Together with his wife Sophie, he remodelled the 17th century Grade I-listed Palladian country house after buying it in 2006 and filled the property with an outlandish assembly of art, taxidermy, curiosities and pieces of ‘statement’ furniture.
Having run the venue as a deluxe entertainment destination patronised by the great and the good of business, film, fashion, art and music, the Perkinses decided to sell the house last year and to move on to a new project (Parnham Park in Dorset).
They consigned the works from Aynhoe to Berkshire saleroom Dreweatts (25% buyer’s premium), which held a 676-lot of the collection in Oxfordshire on January 20-21.
Led by a triceratops skull that made £245,000 and with some notable prices for Perkins’ own taxidermy creations (see Pick of the Week, ATG No 2477), the auction raised a total of over £4.1m.
The 58 picture lots included some Old Master portraits but also some hotly contested pieces of Contemporary art which contributed a decent slice of the total.
Among them was an oil on mirror by Abdullah Qandeel (b.1988), a Saudi Arabian artist who was arrested in 2014 for painting murals in the penthouse suite of the Columbus Hotel in Manhattan.
His energetic large-scale Abstract paintings have become commercially valuable (buyers are said to include the Saudi royal family and Charles Rockefeller). Works have been sold at exhibitions in Jeddah, Monaco and New York but not many have appeared at auction.
Although the secondary market is still developing, his auction record stands at $224,000 (£149,990) for an oil on linen titled The Race sold at Sotheby’s in Doha, Qatar, in April 2015.
The work at Dreweatts, Self Prophetic Vanity from 2019, measured 3ft 10in x 2ft 6in (1.18m x 76cm).
While not as large as The Race, it was a colourful and bold work painted on a mirror, an unusual medium but one which certainly had a striking effect – no doubt part of the attraction for the Perkinses.
This was seemingly the first time a work by the artist had appeared at a UK auction, although judging by the demand that emerged it may well not be the last.
Estimated at £10,000-15,000, it drew international bidding but was eventually knocked down at £48,000 to a UK buyer.
Another sought-after name at the sale was Spanish artist Agustí Puig (b.1957), with all five works on offer selling at or above top estimate to different UK private buyers and raising a combined £50,000.
Pick of the bunch was One Chair, a 4ft 11in x 4ft (1.5 x 1.22m) mixed media on linen laid to board which had some typical features – juxtaposed figures, built up layers of paint, basic earthy colours and singular lines and scratching out pointing to his work as a printmaker (the Catalan artist famously worked on the poster and postage stamp for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games).
Estimated at £4000-6000, it sold at £16,000 – the highest price at auction for Puig so far. Here again, the artist has a more developed dealer-based primary market, but the results of the five lots at Dreweatts suggested the secondary market may be starting to emerge more markedly.
The top-selling piece of Contemporary art at the sale was a signed giclee print by Stik (b.1979), the London-based graffiti artist whose output consists of stick-like figures made up of six lines and two dots.
His work emerged on the streets of Hackney in the early 2000s, a time when the ‘first wave’ of street artists to gain the attention of the wider art market was appearing. Stik prints have now become highly tradeable commodities.
As with Bansky prints, the market is beset by fakes and reproductions, but this 6ft 2in x 4ft 10in (1.88 x 1.47m) print, which was signed and stamped, had been acquired directly from the artist and came with a certificate of authentication from the artist’s studio.
Estimated at £40,000-60,000, it drew bidding from art agents and members of the trade but was eventually knocked down at £80,000 a private collector. The price was one of the highest auction sums for Stik.