Art & Valuable Items

"The clerking team is very responsive and have always been able to make time with an appropriate barrister to suit any given situation."


The Legal 500

Fountain Court members have been involved in numerous significant matters involving art, antiques, jewellery, rare cars and many other valuable items.

Our expertise in this sector spans numerous practice areas including professional negligence, commercial disputes, insurance, commercial crime and civil fraud.

Members act on cases involving issues of authenticity and provenance, ownership and title issues and intellectual property-related claims. They have also advised various entities including auction houses on professional duties, procedures and regulatory obligations. Our track record in cases relating to conflicts of law and jurisdiction also complements our work in this sector along with our employment expertise.

Some examples of our work can be found below but our wider experience includes cases relating to artworks by famous artists including Yayoi Kusama, Banksy, Robert Indiana and Hondecoeter, photographs allegedly by Marcel Duchamp, a collection of gold coins, an £11 million Ferrari 375 which won the 1954 British Grand Prix, French 18th century urns, art deco furniture, Rodin’s Le Penseur, sports memorabilia, art dealer and fraudster Inigo Philbrick and rare musical instruments.

Our work includes cases relating to:

  • Professional negligence and misrepresentation claims
  • Authenticity and provenance disputes
  • Ownership and title disputes
  • Intellectual property matters including licensing issues
  • Fraud and commercial crime claims
  • Regulatory and legislative issues
  • Insurance-related claims

  • Sale of Ferrari 375: Instructed for a seller in a dispute between the owner of Victoria's Secret and the auction house Bonhams regarding allegations of misrepresentation in the sale of an £11 million Ferrari 375 which won the 1954 Sports Car Championship and the 1954 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
  • Sale of Old Dutch Master painting: Instructed on a confidential matter for an Ultra-High Net Worth individual in a claim arising out of the £1 million sale, and alleged mis-description, of a Dutch Old Master painting.
  • Jewellery theft in Hatton Gardens: Acting for the assured in a claim against insurers in an LCIA arbitration relating to a significant jewellery theft in Hatton Gardens.
  • Provenance of Sevso Silver: Appearing on behalf of Sotheby's in relation to the high-profile case involving the Sevso Silver, concerning a hoard of Roman era silver of dubious provenance collected by a high-profile titled English collector.
  • Fraudulent misrepresentation claim against antique dealer: Acting on behalf of Mohammed Al-Fayed in a claim for damages for fraudulent misrepresentation against an antique dealer, concerning the misstated date and provenance of a number of "antiques".
  • Regulatory advice to auction house: Providing advisory services to an auction house in relation to (a) whether to make a Suspicious Transaction Report to SOCA under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 regarding the purchase of a work of art; and (b) a range of health and safety, public nuisance and other regulatory issues to do with private viewings and other events held at the auction house premises.
  • Sanctions advice: Advising on potential sanctions offences were works of art owned by a sanctioned person to be sold or purchased.
  • Thomson v Christie Manson & Woods Limited & Others: Acting for Christie's in a matter concerning the duties of care of auctioneers.
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Art & Valuable Items Barristers

Jeffrey Chapman QC

Jeffrey Chapman QC

Call 1989 | Silk 2010

Tamara Oppenheimer QC

Tamara Oppenheimer QC

Call 2002 | Silk 2020

Laura John QC

Laura John QC

Call 2001 | Silk 2021

Nik Yeo

Call 2000

Simon Atrill

Simon Atrill

Call 2005

Nico Leslie

Nico Leslie

Call 2010

Samuel Ritchie

Samuel Ritchie

Call 2012

Aaron Taylor

Aaron Taylor

Call 2017

Daniel Schwennicke

Daniel Schwennicke

Call 2020

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Contact our clerks

For more information on our experience or to discuss a particular case, please contact us.

Call:    +44 (0)207 583 3335
Email: clerks@fountaincourt.co.uk

Featured insights

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Read more

Information Rights (5th edition)

Bankim Thanki QC and Henry King QC are contributors to the 5th…

Read more

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