Freda blogs about her new book Valuing Your Collection: A Practical Guide for Museums, Libraries and Archives on the Collections Trust website.
Diplomats, historians and architects gathered at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office last week for the launch of Julia’s new book The Lost Palace: The British Embassy in Berlin. Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under Secretary, welcomed the group which included several family members of Berlin Embassy staff from the 1920s and 1930s. The launch was a great success and Julia was kept busy with a steady stream of book signings!
Matassa Toffolo were invited to give a training session on management and care of art collections to the Asian Institute of Art Finance on their visit to London. Freda is pictured with a group of delegates after giving advice and insights into international standards of care and some of the legal and ethical aspects of transacting in the global art market.
Freda explaining the background to her new book at the launch of Valuing your Collection: A Practical Guide for Museums, Libraries and Archives at Premier Communications, London on 27 July 2017. All available copies sold out on the night!
THE LOST PALACE: The British Embassy in Berlin by Julia Toffolo
Published in August 2017: The fascinating story of the British Embassy in Berlin – the long-vanished grandiose Palais Strousberg – from the 1870s to the Second World War and beyond, told from the standpoint of the many famous people who visited, lived and worked in the building.
A new book drawing on Julia’s experience as the Deputy Director of the UK Government Art Collection, where she kept track of, devised and installed art displays in UK Government buildings, including 10 Downing Street and British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates-General all over the world.More details:
Drawing extensively on many original and previously unpublished sources, this is the story of the many famous personalities who visited, lived or worked in the Embassy from the 1870s until the Second World War.
Centre stage is the building’s diplomatic representational role, from the 1878 Congress of Berlin to the 1926 Berlin Olympic Games and the events that led up to the outbreak of the Second World War. It is a story of great contrasts and famous celebrities, from imperial balls and the drama of the start of the Great War, to the Embassy’s increasingly strained dealings with the higher echelons of the Third Reich.
This is an account of diplomatic drama, glamour, international tension and, finally, destruction during the Second World War. Five decades later, following Germany’s reunification after the Cold War, the building was eventually ‘reborn’ as a spectacular piece of modern architecture on the very same site.
Published by Book Guild Publishing, 28 August 2017, Price £20
Hardback, 320 pages, colour throughout
VALUING YOUR COLLECTION: A Practical Guide for Museums, Libraries and Archives by Freda Matassa
Published in July 2017, Valuing Your Collection addresses the issue of valuing objects in cultural collections, ranging from high-value to low- or no-value, featuring a range of collections including fine art, archives, science and photography. Practical advice is given on how to assign values and best practice examples are drawn from museums, libraries and archives.More details:
This book examines the issues concerning valuing objects in cultural collections. It looks at the difference between value and worth, and at how cultural value cannot be translated into monetary terms. It outlines the arguments about whether financial values should be assigned at all, since many items will never be for sale and assigning a monetary value may lead to unforeseen consequences.
The focus is on fine art, but the book also draws on a range of collections, including natural history and science, and a range of items from high-value fine art to low- or no-value objects, such as mass-produced or everyday items. Examples describe current practice in museums, libraries and archives and advice is given on how to assign values. There are helpful templates listing the types of questions to ask. Overall, the book is designed to give confidence in decision making.
A study (by the author) commissioned by the European Union placed valuation as one of the key issues in exchanging cultural collections. Exhibitions activity is increasing to all corners of the world, while at the same time lenders are becoming more risk-averse. This book will address the issues and offer some solutions.
This book follows on from Freda’s previous publications, Museum Collections Management: A Handbook (2011) and Organizing Exhibitions (2014).
Published by Facet Publishing, July 2017
Paperback, 288 pages
For what it’s worth: Essentials of Collections Valuation
Flett Theatre, Natural History Museum, London
Friday 22 April 2016, 9.00–20.00
Working with the Natural History Museum, London, Matassa Toffolo is organising this conference for museum and industry professionals, the first of its kind to address this subject in museum and gallery collections.
The Government Stable by Adam Dant was unveiled in the Speaker’s House in the House of Commons on 16 September 2015. Based on ‘lightning sketches’ made on the campaign trail, Dant’s interpretation of the 2015 General Election takes the form of a single, monumental, sepia ink drawing of a fictitious ‘General Election Campaign Archive’.
The Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art approved the appointment of an Election Artist in October 2014, and Adam Dant was selected from a list of artists proposed by Matassa Toffolo. The drawing becomes part of the Parliamentary Art Collection and goes on display in Portcullis House on Saturday 19 September for the London House Weekend and will subsequently move to a public location.
The House of Commons, in collaboration with Adam Dant and TAG Fine Arts, plan to produce limited edition prints of The Government Stable, available for sale via TAG Fine Arts later this year.
Matassa Toffolo are featured in the 3 June 2015 edition of Country Life (special Collectors’ Issue). In the full-page article Behind the scenes at the museum Fine Arts Editor Mary Miers interviews Freda and Julia and discovers that “a surprising number of art owners know little about the nuts and bolts of managing their collection”. The article is illustrated with a picture of Freda and Julia at the Society of Antiquaries of London, where they advised on the Magna Carta through the Ages exhibition, open until 31 July 2015.