Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Form filling, art galleries and auction houses.....

   I don't remember having had to fill out this many forms when we brought our house twenty five years ago. As I remember the most difficult thing we had to do was write a congratulations card, to the new owner of our old flat, to wish him well. Now they want copies of your passport. Information on who supplies your electricity and gas. Have we ever forgot to send our neighbour a Christmas card and does our roof leak.OK I'm exaggerating slightly. I made up the question about the roof!
   The batch of similar questions for the property I'm buying, have arrived from my sellers solicitors and I've already spotted a huge fib. The guy selling to me also owns the small property next door. Which he has sort and been granted permission to knock down and rebuild a house twice the size of the current one. On his form, where he's asked if he's aware of building work or permission to build in the surrounding area. He's ticked the "No" box ???
   On Saturday I went to see the "Lowry" exhibition at Tate Britain. It just used to be called the Tate and was the only gallery which held the Nations Modern Art Collection but the powers that be have, over the years, added a few more to the franchise and we now have Tates "Britian" "Modern" "Liverpool" and "St Ives". There's a civil servant somewhere in Westminster with the Nations cheque book and a passion for Modern Art happily filling these up.
   Exhibitions, as I remember them, used to be just a collection of paintings. Artist, title and date painted was usually the only info provided. Now you get all manner of information, as you walk round. Influences, places lived, friends every scrape they can find. that might add a little to the experience. So L S Lowry's exhibition was worth the visit. Lots of paintings, a few by Artists who influenced him, drawings and lots of back-up info to help you join the dots. Lowry was labelled a "naive artist" a term he wasn't that happy with. During the day he was a rent collector. Only painting at night and never moving far from his favorite subject. Industrial Manchester and its working class population. The rest of the Tate had some pretty interesting paintings and sculptures too. I was in there almost five hours. It felt like one, how time flies when you're having fun. I'd like to go back. Typical really, for years I live on the doorstep of some of the greatest galleries in the World and now, on the verge of moving, I start to visit them.
   No work yesterday and a local Auction house with a general sale starting at 2pm. Ummmm. Well it didn't quite take that long for me to make up my mind before I rearranged the day. Apart from the interesting furniture and other bits of objet d'art, the people who wander round picking things up and taking notes are almost as interesting. Most look alot like the furniture, tired and have seen better days. There were two lots I was interested in. A pair of china Oriental Temple Lions. I have a friend with a pair of Lowchen dogs who looked just like them and she has a birthday coming up. The other, was a large mirror in a large oak frame. I got both very cheaply. So happy with my purchases, I sat back and watched the rest of the Auction. Some really nice pieces went for very small amounts but I managed to keep my hands in my pockets until very near the end when this Bobbin legged side table came up. I noticed it earlier. It's late 19th or early 20th century. The tops not right it's too small but it's all about the legs. A carpenter showing how skillfull he can be with a lath.
   Someone I once knew and who liked his antiques, had a thing for side tables with tripod legs. Pointing out how study tripod legs were and how useful side tables were. It was marked in the catologue as 60-80 pounds, a fair prize. The auctioner started at 60. No bids, he went down to 40 then 30. Finally 15, up went my hand expecting a few others to do the same. No, no more bids. It was mine for 15 quid plus commission.. I could sell it on, I should be able to get enough to cover my whole days spend. Or I could just hold on to it for the moment. We'll see.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happyness :-)


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