A self-portrait by Anne Killigrew (1660-85) from the Berkeley Will Trust, Berkeley Castle. Killigrew’s death prompted the then Poet Laureate John Dryden to write: “Still with a greater blaze she shone, And her bright soul broke out on ev’ry side.”

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L&T spotlights early female artists

Lyon & Turnbull is hosting an exhibition spotlighting the work of three of the first British female artists this summer.

Bright Souls: The Forgotten Story of Britain’s First Female Artists features work by Joan Carlile (1600-79), Mary Beale (1633-99) and Anne Killigrew (1660-85) loaned from both museums and private collections.

It is curated by art historian and L&T consultant Dr Bendor Grosvenor and takes place in the Connaught Street, London, office of the Edinburgh auction house from June 24-July 6.

The stories of Carlile, Beale and Killigrew have faded from view in British art history, not least because many of their works were later attributed to male artists such as Sir Peter Lely.

But, in an age when women had few career options, and even fewer rights, all three artists were well known to contemporaries: Carlile as the first professional female British artist; Beale as the most successful; and Killigrew, dying of smallpox at the age of just 25, as the most tragic.

Fireman’s helmet heads to museum


Butcher’s fire service helmet – £460 at Fellows.

The Black Country Living Museum has bought a rare piece of local history: a fireman’s helmet from a fire service run by the local butcher.

It sold for a hammer price of £460 via a commission bid at Fellows in Birmingham. The helmet was marked for the butcher Marsh & Baxter.

This firm, founded in 1871, was popular in the Black Country area for more than 100 years. It had more than 50 outlets at its peak in the 1950s and ran a meat factory in Brierley Hill.

The firm had its own fire service and this brass helmet is an example of what would have been worn. The existence of the butcher’s fire service was previously unknown to the curators at the local museum.

The Marsh & Baxter factory closed in 1978. The helmet will be included in the museum’s permanent collection.

Getty buys two major works


Corpus Christi was sold at Sotheby’s for £1.14m to a buyer now revealed to be the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

The J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has emerged as the buyer of two major works: Corpus Christi, a small, 15th century wooden sculpture by Veit Stoss, and Two Boys with a Bladder (1769-70), a painting by Joseph Wright of Derby.

Made c.1490-1500, the 13in tall figure by Stoss shows Christ crucified, wearing a crown of thorns. The figure’s curling hair and beard, swollen veins and drapery folds are rendered with expressive yet accurate detail.

Though the artist was known as the ‘Master of Crucifixes’, this is the only known small-scale example of the subject he produced and is thought to have been used for private devotion.

It appeared at Sotheby’s Old Master sculpture and works of art sale in London last July, where it sold for £1.14m including buyer’s premium.

Two Boys with a Bladder was offered on the stand of Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker at TEFAF Maastricht in March.

Probably designed as a pair with another of Wright’s candlelight paintings, Two Girls Dressing a Kitten by Candlelight, it had not been seen in public since the 18th century and was unknown to scholars until its rediscovery by the dealership.

It is a classic example of Wright’s work, the earliest in a series of dramatic nocturnal paintings that include TheExperiment on a Bird in the Air Pump now in London’s National Gallery.

Smith sells stock in Cambridge auction

Kevin Smith, owner of Windsor House Antiques, has consigned items of excess stock from the business to Cheffins of Cambridge for its auction later this month.

Vice-chairman of LAPADA for 23 years and a member of the trade for more than 60 years, Smith offers fine antique and decorative furnishing through his dealership in Barnwell Manor near Peterborough.

He said: “Having only a limited amount of storage space at Barnwell Manor, I have decided to reduce my stock levels accordingly.”

The June 27 sale includes a pair of Regency bronze and gilt mounted figures of greyhounds estimated at £3000-5000, a Regency specimen marble table on a base carved with dolphins estimated at £4000-6000 and a late 18th century weathered terracotta figure of autumn.

At the same sale, Cheffins offers the contents of Cotterstock Hall, a Grade I-listed country house in Northamptonshire.

Overall there are 136 lots from Windsor House Antiques and 154 from Cotterstock Hall.

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In Numbers



Years since the Stonewall uprising which signalled a new era toward equality for gay and transgender people. As the Pride season begins this month, Bonhams, Sotheby’s and Swann Auction Galleries plan exhibitions and auctions in New York honouring the movement. Bonhams’ exhibition Stonewall@50 accompanies an online sale that will offer works such as the Annie Leibovitz (b.1949) image above of Keith Haring, New York (1986) estimated at $8000-12,000.