May Newsletter

Dear Friends

Welcome to our May newsletter.

Apologies for the lack of an April newsletter, it seemed wholly inappropriate to be sharing positive news given the circumstances that were unfolding in eastern Europe, thank you to those of you who donated to our chosen fund.

In late March I returned from the second edition of the Chelsea Fine Art & Antiques Fair, a show that myself and my partners at now own the rights to, an event now in its 71st year. Whilst the visitor numbers were slightly reduced compared to September, due in the main to the Omicron strain of covid sweeping the capital, the unseasonal summer weather and the situation in the Ukraine. Despite this business was meaningful and pass out slips were well up from September, with the majority of dealers once again happy with the business conducted during the week.

Amongst my numerous sales were the gorgeous Kinkozan Satsuma vase that featured at plate 2 of my latest exhibition book, “2020 Vision of an Enlightened Ruler Vol II”, and the delightful silver and enamel Koro with a USA provenance, that I attributed to Hiratsuka Mohei, now both finding their way into a high-quality UK based collection, many thanks to that much valued client for taking the time to visit the show.

I had also chosen to feature a small collection of Japanese Ceramics from the late 17th early 18th century Genroku period (1688-1704), although outside of my usual dateline of ceramics they were very well received, two significantly different scale vases were readily snapped up by clients experienced in these particular wares, it was great to meet and engage with collectors far more experienced than I in this particular genre of goods, I am always keen to listen and learn.

You can now see further pieces from this small collection in the ceramics section of my gallery, having just returned from the photography studio.

In April we found a new home for the sensational gold lacquer & shibayama Tanto that was featured in our first Exhibition book at plate 34. The quality and condition of this Tanto belied belief, having been in a private UK collection since the 1950’s, and I am pleased to say it is now residing in a Japanese Specialists Private Collection.

During April an instagram post was shared with me, the post featured the pair of vases by Nakagawa Yoshizane, son of the famous metalworker Shoami Katsuyoshi, that we featured in our first exhibition book at plate 14, remarkably the vases had now found their way into the Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum in Kyoto, as part of their latest metalwork exhibition.

As a dealer experienced in handling Japanese works of art there are very few occasions where you are rocked and dumbfounded when opening a package. I have seen and handled 100s of products in one form or another, and at most price points. Well the day these vases arrived at my desk and I unwrapped them was one of “those moments“ that are difficult to put into words, you know you are in the presence of something special but for one reason or another you just cannot put your finger on it. However, I instantly knew that I was not returning these vases to the sender and I agreed to pay the asking price based solely on what I had in my hands.

I believed then and still believe today that these were arguably the finest technically manufactured vases that I had ever owned, now that was quite some statement, having recently been involved in the purchase and sale of three world class Ozeki vases, and multiple other sensational Japanese metalware items, but somehow these vases seemed so much better in every respect, the artistry, the unusual form, the complexity and the quality were simply breath-taking.

I sent away the signatures to our trusted Japanese lady, and back came the news that the artist was the son of Shoami Katsuyoshi, arguably the greatest metalworker of the Meiji Period. My hunch was spot on, these were very important vases.

By coincidence Katsuyoshi together with his son Yoshizane had combined their skills to manufacture a silver and mixed metal Elephant that now formed part of the Russell Cotes Museums Japanese art collection, a museum located in my home town of Bournemouth. I felt then that these vases had been destined to come into my custody, albeit very briefly. But aside from my brief ownership and fair profit margin I was thrilled to receive that Instagram post advising me that they are now back in their rightful home, Japan. What a fitting end to their journey!!!!

In other news Scott, our lead developer at has been busy building the pages for my new website, which should come together for launch later in the month, I am really pleased with the fresh new design and many of the up-to-date features that I hope you will enjoy using, I look forward to your valuable feedback when the launch date arrives.

This months latest exclusive item is this most charming and fine quality Satsuma vase by the highly respected artist Ryozan Okamoto, on this occasion working for the Yasuda Company, the simple Japanese decoration displays native birds amidst maples and is painted in exquisite detail.

May Newsletter Steve Sly Japanese Art Satsuma Vase

And finally in the tradition of keeping the best news until last, it is my great pleasure to announce that I will be showcasing a selection of my Japanese works of art at the highest possible level in the UK, at the exclusive and highly acclaimed Masterpiece London, June 29th– July 6th

It is both an honour and a privilege to have firstly been sponsored by my peers, and then following the lengthy and somewhat daunting application process, to have been approved to exhibit by such a highly respected panel of experts and art aficionados. I look forward to putting on a show worthy of the event, I am excited and naturally filled with some trepidation as the date looms ever closer.

My loyal online database will be the first to see the proposed exhibits in an online pdf catalogue prior to the show, complimentary preview and general admission tickets for the event will be readily available to those of you that request them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In a slightly different format to other shows I attend, the organisers of Masterpiece request that I must provide them with all visitors e-mail data in order that they can administer invitations specifically for this show, we are assured that your data will not be used for any other reason outside of Masterpiece.

If you are in any way uncomfortable please ask to be removed from this ticket allocation, otherwise please request your place by e-mailing, I look forward to seeing many of you there over the eight days of the show.

Forthcoming events :

May Newsletter Steve Sly Japanese Art Masterpiece Logo

May Newsletter Steve Sly Japanese Art Save the date CAF

Best wishes