Henry Moore sculpture

Head by Henry Moore, £3.75m at Sotheby’s.

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Henry Moore heads to an alabaster high

Sotheby’s posted the highest auction price for an alabaster head by Henry Moore (1898- 1986) at its latest Modern British art evening sale. Four bidders competed for the 7¾in (20cm) high sculpture at the November 21 sale, taking it above the £2m-3m estimate up to £3.75m.

The work, simply titled Head, dated from 1929 and was exchanged by Moore with his friend and fellow artist Ben Nicholson for one of Nicholson’s own works. Last seen in 1952, it entered into the collection of Cincinnati textile manufacturer Thomas C Adler from whose family it was consigned to Sotheby’s.

The price was the second highest for a small sculpture by Moore after Christie’s sold a unique stone head for £3.9m in 2018.

Sotheby’s two Modern British art sales last week raised a combined £14.4m including fees, which compared to the £16.6m total posted by Christie’s sales in this category in October.

Stolen Cortés work now recovered

Edouard-Leon Cortés picture

The recovered Edouard-Leon Cortés painting, Flower Market Madeleine.

A painting by post-Impressionist artist Edouard-Leon Cortés (1882- 1969) has been recovered after being stolen in the US sometime in the 1950s-60s.

Flower Market Madeleine by Cortés was found with the help of Christopher Marinello, lawyer and founder of Art Recovery International (ARI).

The picture was one of up to 3000 paintings stolen from the Herbert Arnot Gallery in New York City over a 12-year period in the 1950s-60s by an employee. A subsequent court case led to the imprisonment of the offender but many of the artworks were not recovered.

Then earlier this year it emerged that Cortès’ Flower Market Madeleine was offered for sale by Lancashire art dealer Carnes Fine Art. According to ARI, Carnes purchased the artwork in November 2022 at Capes Dunn auction house. The painting had been consigned to that saleroom in 2022 from an estate in Cheshire who confirmed that it was acquired from a London gallery.

Marinello said: “We are very grateful to Bradley Carnes, Capes Dunn and their vendor for releasing this stolen painting unconditionally to the Arnot Gallery. While in this instance, we were able to convince many of the parties to reimburse the other, eventually there will be those who are out of luck.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of performing due diligence and authentication checks which would have uncovered this stolen painting decades earlier.”

Lancashire guns saleroom launched

A new auction house called Lonsdales Auctioneers has launched in north Lancashire, close to Kirkby Lonsdale. It is a specialist in modern and antique guns and has been set up by John Tamlin.

The firm’s first sale took place on November 9 and its next is scheduled for April 11. Tamlin, a former dealer who has a military background, feels there was a gap in the market in the north of England and Scotland.

He works with a team of specialist advisers/consultants and sales are held online and in the room at its saleroom in Carnforth.

The firm will also sell firearms consigned to auction houses that do not wish offer them for sale and has established partnerships with businesses in the area such as 1818 Auctioneers.

Lonsdales Auctioneers is a member of the Gun Trade As soc i at ion, Br i t i sh Association for Shooting and Conservation and Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association.

‘Napoleon’ bicorne hat sets record

Napoleon hat

Bicorne hat believed to have belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte, €1.5m (£1.305m) at Osenat.

A bicorne hat believed to have belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte sold for a record €1.93m (including buyer’s premium) at Osenat in France on November 19. Estimated at €600,000-800,000, it was hammered down at €1.5m (£1.305m).

Including the premium, the price beat the €1.8m paid for another Napoleon hat sold at Drouot in 2014.

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In Numbers

Adelaide Pound

This Adelaide Pound, which was the first Australian gold coin, was estimated at £10,000-12,000 at Noonans of Mayfair and sold on November 14-15 for £19,000 hammer.


The hammer price paid for a pioneering Australian coin - the Adelaide Pound, which was the first Australian gold coin. It had been estimated at £10,000-12,000 at Noonans of Mayfair in a sale of Coins and Historical Medals on November 14-15. Dating from 1852, it was being sold by a UK collector and was bought by another UK collector.