One of two views of Antwerp by AA Simons – £26,000 at Dominic Winter.

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As it turned out, the pair of 7ft x 7ft 4in (2.14 x 2.23m) oils on canvas from 1788 fitted very neatly side-by-side along the entirety of one wall in the reception and canteen area and, with a gallery-style barrier placed in front of them, they attracted considerable attention from customers as they walked in.

One of the pictures showed a rich merchant and his wife inspecting barrels being unloaded at the harbour on the Scheldt, with two boats flying the pennant of the Dutch East India Company.

To the left was a view of Antwerp showing landmarks including the Het Steen fortress and the Cathedral of Our Lady. To the right side, the Borgerweertpolder area (now known as Linkeroever) can be seen.

The other work also depicted a group of richly dressed figures disembarking at a jetty with a view of Het Steen to the left.

The first work was signed by the artist AA Simons and dated 1788 on a wooden crate being used by a gentleman as a seat.

Auction rarity


One of two views of Antwerp by AA Simons – £26,000 at Dominic Winter.

Few details about the artist are known, other than he worked in France and the Netherlands in late 18th century. He has little track record at auction with seemingly the only recorded result being for a similar panoramic view of Bayonne with figures disembarking at the harbour and specific details about the location in the background. It sold for €10,000 (£9015) at a Pierre Bergé sale in Brussels in 2009.

The two works here came to auction from a private Shropshire collection having been purchased in the Netherlands in 2017. Both works were relined and had been professionally restored in the not-too-distant past with evidence of retouching.

Nevertheless, the appeal of the works both as period pieces and as part of the topographical record of the largest Flemish city made them a significant commercial proposition.

Offered as a single lot and estimated at £25,000-35,000, they sold at £26,000 to a private buyer, presumably one with plenty of wall space.