19 June 2011

Enforcement against state-owned art abroad

The Czech government is urgently trying to repatriate its art lent to overseas institutions, to avoid it being seized to enforce a $500m Czech judgment, obtained against the Czech state by a commercial organisation. See Artinfo: http://bit.ly/jQskNk 

Art has already been seized from a gallery in Vienna, and Paris seems likely to follow.  Could it happen in London?

07 June 2011

Good news for experts and valuers

An interesting case has just been reported.  Ian W Spencer v S Franses Limited [2011] EWHC 1269 (QB)  provides a fascinating story, court room drama and some new law which will be welcomed by art and antiques experts and valuers.  You can read the reported judgment at http://bit.ly/lv9W6C

It concerned some valuable embroideries found by Ian Spencer, the claimant, in a house clearance, and valued by the well-known expert valuer and dealer, Simon Franses, whose company was the defendant.  What had previously been considered to be Victorian stage props turned out to be medieval and “national treasures”.

03 June 2011

A murky world?

The recent trial of Accidia v Simon C Dickinson Limited [2010] EWHC 3058 (Ch) became quite a talking point in the art market, not just in London.  As I acted for the claimant, I was well aware of the interest generated by the press reports, and my own opinion piece in The Art Newspaper. How many art owners must have wondered about transactions they never fully understood, and how many dealers must have felt uneasy that their clients might ask questions they would rather not answer?

Read the judgment at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2010/3058.html