Art and antiques news from 2008

In September 2008 Sotheby's much-hyped sale of works by Damien Hirst was a runaway success amid the general gloom, taking £100 million.

After 37 years on traditional newsprint, Antiques Trade Gazette became full-colour gloss.

Dealer Agnews sold its historic Bond Street premises, Elaine Dean retired after 25 years as secretary general of BADA and Christie's South Kensington introduced interiors sales aimed at the retail market.


Bacchus bronze hits golden £1m

09 December 2008

In a week that saw the London salerooms offering their traditional December round of Old Master pictures, continental furniture and works of art, one of the strongest prices proved to be the £1m (plus premium) paid for this lively and intriguing 3ft (90cm) high bacchic bronze at Sotheby's on December 2.

Bonhams unveil new department

09 December 2008

BONHAMS have created a department for modern and contemporary South Asian and Middle Eastern art.


Imperial connection lifts vase to $440,000

09 December 2008

This monumental 19th century Russian gilt-bronze mounted porcelain vase, created by the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St Petersburg, is thought to have been included in the wedding dowry of a daughter of Tsar Nicholas I.

Religious Hals on show at Colnaghi

09 December 2008

Colnaghi-Bernheimer of London and Salomon Lilian of Amsterdam have unveiled a rare religious painting by the Dutch 17th century master Frans Hals.

Science Museum to launch online research archive

09 December 2008

THE Science Museum are to launch an online database of 2500 objects covering centuries of medical history from their collection. Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine, goes online on March 2, primarily as a resource for GCSE students and undergraduates, but is also expected to be a useful research tool for antiques specialists.


French specialist wins international battle for African headrest

01 December 2008

TRIBAL Art seems to one area bucking the credit crunch at present. Witness this superbly-patinated Shona hardwood headrest that was unearthed by South Down Auctioneers of Midhurst, West Sussex in a local home.

ATG Comment: Government to decide on Resale Right extension

01 December 2008

IN the next week or so, the British Government must decide whether 2010 or 2012 is the right time for the Artist’s Resale Right to be extended to the heirs of artists who have been dead for less than 70 years.


Chinese works of art sold in Dorset with a primary provenance

01 December 2008

THE discerning collection of Chinese jades, rhinoceros horn, furniture, textiles and paintings assembled 200 years ago by John Reeves has now gone under the hammer.

Russian art falls victim to the downturn

01 December 2008

with buy-in rates exceeding 60 per cent at many sales, Russian Week in London proved this hitherto burgeoning market to be as vulnerable to the economic crisis as any other.

Congestion Charge reversal pleases trade

01 December 2008

DEALERS in West London were relieved at the decision by Mayor Boris Johnson to abolish the western extension zone of the congestion charge introduced last year by his predecessor Ken Livingstone.

Beware of unknown courier companies says dealer

01 December 2008

ANTIQUES dealers are being warned against using unfamiliar courier companies that they find through web directories.

Volunteer jailed for stolen medals

01 December 2008

A VOLUNTEER at the Royal Signals Regiment Museum in Blandford, Dorset, has been jailed for 12 months for stealing £33,000 of medals and selling them on eBay.


Spike Milligan collection brings strong bidding despite family disputes

01 December 2008

The collection of national treasure, writer and poet, jazz musician and eco-warrior, but most memorably of all, the Goon and tormented comic genius that was Spike Milligan, brought strong bidding at Bonhams on November 25.


The $180,000 Beardsley that hung in a Boston bathroom

24 November 2008

FOUND hanging in a Boston bathroom, the whereabouts of this Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898) illustration had been a mystery for more than 80 years. Entitled The Climax, and hanging in the lavatory alongside another Beardsley pen-and-ink drawing called A Platonic Lament, the owners had no idea of its significance.

Olympia feels the pinch but sees pockets of good business

24 November 2008

AT the close of this month's Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia there was no doubt that the worldwide banking crisis and now the recession had taken their toll.

West Country auctioneers join forces in multi-million pound merger

24 November 2008

TWO of the West Country’s foremost fine art auctioneers, Bearne’s and Hampton & Littlewood, are to merge to become the biggest business of its kind in the South West.


The £84,000 hint that it might be Chippendale

24 November 2008

THIS imposing but relatively plain 5ft 6in (1.69m) wide mahogany centre pedestal desk c.1760 was a last-minute entry to Addison's of Barnards Castle fine art and antiques sale on November 15.

Hotspur and Jeremy sale sets £3.6m total

24 November 2008

WHEN Jeremy and Hotspur, two of London’s best-known furniture dealerships, announced in the late summer that they were shutting up shop and selling off their remaining stock, few could have predicted the ensuing market slump. Both dealerships, who intend to continue as consultants, must have had their fingers crossed at Christie’s on November 20, when the sale took place.


Scott sale brings an impressive turn-out

24 November 2008

SOTHEBY'S keenly anticipated sale of the collection of the late Sir David and Lady Scott on November 19 provided a confidence-boosting result. Any pre-sale fears that the ‘unfashionable’ Victorian pictures it contained might damage results were soon put aside.

British Museum say Treasure Act is having the right effect

24 November 2008

THE British Museum have credited the Treasure Act – which ensures treasure hunters are compensated for finds – for the significant increase in reported objects.