Firms To Watch: Art and cultural property

Andrew Grant heads the department at Clyde & Co that acts for clients ranging from major auction houses to insurers underwriting fine art and specie risks in the London market and overseas. Tim Crockford and Jane Andrewartha are also recommended.
The ‘very experiencedHetty Gleave heads the department at Fladgate LLP that advises a wide range of clients including educational institutions and governments on a broad array of contentious and non-contentious art and cultural property matters. 
Lisette Aguilar at Keystone Law  has been described as ‘exceptional in this area, given her “insider’s knowledge” from many years at Sotheby’s. She is a keen fighter for her clients’. Gregor Kleinknecht has very recently joined the firm. 
Davina Given (who has a ‘keen mind’) heads the group at RPC that is particularly recommended for its work on a range of major art disputes. Key clients include auction houses, collectors/copyright owners as well as dealers, wealthy individuals, insurers and foundations.

Art and cultural property in London

Boodle Hatfield LLP

Simon Fitzpatrick leads the team at Boodle Hatfield LLP that frequently advises on the big art litigation matters. It also advises galleries, artists, auction houses and HNWIs on significant purchases of art worth millions of pounds. Fitzpatrick is a known name for his specialist knowledge of cases involving auction house misattribution, authenticity and provenance claims. Natasha Hassall specialises in advising on heritage property issues where there are substantial art collections. Eleanor Sepanski’s clients include wealthy families and individuals with large art collections as well as high-profile artists and not-for-profit organisations. At associate level Fred Clark, Becky Shaw and Rebecca Foden are all well-regarded.

Responsables de la pratique:

Simon Fitzpatrick

Autres avocats clés:

Natasha Hassall; Becky Shaw; Eleanor Sepanski; Fred Clark; Rebecca Foden

Les références

‘Expert knowledge delivered in a user friendly manner. Very strong understanding of the commercial issues relating to art sales, and the preparation of consignment and sale agreements’.

‘Very good, responsive and helpful and not expensive’.

‘Boodle Hatfield’s art law practice is well-established and highly skilled and experienced across the whole range of disciplines relevant to the art market, from non-contentious matters such as contracts, wills and probate and taxation to litigation and dispute resolution’.

Principaux clients

Herman de Stern Foundation

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The vibrant team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP advises several world-famous contemporary art galleries. Rudy Capildeo and Tim Maxwell  head the department that has acted in some of the most significant cases relating to leading international auction houses and is increasingly advising on a range of contentious and non-contentious issues pertaining to cultural property and antiquities for collectors and dealers. Another core of expertise is advising on the interplay between intellectual property, art and luxury assets. Robert Blower and Suzanne Marriott play a pivotal role in advising artists on a wide range of estate planning and tax issues as well as advising collectors, dealers, businesses and charitable trusts on a vast array of art-related matters. Petra Warrington, who joined the team as a senior associate from Hunters Law LLP, is highly regarded for her advice on the ownership, provenance, condition and authenticity of art and luxury assets.

Responsables de la pratique:

Rudy Capildeo; Tim Maxwell

Autres avocats clés:

Robert Blower; Suzanne Marriott; Petra Warrington

Les références

‘The pre-eminent art practice. Partners Rudy Capildeo and Tim Maxwell are at the top of their field. Extremely well connected and knowledgeable. Petra Warrington is exceptionally capable and a star of the future‘.

‘The lawyers can advise on all aspects of cultural property – on all fiscal and legal matters relating to chattels, contentious and non-contentious and are in my view one of the top teams in the UK for cultural property matters. They can advise dealers, auction houses, companies, owners, artists alike and their strength is that they cover every angle. They can advise on tax issues; exports; acquisitions; disposals/sales’.

‘They are extremely knowledgeable; always willing to help; can identify the issues and give succinct and clear advice and guidance and see through to what the real issue is and recommend practical solutions’.

