Colin Sheaf in Hong Kong selling a garlic mouth vase for £6.2m (including premium).

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Sheaf retires from Bonhams roles

Colin Sheaf has retired as deputy chairman and global head of Asian art at Bonhams. After 20 years in senior management positions, he stepped down at the end of last year but has become an Asian art consultant with an emphasis on sourcing consignments and an ambassador for the company.

Sheaf has spent five decades in the art world. Among his notable achievements has been helping to launch businesses in Hong Kong for both Christie’s and Bonhams, while the £24m Chinese art auction at Bonhams New Bond Street in November 2011 held under his leadership remains the highest total for an Asian art auction in Europe.

As well as moving to a new role at Bonhams, Sheaf will continue to chair the Sir Percival David Foundation, one of the world’s finest private collection of imperial Chinese porcelain (currently on loan to the British Museum), as well as maintain his long record of lecturing and writing about Chinese art, handling charity auctions and advising friends and non-profit public institutions about art-related matters.

Edinburgh fair shut after costs increase

B2B Events is closing the Edinburgh Antiques, Vintage & Collectors Fair, deeming it not financially viable.

The event, which took place at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston, started in 2010.

Helen Yourston, director of B2B, said: “Having spent 10 of the last 12 years building up the fair, to a popular, successful event pre-Covid, it is extremely upsetting not to be able to continue.

“Despite expecting, and factoring in anticipated price rises, the figures still didn’t add up. Even if we were to sell every double stand in the hall we still wouldn’t have broken even. We therefore had no option but to make the incredibly difficult decision to close the fair down.

“We wish to thank all exhibitors and visitors, past and present for their support. We will be looking at alternative venues moving forward, but this won’t be a quick process. We will keep everyone informed via our website, email and social media platforms.”

Beckford portrait bought by museum


The 1844 portrait of William Beckford on his deathbed by Willes Maddox (1813-53).

The 1844 portrait William Beckford on his Deathbed by Willes Maddox (1813-53) has been purchased by Bath Preservation Trust and will go on display at Beckford’s Tower and Museum this month.

It was painted for Beckford’s daughter, Susan, Duchess of Hamilton four years after her father’s death. It sits within a rosewood case, surrounded by brass and giltwood decorations that match those used on Beckford’s coffin.

Previously owned by the British designer and academic Bernard Nevill (1930-2019), it sold at Christie’s online sale The Collector on February 10 for £13,000 (estimated £15,000-20,000). The purchase price of £16,250 was met by the V&A Purchase Grant Fund (£8125) and the Art Fund (£7000).

Beckford was a bisexual writer, composer and perhaps the greatest collector of his age, with his huge wealth coming from the profits of the transatlantic slave trade. Proceeds of the sale will be used to set up a charitable foundation in Nevill’s name.

Appeal launched to buy Hogarth work


The painting by William Hogarth (1697-1784) of Horace Walpole, later 4th Earl of Orford (1717-97).

The Strawberry Hill Trust is appealing for public donations to buy a painting by William Hogarth (1697-1784) of Horace Walpole, later 4th Earl of Orford (1717-97).

Walpole lived at Strawberry Hill in Twickenham and the portrait has been on loan to the house from a private collection until now.

The trust has an opportunity to buy the painting from the private collection as it has been offered to the nation in lieu of death duties. However the painting has been valued at more than the tax due which means there is a £230,000 funding gap.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund has donated £115,000 and the Art Fund has given £90,000. The remaining £25,000 is being sought from the public via the Art Fund’s crowdfunding platform, Art Happens. The funds are needed by April 14. Auction house Christie’s has advised the trust on the acquisition.

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In Numbers


The amount raised (as of March 23) by auctioneer Colin Young for Comic Relief by cutting his lockdown locks into a red mohican. Young said: “Grantham barber Stoo Meadows (BarberZone) and punk drummer extraordinaire has worked miracles with my now very limited resources”.

Young’s long hair after lockdown had already caused a stir and searches for his hair rate higher than his own name online. Donate via JustGiving.