For collectors' eyes only

Huon Mallalieu, 8 September 2021
Country Life


The first to see [Cromwell Place’s] potential was the late Oliver Hoare, expert in Middle Eastern antiquities and creator of cabinets of curiosities.  His business is now run by his son, Damian, with Ann Corne, has returned to Gallery 3, Cromwell Place with an exhibition, ‘Natural World’ (September 22–October 22), that might have been formed by Oliver himself: there is at least one of his beloved unicorns, a natural narwal tusk to the prosaic.

Another natural wonder is a Japanese or Chinese scholar’s 601/2in-high cedar root wood sculpture dating from the 17th or 18th century on a base of Andaman redwood.  Might it not distract more than aid contemplation? There is also a pair of gilded bezoar stones, found in stomachs and, when powdered, regarded as an infallible antidote to poison; they belonged to Ranjit Singh, Lion of the Punjab (1780–1839).

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