This week my family and I went to a superb exhibition, ‘Every Object Tells a story ‘curated by Oliver Hoare, a fellow antique dealer, who has gathered his collection of fascinating objects he has sourced through the years with the magical and humorous stories that belong with them.
The Stories behind the Collected Objects of an Antique Dealer.
29 May 2015
It is held in the divine 33 Fitzroy Square. Roger Fry of the Bloomsbury group once lived in the house and the Omega Workshops were run there between 1914-1919. It is a perfectly apt site as Fry believed an object should be loved for its aesthetic quality and not for the false value of the kudos of designer or monetary value. The exhibition is dedicated to his former collaborator and friend Jean Claude Ciancimino. A groundbreaking antique dealer and aesthete who very sadly died last year but whose inspiring shop still remains on the Pimlico Road.
Hoare describes his friend as a man whose skill was to ‘magic up amazing things, the like of which were rarely seen elsewhere… who ‘noticed things that for others were invisible, and was as responsive to the hand of nature as to the hand of man”. Hoare adds that the function of objects is to make us dream and as the children ran wildly around I became lost in what was laid out before me.
In a Cabinet of Curiosities rests a small raw Jade Pebble but its story makes it even more beautiful. A blind man in Khotan, China, finds the precious stones by walking in the river bed and differentiates the stones with the soles of his feet. There are objects from all over the world and from the earliest time known: a North American carved stone, 1st Millenium AD, a stone cosmetic dish from Aghanistatn 2000 BC, Mayan flints, Roman artifacts, a pair of rock crystals that are hooked into the robes of the Whirling Dervishes to attract good energy…
With his broken nose and twisted mouth, missing ears and swollen eye, the strength and beauty in its imperfection resonates. At first glance this pugilist appears to be ancient , your brain tricked into reading it as an antiquity but the subtle nuance of a 1930’s interpretation of a classic antique shines through.
We all became lost in our own corners of the new worlds we had found. The aesthetic beauty and quality of each object speaking for themselves with its story only deepening its interest. Charlotte loved an eighteenth century oil painting and a black touch stone from the Himalayas.
It is beautifully curated: a nineteenth century wooden wagon wheel stands on one side of a room and a Turbine wheel from Concorde on the other which took six men to carry up the stairs.
I became aware of an uneasy silence. Fearing that trouble was awry, I quickly went to look for the children. Uninvited they had made their way into Mr Hoare’s private quarters where they were questioning him on the contents of his fridge. Eliza, seizing an opportunity immediately asked, before I could stop her, if she could have a Coca Cola… His answer was as elegant and playful as the exhibition stories he has created, ” My dear, you can have Champagne if you like!”
With many thanks, we left before they had a chance!