Principaux clients

Friends of the National Libraries

Bernard Carl

Design and Artists Copyright Society; Artists’ Collecting Society

Constantine Cannon LLP

Pierre Valentin leads a first-rate team at Constantine Cannon LLP that advises various high-profile clients including foreign governments, some of the most prominent art collectors in the UK and abroad in addition to well-known contemporary artists, leading commercial galleries and museums. Other key clients include art investment funds, family offices, insurance companies and auction houses. Valentin represents clients in the High Court and Court of Appeal on matters of ownership, fraud and other issues such as Nazi restitutions, foreign nation recoveries and authenticity. There have been some changes to the team recently however. Penny Walker and Tom Christopherson have joined the practice. Azmina Jasani has secured an inhouse position and Till Vere Hodge is now at Payne Hicks Beach LLP. Fionnuala Rogers remains a consultant at the firm and advises on all aspects of art law including cultural property, repatriation and other areas relating to the seizure and the export of antiquities.

Responsables de la pratique:

Pierre Valentin

Autres avocats clés:

Fionnuala Rogers; Penny Walker; Tom Christopherson

Les références

Pierre Valentin is very bright and is thoroughly familiar with the laws of multiple countries related to art and other collectibles. He has great negotiating skills and does it without offending the other side’.

‘Constantine Cannon is almost unique as a law firm focused on art and cultural property. Its industry experience is arguably unparalleled with a limited number of close peers and the reputation of its key partners within the sector, is equally high profile’.

‘Pierre Valentin is the founding partner and driving force of Constantine Cannon’s UK art and cultural law team. He is held in the highest regard by fellow professionals and clients in the visual arts space in particular and has a tremendous amount of knowledge built up over many years. When dealing with artists, artist estates or art businesses generally, his experience of commercial arrangements is crucial’.

Principaux clients

The Line Art Walk

Principaux dossiers

  • Contributed to a variety of projects for The Line including artist commission agreements, loan agreements and exhibition agreements.

Farrer & Co

Farrer & Co has an excellent reputation for its art and cultural property expertise and is best-known for its work with the international super-rich. It advises on many family trusts both in the UK and overseas. Head of department is Adrian Parkhouse who excels in art litigation, and senior associate William Charrington is also developing a strong art-related disputes practice. James Carleton advises many commercial art dealers, private owners and collectors as well as other entities such as charities and banks on cross-border art, heritage law and philanthropy. The team also has an impressive art lending practice. Bethan Waters regularly advises lenders and borrowers on all aspects of finance and security where art is used as collateral. Julian Smith acts for some of the bigger historic house charities and private collections that are destined for public and charitable collections. Peter Wienand also plays a key role in this practice.

Responsables de la pratique:

Adrian Parkhouse

Autres avocats clés:

James Carleton; Paul Jones; Bethan Waters; Julian Smith; Peter Wienand; Isabel Paintin; William Charrington

Les références

‘Adrian Parkhouse is top quality and, in terms of raw brain-power, one of the finest litigation solicitors in London. Clients rightly love him, because he gives top quality service and gets superb results. He’s also utterly unflappable in the most extreme circumstances. If I had an art-dispute, he’d be the only person I’d consider’.

‘Will Charrington is super clever, unbelievably hardworking, and an excellent lawyer. Top drawer for any art dispute’.

Farrer & Co was able to put together a team of specialists across IP and property law to support complex four-way negotiations on a series of contracts to facilitate the purchase, loan and lease of an exceptional piece of cultural property’.

Principaux clients

NFT Nation

The Art Fund

Natural History Museum

Victoria & Albert Museum

Imperial War Museum

Science Museum

Museum of London

Historic Royal Palaces

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Geffrye Museum

Tate Britain

Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP has one of the ‘most forward thinking, capable and high-profile art teams in London’ that is is co-headed by ‘art guruKaren Sanig and by the ‘equally impressive’ Amanda Gray. Its work spans all aspects of the art world and cultural heritage. The ‘extremely well-connected’ team advises galleries on buying, selling, exhibiting, loaning and moving art. In addition it is skilled at helping collectors on financing and on other issues relating to exporting, importing and bequeathing art to the nation. It is also adept at advising art institutions on exhibitions and auction houses on sales and due diligence. The practice has advised on some of the largest art transactions, the management of some of the most significant collections of cultural property and continues to be involved in some of the leading litigation in this area. Overall it is a ‘great team to have on your side’.

