Simon Phillips, a co-founder of MASTERPIECE LONDON, which celebrates its third year as a ‘must see’ event June 28 – July 4 at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, is celebrating his own firm’s 60th Anniversary Year with a stunning array of 18th century British masterpieces in furniture design and decorative art from the most iconic of English cabinet makers.

RONALD PHILLIPS LTD (www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com) Director Simon Phillips, who joined his father Ronald in the business 32 years ago, says, “This year’s selection of furniture is of particular interest to the discerning collectors and is testament to the quality and rarity that one finds in the very best pieces of English 18th century furniture. In our 60th year we continue to strive to present the very best examples that the market has to offer.”

New additions to the RONALD PHILLIPS stand at Masterpiece London this year include what Phillips calls, “A remarkable pair of rare, beautiful Chinese Export “Nodding Head” Figures with a rich and varied provenance. The polychrome-painted clay figures were likely purchased in the 1780s for Sturehof Castle, the summer residence of Count Johan Liljencrantz (1730-1815) a Swedish cabinet and finance minister, which was constructed about 1780. In an inventory report dated 1788 “nodding dolls” are listed “in the yellow cabinet.”

Other top selections featured in the 60th Anniversary Catalogue and at the Ronald Phillips Ltd stand at MASTERPIECE LONDON 2012 include an extremely rare and important Set of Four George I Japanned Girandoles attributed to Giles Grendey (1693-1780).

According to Simon Phillips, “It is very possible that this set, with finely painted chinoiserie scenes is unique within English furniture as no other sets of four are known. It is remarkable that the group survived with the original japanned surfaces, mirror plates and brass candle arms that still retain traces of their gilt lacquer.”

“Giles Grendey was based in Clerkenwell in London and enjoyed enormous success as a cabinet and chair maker supplying furniture to many prominent houses including Kedleston Hall, in Derbyshire as well as Stourhead and Longford Castle in Wiltshire. He remains the best known English exponent of the art of 18th century japanning supplying a celebrated set of japanned furniture for the Duke of Infantando for his Castle of Lazcano. The scarlet japanned suite, bearing his trade label, numbered over seventy pieces and included many chairs, tables and mirrors. He was certainly exporting a considerable amount of furniture as his accounts of August, 1731 show that he had lost goods in a fire that were packed for exportation next morning, valued at 1000 British pounds.”

Also garnering attention will be a rare early 18th century parcel gilt mahogany side table that retains most of the original gilding. It has a distinctive (replaced) 18th century “Yellow Sienna” marble top. It was featured in the 1954 Dictionary of English Furniture as well as Percy Marquoid’s 1906 “A History of English Furniture,” (Vol III The Age of Mahogany).

A second important piece is an early 18th century George II side table in the manner of Batty Langley with a rectangular “Red Levanto” marble top above a molded arcaded frieze with floral decoration and shaped pendant apron carved with laurel branches. It is illustrated in the Pictorial Dictionary of British 18th Century Furniture Design by Elizabeth White, 1990.

With a provenance from the collection of Cynthia Phipps in North Carolina, Simon Phillips is showing an important mid 18th century Carved Giltwood Border Glass Mirror whose design is attributed to a drawing by Thomas Chippendale. Simon Phillips says, “This extraordinary mirror shares very close similarities with plate CXLIII in Chippendale’s Director.”

Ronald Phillips Ltd., is also showing “An extremely rare and magnificent pair of mid 18th century export Canton enamel wall sconces,” Simon Phillips says. “These sconces stand out from the very few examples known by having three dimensional birds and flowers applied, which adds to their rarity and importance.”

The 16 inch high sconces have oval centers depicting Chinese figures in bright colors on a white background framed by three dimensional flowers, leaves and opposing parrots, as well as a shaped cresting all worked in bright colored enamel. The sconces also have a single candle nozzle with later glass candle arm.

Simon Phillips is also offering a pair of George II Giltwood Tables with Greek Antique Green Marble Tops, with brass edge corner insert above a molded frieze boldly carved with a cartouche bearing the family arms of Buggin in the form of a Cockatrice impaling the family arms of Smith displayed a Chevron between three Roundels, three crosses and a Red Hand of Ulster.

Ronald Phillips Ltd is one of the world’s finest antique dealers specializing in English furniture ranging from Queen Anne, George I, George II, George III, George IV and the Victorian period. The company was founded in 1952 by Ronald Phillips and is well known to decorators, collectors and museums from around the world at its 26 Bruton Street galleries in London.

Over its 60 years in business, Ronald Phillips, and his son, Simon, who took over directing the firm 15 years ago, have constantly built on their reputation and renown for providing outstanding service to their private and museum clients. Each year they produce a stunning hard cover catalogue that covers furniture and objects from the Rococo and Neo-Classicism to Regency periods and have included pieces by famous 18th century craftsmen such as Thomas Chippendale, William Linnell, John Linnell, Robert Adam, Matthew Boulton and Thomas Sheraton, Gillows of Lancaster, and John Mclean.

“Our recent catalogues also focus on a specialty of the firm as we are known for having the largest collection of 18th century mirrors and also specialize in 18th century glass chandeliers, wall lights and decanters – items unmatched in our field.“

Since Simon Phillips took over the business, he has sought to build the firm’s inventory of the very finest quality pieces by the most iconic British furniture makers. While he says it becomes harder each year to find the very best pieces, he is confident that his business will continue to grow because “there are always people who understand that the most rare and interesting works are the ones to have in their collections.”
Simon Phillips served as the Chairman at the Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair and is one of the founders of Masterpiece London, now in its third year. The first major event to link luxury jewelry, automobile and design brands with museum-quality antiques and fine art, Simon believes “Masterpiece London has raised the bar and set a high standard as a sought-after ‘destination’ event – attracting the usual art and antiques shoppers as well as those seeking an enjoyable afternoon or evening surrounded by the world’s most esteemed brands, fine art and masterworks of antiquity. We’re delighted with comments positioning Masterpiece as the premier event of its kind.”
Ronald Phillips also exhibits each October in New York at The International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show, the firm’s only showcase in the United States.

June 28 – July 4 2012
South Grounds, The Royal Hospital Chelsea
Chelsea Embankment, London SW3
PREVIEW Wed June 27 11am to 10pm

Thursday June 28 11am to 6pm
+ Masterpiece Midsummer Party in aid of CLIC Sargent Children’s Cancer Charity
7pm – 10pm
Saturday June 30 and Sunday July 1 11am to 7pm
Friday June 29 and July 2 – 4 11am to 9pm
Ronald Phillips Ltd
26 Bruton Street London WIJ 6QL 011 44 207 493 2341