Firms To Watch: Art and cultural property

At Fladgate LLPHetty Gleave heads up the department, which receives plaudits for ‘the extent of its deep knowledge not just of the law but of the international art market, its players and practices, and of art institutions’.

Art and cultural property in London

Boodle Hatfield LLP

Led by Simon Fitzpatrick, Boodle Hatfield LLP has an excellent reputation in the market for its work on big art law litigation cases. It is regarded as one of the premier advisers for those who have highly valuable art collections. In addition, the versatile team advises galleries, artists, auction houses and high-net-worth individuals on their commercial art matters; the group has recently advised on some of the most significant purchases of art. Natasha Hassall specialises in acting for large landed estates with heritage property and substantial art collections, while Eleanor Sepanski advises private clients on the sale and purchase of valuable artworks. Senior associate Fred Clark covers the full spectrum of commercial art matters such as lending, copyright and collection management issues and the buying and selling of art. Rebecca Foden is also recommended.

Responsables de la pratique:

Simon Fitzpatrick

Autres avocats clés:

Natasha Hassall; Fred Clark; Eleanor Sepanski; Rebecca Foden

Les références

‘It’s an excellent team, with strong leadership under Simon Fitzpatrick and good bench strength. The size of the Art and Cultural team puts it in a small elite group of art sector specialist law firms in London’.

‘Simon Fitzpatrick is excellent to work with, thoughtful, considered with a raft of experience to draw from. Fred Clark is excellent, quick and helpful. He’s also building a strong track record. Rebecca Foden is smart and considered. Clients like working with her’.

‘The breadth and depth of the art law knowledge and capability of the Boodle Hatfield art law team knows few rivals in the London art law market. The team has long-standing pedigree, with strength in both litigation and transactional work, and has worked with an impressive client list over many years’.

Farrer & Co

The first-class team at Farrer & Co has a stellar reputation for its art and cultural property expertise and regularly works with international super rich clients. Adrian Parkhouse is highly sought after for his work on major art cases, and senior associate William Charrington is also developing a strong art-related disputes practice. Through Bethan Waters, the department is well regarded for its work in the art lending world. Clients include leading museums and galleries in the UK, charities and top landed estates. Isabel Paintin advises clients on a wide range of issues relating to the ownership of artwork, gifts of heritage assets and heritage tax issues. Julian Smith is another stand-out member of the practice along with Peter Wienand, who advises many cultural organisations and artists on the protection and exploitation of their intellectual property.

Responsables de la pratique:

Adrian Parkhouse; Isabel Paintin

Autres avocats clés:

Peter Wienand; Julian Smith; William Charrington; Bethan Waters

Les références

‘They are experts and know inside out how to talk to artists and to clients. They are quick because this knowledge is current and up to date. The key capabilities are expert knowledge, care and human ability to communicate across legal and human concerns’.

‘The team are experts and they have built trust with me so that I can ask any question and that will be taken seriously’.

‘Adrian Parkhouse (Partner). He’s 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’. 

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Under the joint leadership of Karen Sanig and Amanda Gray, the practice at Mishcon de Reya LLP continues to flourish and regularly works with world-renowned collectors and dealers; the firm also fields a thriving luxury asset practice. The skilled team routinely advises on many of the largest international art transactions, and assists with the management of significant collections of cultural property. It also remains one of the first ports of call for complex, international and high-profile art gallery and auction disputes. Abby Brindley frequently advises on disputes relating to ownership, provenance and attribution, as well as on issues relating to fraud, moral rights and the restitution of Holocaust-looted artworks. The group has also been busy advising on a myriad of other issues such as advising collectors on financing and loan arrangements, handling import/export matters, and assisting with bequeathing art to the nation. Simon Chadwick is another key member of the practice.

Responsables de la pratique:

Karen Sanig; Amanda Gray

Autres avocats clés:

Abby Brindley; Simon Chadwick; Michelle Stroube

Les références

‘Our experience is that there is a very high level of specialist knowledge in art and culture areas, and collaborative working to find solutions. There is a full range of legal expertise available and colleagues are quick to bring in additional specialist support when needed’.

‘Amanda Gray is highly engaged in what we do, and has a great knowledge of the art and museum worlds, which makes her easy to work with. She is able to provide examples of good practice and raise potential issues in a way which allows us to take pre-emptive action rather than waiting for problems to arise. She has a pragmatic approach’. 

‘Probably the best art law team out there. Full service from beginning to end. With the incredible experience of Karen Sanig, the impressive creativity of Amanda Gray, the amazing support of Michelle Stroube and others (Simon Chadwick, Abby Brindley), this group is hard to beat!’.

