An English Two-Decker of the Red Squadron at Sea by Willem van de Velde the Younger and Studio, estimated at £300,000-500,000 at Christie’s sale of contents from Ombersley Court.

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Court in the action: van de Velde views

Included in Christie’s sale of contents from Ombersley Court, Worcestershire, on November 29 are four monumental naval scenes by Willem van de Velde the Younger and Studio.

They are part of a series of seven oils commissioned by Admiral Edward Russell (1652-1727) for his house, Chippenham Hall, near Cambridge c.1693-98.

They included one of the Dutch artist’s largest paintings - An English Two-Decker of the Red Squadron at Sea now guided at £300,000-500,000. It is thought that the ship may be the 64-gun Defiance, built in 1675 and commanded by Admiral Edward Russell in 1677 or the Swiftsure, built in 1673 and commanded by Russell from 1678.

Russell, later the 1st Earl of Orford, was a member of the ‘Immortal Seven’ who invited William of Orange to come to England and seize the throne from James II in 1688.

Following his death, the paintings passed to his great-niece, Letitia Tipping, Lady Sandys, in whose family they have descended until the present day.

Read more about the Ombersley Court sale.

Bonhams holds first sale in Ireland


Among the lots at Bonhams’ Irish sale is Killary Bay, Connemara, a landscape by Paul Henry (1877-1958) estimated at €120,000-180,000.

A collection of Irish-related items will go on show in Dublin ahead of an online auction described by Bonhams as its “first on the island of Ireland”.

The bulk of the sale is The Irish News Collection: 30 lots acquired over 40 years by the late Jim Fitzpatrick, former owner of The Irish News. The sale also features artworks from the Irish collector and dealer Mary Hobart, who with her late husband Alan ran Pyms Gallery.

The auction is called The Irish Sale: Vision & Voice and will be on view at City Assembly House, Dublin, from November 24-28 with the online sale running from November 17-28

French king’s bible now on export hold

New Testament bible

A New Testament bible in an Old French translation, with fine illuminated initials, attributable to the Cholet Master, containing the autograph inscription of Jean II (Jean le Bon), King of France.

A New Testament bible, formerly owned by the French King Jean II but believed to have been in the UK for more than 600 years after it was looted during the Hundred Years’ War, has been temporarily barred from export.

The manuscript valued at £800,000 was previously unknown to scholars. It contains the signature of Jean II, who ruled France from 1350-64.

The UK government believe it is possible that the manuscript, which contains an early translation of the New Testament into French, was captured at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 during the Hundred Years’ War. It has been in England ever since and owned by members of the English royal family in the 14th and 15th centuries and in private ownership for at least 300 years.

The decision on the export licence application will be deferred for a period ending on February 7, 2024, and a recommended price of £800,000 is required.

Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements may also be considered.

Read more about it on

Keep an eye on Lennon mosaic


Eye mosaic from John Lennon’s swimming pool, for sale at Bonhams.

A psychedelic eye mosaic commissioned by John Lennon for the swimming pool at his Kenwood home in Surrey in 1965 is on offer in Bonhams’ Rock, Pop & Film sale on November 29 in Knightsbridge.

Consisting of approximately 17,000 tiles, the mosaic was created by Joseph Ritrovato, a master tiler who single-handedly installed it on the deep-end wall of the pool.

Lennon owned Kenwood from July 1964 to late spring 1968. The mosaic remained in situ until 1984, when it was removed from the pool wall for preservation by the then-owners of Kenwood and by the mosaic’s joint owners for it to be available for public exhibition.

The mosaic first went on publ ic display at The International Garden Festival at the Royal Festival Gardens, Liverpool from 1985 until its closure in 1987. It remained on the site until 2002, when it was moved to The Museum of Liverpool Life, and was also part of the V&A’s You Say You Want a Revolution? exhibition on counterculture, in 2016.

The estimate is listed as ‘refer to department’.

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In Numbers


The number of men charged in relation to a theft of an 18-ct gold toilet designed by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan following an investigation by Thames Valley Police. It was stolen from Blenheim Palace in September 2019. The men will all appear at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on November 28.