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Centrepiece takes the centre stage

A remarkable George IV silver-gilt centrepiece led Christie’s March 22-23 sale of the Robert de Balkany collection after it was hammered down to London silver dealer Koopman Rare Art at £860,000 (plus buyer’s premium).

The 1128oz Hercules and the Hydra nine-light candelabra was made for the Duke of York by Edward Cornelius Farrell in 1824 under the direction of the retailer and antiquarian, Kensington Lewis (1790-1854).

Koopman’s director Lewis Smith said that the dealership was “delighted to have been the successful bidder” on the centrepiece adding that it “ticked all the boxes” for the business which likes to deal in the rare and unusual.

WW2 Allies head to Cumbrian hotel

A copy of London tourist favourite, the bronze bench sculpture of Churchill and Roosevelt sited between New and Old Bond Street, has been sold to a Lake District hotel. It purchased the Allies from north London’s Catto Gallery where it had been displayed outside the premises.

American artist Lawrence Holofcener created the sculpture that was first displayed in 1995 in Bond Street. He then made a series of full-size artist copies as well as a series of quarter-sized maquettes.

Although Catto could not confirm how much the Allies sold for, in November 2016 a full-size copy sold at Bonhams for a premium inclusive £185,000, while in November 2012 another in the series sold at £409,250.

The maquettes, originally sold by Catto Gallery for £6500, have since made in excess of £30,000 at auction.

Christie’s revamps art sales calendar

Christie’s has dropped its London summer sales of postwar and contemporary art in favour of its two annual auction series in this category taking place in March and October.

The auction house said the decision was in part due to the calendar being “particularly busy this year for contemporary collectors”.

Impressionist and modern art will now lead Christie’s June offering with an evening sale taking place on June 27. A Modern British & Irish Art evening sale is scheduled for June 26 with the Old Master sales also assuming their normal July slot.

Rivals Sotheby’s and Phillips have not indicated any plans to follow suit by rescheduling their sales in London.

Cox London joins Pimlico Road hub

Furniture and lighting designer Cox London has joined the line-up of interior designers around Pimlico Road.

The company will open on Ebury Street in Belgravia on April 3 and is part of a new wave of interior design retailers on the street signed up by landlord Grosvenor.

Recent arrivals in the area include Robert Kime and interior decorating firm Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler.

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Collector hunts down duo’s prints

A new book on two prolific Victorian printmakers was launched at the London Transport Museum last week.

The Engravings of Charles and George Hunt 1820-1880: Racing coaching, hunting, landscapes & caricatures has been written by print collector John Hickman.

He was inspired to start work on the book, which contains 500 images, after spotting various omissions and inaccuracies in the literature on these artists.

Signed copies are available at Grosvenor Prints in Covent Garden for £60. The gallery also has released a catalogue of the two Hunts’ works.

Chinese ivory ban shuts factories

China is shutting a third of its ivory factories and shops as it begins to meet the requirements of a formal ban by the end of the year.

According to news agency Reuters, China’s Forestry Administration said the country will shut 67 carving factories and stores with the remaining 105 outlets to be shut before the end of the year.

However, concerns remain that trade in new ivory in Asia will continue because Hong Kong, a market which is driven by Chinese consumers, has set a five-year period to ban ivory.

In Numbers

10

The number of hours it took Bonhams to sell 531 lots from the contents sale of Glyn Cywarch, the seat of Lord Harlech, on March 29. The sell-out auction totalled £2.6m – more than two-and-a-half times the pre-sale estimate.