A major bidding competition arose in Edinburgh last week as auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull offered this Old Master painting as part of their sale of contents from Lingholm House in Cumbria.
The Lake District home of Lord and Lady
Rochdale was recently put on the market with a £6.5m asking price,
but the contents provided L&T with 199 lots for a special sale
held on October 22.
Christ in the House of Simon made
the highest price of the collection by some distance, outstripping
its £8000-12,000 estimate. The 2ft 1in x 18½in (64 x 47cm) oil on
cradled panel had previously hung in the estate's neo-gothic Stone
Room alongside some 16th and 17th century Flemish tapestries.
The condition was generally good, although
it did suffer from one significant split.
It was catalogued as a 16th century
'reimagining' of Dutch painter Dieric Bouts' (1415-75) scene from
c.1460 depicting Christ dining in the house of Simon the Pharisee.
The auctioneers felt that this was a probably a direct copy by
either a later Dutch or Northern European hand but with several
While it had many similarities to the
original (in particular the central figures and the woman pouring
perfume on Christ's feet), the differences included the presence of
the ornate tapestry in the background and the replacement of a
kneeling Dominican monk on the right with a rather more cheerful
wine bearer here (wearing red shoes to boot).
On the day, the bidding seriously took off,
with three interested parties prepared to go over £180,000,
something which indicated a belief that this was not just an early
but also high-quality version of the subject. After competition
between an overseas bidder, a London dealer and the UK buyer who
eventually placed the winning bid, it was finally knocked down at
£240,000 plus 25/20% buyer's premium.
Overall, the contents of Lingholm House achieved a total of
£817,670 (including buyer's premium). Further highlights from this
sale will appear in a future issue.