Blog: Scramble to save London’s place in the art world after Brexit – Evening Standard


mid growing panic over the capital’s place slipping in the art world, the Open Art Fair says it will relaunch this year to stop Paris overtaking London. Open Art Fair founder Thomas Woodham-Smith tell us the government “have basically thrown the antiques and art world to the wolves with Brexit” and that without action “Paris will take on pre-eminence in Europe.”

The fair has been in abeyance since the pandemic, but Woodham-Smith has relaunched following news that Masterpiece, a major art fair, has cancelled its London event for 2023. Justifying their decision to cancel, Masterpiece cited escalating costs and a fall in exhibitors partly, they say, due to Brexit. Woodham-Smith was previously a director of Masterpiece. The Open Art Fair will take place in Chelsea in April.

Tories win over the Duchesses

Peeresses in the House of Lords

/ Getty Images

While the government struggle in the polls, one MP has a bright idea to win back the public. Treasury select committee chair Harriett Baldwin wants to change the law so that the daughters of aristocrats can inherit their father’s title and lands if they are born before a son. The current system rules that sons inherit regardless of birth order. Baldwin, who says “I stand for equality of opportunity”, will introduce a bill this month. A sure vote-winner!

Gove goes against Good Law Project

Michael Gove is the Levelling Up secretary.

/ Getty Images

Cabinet minister Michael Gove still has time for a feud with the Good Law Project and its founder Jolyon Maugham. Gove has used Twitter to accuse the non-profit of “virtue-signalling” and asks “are they a fox in our legal chicken-coop?” Maugham once admitted to clubbing a fox to death in his garden. Does Gove, a passionate environmentalist, find it hard to forgive and forget?

Royal jeweller

“The King”

/ PA

Antiques Roadshow man Geoffrey Munn, who oversaw the creation of the Princess of Wales’ wedding ring, has an etiquette lesson for the public. “Can we just get this right once and for all?” he pleads. “He is not King Charles but simply the King. Just as Her late Majesty was simply the Queen.” Noted.

Artist is the toast of London

Londoner’s Diary 20th January 2023

Last night in east London, actor and art enthusiast Russell Tovey attended the Whitechapel Gallery’s Art Icon 2023 dinner where the winner, Jenny Holzer, was toasted. Tovey says he cares about making art “more accessible and non-elitist”. At BAFTA HQ on Piccadilly, DJ Vick Hope revealed this year’s nominees. The winners will be announced in February. Over at The Criterion, Dame Sheila Hancock and Meera Syal watched Steven Moffat’s play The Unfriend, which is newly transferred from the Chichester Festival.

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