Chipping out of the rough

10 August 2004

COINCIDING with the run up to the British Open at Royal Troon, Christie’s South Kensington (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) held their summer sale of golf memorabilia on July 8. According to the specialist in charge, David Convery, the auction was “well attended by British based and American buyers,” but, nevertheless, there was still something of a polite hush around the saleroom with most lots barely scraping past their reserves.


Tompion’s sunny side

10 August 2004

THOMAS Tompion may be England’s most celebrated 18th century horologist, but he is less widely known for his exquisitely crafted sundials, a signed example of which furnished Sotheby’s Bond Street (20/12% buyer's premium) with their undisputed highlight on June 15.

Three steps to healthy profit

21 July 2004

NEWS sometimes takes a little time to filter out but I can confirm that at least three dealers made a profit out of last month’s Fine Art and Antiques Fair at Olympia.


Harry Pottering

21 July 2004

HARRY Potter prices are not quite as strong as they once were, but the fine “unread” copy of the 1997 first of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone seen right was sold on June 17 for £11,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions, who had it hopefully estimated it at £15,000-20,000.


Poetic blooms by Stevenson

21 July 2004

ILLUSTRATED right is a very good copy of the 1885 first edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s splendid A Child’s Garden of Verses that made £1200 (Bauman Rare Books) as part of the Alan Fortunoff library at Bloomsbury Auctions on June 4.


Tolkien and his US copyright

21 July 2004

THERE was a 1954-55 first edition set of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books in a Sotheby’s sale of July 8 that sold at £6500 to a collector – all three volumes impressions in slightly frayed jackets, one of them with a tape repair, showing a little browning and spotting.


Behind the wardrobe...

21 July 2004

THE very fine 1950 first edition copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe seen right, with just a few nicks to the jacket skilfully repaired, was sold for £6000 to a collector by Bloomsbury Auctions on June 17, but at Sotheby’s on July 8, a complete set of the seven books that make up C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia was left unsold on an estimate of £5000-7000.


Etruscan funerals and Roman triumphs

21 July 2004

SECOND generation Mayfair antiquities dealership Charles Ede Ltd, issue four catalogues a year devoted to different areas of their speciality, and they have just published their illustrated volume listing the Etruscan and Roman Antiquities currently available at their showroom at 20 Brook Street.


Tame Cats & Wild Things

21 July 2004

A LARGE scale oil by Kathleen Hale of Orlando Reclining Amongst Flowers failed to sell against a £10,000-15,000 estimate at Sotheby’s on July 8, but the autograph draft manuscript of Orlando (The Marmalade Cat) becomes a Doctor of 1944, right, each page with pencil and coloured crayon drawings (some with added wash or gouache, a few unfinished) did sell at £5000 to a London gallery.

Ephelia revealed

20 July 2004

IN reporting the sale of the John R.B. Brett-Smith library at Sotheby’s on May 27 (Antiques Trade Gazette No 1646, July 3), I mentioned and illustrated the sale at £2800 of a work of 1679 called Female Poems on Several Occasions written by Ephelia.


Speculation surrounding antiquities sale at Bonhams

20 July 2004

ENORMOUS pre-sale speculation surrounded the 25-lot single-owner antiquities sale that came under the hammer at Bonhams Bond Street (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) on July 14, not least because the vendor was strongly rumoured in the trade to be the world’s most prolific collector, Sheikh Saud of Qatar.


Fresh Constable is irresistible

20 July 2004

IT was, perhaps, a telling sign of the current shortage of high-quality, market-fresh Old Master paintings in the salerooms that Bonhams (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) July 7 Old Master Paintings sale should be headed by this hitherto unrecorded John Constable (1776-1837) plein air oil on canvas sketch, right, of the artist’s home village, East Bergholt.


The first book bindings fit for a Roman consul

13 July 2004

ROUNDING off a sale of Western Manuscripts and Miniatures at Sotheby’s on June 22 was what, at first glance, must have seemed an unusual inclusion in a manuscript sale – a 13 1/2in (35cm) high carved ivory plaque featuring a figure of a Roman Consul.


Cast iron successes in a sticky market

13 July 2004

ROUNDING off the European furniture, carpets and works of art sale at Christie’s South Kensington (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) on June 15 was a 78-lot collection of hall stands, mostly made in cast iron.


Look up, look down, look out – South Kensington goes Pop

13 July 2004

DECADES before Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde sheep and the 1990s explosion of Britart, London was swinging to the rhythm of Pop Art’s movers and shakers. Forty years have now passed since the height of this international movement prompting Christie’s South Kensington (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) to host the first of what they hope will become an annual Pop Art themed sale on June 30.


Hevelius and Selenographia - all his own work

13 July 2004

SCIENCE books in a June 24 sale held by Bloomsbury Auctions included a 1647, Danzig first of Hevelius’ Selenographia, the first lunar atlas, illustrated with a portrait and 111 plates (one with volvelle), mostly engraved by the author from drawings that he made in the observatory that he had equipped with instruments he had built himself.


Vermeer wows the crowds with £14.5m

13 July 2004

RIGHT: despite the occasionally negative press the antiques trade has received in recent weeks a media circus arrived at Sotheby’s on July 7 to watch the Bond Street auctioneers sell Young Woman Seated at the Virginals, a newly-acknowledged picture by Johannes Vermeer (1632-75).


Markets shift as Hunt followers are moving inside…

13 July 2004

IN the eyes of many of today’s collectors, it is the realist interiors, which range from old farm buildings to grand rooms, and the figure subjects of William Henry Hunt (1790-1864), which are most desirable, a fact highlighted by the artist’s sale results.

When two low points of the market combine, who is going to shell out £500?

13 July 2004

THE problem with over-ambitious estimates does not just apply to the sort of significant paintings which consignors may be led to believe are worth sums in the £100,000-£1m range.


More artists give power to Meek...

13 July 2004

WHAT do the Society of Women Artists (SWA), founded in 1855, and Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers (RMS), founded in 1896, have in common?