London


Top heavy price for pear-shaped vase

28 November 2001

Chinese sales at Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) can always be relied on to produce some good prices during Asia week. While the morning works of art session in their Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale, November 8, was quiet, business picked up in the afternoon for the ceramics section.

Wrought iron Armada chest

28 November 2001

This 17th century wrought iron Armada chest had stood unopened in the attic of an English country house for 180 years until it was finally unsealed earlier this year and found to contain a mass of papers relating to Dr William Harvey and his brother Eliab which had been deposited there by his descendants in 1821.

New galleries and free entry at the V&A

28 November 2001

The long-awaited opening of the new British Galleries at the V&A last week has restored to the museum and its visitors many of its finest and best loved exhibits in an appropriate yet innovative environment.

£80,000 double for T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf in the Frederick B. Adams sale

22 November 2001

The Frederick B. Adams Jnr. library of English & American Literature was sold by Sotheby’s on November 6 and 7. The second day was devoted entirely to Adams’ magnificent Thomas Hardy collection, but among the highlights of the general sale was an inscribed presentation copy of the 1923, first English edition of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, illustrated right, that sold at a higher than expected £80,000 to Peter Harrington.

London is hit by USA knock-on effect

22 November 2001

A major name, high quality, freshness to the market and a reasonable estimate are meant to be the all-important keys to success for a picture at auction. At least they used to before the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Exceptional Ruhlmann piece that proved the exception to the rule

21 November 2001

DECO & MODERNIST FURNITURE: While much of higher-end Deco struggled to find buyers prepared to match the bullish levels seen in recent seasons, there was still some interest in this field, and the odd exception to buck the trend.

From Naked Ape to auctioneer…

21 November 2001

DESMOND Morris is perhaps best known for his books and TV series exploring the behavioural patterns of humans and other animals. Not so well known is his fondness for collecting Ancient Cypriot Art, objects that reach back in time to an age when the society he so avidly studies was in its infancy.

Spotlight falls on Circus range

21 November 2001

WILKINSON’S/ CLARICE CLIFF: One might have expected Clarice Cliff pottery, with its very large UK collecting base, to be one of the areas of the market more resistant to economic concerns or the lack of confidence triggered by America’s low buying profile. But the jittery mood seems to have rubbed on the two most recent auctions to feature large quantities of Clarice material: that held by Christie’s South Kensington on November 2 and the Applied Arts sale at Sotheby’s Olympia.

Spink director relaunches restoration department as new company

20 November 2001

With the purchase of Spink’s furniture restoration department on November 5 by its director Peter Holmes, all eyes are now looking to see what the future holds for the remaining departments at London’s oldest antique dealer.

Irish reattribution boosts military portrait

16 November 2001

PORTRAIT miniatures are one field that has been performing strongly in recent seasons, an area of the market where the private buyer is very much in evidence.

Pest is a blessing in disguise

16 November 2001

Of greater general interest was Baldwin’s sale of Ancient and Modern coins that occupied October 9. There were 1403 lots looking for a new owner. This included the 322 lots devoted to the working library of the late Patrick Finn.

Lower estimates bring higher bids and a Parthénis record

08 November 2001

Just like the following week’s 20th Century Italian sales, Sotheby’s (20/15/10% buyer’s premium) October 18 inaugural theme sale exclusively devoted to Greek art notched up selling rates that belied the pessimism prevailing in so many other sectors of the market.

Skeleton clock that shows it has backbone

05 November 2001

There were two horological offerings last month at Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium). The auctioneers kicked off on October 3 with a mid-range clocks and barometer selection then followed it up on the 10th with a grander offering styled as Important Watches.

Brooks vows to retain all four London rooms

02 November 2001

Britain’s third and fourth largest auction firms, Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips, finally merged on November 1 to create an enlarged company, called simply Bonhams.

Ashendene Dante and More

01 November 2001

The Ashendene Dantes that sold for £7000 as part of the book section of this general antiques sale at Dreweatt Neate on 10 October were formerly in the library of Sir Frederick Handley Page, founder of the aeronautical firm, and sold at £3500 was his copy of the 1906 Ashendene edition of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia.

Sleeper hunters back hunches

01 November 2001

These days it is all too easy to assume that everything that passes through the London salerooms is a totally known quantity that can no longer hold any surprises for either the auctioneer or the trade. But, believe it or not, London sales can still contain significant sleepers, as was demonstrated twice in the space of five days at the main London houses’ secondary salerooms.

Bodhisattva’s body satisfies

01 November 2001

The show stopper at Christie’s Indian and Southeast auction on October 17 was this sublime grey schist Gandharan bodhisattva, 2/3rd century. The drapes of the robes falling about his body contrast with his powerfully carved bare chest, as he stands gazing ahead with a fixed stare.

Toys and dolls prove reliable if unspectacular sellers

31 October 2001

Two rather different toy sales went under the hammer early last month. October 4 saw Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) put some 465 lots predominantly devoted to dolls under the hammer while six days later Bonhams & Brooks (15/10% buyer’s premium) offered an even bigger, more general 630-lot mix of playthings ranging from Dinkys and lead figures to dolls, soft toys and tinplate.

Simply inspirational

22 October 2001

EVIDENCE of the growing affinity between the worlds of antiques and decoration was to the fore at the recent Decorex International, held at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea from September 23-26.

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