Arts of the UK 2020: Shapero launches exciting Emporium with cornucopia of objects from renowned dealers and gallerists
LONDON – 2020 has seen an exciting period of expansion for Shapero Rare Books and Shapero Gallery, moving into two vast new spaces on New Bond Street, as well as a new ground-floor gallery on Maddox Street for Shapero Modern. In addition to a suite of offices solely for Rare Books, New Bond Street will also house an exciting new Emporium, where a cornucopia of incredible objects come together under one roof.
The Shapero Emporium at 105 New Bond Street sees works from Shapero Rare Books, Shapero Gallery and Shapero Modern brought together and displayed alongside carefully selected pieces from majolica specialist Justin Raccanello, BBC 1 Antiques Roadshow furniture dealer Lennox Cato, leading Islamic and Indian gallery Kent Antiques, antique Arms and Armour specialist Peter Finer, and furniture dealer Thomas Colbourn & Sons, curated by renowned architectural designer Malcolm Winyard.
Winyard comments: “I was absolutely delighted to be invited by Bernard Shapero to help create his new gallery space – the first ground-floor book and print shop in New Bond Street. Knowing the broad range of material which Bernard sells, from books by well-known authors such as Charles Dickens, to prints by Andy Warhol, I wanted to provide a classic background with a contemporary twist. By carefully curating the furniture within the space and using contemporary colours from London’s oldest paintmakers Mylands, we have created an interior which perfectly highlights the pieces which Bernard and I have chosen to display.”
Shapero Rare Books is an internationally renowned dealer not only in rare books but works on paper. Their specialists, led by founder and CEO Bernard Shapero, have over 250 years of experience between them. Their expert fields include fine illustrated books from the 15th – 20th centuries, works on travel and voyages, natural history, literature including fine first editions from Charles Dickens to Tennessee Williams, children’s books, guidebooks, Hebraica, Judaica and works of Russian interest. An incredible selection of these beautiful books and works on paper will be available at the Emporium.
One of the highlights presented by Shapero Gallery is a series of monumental prints by Raphael: Loggie de Raphaele nel Vaticano – a work commissioned by Pope Clement XIII, at the bidding of Catherine the Great, to portray one of the best kept secrets of the Renaissance. These decorative engravings are renowned for their highly stylised portrayal of Classical and Biblical scenes and figures. The fanciful ‘grotesqueness’ of the designs of Raphael and da Udine show how much they were inspired by the recently discovered Golden House of Nero.
Sister gallery Shapero Modern, which has recently moved to a new space on Maddox Street, was founded in 2014 under the guidance of Gallery Director Tabitha Philpott-Kent. Specialising in Post War and Contemporary prints, multiples and works on paper, Shapero Modern has a particular focus on American 20th century art. Two highlights on display at the Emporium are Bedroom by Roy Lichtenstein and Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol. In Bedroom, Lichtenstein takes a modernist perspective of the picture plane, utilising a method of commercial design through comic strips and advertisement. He integrates the readymade quality of screen prints and integrates a painterly gesture with the use of thick lines, flat surface planes, and obscured perspective. Andy Warhol had met Mick Jagger in 1963 when the Rolling Stones and designed the band’s provocative album cover, Sticky Fingers. In 1975, Warhol, ever keen to make money, turned to the subject of Mick Jagger himself, now a celebrity friend. He was drawn to Jagger’s photogenic, ‘bad-boy’ image and was fascinated with the singer’s angular jawline which he accentuated with light and shadow.
Kent Antiques, a leading Islamic and Indian art gallery will present expertly selected works, including courtly objects and artworks dating from the 13th–19th centuries, alongside Orientalist paintings. Objects will include an early Ottoman brass candlestick, circa 1500, which belongs to a small group of Ottoman metalwork, displaying the mastery of craftsmanship of the era. Also from Kent Antiques is a series of seven glazed pottery animal figurines from Canakkale (now western Turkey). These gorgeous figures were often produced as souvenirs and were designed as decorative vessels.
Italian ceramics dealer and majolica specialist Justin Raccanello brings a series of beautiful pieces from The Manifattura di Maioliche Artistiche, Figli di Giuseppe Cantagalli. Renowned as a factory devoted to recreating 15th and 16th century ceramics which had become hugely sought after in the  second half of the 19th century, the Manifattura Cantagalli became the most popular of the many pottery factories working in Italy at the time. The enduring legacy of Ulisse Cantagalli are the beautiful metallic lustres that embellish many of the most important pieces produced by the factory.
The Emporium will be graced with select 18th and 19th century English and Continental antiques and furniture from Thomas Coulborn & Sons. A highlight of their works on display is a late 18th century carved oak bust of romantic English hero Major John André. At the end of the 18th century, André was one of the most celebrated figures of the day on both sides of the Atlantic. Hanged as a spy in 1780 by American forces during the War of Independence, he was mourned by George Washington just days after his death as ‘an accomplished man and gallant officer’ (in a letter to Colonel John Laurens, 13th October 1780) and ‘more unfortunate than criminal’ (in a letter to Comte de Rochambeau, 10th October 1780).
Furniture will also be on display from Lennox Cato, who specialises in 18th and 19th century English furniture and related decorative items. A large and impressive walnut and marble top centre delight will stand out in the Emporium display. Further inside the room, visitors can see a pair of 18th century Dutch floral marquetry burr walnut chairs each with profuse floral inlay and a stylish pair of 19th century settees in the Egyptian taste, with carved Egyptian style heads, similar to the furniture at Stourhead in Wiltshire.
Bringing another flavour of the art world is Peter Finer, a specialist gallery dealing in antique Arms and Armour from the Bronze Age to the 19th century. Finer’s objects on display include A French Prisoner of War Ship Model, c. 1800. During the Napoleonic wars, conditions for prisoners were appalling due, in part, to a dispute between the warring nations as to who was responsible for the maintenance of the prisoners. In order for them to survive, prison markets grew up in which goods were sold and bartered including models of ships made in both boxwood and bone. Only a few were made to scale; this fine and well-detailed ship is carrying a main armament of 48 guns and 6 bone swivel guns fitted on the deck rails, a very unusual feature on a ship model. It also shows 3 longboats and a carved bone figurehead.
The six galleries bring together objects dating back centuries, from across the globe, in a fascinating and exciting meeting of cultures that create a truly varied and artistic Emporium.
The Shapero Emporium runs from 2nd December 2020 at 105 New Bond Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 1SX. More information available here