Art: Lost & Found

"Her Majesty Queen Mary," said the exhibition catalogue, "may be regarded by collectors as their Patron Saint and the Great Hall at Grosvenor House as their temple." The Queen Mother was sponsoring Britain's first Antique Dealers' Fair since 1938. And Queen Elizabeth had sent along four fine old tureens—in the form of a cabbage, a melon, a lemon, and a bunch of asparagus—to crown the show.

In England's new age of plain, distressingly modern "austerity" furniture and china, Grosvenor-goers crowded long and lovingly around the polished fruits of Britain's gayer days. All of the exhibits were made prior to 1830 (the official...

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