Principaux clients

Ivor Braka Limited

Ivor Braka

The Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery

Institute of Contemporary Arts

David Aaron Limited

A/Political Limited

Clore Wyndham Fine Art Limited

Camden Art Centre

Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft

Morgan Art Foundation

Art Africa Limited

Rothstein & Held Limited

Halcyon Gallery Limited

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Ivor Braka Limited and Ivor Braka in “first-of-its-kind” proceedings relating to the provision of information by art market participants to obtain payment of artist resale royalties.
  • Advised the trustees of the Tate Gallery in relation to sanctions and their potential effect on past, present and future donors to the Museum.
  • Acting as general counsel for the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Stephenson Harwood

Led by the renowned Roland Foord, the well-established team at Stephenson Harwood frequently acts in the most important transactions and disputes for the key players in the market, and the group often works on matters with a significant cross-border dimension. Growth areas for the practice have included advising on Russian sanctions, Covid-19, cryptocurrency and NFTs. Clients stem from a wide variety of countries and range from auction houses and dealers, to museums and private collectors. Foord is a known name for his work on major disputes involving title and attribution issues, as well as his work regarding the sale and purchase of fine art. In addition, the group is adept at advising on issues relating to the export of art and looted art. Guy Harper is also sought after for his experience of handling claims relating to fine art.

Responsables de la pratique:

Roland Foord

Autres avocats clés:

Guy Harper; Jo Jones; Alan Ward

Les références

‘A seasoned and well-appointed team, led by the great Roland Foord. A high-end commercial firm that offers art law expertise is a rare asset – and Stephenson Harwood have it in spades. Especially strong on authenticity disputes involving works of art and anything that affects the big art auction houses’.

‘Roland Foord is one of the few undeniable experts in this field, with enormous experience to draw from. Jo Jones has done fine work as a highly intelligent junior’.

‘Stephenson Harwood has for many decades now been a leader in the art law field. It provides advice to international auction houses, galleries and collectors. Its major strength is that it has extensive experience in and knowledge of the art business’.

Principaux clients

Qatar Museums Authority


Phillips Auctioneers

The Society of London Art Dealers

The Royal College of Art

Sadie Coles HQ Limited

Principaux dossiers

  • Instructed by Qatar Museums on numerous matters including template agreements and proposal, commission and license agreements.
  • Advised Phillips UK on a range of ad hoc issues and more substantive issues including successfully acting in defence of proceedings in relation to a work by Damien Hirst sold through Phillips.
  • Acting for Sadie Coles HQ Limited 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.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Suzanne Marriott heads up the art and luxury practice at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. Marriott is skilled at advising artists and collectors on structuring their art ownership for tax and succession purposes. Robert Blower is a known name for his tax and estate planning work on estates that contain significant art collections, while Stewart Hey is well regarded for his work on various high-value international disputes and investigations. Chris Haywood and Mark Hill are among the other highly-regarded members of the department. There have been some departures from the department – Rudy CapildeoTim Maxwell and Petra Warrington are now at Wedlake Bell.

Responsables de la pratique:

Suzanne Marriott

Autres avocats clés:

Robert Blower; Stewart Hey; Chris Haywood; Mark Hill

Les références

They are first class in my experience‘.

‘The taxation issues affecting art and cultural property are varied and complex. The CRS team are, in my experience, excellent in producing pragmatic solutions for clients. Each of the members of the practice are highly qualified, technically excellent, well grounded and diligent. Their stand-out quality is their enormous strength in depth’.

‘Robert Blower (huge experience, technically expert, charming and unostentatious) – consistently very high quality’.

Howard Kennedy LLP

Spearheaded by Mark Stephens, the busy team at Howard Kennedy LLP advises a wide array of clients such as museums and public collections, galleries and dealers; other key clients include charities, artists, photographers and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. The group’s expertise spans all aspects of art and cultural property from drafting all forms of agreements, to handling litigation and resolving disputes. Other key areas of focus are advising on the recovery of stolen and looted items of art and cultural property, as well as providing estate planning advice to artists and collectors. Daniel McClean is another highly regarded member of the practice, and Alex Watt is particularly well known for his work with street artists, while Robert Lands has a particular focus on the visual arts.

Responsables de la pratique:

Mark Stephens

Autres avocats clés:

Daniel McClean; Alex Watt; Robert Lands

Les références

Most important is the ability to find imaginative solutions at which Mark Stephens is a master. He is supported by a large firm with expertise in other occasionally relevant areas, such as disputes with agents or immigration issues involving artists’.

