Courtesy of Verdura
During the summer, when London’s art and cultural calendar is at its height, the city buzzes with excitement. And the highlight of this year’s season may well be Masterpiece London (June 27 through July 3), now in its fourth year and quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most multifaceted art, antiques and design festivals around. “It’s a true collectors’ fair,” says CEO Nazy Vassegh. “It’s everything from antiques to contemporary art.”
Indeed, this year’s fair will feature works as varied as Puzzle Portrait, a 1978 painting by Roy Lichtenstein that was purchased directly from the artist in 1983, and a white Carrara marble statue of Bacchus by 17th-century Italian sculptor Domenico Pieratti.
But art isn’t the only thing for sale and for show. Verdura, the iconic American jewelry company, is exhibiting at the fair for the third year. “Fulco di Verdura lived in the U.K. upon his retirement,” notes brand chairman Ward Landrigan. “We are bringing Verdura back home.”
To celebrate its New York Style collection, the original Maltese cuffs that Verdura designed for Coco Chanel will be on display in conjunction with on-sale vintage pieces, such as a 38-carat diamond bracelet ($385,000); a sapphire-and-emerald brooch ($169,500); and a Ceylon sapphire, emerald and diamond ring ($325,000). South Grounds, The Royal Hospital Chelsea; 44-20/7499-7470; masterpiecefair.com.
For proof that the British are big on preserving their history, one needn't look further than the new St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, now in its soft opening in London's Kings Cross neighborhood. The Victorian Gothic building, first opened in 1873, served as both a railway station and the Midland Hotel for decades and was saved from demolition thanks to a campaign led by poet laureate Sir John Betjeman in the 1960s. Its glory faded when it became an office space, but over the past ten years, the red-brick structure has undergone a staggering $200 million renovation and reopened—with a blessing from the Queen, no less—as a new Eurostar terminal and a 245-room hotel that bridges the gap between present-day luxury and historical authenticity. Thirty-eight of the rooms are in the heritage part of the building, and another 207 are located in a new addition called the Barlow House, as the addition is called. The hotel's public spaces seem from another era, with grand staircases, 50-foot windows, gold-leaf vaulted ceilings, mural-covered walls and the Ladies Smoking Room, the first space in Europe where it was acceptable for women to smoke. The original Booking Room has been converted into a bar and restaurant, while the spirit of other olden-day institutions, namely the barbershop and members-only club, has been preserved. The official opening date will be May 5, exactly 138 years to the day the hotel first debuted. Rooms start at $485; Euston Road; 44-207/841-3540; stpancrasrenaissance.com.
Photo Courtesy St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel