“Probably the best sale of this type in a very long time. Very strong across the board,” enthused specialist Roy Bolton after his February 27 auction of Old Master Pictures at Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyers premium).
Out of 220 lots, 92 per cent were sold by value and 86 per cent by volume, generating a total of £280,820. Highlight of the day was an Annunciation catalogued as Circle of Alessandro Turchi (1578-1649).
Estimated at £1500-2500, this decorative 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in (18.5 x 14cm) painting, right, was unusual for being painted on slate – an unusual technique probably best known in the case of the 1531 portrait of Pope Clement VII by Sebastiano del Piombo (c.1485-1547) in the J. Paul Getty Museum, California.
The original commission was on canvas but the Pope also ordered a version on slate because of its longevity compared with canvas or wood.
Although not in the same league as Piombo’s masterpiece, Turchi’s Annunciation fetched four times its upper estimate, selling at £10,000 to the Continental trade. Mr Bolton suggested its success lay not in its rarity but rather because it was “in good condition, well painted and a nice early picture.”
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