Responsables de la pratique:

Amanda Gray; Karen Sanig

Autres avocats clés:

Simon Chadwick; Abby Brindley

Les références

Karen Sanig came highly recommended from everybody with whom I spoke to in the art world both in the UK and abroad. Her well-deserved reputation for excellence preceded her and we have been more than impressed with her skill, knowledge and experience in the area, coupled with the fact that her years of high level art world experience inspire confidence‘.

We greatly value Karen Sanig’s speed of response, accuracy, clever and commercial approach and turning technical and difficult issues into user-friendly straightforward, good, tough advice. Karen is very responsive, whatever the timeline, she will be there to support us with reassuring and technically superb advice. She and her team will go the extra mile‘.

‘Karen Sanig is outstanding, knowledgeable, technically proficient and phenomenal at finding commercial and creative solutions to any technical and challenging issues. She is my number one choice of art lawyer’.

Principaux clients

Artist (prominent, house hold name)

Anthony d’Offay Limited

Art Africa Ltd

Camden Art Centre

Clore Wyndham Fine Art Limited

Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft

Halcyon Gallery Limited

Hales Gallery Limited

Institute of Contemporary Arts

London based gallery

Marisa Bellani

Maranello Rosso Limited

Morgan Art Foundation

Museum of Everything

Oliver Sears Gallery Limited

Peking Art Associates Limited

Rothstein & Held Limited

Simon C Dickinson Limited

Skartstedt Gallery of London Limited

Principaux dossiers

  • Acted for Hales Gallery in a claim brought by the acclaimed artist Sir Frank Bowling OBE RA alleging breaches of his representation agreement.
  • Represents world renowned art collector Ivor Braka who has a superlative personal collection of largely Modern British art which he has amassed over a period of more than 40 years.
  • Acting for Maranello Rosso Limited in a £70m claim against auction house Bonhams, alleging (inter alia) unlawful means conspiracy, dishonest assistance in breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract, relating to a very large acquisition of world-renowned classic cars.

Stephenson Harwood

The versatile team at Stephenson Harwood acts on various significant transactions and disputes for the key players in the market. Led by the excellent Roland Foord the group acts for clients from a wide range of countries and is adept at handling complex cross-border matters. The practice has been busy advising on various Covid-19 matters, cryptocurrency and NFTs. Clients range from auction houses and dealers to museums and private collectors. It is skilled at handling major disputes relating to title and attribution as well as regularly advising on the sale and purchase of fine art, and other issues relating to exporting art and looted art. Guy Harper is recognised for his experience in contentious matters with a particular emphasis on claims arising from fine art.

Responsables de la pratique:

Roland Foord

Autres avocats clés:

Alan Ward; Guy Harper

Les références

‘Among the top art law and cultural property practices, this firm is one of the most experienced in the business‘.

‘The art and cultural property team is led by Roland Foord, one of the most experienced and senior litigators in the City. Roland’s understanding of the art business is second to none. He is also liked and respected in equal measure for his client friendly, calm no-nonsense approach’.

‘The Art and Cultural property team benefits from drawing from a full service law firm, so you get real specialists in the relevant areas’.

Principaux clients

Qatar Museums Authority

Sadie Coles HQ Limited


Phillips Auctioneers

Mark Weiss

The Society of London Art Dealers

Hazlitt Gooden & Fox Limited

The Royal College of Art

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

Principaux dossiers

  • Instructed by Qatar Museums (‘QM’) on numerous matters over the course of the last year including the Dior Exhibition – Including advising on exhibition agreements with Christian Dior Couture SA and Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
  • Acting as the go-to firm for Sadie Coles HQ Limited, the London based contemporary gallery, including advice in respect of a number of commissioned art works and representing the gallery’s artists in respect of commissions for installations in France.
  • Acting on behalf of long-term client Christie’s on a range of matters, principally disputes.

Howard Kennedy LLP

Led by Mark Stephens the skilled team at Howard Kennedy LLP advises museums, galleries, dealers and public art organisations on a vast array of issues relating to the resolution of disputes and the recovery of stolen and looted items of art and cultural property. It also advises many charities, artists and estates as well as photographers, photo libraries and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on a whole host of issues. Daniel McClean is recommended; Alex Watt has an eclectic mix of clients including Middle Eastern art galleries and American art dealers; Elizabeth Morley is well-regarded; and Robert Lands has a particular focus on the visual arts sector.