‘Robert Lands and his team provide excellent legal advice, but are also commercial. They treat the relationship as more than just a means to an invoice’.

‘Robert Lands has treated our company like we are one of his biggest clients. It is a feeling of having someone in your team, even when you speak to them only every now and then’.

Principaux clients

Simon C Dickinson Ltd

Ivor Braka and Ivor Braka Ltd

Wedlake Bell

The art and luxury market is a growth area for Wedlake Bell LLP, which recently recruited its two new department heads Tim Maxwell and Rudy Capildeo from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. These highly regarded partners advise artists, private collectors as well as international art galleries on a whole host of issues relating to artists’ rights and high-value title disputes. The group also represents clients in the recovery of artworks that were lost or misappropriated during the Nazi era, and is well equipped to advise on the purchase, sale and financing of art and luxury assets. Senior associate Petra Warrington is another seasoned practitioner.

Responsables de la pratique:

Rudy Capildeo; Tim Maxwell

Autres avocats clés:

Petra Warrington; Tamara Wakeford

Les références

‘Following its recruitments, Wedlake Bell has one of the top art and cultural property practices in London. They are excellent from top to bottom, have a genuine understanding of the market and seem to know everyone who matters in the art and cultural sector’.

‘Tim Maxwell has an excellent strategic mind, and is unfazed by whatever is thrown up in the course of colourful litigation. Rudy Capildeo has a way with clients, and opponents, which enables dispute solutions to be magicked out of thin air. His knowledge of the art market is unparalleled’.

‘Petra Warrington is a reassuring and calming presence in even the most eventful disputes. She is clearly a partner of the future, and a pleasure to work with. Tamara Bell is impressive beyond her relatively junior years, and one to watch for the future.’

Principaux clients

Design & Artists’ Copyright Society

The Artist Collecting Society

Principaux dossiers

  • Represented not-for-profit entities, the Design & Artists Copyright Society (DACS) & the Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS), the two collecting societies responsible for collecting resale royalties on behalf of artists and artists’ estates. DACS and ACS filed a claim seeking the disclosure of information relating to sales of artworks which qualify for resale right royalties.

Withers LLP

Notably featuring Sarah Barker and Eleni Polycarpou, the outstanding team at Withers LLP has ‘incredible depth and can pivot on issues quickly making it a lean, mean and agile litigation and advisory machine’. Barker works with collectors and creative entrepreneurs as well as successful artists and their estates, art dealers and artTech businesses on a whole host of commercial and transactional matters, while Polycarpou specialises in contentious art matters, many of which are multi-jurisdictional, and include stolen art cases, title and authenticity disputes, and consignment cases. The group added Natalie Sherborn to its ranks from Pinsent Masons LLP, who is adept at handling white-collar defence and investigations.

Responsables de la pratique:

Sarah Barker

Autres avocats clés:

Eleni Polycarpou; Natalie Sherborn; Giulia Trojano

Les références

‘This team has an unrivalled capacity to take on multi-jurisdictional art cases with offices stationed all over the world to permit rapid action. This global chain of offices bring local expertise with decades of experience in London to resolve the most complex of disputes’.

‘Eleni Polycarpou is the stand out, anything a client wants sorted she can handle. She is an absolute star’.

‘Sarah Barker has an intimate grasp of the art world and the way in which its actors think’.

Principaux clients


Gurr Johns

Hauser and Wirth

National Gallery of Scotland

Victoria Miro


Principaux dossiers

  • Providing a range of legal advice to Vortic (also known as Vortic XR), a technology start-up which is an extended reality platform offering galleries and museums an opportunity to exhibit works of art and host exhibitions online using advanced AR and VR technology.
  • Acting for an art financing company in a multi-jurisdictional, multi-party, multi-million dollar claim in relation to lending on a pool of collateralised artworks.
  • Representing a new generation star artist on all their personal and studio legal requirements.

Forsters LLP

Under the leadership of Catherine Hill, the art and cultural property group at Forsters LLP has a wealth of experience in acting for collectors, artists, galleries, auction houses and the owners of historic houses on a broad range of issues. It continues to be busy advising on various significant sales and acquisitions of heritage art, and the group also garners praise for its work on an array of complex contentious art and cultural property matters. Rupert Mead has considerable expertise in advising on the taxation of heritage property, and Guy Abrahams has extensive knowledge of how to structure the acquisitions and disposals of art by individuals, trustees and companies in a tax efficient way.

