Pick of the Week


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Pick of the week: Harry Becker's farmhands shine in Mid-Summer

29 June 2020

This 8 x 10in (21 x 25cm) oil on canvas board sketch of two farmhands cutting grasses with a scythe is unsigned but it carries a label on the back from an Ipswich Borough Council exhibition which identifies the artist as Harry Becker (1865-1928) and the picture’s title as Fieldworkers in Mid-Summer.

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Pick of the week: Meet the fakir who likes his sheep raw

22 June 2020

The highlight of Bonhams’ rescheduled sale of Indian and Islamic art held on June 11 was a group of a nine Company School watercolours with an unbroken provenance back to 1812.

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Pick of the week: A ‘nice honest pair’ of blue john vases that made £40,000

15 June 2020

In 1765 the engineer and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) visited Paris, where he observed first-hand the workshops of bronziers and the wares that were proving hugely popular with Georgian Britain’s elite.

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Pick of the week: The bones of a fine Old Master drawing

08 June 2020

A black chalk drawing of a skeleton drew an extraordinary competition at a German auction house Lempertz at the end of last month. Estimated at €3000-3500, it attracted at least 15 bidders and was eventually knocked down at €420,000 (£381,820) to a French dealer.

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Pick of the week: Dinky cars made up of parts in South Africa add up to £6500 result

01 June 2020

South Africa leaving the Commonwealth in 1961 had serious consequences for British exporters – particularly when withdrawal was followed by imposition of an import tax on luxury goods.

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Pick of the week: Shedding golden light on an Iron Age ruler

25 May 2020

The original names of the gold coins used by the indigenous tribes of Celtic Britain are unknown but collectors have dubbed them staters after the Greek coins that inspired them.

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Pick of the week: Into battle armed with bagpipes

18 May 2020

As the Scottish regiments went over the top on July 1, 1916 – the fateful First Day of the Somme – they were led into battle by the wail of bagpipes.

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Pick of the week: Recognise the face? Probably not, but striking selfie sets major record

04 May 2020

A self-portrait by the hitherto little-known Modern British artist Michael Gilbery (1913-2000) sold for a record £10,700 at auction in Lichfield last week.

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Pick of the week: Tiffany ‘orchidomania’ returns with auction of tiger orchid brooch

27 April 2020

Of all the sensational jewellery displayed by Tiffany at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle the most memorable was a group of 24 enamelled orchid brooches.

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Pick of the week: Pastiche clock is the real deal for buyer

20 April 2020

This monumental English longcase clock sold in a Massachusetts auction is a remarkable exercise in antiquarianism.

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Pick of the week: Beatlemania: poster sets auction record

13 April 2020

For their first appearance at the 55,000-seater Shea Stadium in Queens, New York, in 1965, The Beatles needed no promotion. At the height of Beatlemania in the US, the venue sold out in minutes.

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Pick of the week: The Kashmir shawl of a former governor of India

06 April 2020

The recent auction held ‘live online’ by Aldridges of Bath included this spectacular hand-woven north Indian long shawl, or dochalla. It came with a colonial provenance.

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Pick of the week: Mah-jong set that counts for a lot

30 March 2020

The popular Chinese game of mah-jong is a relative newcomer.

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Pick of the week: Rare The Who poster – once in a Blue Moon chance for collectors

23 March 2020

The Blue Moon, a club above Burton’s on Cheltenham High Street, existed for less than two years from July 1965 to May 1967, but in that time the compact 250-capacity venue with a tiny stage hosted Elton John, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, The Yardbirds and (on February 11, 1967) Jimi Hendrix.

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Pick of the week: Buyer picks up a penguin from Terra Nova

16 March 2020

A taxidermy Adélie penguin collected by scientists during the Terra Nova Antarctic Expedition from 1910-13 drew strong interest at an auction in Essex last week.

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Taxidermy penguin from Scott’s doomed Antarctica expedition attracts attention at Sworders

11 March 2020

A taxidermy Adélie penguin collected by scientists during the Terra Nova Antarctic Expedition from 1910-1913 drew strong interest at an auction in Essex this week.

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Pick of the week: House clearance chairs are £16,500 Voysey Arts & Crafts originals

09 March 2020

Arts & Crafts enthusiasts who hoped to buy a pair of Voysey chairs at something close to their £20-40 estimate at an auction in the Cotswolds were to be disappointed.

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Pick of the week: Exceptional shodana shows super details

02 March 2020

David Lay’s (18% buyer's premium) second stand-alone Asian art sale held in Penzance was topped at £65,500 (estimate £3000-5000) by this shodana made in Meiji period Japan, c.1890.

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Pick of the week: Bidder rides off with a £56,000 Ottoman saddle at Edinburgh auction

10 February 2020

The arts of the Ottoman court are performing strongly in the marketplace. The unexpected highlight of Lyon & Turnbull’s Five Centuries auction in Edinburgh on February 5 was an Ottoman saddle.

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Pick of the week: Purse strings open for a rare survivor

03 February 2020

An early 17th century Limoges enamel draw purse attracted a flurry of bids at Chorley’s Attic Sale in Gloucestershire. Set with period portraits of a lady on one side and a gentleman on the other, the accessory has remained intact for about 400 years – in most examples the fabric has deteriorated significantly.

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