4. Martin Levy

4. Martin Levy

Martin is the leading dealer in 19th century decorative arts, and shares his experience of working in the family business and how he has helped collectors and institutions form collections.
Martin Levy FSA

This month, I had the pleasure of meeting with Martin Levy, of the furniture dealers H. Blairman & Sons. Martin shared his experience of working in the family business, and helping to build art collections for private clients and institutions.

picture book accompanying the exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1952

Charles and Lavinia Handley-Read visited the exhibition of Victorian and Edwardian Decorative Arts at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1952 and were inspired to form their own collection. Both sadly died in 1971 and their collection was dispersed, many pieces entering public collections.

Exhibition catalogue of the important collection of Victorian decorative art formed by Charles and Lavinia Handley-Read shown at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, March-April 1972
View of the Medieval Court at The Great Exhibition, 1851, showing a brass chandelier (centre) of the same design as one found by Martin and acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Journal, 1851
Kelmscott Manor (photo - Rufus Bird).

Martin led the huge project to restore Kelmscott Manor, which is owned and managed by the Society of Antiquaries of London. Details about the appeal to raise funds to conserve tapestries can be found here.

Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), The ‘Saliera’, c. 1540-1543 (Kunsthistorischesmuseum, Vienna. Kunstkammer, 881)

Martin’s fantasy object, the so-called ‘Saliera’ made by the Florentine goldsmith, Benvenuto Cellini around 1540 for Francis I of France. Now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

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Rufus Bird discusses art collecting today and throughout history with a wide range of experts, professionals, collectors and those involved in the market today.
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