A detail of one of the 10 hand-drawn Spanish Armada maps for which a buyer in the UK will need to raise £600,000 (plus VAT).

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Museum appeal to buy Armada maps

The National Museum of the Royal Navy hopes to raise £600,000 to stop the export of a group of hand-drawn Armada maps to an overseas buyer. The 10 maps are the only known contemporary drawings of the defeat of the Spanish in 1588 and have been temporarily prevented from being exported by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest.

As reported in ATG No 2452, there is a fundraising deadline of January 9, 2021, to raise the £600,000 plus VAT.

The museum has laid down £100,000 from a ring-fenced annual purchase grant from the Royal Navy but needs to raise a further £500,000 to place them on display for the first time. While applications to funders, including the National Lottery, are being made there is “no guarantee of success” so it the museum is seeking wider public support.

The maps, drawn by an unknown draughtsman, possibly from the Netherlands, relate to the most famous images of the conflict: a series of engravings completed in 1590 by Augustine Ryther.

The original drawings by Surveyor of the Queen’s Works and military engineer Robert Adams (d.1595) which were used by Ryther have been lost. It is believed these maps are near-contemporary copies.

The maps had been owned by William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919) and were then inherited by the Waldorf Astor family. More recently, dealer Daniel Crouch acquired the group and agreed a sale to an overseas buyer, believed to be in the US.

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Jasper Johns flags fly in public show


The British Museum has been given this Jasper Johns work titled Flags I from 1973.

Jasper Johns’ screenprint Flags I will be on display at the British Museum after the million-dollar artwork was donated to the institution.

Johns (b.1930) produced Flags I in an edition of 65, with seven artist’s proofs. Johns’ various iterations of the Stars and Stripes, both in paint and in print, are among his most sought-after works, both by private collectors and museums, and this is reflected in the high prices they have reached at auction in recent years.

This edition was made nearly 20 years after Johns first used the instantly familiar design in his work. Other impressions of this print have sold at auction in recent years, all for well over $1m (£770m).

The impression of the work acquired by the British Museum – numbered 7/65 – had been owned by US collecting couple Johanna and Leslie Garfield since 1980 before being gifted to the American Friends of the British Museum.

Dineen promoted by Sussex saleroom


Julian Dineen of Bellmans.

Julian Dineen has been promoted to become head of Bellmans’ picture department. He has been at the firm for the past four and a half years as a specialist and valuer and was previously at Bonhams’ Winchester office.

Christie’s goes for continental


Among the lots at Christie’s The Collector sale is this Louis XV ormolu-mounted table à écrire by Leonard Boudin. Dating from c.1760, it has provenance to Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918) and is estimated at £60,000-80,000.

A number of prominent pieces of Continental furniture are being offered in Christie’s latest edition of The Collector sale.

The two-part auction will feature a live-streamed session taking place on November 12 with bidding available made online, by phone or via absentee bid, but without members of the public in the saleroom. A timed-online session is also running that closes on November 17.

The auction house is hosting a virtual viewing with the items displayed in situ at Christie’s King Street. It will also offer one-to-one virtual appointments with specialists.

The Collector sale aims to showcase works representing 500 years of decorative arts which have been “curated to create unique living and dining spaces” and a number of lots from both parts of the sale have been selected by British Vogue style editor Gianluca Longo for a photoshoot using the Great Conservatory in Syon Park as a backdrop.

Christie’s is also holding an auction of more than 120 works from the collection of Modern design and furniture dealer Gordon Watson, who has a shop in London’s Pimlico Road. The sale, a timed-online auction which closes on November 25, features Post-war and Contemporary art, prints, photographs and pieces of decorative art, with estimates ranging from £800 to £60,000.

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In Numbers



The number of vellum folios in the Book of Lismore, a 15th century manuscript containing some of medieval Irish literature’s greatest masterpieces. The book has been donated to University College Cork by the trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement, which owns the land and estates of the dukedom of Devonshire.