1950-53) he had a very successful career as an artist and printmaker throughout the 1950s. Taking inspiration from his pen and ink drawings he made exceptional lithographs of people at work or at leisure. He later moved towards abstraction. However, in the mid 1960s he changed career to work in music he became a specialist in music of the English 18th Century. He put his prints and paintings into folios and they remained there, unseen, for almost 50 years. Emma Mason have been showing his work to new a new audience over the last year and it will be great to show the lithographs at the Connect Art Fair.

This lithograph was made in 1953 and is also known as The Costers. It is one from a series of prints for The Coronation Series. All the prints in the series were printed in 1953at the Royal College of Art, involving 40 artists of the day who had connections to the college. Other artists involved included John Piper, Edward Bawden, Julian Trevelyan, Edwin La Dell, Michael Ayrton and John Minton.

Find the colourful work of Richard Swaby Platt on the stand of Emma Mason in the Threadneedle Gallery.


W. L. Wyllie (1851-1931)

Signed and dated 1917

Watercolour, 15 x 29½ ins

It was eighteen months ago that a small pencil drawing of this scene appeared at auction: a signature by world renowned marine painter Wyllie was there but no more.  Detective work like this is my bread and butter and the scene and the date of this event – the Battle of Jutland in the North Sea on the 31st May 1916 was soon cracked. In the foreground, a large battle cruiser wearing a Rear Admiral’s flag, to the right a line of battleships and to the left, more battle cruisers heading in the opposite direction.  More sleuthing and now the precise event was clear: the battlecruiser in the foreground: HMS New Zealand; to the right HMS Barham and gang; to the left, Admiral Beatty’s HMS Lion leading them all up to the north, drawing the German fleet after them and onto the waiting – but hidden over the horizon –  massed guns of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet battleships. A historically huge battle followed and the German fleet surrendered just over 2 years later.  

A New Zealand museum was found to have a colour print of this precise scene so there had to be a version of this, similarly in colour, somewhere. Extraordinarily, it came up at auction 12 months later, a big 30 inches wide watercolour! It, like the pencil sketch, had scaling up marks in the margins and was clearly the outcome of that sketch. And it had a title which matched the date, time and events already described.  Where had it been for these 101 years?  In the ownership of the Battenberg/Mountbatten family.  

Find this intriguing work at the stand of Maritime Originals, in the North Gallery.

Michael Ayrton (1921-1975)

Artists Copy, marked AC

Bronze, Edition of 9 plus two artists’ copies.

The Greek goddess, Demeter was the goddess of the grain, agriculture, harvest, growth, and nourishment, who presided over the fertility of the earth. She is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest but she presided over the cycle of life and death. In this sculpture she is shown in her summer guise, representing the hope of a fruitful harvest.

A beautiful bronze from 1967 with a rich dark brown patina, depicting the goddess Demeter reclining in all her summer fruitfulness.

An artist and writer, renowned as a painter, printmaker, sculptor and designer. His body of work reveals an obsession with flight, myths, mirrors and mazes. In the mid 1950’s, Ayrton turned to sculpture, he was advised on technique by his friend Henry Moore who encouraged his early efforts. He was influenced by his visits to Rome where he saw the renaissance masters, he also took influence from more recent sculptors, Rodin and Giacometti.

Find this wonderful bronze on the stand of Horton, London in North Gallery.