John Constable sketch

John Constable sketch, £200,000 at Martel Maides.

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Willy Lott’s House hits a house record

A recently rediscovered oil sketch by John Constable (1776-1837) drew strong interest with eight phone lines booked at Martel Maides (20% buyer’s premium) in St Peter Port, Guernsey.

Surpassing a £80,000- 1 20,000 estimate on September 21, it was knocked down at £200,000 to a private buyer also in Guernsey.

The 11½ x 912in (29 x 24cm) oil on canvas laid on panel depicted the back of Willy Lott’s House in Flatford, Suffolk. It was inscribed with the brush June 1814.

Research by Constable authority Anne Lyles traced the provenance of the oil sketch back to the 19th century when it was owned by Constable’s grandson, Hugh Golding Constable (1868-1949). He subsequently sold it to dealers Leggatt Brothers and it almost certainly featured in the famous 1899 exhibition at the Cornhill Gallery, the first to be devoted solely to Constable’s work.

Prior to the auction, where it came for sale from a private collection in Guernsey, its location had been unknown for over 40 years. The result set a house record for a picture at Martel Maides.

Berwyn-Jones sets up fine art firm

Gerry Berwyn-Jones

Gerry Berwyn-Jones has set up his own art firm.

Gerry Berwyn-Jones, 60, has launched an independent fine art and antique consultancy Berwyn-Jones Fine Art Consultants.

Berwyn-Jones has left Halls Fine Art of Shrewsbury, where since 2019 he had been running the firm. He also previously worked at Bonhams and Phillips.

Berwyn-Jones said his new firm will provide general art market advice and will draw on respected specialists when the need arises and will specialise in certified RICS accredited valuations.

For more details see

Mould dealership wins new award

Philip Mould & Company has won The Critics’ Circle Art & Architecture Section’s newest award: Commercial Gallery Exhibition of the Year.

The Critics Circle Awards event took place on the evening of September 29 following the British Art Fair at the Saatchi Gallery, London. The gallery won the award for its Without Hands: The Art of Sarah Biffin exhibition which was a non-selling show open to the public.

Mould said: “It is nice that the art and antiques world can be involved in these awards that had historically focused on national institutions. We are so thrilled as we put so much into making the show work.”

Fergusson takes senior watches role

Sarah Fergusson

Sarah Fergusson of Bonhams.

Bonhams has appointed Sarah Fergusson as senior specialist in watches in its team in Scotland at its newly opened saleroom in Melville Crescent, New Town, Edinburgh.

Fergusson’s role will also cover the north of England as well as contribute to Bonhams international watch auctions.

Fergusson has been in the auction industry for more than 12 years, initially as a jewellery specialist beforen shifting into watches. She began her career at Glasgow auction house McTear’s in 2011, moving to Edinburgh’s Lyon & Turnbull in 2020 as head of watches.

French trade relief at VAT rate freeze

France’s art market professionals breathed a sigh of relief on the news that the French government supports maintaining the VAT rate at 5.5% for sales and imports of artworks from countries outside the EU.

Earlier this year it was revealed that new laws were being planned to increase this to 20% by January 2025. A number of associations lobbied government against the changes and now ministers have argued the case against the planned rise.

Socialite selection: Esterházy auctions

Countess Bunny Esterházy sale

Among the lots in Bellmans’ Countess Bunny Esterházy collection sale is a picture by Harry Hall of 1876 Derby winner Kisber. It is estimated at £10,000-15,000.

The collection of Countess Bunny Esterházy (1938-2021) will be offered by Bellmans in two upcoming sales: Old Master, British & European Paintings on October 10 and Jewellery and Watches on October 12.

Born in Hungary, Esterházy became a London socialite after the Second World War and in the 1970s-80s had notable success as a racehorse owner. In this pursuit she followed in the footsteps of her mother Etti, whose sixth husband was Arpad Plesch, through whom she became a legendary figure on the turf.

Esterházy’s collection housed in her Belgravia (and formerly Monte Carlo) apartment includes horse paintings, race trophies and jewellery.

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In Numbers


The number of bottles of wine being offered across five auctions to disperse what Sotheby’s is billing the ‘Legendary Cellar of Top Epicurean and Aesthete Pierre Chen’. The sale, titled An Epicurean’s Atlas, could make $50m, the auction house suggests. Sales take place worldwide in Paris, Burgundy, London and Paris, with the staged in Hong Kong next month.