February 13 2010
Helping my sister look for suitable accommodation following her recent move to London left me at a loss for words. Extraordinary sums were being asked for places that were cold, bare and uninviting.
Then I remembered Simply Sold on Abbey Road in London’s St John’s Wood. Founded by Perry Field, a passionate collector of fine art and antiques, Simply Sold is so discreet that although I lived almost opposite the place for years, I only recently became aware of its existence. From his first-floor office-showroom that is accessed through an unobtrusive blue door, Field sells an abundance of collectable porcelain, paintings and objets d’art (much of it at auction), much of which comes from wealthy locals looking to clear out a house after a relative’s death; or from people who are moving house, or downsizing.
Fortunately for my sister, Field is also currently selling his incredible back catalogue of more than 700 paintings and prints. Everything from a rare and unpublished photograph of President John F Kennedy (pictured) to an original painting by the French artist André Cottavoz is up for grabs, some in the most sumptuous of frames and others costing as little as £20.
The collection is as eclectic and varied as the taste of the people who once owned it – being of every nationality, persuasion and faith. My sister bought a black and white pencil drawing of an oriental man sitting in a yoga position for £100, and a stunning lithograph of a woman in a hat for £60. She now has what looks like a home, rather than a deserted office space.
And if you’re not in the market for art, you can always do as I did and pick up a beautiful crystal vase for £30.