The 3 x 4ft (92cm x 1.22m) signed oil on canvas above is one of the highlights of the January 25 part one auction: a Thames view of Twickenham dating from the first years of the 19th century which has an estimate of $4m-6m.
The idyllic pastoral scene depicts the river and the country villa of Alexander Pope. The building was actually in the process of being demolished – something that angered Turner and was commemorated by him in a poetic ode.
The painting was exhibited at Turner’s own Harley Street Gallery in 1808 where it was acquired in that year by the collector Sir John Leicester, 1st Baron de Tabley, who already owned other works by the artist. It was then offered at auction by Christie’s in 1827 where it was acquired by another well-known collector of paintings, James Morrison, then passing down by descent until it was sold by Sotheby’s in 2008 when it was acquired by the vendor.
The Safra collection sale on January 25 includes this 11½ x 17½in (29 x 45cm) watercolour pictured above. A late view of Switzerland, The Splügen Pass shows the route on the way to the pass from the village of Andeer.
Its first owner in 1842 was HAJ Monro of Navar and it has since passed through various collections and auctions at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s, its last appearance under the hammer being in 2001. The estimate now is $1.5m-2m.
Touch of Claesz
Meanwhile, a Dutch still-life by Pieter Claesz (1597/8-1660) is one of the works offered in the Modern Medici auction at Christie’s on January 27.
Claesz’s semi-monochromatic 15 x 22in (40 x 56cm) oil on panel, monogrammed PC, dated to 1636, is an example of the artist’s ontbijtjes (‘breakfast pieces’): a composition of a simple, pared back arrangement of carefully selected objects. Here they revolve around the central motif of an overturned tazza which recurs in several Claesz paintings.
The estimate is $800,000-1.2m.