Among the paintings attracting interest in the October 9 sale conducted by Duke’s (25% buyer’s premium) of Dorchester was a portrait ascribed to Henry Stone (1616- 53), an artist usually associated with the copies he made of van Dyck’s works.
It depicted a cleric with a black patch on his left cheek traditionally identified as Bishop Mews, who wore a patch to cover a scar he received while fighting for King Charles I in the English Civil War. The 3ft 11in x 3ft 3in (1.19m x 99cm) oil on canvas doubled the top estimate to make £8000.
A rather more valuable Tudor portrait attributed to Robert Peake (c.1551-1619) and depicting the subject full-length wearing a black dress with a white lace collar and cuffs was pursued by a number of bidders before it was knocked down at £32,000, well over the £15,000- 25,000 guide.
The sitter in the 6ft 7in x 3ft 8in (2 x 1.12m) oil on canvas was identified on an inscription along the stretcher as Catherine, wife of Sir Anthony Poulett, governor of Jersey from 1588 until his death in 1600, and the daughter of Henry, Lord Norreys.
Among the earlier works was a religious oil on panel dating to c.1430 catalogued as ‘Upper Rhine School’. The 3ft 9in x 4ft 3in (1.14 x 1.6m) work, showing Christ flanked by Saints Benedict, Paul, Peter and Augustine and standing before a rich brocade panel, was pursued to £42,000 against a £15,000-25,000 estimate.
The contents also included Modern works such as a group of pictures by the Russian-born Cubist painter Marie Vorobieff (1892-1984), better known as Marevna, who lived with her daughter’s family at Athelhampton from 1949-57.
Among the top-sellers was a fragmented and abstracted guitar painted in c.1914 which sold for £8000 (£1000-2000 estimate) and a half-length self-portrait from c.1970 that took £4000 (£500-1000 estimate).
The highest sum came for a Cubist group portrait, The Friends of Montparnasse. Marevna originally painted three versions to commemorate her friends in the Parisian art world during the First World War and the 1920s. This was the fourth and final painting produced for her family in the early 1960s.
While the artist’s nudes of the 1920s and ‘30s have fetched over £100,000 on the secondary market, Duke’s auctioneer Guy Schwinge described this work as “arguably her most important painting”.
Vast at 5ft 3in x 10ft (1.6 x 3.04m), the oil on canvas, dated 1961, depicts Marevna with her husband, the Mexican painter Diego Rivera, with Amedeo Modigliani, the French poet Max Jacob, the Polish-born French painter Moise Kisling and the art dealer and poet Léopold Zborowski. It tipped over top estimate to sell for £10,000.