Freda in Budapest

Freda was recently in Budapest, at the invitation of the Museum of Fine Arts, to deliver a workshop on Valuing your Collection, based on her latest book. Delegates from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic discussed the issues of assigning values to items in public collections and received practical guidance on how to assign a value. Tom Flynn, of Flynn & Giovani Art Provenance Research, co-presented on the art market.

Press: Matassa Toffolo in Art & Museum magazine

Matassa Toffolo appeared in print again with an article: ‘Collections Management is more than just a Database’ in the Spring 2018 edition of Art & Museum magazine.

Freda blogs about her new book on the Collections Trust website

Freda blogs about her new book Valuing Your Collection: A Practical Guide for Museums, Libraries and Archives on the Collections Trust website.

‘The Lost Palace: The British Embassy in Berlin’ book launch

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!

Chinese art business leaders consult Matassa Toffolo

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

The Lost Palace by Julia Toffolo, cover

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:
The grandiose Palais Strousberg at 70 Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin was built for the notorious railway entrepreneur Bethel Henry Strousberg . In 1876 the British acquired it as their Embassy. This book tells the story of this long-vanished, magnificent and atmospheric palace at the heart of Berlin’s government district. Located on the very doorstep of the dramatic and far-reaching political events of the next seven decades, the building bore witness to Germany’s painful journey through monarchy, civil war, republic, fascist dictatorship and two World Wars.

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
ISBN 9781910878330
Hardback, 320 pages, colour throughout

Book Guild Publishing
Purchase from Amazon UK here


VALUING YOUR COLLECTION: A Practical Guide for Museums, Libraries and Archives by Freda Matassa

Valuing Your Collection cover

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:
Assigning values to items in the collection is one of the many tasks of the curator, whether in a gallery, museum, archive or library, yet it is a role for which few have had training and that many approach with a lack of confidence. Even with profound knowledge of the subject-matter, there may be insufficient experience of the market for cultural objects. Besides, valuation is not an exact science and it is easy to get wrong.

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
ISBN 9781783301874
Paperback, 288 pages
Purchase from Amazon UK here

Matassa Toffolo at the Natural History Museum

Matassa Toffolo Natural History Museum

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.

Press: Matassa Toffolo in Belgravia Resident Magazine

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Matassa Toffolo feature in an article by Amanda Stücklin in the November 2015 edition of Belgravia Residents Magazine.

Read the article here (PDF)

RunWild Media Belgravia Residents Journal