Responsables de la pratique:

Catherine Hill

Autres avocats clés:

Rupert Mead; Guy Abrahams; Laura Neal; Jo Thompson; Filippo Petteni

Les références

‘A really knowledgeable and experienced team with great links within the sector. They offer proactive, practical advice and are a pleasure to work with’.

‘Catherine Hill shines in the sector being an extremely good technical lawyer with a practical approach. She has fantastic client skills with a loyal following from existing clients and is consistently regarded as a leader in the field’.

‘Filippo Petteni. Highly professional, extremely approachable, available and always happy to assist with a smile’.

Principaux clients


Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP

Spearheaded by Ed Powles, the team at Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP works closely with its other departments to advise on an array of issues from international estate planning and tax, to philanthropy and the sale and purchase of art and cultural property. Its diverse client base includes artists, collectors, national galleries and entrepreneurs. Powles has a particular focus on conflict of law issues, and the difficulties that can arise in relation to issues surrounding title to artwork and heritage property. Ceris Gardner is another leading member of the firm who excels at advising on the taxation of heritage property. Jennifer Emms is also well regarded.

Responsables de la pratique:

Ed Powles

Autres avocats clés:

Ceris Gardner; Jennifer Emms

Les références

‘A solid team of private client experts: tax, import/export, estate planning, contracts… this group has you covered!’

‘Ed Powles is an approachable and highly competent solicitor who offers excellent insight on all legal matters, of great use in the art world’.

‘Ceris Gardner has immense experience. Jennifer Emms is a standout as well. Together they work seamlessly. A great team’.

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Till Vere-Hodge and James Bacon co-lead the specialist arts practice at Payne Hicks Beach LLP. Vere-Hodge covers all areas of law relating to artworks, antiquities and collectibles, and has built up considerable expertise in resolving claims pertaining to looted artworks and antiquities. Clients include high-net-worth individuals, dealers, galleries and museums. Bacon is recognised for his knowledge of heritage property taxation matters, and has niche expertise in the use of maintenance fund settlements for land. Mark Jones joined the team from Blake Morgan LLP; he has an impressive track record of advising art market participants on their anti-money laundering obligations.

Responsables de la pratique:

Till Vere-Hodge; James Bacon

Autres avocats clés:

Mark Jones; Emily Woods

Les références

‘The team at PHB have a great client list who own art or are thinking of buying art’.

‘The arrival of Till Vere-Hodge has bolstered the PHB art practice and particularly on the restitution side. He has been excellent, combining knowledge and experience to very good effect’.

‘Friendly. Expert. Knowledgeable. Efficient’.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Richard Hart heads up the practice at Pinsent Masons LLP, which advises ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families on a wide spectrum of issues. It routinely advises on the acquisition and refurbishment of historic houses, as well as on the structuring of art collections. Hart  also advises clients on philanthropic matters by way of the creation of cultural foundations, donations to cultural institutions, single loans to museums or loans to large touring exhibitions. Michael Fletcher is another key figure, and has considerable experience in advising on claims in the art sector.

Responsables de la pratique:

Richard Hart

Autres avocats clés:

Michael Fletcher; Oliver Tapper

Les références

‘I recently had the privilege of working with Pinsent Masons and I must say, they are a remarkable team of legal professionals providing clear and consistent communication. They were prompt in answering my questions, providing updates, and addressing any concerns I had. This level of responsiveness gave me confidence and peace of mind’.

‘A diverse and widespread offering of expertise, both in terms of geography and speciality’.

‘Richard Hart: always very responsive, extremely capable, excellent communicator’.

Principaux clients

Swiss Foundation

German private collector

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising a cultural foundation that has been set up by a prominent Middle Eastern family on the loan to Hôtel de la Marine of numerous artworks from its collection to be showcased as part of temporary exhibitions to be held in the course of the next 20 years in a new gallery of the renovated Hôtel de la Marine.
  • 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

The agile team at BDB Pitmans is best known for its provision of tax and structuring advice to the owners of art and cultural property where the assets are subject to historic conditional exemptions. The group, which is co-led by Susan Johnson and Hugo Smith, also advises well-known artists on suitable ownership structures for their artwork. In addition, it regularly advises on agency agreements, and also advises museums and other cultural institutions on a broad range of  commercial and fundraising issues.