Responsables de la pratique:

Mark Stephens CBE

Autres avocats clés:

Daniel McClean; Robert Lands; Alex Watt; Elizabeth Morley

Principaux clients

Simon C Dickinson Ltd

Delahunty Ltd trading as Delahunty Fine Art

Howard Field

Simon C Dickinson Ltd

L A Louver

Principaux dossiers

  • Defending London art dealers Simon C Dickinson Ltd in a claim by the trustees of the Wemyss Heirlooms Trust, concerning the attribution of a painting described on its sale in 2014 as by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin and Studio.
  • Acting for the Los Angeles art gallery LA Louver in a claim against the directors of Blain Southern Limited; a premier art gallery that fell into administration in January 2020.

Withers LLP

Withers LLP has an excellent reputation for its work with the owners of significant art collections. It is adept at advising on funding issues relating to the purchase of art in a tax efficient manner. Under the direction of Eleni Polycarpou it is skilled at handling a whole host of complex contentious matters as well as having considerable strength on a wide array of other issues such as advising on complicated estate planning measures. It also garners praise for its considerable cross-border capabilities. The practice was pleased to add Sarah Barker to its ranks from Lee & Thompson LLP. Overall it is ‘superb at understanding and delivering on the client’s objectives’.

Responsables de la pratique:

Eleni Polycarpou; Diana Wierbicki

Autres avocats clés:

Sarah Barker

Les références

‘The firm is a pioneer in representing clients for matters relating to Art and culture property, and in particular on NFT and digital assets disputes, stolen art, restitution matters, contractual disputes. They are very cooperative and approachable but extremely professional at the same time’.

‘Eleni Polycarpou is very professional, hands on, experienced partner of the firm. Very approachable, organised, knowledgeable, skilled, fighter where need be, with great results’.

‘High profile team with strong expertise in the art market and litigation. Eleni Polycarpou leads the practice with outstanding skills. Her responsiveness and strategic mind make her stand’.

Principaux clients


Client purchasing a Banksy


Victoria Miro Gallery

Heir to spoliated art

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for an heir to an owner of Nazi looted art in a dispute between them and a company which provides services for the recovery of looted art which is the subject of ongoing proceedings in the Canadian courts.
  • Providing a range of legal advice to Vortic (Vortic XR), a technology start-up which is the art world’s leading extended reality platform offering galleries and museums an opportunity to exhibit works of art and host exhibitions online using advanced AR and VR technology.
  • Instructed by Victoria Miro Gallery on a wide variety of matters across the firm including contract, copyright, anti-money laundering compliance, dispute resolution, property/real estate and tax and advice in respect of an artwork from one of the gallery’s artists that had been stolen and recently resurfaced at an auction house.

Hunters Law LLP

Hunters Law LLP has a thriving art and cultural heritage practice that acts for a broad range of clients and much of its work has a complex international dimension. It is adept at advising auctioneers, valuers, dealers, collectors and public/private institutions on a wide range of contentious and transactional matters. Names to note include Julia Richards and Anastassia Dimmek. Petra Warrington is now at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. Gregor Kleinknecht has recently left the firm to join Keystone Law.

Autres avocats clés:

Julia Richards; Anastassia Dimmek

Les références

‘Personal service, up to date knowledge and efficient communication. Everything that you might hope for from a firm of such high standing-  extremely able and knowledgeable’.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP

Ed Powles heads the practice at Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP that advises a diverse range of UK and non-UK resident artists (and their personal representatives), collectors, national galleries and museums, as well as philanthropists and entrepreneurs. The group also advises traditionally wealthy families who have extensive collections in their family homes. It works closely with its other departments to advise these clients on probate and tax matters, international estate planning, philanthropy and a whole host of other contentious and non-contentious contractual matters.

Responsables de la pratique:

Ed Powles

Autres avocats clés:

Ceris Gardner; Jennifer Emms; Clare Maurice

Les références

‘They are committed to art and cultural property hosting various talks on the subject. They have excellent offshore clients’.

‘A very knowledgeable group with very good clients‘.

