Picasso’s Women of Algiers smashes auction record

Picasso’s Women of Algiers smashes auction record

Picasso’s Women of Algiers has become the most expensive painting to sell at auction, going for $179.3m (£115m) at Christie’s in New York.

Eleven minutes of prolonged bidding from telephone buyers preceded the final sale – for much more than its pre-sale estimate of $140m. The evening sale also featured Alberto Giacometti’s life-size sculpture Pointing Man, which set a record as the most expensive sculpture, at $141.3m. The buyers chose to remain anonymous.

The Picasso oil painting is a vibrant, cubist depiction of nude courtesans, and is part of a 15-work series the Spanish artist created in 1954-55 designated with the letters A to O. The final price of $179,365,000 includes Christie’s commission of just over 12%.

The previous world record for a painting sold at auction was $142.4m, for British painter Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud. That sold at Christie’s in 2013.

Experts believe the investment value of art is behind the high prices. “I don’t really see an end to it, unless interest rates drop sharply, which I don’t see happening in the near future,” said Manhattan dealer Richard Feigen.

Source: BBC

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GE 2015: It’s polling day – But one in four still don’t know who to vote for!

GE 2015: It’s polling day – But one in four still don’t know who to vote for!

After six weeks of hard campaigning it is finally election day – but one in four people still don’t know who to vote for.

However, David Cameron is believed to have widened the gap between the Conservative Party and Ed Miliband last minute. In fact, more than half of all voters who took part in a poll for the Daily Mail say they would prefer Cameron to lead the country. This is compared to 31 per cent who back Miliband.

Millions of us will descend on polling booths today – opening at 7am. However, a quarter of voters are likely to change their minds once they’re in the booth, the poll also found. As the campaign drew to a close, party leaders sought to put their message before voters one final time.

David Cameron dismissed the idea he could have done more to win the election, insisting he had engaged with ‘real people’ and delivered a ‘positive message’. The Prime Minister said the Tories had focused on the ‘things that matter’ – the economy and leadership – and made ‘big bold’ policy offers, adding that in contrast, Ed Miliband’s efforts had been ‘desperately staid’ and ‘antiseptic’.

Just hours before the polls opened, the Labour leader warned voters they risk turning five years of Conservative rule into a decade-long reign that favours the privileged if they fail to turn out for Labour. Issuing a final rallying call, the opposition leader will say there are just ‘hours left to change the direction of our country’.

Nick Clegg delivered his final pitch in John O’Groats at the end of a 1,000-mile, 48-hour battlebus odyssey that began in Lands End, saying the UK public face ‘the biggest political decision of their lives’. The Liberal Democrat leader said his party could provide stability, but warned that Labour and the Conservatives were in danger of ‘sleepwalking’ to a ‘messy’ minority government.

And Ukip leader Nigel Farage said support for his party was ‘rock solid’ and predicted it would outperform the opinion polls. Speaking at a rally in Broadstairs, Kent, Mr Farage – who has said he will quit as Ukip leader if he fails to be elected as MP for South Thanet – said election day was ‘the biggest day in my political career’.

Source: Metro

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We have gained Safecontractor accreditation!

We have gained Safecontractor accreditation!

We are delighted to announce that Fortress & Castle has achieved Safecontractor accreditation.

Safecontractor is designed to help industry improve it’s safety record. It recognises the extremely high standards of health and safety amongst UK contractors. Under the Safecontractor system we underwent a vetting process which closely examined our health and safety policies and procedures.

Our accreditation covers the following areas:

Document Management: Archiving, Scanning, Online Viewing, Destruction
Office Moves & Relocations
Removals & Clearances
Ability to Subcontract

Well done to our team of staff for their valuable input into gaining this important accreditation.

 

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‘Big shock’ as Blackbushe Market is closed with immediate effect

‘Big shock’ as Blackbushe Market is closed with immediate effect

British Car Auctions, which owns the land the market is held upon, confirmed the market will no longer run due to a decline in visitors

Blackbushe Market has been closed with immediate effect, in a shock announcement by the landowner. British Car Auctions (BCA), which has owned the land since 1984, confirmed on Tuesday (May 5) that the market will no longer take place due to a decline in trade. It means Sunday’s market on May 3 was the last one, with stallholders saying the decision came out of the blue to them. In a statement, BCA said: “BCA has confirmed the closure of Blackbushe Sunday Market following consultation with employees. “The closure comes as a result of the long-term decline in numbers of stallholders and customers.”

Rumours of the market’s imminent closure have been circulating via social media since January, however BCA vehemently denied there was any truth in them. At the time, BCA even began making regular announcements over the market’s PA refuting rumours that it would close, which continued into the last few weeks. Despite this, traders were told that the market had been cancelled with immediate effect on Tuesday morning.

Keith Davis from Chiddingfold runs Outdoor Country Wear and has been a stallholder at the market for 35 years. Mr Davis said: “Sellers and buyers will turn up from all over the country (on Sunday) and they won’t know what’s going on. “Many of the traders have mortgages to pay and children to feed. They rely on the market to be able to do that. They have customers lined up for the weekend, but now they won’t be there. “Why didn’t they (BCA) tell us last Sunday? I think it’s because they didn’t want us getting together to stop it. The way they’ve dealt with this is very underhand. “I’ve heard there are plans to redevelop the site, but we were always told that it is common land and it couldn’t be built on. “It’s a big shock for the traders who have been at Blackbushe long-term. We supported the market through the lean winter months and now, when business is picking up, they shut it down. “Many of the traders will struggle to get a spot at any other Sunday market now, because they were given no warning that Blackbushe would close. “This used to be the biggest and best market in the south east, but it has been let go of due to a lack of interest by the owner. This is really unfair on the people who make a living from the market. “As traders, we chat to people who might not have many opportunities to get out and meet people. We enjoy a bit of banter with everyone and we do a lot of good that way.”

Source: Get Hampshire

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It’s a girl! Congratulations to William and Kate on the birth of their daughter

It’s a girl! Congratulations to William and Kate on the birth of their daughter

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a girl, Kensington Palace has announced.

The baby – who is fourth in line to the throne – was “safely delivered” at 08:34 BST, the palace said in a statement. The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth of the baby, who weighs 8lbs 3oz. Both Catherine and her daughter are “doing well”, the statement added. The duchess had earlier been admitted to the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital where Prince George was born in July 2013. The duchess travelled from the palace with her husband Prince William and was admitted at 06:00 BST. The joins the line of succession behind her grandfather Prince Charles , father Prince William and brother Prince George. On Thursday, during an official engagement, Prince Charles had said he was hoping the duchess gave birth to a girl.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge in early stages of labour

Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge in early stages of labour

The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted to hospital in the early stages of labour.

Catherine was admitted to the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in west London where her first child, Prince George, was born in July 2013. Kensington Palace said “labour is progressing as normal” for the duchess, who was taken to the hospital by car. The duchess travelled from the palace with her husband Prince William and was admitted at 06:00 BST (05:00 GMT). Prime Minister David Cameron told BBC Breakfast it was “very exciting news”. He added: “With the rest of the nation I’ll be wishing them well today, hoping for a healthy and happy outcome.” Officials have said the duchess and the prince do not know the sex of their unborn child. The new baby will be fourth in line to the throne, behind his or her grandfather Prince Charles, father Prince William and brother Prince George. Catherine, who is thought to be overdue, is being looked after by consultant obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston. He will be joined in the delivery room by Alan Farthing, the Queen’s surgeon-gynaecologist. Both Prince William and his brother Prince Harry were also born at the Lindo Wing. Fans of the Royal Family have been gathering near the hospital with flags and banners in recent days.

Email announcement

But unlike at the time of Prince George’s birth, the world’s press have been stopped from camping outside. Press areas will now open at the hospital for journalists, photographers and camera crews. The birth will be announced in an email to the press. Two minutes later, a tweet will be posted on the Kensington Palace Twitter feed - @KensingtonRoyal. There will also be the traditional custom of placing a paper announcement outside Buckingham Palace. Catherine went on maternity leave on 27 March when she carried out her last official public engagements before the birth. On that occasion, she and Prince William met Baroness Lawrence at the Stephen Lawrence Centre and saw projects run by the charity eXceL Project in London. Former press secretary to the Queen, Dickie Arbiter, said the duchess was carrying out royal duties until recently. He said: “She wasn’t letting anything stand in her way. She was feeling fit, if a little bit heavy.” He added: “She was supporting William, she was supporting the Royal Family and doing as much as she could.”

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

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