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NEWS Work has begun in the UK to restore eight glass vessels damaged in the 2020 port explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut. The objects, being repaired by experts at the British Museum, were salvaged from a destroyed case which displayed classical and Islamic glass vessels at the American University of Beirut.
Most pieces housed in the museum, 3.2km from the explosion, were shattered beyond repair, with only 15 being identified as salvageable. Of these, only eight – each playing a vital part in the country’s history – were safe enough to travel to the British Museum. Top The work was supported by The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF)
IN SPIRE-ATION Judging takes place this month for the amateur artist who has best captured one of 1,500 historic buildings across the UK. Historic England launched the competition inviting artworks inspired by historic estates. The judging panel consists of four representatives of Historic England, as well as an alumni from the Royal College of Art in London.
The winner, announced in November, will be given an overnight stay for two at The Rag, one of London’s leading members clubs, as well as vouchers for Historic England tours.
Above right Forde Abbey, a former Cistercian monastery in Somerset, courtesy of Historic Houses
Right A previous entrant to the competition
Not so plain Jane There is a unique chance this month to see the only widely-accepted depiction of Jane Austen (1775–1718) in the city of Bath – the author’s former home.
Red alert The National Gallery has until December to come up with £9.3m required to buy ‘The Red Boy’ by Sir Thomas Lawrence (17691830) – the first painting ever included on a British postage stamp.
Austen, one of the best-loved writers in English literature, was a resident of Bath between 1801 and 1806, living across the road from the Holburne Museum at 4 Sydney Place until 1804.
The 1825 portrait of Charles William Lambton (1818-1831) is being offered from a private collection by private treaty sale via Christie’s. The portrait shows the seven-yearold boy’s arm bent, reflecting Renaissance artists traditional depiction of melancholy – unknowingly foretelling the sitter’s death at the age of 13 from tuberculosis. It will undergo conservation treatment before going on display at the gallery next year.
The Holburne will display the sketch, by Austen’s sister, Cassandra, this autumn, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. From 2017 the image, dated to 1810, was used on the £10 English note. Right Jane Austen, by Cassandra Austen, c. 1810 © National Portrait Gallery, London Top Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) Charles William Lambton (‘The Red Boy”) 1825, private collection, © National
30 seconds with... With Trevor Chinery, Ripon-based auctioneers Elstob & Elstob’s new head of stamps, postcards and postal history What is so wonderful about a stamp? Each one fits our notion of nostalgia and escapism and provides a physical link with the past. Every stamp, or postcard, tells a unique story of where it has been and who has read it, which is what makes it so fascinating.
Stamps and postards offer distraction, and even a means of escape, as they are miniature gateways to different worlds.
Why collect them? It’s an activity that can be pursued on many levels, from single stamp purchases, costing just a few pounds, to entire collections worth thousands. They are relatively easy to come by, convenient to display and store, and offer subject matters ranging from different countries and times to topics as diverse as natural history, space and sport.
Also recent advances in the digital age have revealed many facts – and errors - in old collections and it is now far easier to buy and sell online and connect with other enthusiasts.
Isn’t it a bit geeky? Stamp and postcard collecting is no longer seen as the domain of the elderly, geeky or very young! The profile of the collector has changed dramatically. It has a much younger demographic with far more women taking part. The objects are very ‘instagrammable’ and as a hobby it is both relaxing and tangible.
How did it fare in lockdown? Lockdown provided people with the perfect opportunity to start a collection, with both stamps and postcards making a great choice of something to collect. At the same time others returned to a previous pursuit with a new vigour. How has the market changed? Aside from an increase in interest in the UK, there are many emerging markets like China, where there are millions of stamp collectors investing time and money in the hobby.
Above A 1d black, the first of which was issued on May 1,1840. It is valued at around £1,200
8 ANTIQUE COLLECTING