Art and antiques news from 1999

In 1999 as the bill to reform French auction law was delayed yet again it was christened the 'Loi Godot' - everyone was waiting for it.

The Europe-wide implementation of droit de suite was also shelved for the time being following lobbying by the British Art Market Federation and the personal intervention of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Auctioneer Phillips was bought by Bernard Arnault’s luxury goods group Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Members of the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers voted in favour of a move to be absorbed into the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Unrecorded Minton majolica vase soars to £4000

12 April 1999

UK: AFTER extensive coverage in the relevant media (not least the many column inches given over to the subject in the Antiques Trade Gazette), Minton majolica productions are a pretty well-known quantity in the salerooms today.

Mysterious Maria

12 April 1999

UK: Maria Szantho (b. 1898-?) was a Hungarian artist who specialised in glamour girl nudes which crop up with some regularity in the salerooms, generally at prices between £500-3000.

Joanna plumps for cushions

12 April 1999

UK: AROUND this time of the month it’s always a pleasure to report from that most elegant of cities, Bath where, as readers will know, members of the Bath and Bradford on Avon Antique Dealers Association take turns each month to donate the sale price of an item of stock to the NSPCC.

A provenance of no distinction

12 April 1999

US Round-Up (February-March Pt.II) THE FIRST 350 lots of the February 15-16 sale held by Pacific Auction Galleries comprised books from the library of the Zamorano Club, a society of book lovers, founded in 1928, which takes its name from the first known printer in California, Augustin Vicente Zamorano, who set up a press in Monterey in 1834.

Blast from the past...

12 April 1999

UK: “PLACE the flattened end of the flagstaff in the socket made for it, then raise the hammer until it catches the base of the flag socket and remains upright: place a cap in the capholder and mount the soldiers along the trench.

A first glimpse of the Holy Land

12 April 1999

UK: ON March 23, Sotheby’s held their first ever sale devoted entirely to the Holy Land.

New code for the courtroom

12 April 1999

Law change will reshape civil cases UK: ALL Civil cases heard in English courts will be subject to a new code of conduct from April 26.

Victorian saddler’s well in Bedford

12 April 1999

UK: ONE of the more unusual entries to the sale conducted by Wilson Peacock (10 per cent buyer’s premium) at the Bedford Auction Centre on March 2 was this 19th century carved wooden model of a horse, right, with full leather harness, 2ft 4in (76cm) high, believed to be a shop display tool for a Victorian saddler. There is always great interest in such objects for their decorative appeal and social historical interest: this example posted £400.

Merger aimed at Scottish sales gap

12 April 1999

UK: A NEW joint venture is hoping to fill the gap left by the closure of Christie’s Glasgow salerooms and Lyon and Turnbull’s Edinburgh auction business.

Jewel-studded stockbroker belt with an armorial silver star

12 April 1999

UK: WHEREAS auctioneers in less densely populated areas of the UK such as Scotland, Wales and the West Country, consistently lament the dearth of good quality consignments, this is not a common complaint at Hamptons’ Surrey saleroom.

Provenance of high order...

12 April 1999

US: THE BOOKS and manuscripts sold as part of a March 16 ‘Judaica’ sale held by Sotheby’s included material from the library of the late Alfred Rubens (1903-98), a distinguished historian and collector whose Jewish Iconography of 1954 became the ‘bible’ for scholars of Jewish prints.

Coasters clean up nicely at £1900

05 April 1999

UK: A SMART pair of George III coasters, 61/4in (16cm) diameter – appealing for their wirework gallery and turned hardwood bases centred by (possibly later) crested central roundels – was unearthed by George Kidner auctioneers during a house clearance, neglected and black with dirt.

Collectors buy offbeat pieces

05 April 1999

UK: UNUSUAL collectables on the first day and standard furnishings on the second at this 495-lot Essex dispersal.

Illuminated manuscript of religious meditations

05 April 1999

UK: “THE richness of the language in which this manuscript is written speaks redolently of the period, and of the writer himself,” said the Phillips cataloguer of an illuminated manuscript of religious meditations which sold at £4400 to Quaritch.

Records tumble in the provinces

05 April 1999

UK: TWO new major records in the past ten days are proof positive that provincial salerooms can still attract the very best quality amid all the talk of availability declining.

Not just any old iron for display

05 April 1999

UK: IT HAD been forged as ecclesiastical strongchests for church treasure in medieval Europe and wrought in the form of bedsteads in 17th century Italian villas, but it was only with the rise of industrial manufacture and the growth of the middle-classes in the 19th century that iron became a commonplace element in the gardens, and then the houses of the British gentry.

£20,500 sparks more talk of Burges

05 April 1999

UK: IS this Gothic revival red walnut foldover card table, left, another rediscovered work by the great William Burges?

Bidders go Wilde

05 April 1999

UK: SIGNED cabinet photographs of Oscar and Constance Wilde flank one of their younger son, Vivian, which has been inscribed and dated 1891 to the reverse – although the well known portrait of Oscar is known to date from 1889.

Toll board charges ahead

05 April 1999

Works of Art at Sotheby's South

From Zanzibar to the Cotswolds

05 April 1999

UK: FURNITURE from the East Coast of Africa is hardly common currency within the Cotswolds antiques trade but it was given unusual prominence last month with the appearance of this substantial 18th century hardwood chest with brass studwork decoration at the Gloucestershire rooms of Wotton Auction Rooms on March 23-24.