Art & Design in Conversation

Art & Design in Conversation

Philip Smith, Modern & Post‑War Art & Design

Our Modern & Post‑War Art & Design Specialist, Philip Smith talks to us about Modern Design, the lifting of lockdown at the London office and what to look forward to from our forthcoming October 2020 edition of Modern Made.

philip smith     

We're catching up with Philip as we look towards our exciting Autumn auction calendar to find out what he's been up to during lock down and what he's looking forward to as our flagship MODERN MADE auction draws closer. 
Read on to learn about how our London office has prepared itself for visitors and what exhibition Philip can't wait to see!



What have you been working on during lockdown?

Having been working throughout lockdown, the principle objective has been supporting our Online Only Auctions and making them a success. We are delighted with the response we have received, and are deeply fortunate to have a loyal global following, alongside many new clients drawn to our specialist auctions. So far we have weathered the initial storm and the signs are very positive for the future!

Aside from this, I have been working on a number of projects including analysing our online presence and thinking creatively of new ways to engage with our audience, alongside working on a number of exciting private collections that we hope to reveal to the market over the next year.

How has lockdown changed the way you work?

It definitely has, as my pre-lockdown role was largely hands-on, meeting clients, travelling and handling artworks. However, this period has given me a number of opportunities and I am taking away a lot of positivity and newly learnt skills for the future, including engaging with a new digital reality and the opportunity to be even more creative and blue-sky thinking.

What are you looking forward to most for the Autumn 2020 season?

I cannot wait to be back in the full throngs of the auction season and the next edition of Modern Made: Modern Art, Design and Contemporary Ceramics. It will be wonderful to be back in October curating our space at the Mall Galleries, and welcoming visitors to our flagship sale. It promises to be an exciting exhibition and sale and there are already plenty of wonderful art works and objects consigned, including works by Lucie Rie, Max Ingrand, Piero Fornasetti, Sir William Nicholson, Terry Frost and Ai Weiwei but to name a few.

Ai Weiwei | Study of Perspective in Glass

Ai Weiwei (Chinese 1957-) | Study of Perspective in Glass | 24/100, signed and numbered, murano glass
12cm high, 9cm across (4.75in high, 3.5in across), in original suede box | £3,000 - 5,000 + fees

Which pieces are you most excited about already consigned to October's edition of Modern Made?

There are already so many fantastic pieces included in October's sale, but I am particularly excited about the Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte table lamp, Salvador Dali's ‘Pink Glove’ plate and Ai Weiwei's Study in the Perspective of Glass.


Lyon & Turnbull London


How will the London office be changing to comply with government guidance?

The London gallery will still have the same great look and style as it always has but with greater safety measures in place, including Perspex screens, PPE equipment, and social distancing measures to make both staff and clients feel as safe and comfortable as possible.

What was your number one lockdown read?

Christ Stopped at Eboli a memoir by the Italian writer Carlo Levi, which gives an account of his time in exile around 1935 in a remote outpost in southern Italy. The book was a literary sensation when it was originally published in 1945 in post-Facist Italy and remains to this day a powerful and beautiful novel and a window into another world.

Are there any exhibitions that had delayed their opening that you can't wait to see?

It would be wonderful to be stepping through the looking glass with the V&A’s Alice and Wonderland exhibition Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser soon. Originally planned to open on 27 June, it will now open on 27 March 2021 – the show promises to be a theatrical and immersive spectacle charting the origins, adaptations and reinventions of the original novel over 157 years. I cannot wait!


Zenaida Yanowsky as The Red Queen in Christopher Wheeldon's ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Royal Ballet. ©ROH, Johan Persson, 2011. Sets and costumes by Bob Crowley. ©ROH, Johan Persson, 2011. Sets and costumes by Bob Crowley
Zenaida Yanowsky as The Red Queen in Christopher Wheeldon's ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Royal Ballet.
©ROH, Johan Persson, 2011. Sets and costumes by Bob Crowley. ©ROH, Johan Persson, 2011. Sets and costumes by Bob Crowley






Auction Information


Modern & Post-War Art, Design & Studio Ceramics
Friday, 23rd October 2020 12:00
Mall Galleries | London


Consignments invited until Friday, 11th September 2020


Request a valuation



Modern & Post-War Design Department


A leading auction house in Modern, Post War and Contemporary Design, we hold specialist live and online Design auctions in London and Edinburgh that are known for their international reach and strong prices.

The sales cover all the major movements from Pre-War French and British Modernism and Art Deco, to works from the Mid-Century and Post-War, including Italian and Nordic Design, European and American Modernism, Studio Craft through to Contemporary Design, Glass and Studio & Contemporary Ceramics.


Learn more about our Modern & Post-War Design department ⇒



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