‘A wonderful group of solicitors to work with. Committed and generous with their time’.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP has strong international capabilities with Richard Hart at the helm. It has a cross-disciplinary team that is adept at advising ultra-high-net-worth individuals including Royal Family members, artists, cultural institutions and government bodies on all issues relating to their collections. Hart advises clients on structuring their collections and on sales, purchases and loans. He also advises them on their philanthropic endeavours such as creating cultural foundations and facilitating donations to cultural institutions. In addition he routinely works with artisans and interior designers.

Responsables de la pratique:

Richard Hart

Autres avocats clés:

Michael Fletcher; Oliver Tapper

Les références

‘Excellent subject knowledge, diligence and collaboration with entities to gain a firm understanding of the remit’.

‘Richard Hart is a stand out partner to work with. His breadth of knowledge in different fields is particularly impressive’.

‘I have worked closely on two art/cultural property cases with Michael Fletcher and Richard Hart, both partners. They have both real knowledge of the sector, and an enthusiasm for it’.

Principaux clients

Saffery Champness (through their clients)

Various members of Middle Eastern Royal Families and Ultra High net worth individuals, and their corporate vehicles

Swiss Foundation

German private collector


Principaux dossiers

  • Advising the cultural Al Thani Collection Foundation set up by a prominent Qatari family on the loan to Hôtel de la Marine of numerous artworks from its Collection to be showcased as part of temporary exhibitions.
  • Advised on a series of purchases for a client of a set of Greco Roman antiquities from a London gallery. The purchases involved instructing scientific experts and counsel on the wider provenance piece.
  • Advising on the impact of the Ivory Act on a client’s collection of objects (170 pieces) with elephant ivory content and in particular as to the effect of pieces being non-exempt from restrictions on sale.

BDB Pitmans

Hugo Smith and Susan Johnson co-head the art and cultural property offering at BDB Pitmans that works closely with its private wealth, charities and other departments to advise clients on a wide spectrum of issues such as the sale and purchase of art as well as the formation of charities to hold art and cultural property. It is also skilled at advising public sector bodies on commissioning agreements for public art in addition to providing tax and structuring advice to the owners of art and cultural property.

Responsables de la pratique:

Hugo Smith; Susan Johnson

Les références

‘They have very good people in it who have art experience. Very knowledgeable people’.

‘As private client solicitors, most of their clients are long standing and their sound advice and guidance is beneficial to each family generation’.

Forsters LLP

The versatile team at Forsters LLP has a wealth of experience in acting for collectors, artists, galleries and auction houses in addition to the owners of historic houses. Clients also include globally renowned living artists, as well as private collectors and art institutions with culturally significant assets. Catherine Hill heads the team and is recommended for her work on a range of legacy, succession and taxation issues. Rupert Mead advises the owners of landed estates on a myriad of taxation issues.

Responsables de la pratique:

Catherine Hill

Autres avocats clés:

Rupert Mead; Jo Thompson; Rebecca Meade

Les références

‘A good and knowledgeable art team’.

‘The Forsters team is very approachable and knowledgeable – a good combination. The lawyers are also very nice to work with while getting the work done. They are committed to their work and are very good at what they do but they don’t let this impede on their personal and friendly way in which they do it. It is a friendly service‘.

Forsters is able to provide my clients with a holistic service but with a private client approach to service standards. I know that entrepreneurial and creative clients are in very safe hands with the partners and associates of Forsters and the communication with myself and colleagues is always very joined up and thought through by Forsters‘.

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Under the leadership of James Bacon the skilled team at Payne Hicks Beach LLP advises individuals, trustees, art dealers and charities on various issues including on the taxation and administration of high-value private art collections. The group is also recommended for its work on planning matters as they relate to heritage fixtures where these are subject to listed buildings status. Rosamond McDowell is well regarded and Till Vere-Hodge joined the practice as a partner from Constantine Cannon LLP.

Responsables de la pratique:

James Bacon

Autres avocats clés:

Rosamond McDowell; Till Vere-Hodge

Les références

‘The people are dedicated,  incredibly hardworking, professional and always contactable. Their professionalism, understanding and adaptability‘.

‘Friendly, discreet and lethal in litigation. Rosamond McDowell – A joy to work with, combining tremendous fun with astonishing efficiency. James Bacon – Wise, calm and collected, a family could not have a more reliable solicitor of the old school’.

‘Rosamond McDowell – A joy to work with, combining tremendous fun with astonishing efficiency’.