Royal Academy

Russian Revolution 1917 – 2017

The Royal Academy exhibition is financed by the Russian Oligarchs with inspiration from Saatchi that it is a cheap venue for promoting ones collections.

Some wonderful paintings from this incredible era from major Russian museums and as always, the private collectors’ objects fitted in.

Macdougalls (St. Charles Street, St. James) are having their own selling exhibition in March  with wonderful Revolutionary Art on show.

As London celebrates this life-changing centenary,  Iconastas will be displaying wonderful revolutionary posters.

Iconastas History

What a wonderful life as an antique dealer I have had.  From beginning in the 1960’s on a small table under stairs in Portobello market selling coins and stamps, onto the most famous junk shop in London – near Olympia on the North End Road.  I sold everything including the finest vintage handbags, jewellery and clothes, pictures (with an appaently undiscovered Rembrandt) and a Van Gogh etching, ending up in the early 80’s in the murky world of dealing with African diplomats who used to smuggle Icons in their luggage from Russia.

From there I went into the world of Faberge treasures, collected from all the auction rooms in Europe and the USA, fighting the Mayfair dealers for the best objects and then latterly back to my love of Icons with the wonderful, heady smell of incense, ancient oils and wood as a suitcase is opened.
Collecting was now in my blood, storerooms bulged with undiscovered paintings and objects, which now my wife and children will inherit and hopefully take the business into a new era.
It has been a fabulous roller coaster of life and inspiration with culture and art – my advice to all is to visit museums and auction rooms and learn to love your heritage;  discoveries are still made every day.


The worst year of my life, thank God, is over finally.   It all started with the Art London Fair opening on Brexit day – with not a person walking in.   Then a couple of weeks later, the doctors discovered a brain tumour and failed to act promptly, leaving me waiting three weeks for a failed operation.   The rest of 2016 was spent being treated with chemo and Radiotherapy – with all its ups and downs.
The negative response to the questions about my survival time varied from 2 months to 6 months – so not the happiest time for my family.
It is now 2017 and I am still here.   I would like to thank everyone for their kindness, their thoughts, their cards and even their treatments. The shop is buzzing along well with help from John and the fantastic Olya looking after all of our Russian clients so well.

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Upcoming Auctions

Timeline Auctions in May have just put their catalogue on-line,  with for the first time a collection of rather battered Icons with an East German provenance and Russian certificates. The Sothebys , Christies and Bonhams Russian auctions are now online with catalogues arriving this week. I will post an over-view of the sales this week.

The Romanovs

IMG_1372The Romanov season is upon us beaming out of our television screens in glorious high resolution with Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” over six weeks and “The Romanovs” over three weeks. The beauty of St Petersburg is shown as never before, with fabulous costumes filling the screen and just published “The Romanovs” a history by Simon Sebag-Montifiore. The mystery, cruelty and intrigue that is Russia comes alive.

Field Marshall Kutuzov (1745-1813)

Collecting Russian Art

IMG_1168With the downturn in the Russian Art market caused primarily by Sanctions, it will be interesting to look at the underpriced collectables from Russia.

As the”big-named” paintings and objects are now valued at about 50% less than pre 2010, what will be interesting to collect?

Icons were on a par with 19th century paintings in the 1970s and then slumped in price in the 1980s onwards. Now with a lack of supply there is a growing interest in collecting and prices are still fairly low. Faberge plain silver objects are out of fashion, so worth picking up at rock-bottom prices. The very interesting Pan-Slavic movement of the early 20th century coming out of Talashkino and Abramtsevo produced some wonderful decorative items ,mostly exported to Britain at the time. The careers of the artists living there blossomed after the Revolution, as many escaped to Paris to work with the ballet and opera. Very few items that were made were signed which has kept the prices very inexpensive. As Abramtsevo is now a “Museum” village and exhibitions are being held in Russia, this a collecting field well worth looking at.

We have noticed that the souvenirs made to celebrate the Soviet Space achievements have disappeared, so worth searching for.

Paintings from the 1940’s onwards will be promoted now by the London auction rooms, to make up for the loss of the 19th century market. The more decorative the better I expect.

Happy Hunting in 2016

In the shop at Iconastas

IMG_1087The shop is now showing over 70 Icons from 1600 to 1910, over 50 Antique lacquer boxes, 24 silver cigarette cases, over 80 porcelain figures, over 40 miniature Russian Icons, brass Icons, Palekh boxes, Soviet metalwork figures, boxes from Abramtsevo, over 100 Russian and Coptic crosses and many other interesting items.

Too many pieces to show on the web-sites

Click to visit our NEW website!

The new web-site has gone on-line showing many pieces that have been hidden in collections for over thirty years. we have been given the opportunity to bring these pieces to the market and hopefully they will find new and caring homes.

For those who have never seen the shop please look at our “Gallery” page for images, plus a rather lively “pod-cast”.

Click to visit our NEW website: