We invite you to discover The Collectors — our interview series that unearths the treasures, trinkets and thoughtful things that the most exciting creatives that we follow are holding onto. It’s here that we find out why collectibles hold such value and in fact, how value is so much more than a price tag. Introducing Marine Edith Crosta, our latest find for The Collectors.
Marine Edith Crosta studied Fine Arts in Bordeaux, France, before moving to London over a decade ago. Crosta Smith Gallery was born from a collaboration between Marine and her partner, Daniel Smith, in 2018. The pair started by presenting a selection of antiques and contemporary art — including Marine’s — in Marine’s artist studio. They quickly relocated to St John’s Wood, where they opened a beautiful gallery space, allowing them to exhibit a more extensive selection of furniture and objet’s d’art, with a focus on French Modernism and Art Deco ranging from the 1920s to the late 1940s. We sat down with Marine and her sausage dog, Olive, at Crosta Smith Gallery to discuss everything from her favourite pieces of furniture, jewellery and objects, to the best spots in London.
What’s the first thing you remember collecting?
Marine Edith Crosta// As a child I collected rocks, semi precious stones and flintstones.
What’s your favourite thing to collect today?
MEC// I should probably say furniture and objects, but the most truthful answer would have to be shoes. The more impractical, the better.
What is your most meaningful piece of jewellery?
MEC// An antique bloodstone agate and yellow gold pinky signet ring that I gifted my partner not long after we first met, he wears it everyday and I love looking at it, it really suits him.
Do you wear the same jewellery everyday?
MEC// I only wear minuscule golden hoops that were a gift from my dad. Sometimes a gold chain, but that’s pretty much it. I recently lost my favourite ring — a Murano glass one, purchased in Venice before the pandemic. A very simple and inexpensive thing but I sorely miss wearing it. I hope it resurfaces!
What do you look for in a piece of jewellery? What are you drawn to?
MEC//I am unfortunately drawn to very expensive pieces so until I can splurge, I keep things very simple. I like Art Deco chunky pieces, cushion or rose cut diamonds, very big emeralds, garnets, rock crystal, lacquer...
"Sourcing things that we think are wonderful, and we feel very lucky to get to live with them for a short while."
You started Crosta Smith Gallery with your partner Danny. How did it come about? Is it very much collaborative or do you each have defined roles?
MEC// It has definitely taken some adjusting as I had been a one woman band for quite a while, before we started working together at the gallery. Daniel is used to managing people and he is brilliant at it, but collaborating requires a different dynamic. We have managed to identify each other’s strengths, and we always respect each other’s decisions. For example, if he feels very strongly about a piece that I am not quite sure about, I try to trust him instead of putting my foot down. The piece always ends up growing on me.
What do you think about when sourcing pieces?
MEC// I know it sounds cliche but we only buy things that we love. Buying with a client in mind is a recipe for disaster.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
MEC// Sourcing things that we think are wonderful, and we feel very lucky to get to live with them for a short while. Researching a piece using archive pictures and documentation.
What’s it like being a woman in your industry?
MEC// The occasional grumpy and / or slightly patronising older dealer aside, I find that most people in the industry are absolutely lovely and supportive and I can’t say that I have seen a difference between the way Daniel and I are being treated or spoken to. We are very lucky and proud to work with very talented female restorers and designers on a regular basis.
MEC// Not a playlist but I can’t get enough of Tems at the moment.
MEC// Anything true crime.
What are some of your favourite food spots in London?
MEC// I love going for very long lunches that stretch into the afternoon at Soutine, St John’s Wood. I am very fond of the Corbin & King restaurants more generally. Zedel with a big table of friends for a fun dinner, The Delaunay for an intimate catch up, The Wolseley for brunch, etc. I think they’re all great!
Something you sold and wish you had held onto?
MEC// A little Jacques Adnet Baccarat crystal ball lamp that tilts on its base. Luckily we have another coming soon.
A trend that you are bored of seeing?
MEC// The sort of sterile 'Instagramable’ interiors that rely heavily on replicas in order to achieve a certain ‘look.’ The word ‘quirky.’
What’s at the top of your wishlist?
MEC// A René Boivin Art Deco ring.
MEC// Probably a Paul Iribe low armchair in black lacquer, spotted at Anne Sophie Duval and skillfully restored by Atelier Corinne Chatelain.
Favourite part of London?
MEC// Chic Marylebone and St James’ Park.
A masterpiece that most people don’t know about?
MEC// The Waterlily House at Kew gardens, absolutely mesmerising.
If you were a drink, which one would you be?
MEC// A dirty martini, gin based, heavy on the brine!
What is your favourite book?
MEC// A Rebours, by Joris Karl Huysmans. A dream would be to own the Pierre Legrain reliure in egg shell, leather and mother of pearl.
A newsletter you love receiving?
MEC// This one is very niche but my good friend Gilles is a terrific writer and his newsletter diary is hilarious. And I love to receive the updates from The London List and his wonderful articles about art and design.
Last film or tv show that made an impact on you?
MEC// I May Destroy You, a very hard but necessary watch.
MEC// Vogue cigarettes and oysters.
Your ideal Sunday?
MEC// Mimosa for breakfast, an exhibition, followed by a wood fire at home with a good film, blankets and snacks.
What perfume do you wear?
MEC// I have a rather large collection of perfumes, but I recently have found the one. 1957, a musky and powdery scent, by Chanel. It’s perfect.
MEC// Jasmine tea, caffeine makes me feel absolutely crazy.
Do you have a beauty secret that you would like to share?
MEC// Quite the opposite, I keep my beauty routine to a minimum, I hate spending time doing my nails, or my hair. I prefer to focus on skin care, I use Barbara Sturm and The Ordinary products, in generous layers.
An artist that inspires you or who has made a profound impact on you?
The most special piece of furniture in your home?
MEC// A pair of Mallet Stevens deck chairs, produced by Pierre Dariel, circa 1925.
The best thing about your dog, Olive?
MEC// She is an excellent judge of character and a cosy nap friend.
This or That?
Jean Michel Frank or Marc Du Plantier?
Gold or Silver?
MEC// Both, mixed.
Watch or No Watch?
MEC// No watch.
Danny or Olive?
Colourful or Neutral Interior?
MEC// I admire designers who can play with strong colours, but my personal taste is rather neutral. I find that I can fixate on a colour and get bored of it very quickly.
Ketchup or Mayonnaise?
MEC// Neither! A dash of fresh lemon juice makes everything taste better.
Sweet or Savoury?
MEC//Both which causes me to be particularly long at ordering breakfast..
Lastly, which piece from our collection would you wear?
MEC// The Medusa Signet Ring, I love the mix of gold and silver, and the heaviness of it.
Make sure to visit Crosta Smith Gallery at 112 Boundary Rd, London NW8 0RH, Open Monday-Friday 11am-6pm and Saturday 12-4pm. In the meantime, check out the Gallery's website and Marine's instagram to discover their latest finds.