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Commode returns home

In what was arguably the furniture deal of the year, a Louis XV period rococo commode made in 1744 for the Château de Versailles returned home after more than 30 years out of France. The Château de Versailles has agreed to buy it for €4m (£3.6m) from a private US collector.

The black-lacquered and ormolu-mounted commode was commissioned for Louis XV’s stepdaughter the Dauphine Marie-Therese Raphaelle of Spain and made by the celebrated cabinetmaker Bernard II van Risamburgh. But after being sold on multiple times following the Revolution its provenance was lost and it was sold to the US collector in the 1980s.

Its rediscovery as a piece from Versailles was made by Christie’s expert Patrick Leperlier in 1998 when the commode was already in the US and to be offered at auction.

London Auctions folds


London Auctions shut down.

London Auctions entered liquidation with its debts understood to be more than £137,000 and around £44,000 owed to unpaid consignors.

The west London firm, based at 30- 34 Chiswick High Road, had liabilities owed to 101 different vendors as well as additional liabilities of £13,000 to the Inland Revenue, £18,000 to the sole director Sameer Mahomed and trade creditors of £62,000.

The firm, formerly called High Road Auctions, underwent a rebrand in May 2016 after High Road itself went into liquidation. It is unrelated to Chiswick Auctions.

Christie’s v Egypt

The Antiquities Dealers’ Association (ADA) said dealers and auctioneers should stand up to “the politicisation of the antiquities trade” in the wake of a row surrounding the sale of a £4m sculpture.

It followed the Egyptian National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation saying it will instruct a UK law firm to file a case over the auction of a bust of Tutankhamun at Christie’s on July 4.

Prior to the sale, Egypt had questioned “the legal exportation from Egypt” of these items, but Christie’s has countered stating that it “carried out extensive due diligence”.

Chairman of the ADA Joanna van der Lande said that Egypt’s claim was part of a “wider zeitgeist” of nations attempting to reclaim works found on the antiquities market.

Sotheby’s relocation


Sotheby’s announced the relocation of its Edinburgh office to a new home near St Andrew Square.

Sotheby’s announced the relocation of its Edinburgh office to a new home near St Andrew Square in time for the August festival season in the city.

The auction house moved a short walk away from its old address in Thistle Street to the recently renovated The Edinburgh Grand building.

The move coincided with its 50th anniversary year in Scotland and the new space was designed to be more “client-facing” with ground-floor space including a wood-panelled private viewing room with “double height windows… providing ideal viewing conditions for artworks”.