Responsables de la pratique:

Susan Johnson; Hugo Smith

Clyde & Co

The fine art team at Clyde & Co advises clients ranging from major auction houses to insurers underwriting fine art and specie risks in the London market and overseas. It is also skilled at handling defence work for galleries, dealers, collectors, consignees and carriers. Andrew Grant and Tim Crockford are at the helm.

Responsables de la pratique:

Andrew Grant; Tim Crockford

Les références

‘Fantastic track record in working for auction houses’.

‘Tim Crockford is astute and charming to work with; understands the auction world like no one else’.

Principaux clients

Antipa Gallery

Ingles & Hayday


Fieldfisher has an international and cross-departmental team of art lawyers, which advises on disputes, commercial matters and non-contentious issues. Areas of expertise span finance, tax planning, intellectual property, technology law and real estate matters. Names to note include Helen Mulcahy and Alice Vink. The group also has a growing presence in issues regarding the evolving regulations on anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism in the art market.

Responsables de la pratique:

Helen Mulcahy

Autres avocats clés:

Alice Vink

Les références

‘The team is friendly, collaborative and client focused. They are very commercial and strive to achieve the best outcomes possible for their clients’.

‘They are very commercial. They listen to their clients’.

‘The team is growing and becoming a centre of excellence’.

Principaux clients

Getty Images

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising a major US bank as lead counsel on all of its new and existing facilities secured by artwork, advising on the structure of and putting in place new revolving credit facilities secured by portfolios of artwork.
  • Advising Getty Images Group, claiming infringement of copyright and other rights relating to the unauthorised use of content to train an artificially intelligent image-generating product.
  • Advising a country in connection with proceedings arising out of the disputed title to a significant artwork from that country, which had been stolen previously and transported to different jurisdictions.

Hunters Law LLP

The versatile team at Hunters Law LLP is led by Mark Stiebel and is adept at advising clients on the full gamut of legal issues. The group frequently works with its colleagues on a variety of contentious, private client and other commercial matters, advising valuers, auctioneers and other clients including public and private institutions on a whole host of issues such as title disputes, questions of misattribution and Holocaust era restitution claims. It also regularly advises on the sale and acquisition of artwork and loan arrangements. Julia Richards is also recommended.

Responsables de la pratique:

Mark Stiebel

Autres avocats clés:

Julia Richards

Keystone Law

With key names to note including Lisette Aguilar and Gregor Kleinknecht, the dedicated and ‘active’ team at Keystone Law is experienced in advising ultra-high-net-worth individuals, business collectors, estates, trustees, galleries and dealers on a broad range of issues. The skilled group has wide-ranging expertise spanning advising on general transactions, digital art and NFTs, and artists’ rights, authenticity and provenance disputes. It is also sought after for its advice on the recovery of looted antiquities, cultural property claims and World War II restitution issues. Noted for his expertise in IP and technology, Anthony Misquitta - a key port of call for many of the team's most high-profile clients - is also recommended for his work in this space.

Autres avocats clés:

Lisette Aguilar; Gregor Kleinknecht; Anthony Misquitta

Les références

‘I know Lisette Aguilar best – unusual as she has in-depth art world experience from her stint at Sotheby’s, engaging and sensible’.

‘In the art law area, three key figures work together most seamlessly (Gregor Kleinknecht, Anthony Misquitta, Lisette Aguilar). They are highly recommended for more bespoke work’.

‘Gregor Kleinknecht is a careful and conscientious adviser, with a great breadth of experience working in the art law area’.

Principaux clients

Pantheon Limited

SGT Trading Limited


Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Pantheon Limited on the contractual arrangements and intellectual property aspects for the “Never Fear Truth” NFT project.
  • Instructed by the Victoria & Albert Museum to advise on and prepare the construction contract and related documents for the second phase construction works at the new Photography Centre within the museums Grade 1-listed South Kensington home.


Under the leadership of Davina Given, the practice at RPC is growing and carving out a specialism in art-related disputes and other matters involving art and technology. It continues to advise clients on the sale of NFTs, and assists clients in negotiating licence agreements. Given frequently handles a myriad of disputes on issues such as provenance, attribution and authenticity.

Responsables de la pratique:

Davina Given

Les références

‘Davina Given is very experienced indeed in art market litigation, and brings particular qualities to cases in this field – deep knowledge of culture and history, a brilliant brain, natural calmness and patience, and complete commitment to the client’s cause’. 

‘RPC’s art and cultural property team have deep links with clients in the field’.

‘Davina Given is enthusiastic about art and cultural property law, hard working and with particular knowledge in the area’.

Principaux clients

The Bonhams group

Trustees of the Wemyss Heirlooms Trust