The Adoration of the Shepherds, a work catalogued as ‘manner of Hans Rottenhammer’, £20,000 at Sworders.

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While one was somewhat expected, the other was much more of a surprise.

The latter was an Old Master depicting the Adoration of the Shepherds. It had a number of condition issues: a thick varnish as well as scratches and losses to the surface.

Stylistically it was similar to the works of German artist Hans Rottenhammer (1564-1625) who, after arriving in Italy c.1591, went to Venice where he studied the works of Tintoretto and Veronese. While Rottenhammer is known to have painted works on copper, this 18 x 12¾in (46 x 32.5cm) picture appeared to be on a different metal (possibly silver-based).

The auction house felt it was of a later date and catalogued it as ‘manner of’ Rottenhammer, however it seems a number of bidders were prepared to speculate that it was from the 17th century.

Estimated at £250-350, it drew a strong contest in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, and was eventually knocked down at £20,000 to a European buyer bidding online.

Classic depiction


Portrait of a girl seated on a chair by Charles Perugini, £27,000 at Sworders.

More predictably, solid competition also came for a bust-length portrait of a girl seated on a chair by Charles Edward Perugini (1839-1918).

A classic depiction of one of the artist’s models in profile, it found plenty of admirers – especially with the £4000-6000 pitch not deemed excessive for such a finely painted work and also one fresh to the market, having been in the same family for many years.

The condition of the 17 x 13¼in (43.5 x 33.5cm) oil on canvas was also pretty reasonable, although there were some small areas of retouching to the hair and the background.

Selling at £27,000 to a London private collector, the sum was among the highest for the artist at auction in the last five years.

It was also one of the highest for a rare example of a work by the artist selling at a UK auction outside of the main London rooms.


A watercolour of Jaffa from ‘The Holy Land’ series by David Roberts, £20,000 at Sworders.

Elsewhere at the Sworders sale, a watercolour of Jaffa by leading Orientalist David Roberts (1796- 1864) was also on offer.

Dated March 26, 1839, it was thought to have been executed on the spot during his famous journey to Egypt and The Holy Land of 1838- 39 – the first unaided journey to the region made by a Western artist and one that inspired future generations of Orientalists.

Roberts made several views of the Jaffa on this trip, two of which were converted into lithographs for his monumental three-volume publishing project The Holy Land.

This particular scene, blending a masterful depiction of the city’s architectural details with a sweeping, less resolved areas of landscape, is taken from near the same viewpoint as the lithograph Jaffa Looking South.

Part of a London private collection that included several fine watercolours, it was guided at £20,000-30,000 but – in a difficult market for this traditional British collecting genre – got away at the low estimate. It was bought by an American collector.