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A case in point

18 August 2004

ART case pianos, as their name implies, are instruments with very decorative cases painted or elaborately inlaid, and usually one-off commissions.

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Touch of Frost over 60 years

18 August 2004

ON view at the Belgrave Gallery, St Ives, these two works by the late Sir Terry Frost represent a gap of some 60 years.

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Old standards sell alongside new fancies

18 August 2004

SOME steady selling of material which has been hard to shift of late provided some encouragement for the trade generally at Lawrences of Bletchingley's (12.5 buyer's premium) July 20-22 sale and among the 2000 lots – which totalled nearly £200,000 – there were enough of those quirky offerings which make provincial British auctions the fascinating events they can be.

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Bumper harvest after minor expectations

18 August 2004

IT is frequently the unusual and the decorative that the market craves today. The ‘peach’ of the sale conducted by Kidson-Trigg (15% buyer’s premium) of Highworth, near Swindon on July 22 was certainly both, a group of 14 painted and carved wood and gesso models of fruit, pictured right.

Preview

18 August 2004

One of the most mysterious objects in Bonhams’ Made in Scotland sale from August 18-20, was a fascinating 18th century anamorphic painting – one of a whole class of pictures that required cylindrical mirrors to view the true image.

Fine art imports to UK cut by a quarter for 2003: Value of pictures coming from Switzerland drops 63 per cent

18 August 2004

THE latest figures published by Customs and Excise show a large decline in fine art imports to the UK for 2003.

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Fame is the spur for plates

18 August 2004

THE general strength of the Sèvres market was reinforced in spades by the very strong prices paid for two plates that featured in Christie’s King Street sale on July 5. Both are from celebrated services and both have the type of bold, slightly more masculine decoration that is currently fashionable.

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Teapot is cream of crop

18 August 2004

WITH the King Street sale devoted entirely to Continental material, it was left to Christie’s South Kensington rooms to offer a home-grown element with the morning half of their sizeable 393-lot, June 24 British and Continental ceramics offering.

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Sindy helps her owner walk to happiness

18 August 2004

IN 1963, following market research to discover the most popular girl’s name at the time, Lines Bros. (Pedigree) of Merton, London, launched England’s answer to Mattel’s Barbie and Ideal Toy Corporation’s Tammy. Sindy, with her rosebud mouth, large blue eyes and bouncy curls, was The doll you'll love to dress.

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Where the money is...

18 August 2004

IN The Sunday Telegraph of July 25, Sarah Jane Checkland offered that old chestnut “what paintings sell”. Much of the analysis was predictable – “paintings of women and children outstrip those of men and the younger and more attractive the better” and “prospects are grim for dead animals”. However, a few results of her survey were more intriguing.

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Kate’s portrait of her famous father

10 August 2004

KATE Dickens adored her father but found the situation at home after her parents’ separation to be intolerable and in 1860, desperate to get away, she entered into what was to prove a less than happy marriage to Wilkie Collins’ younger brother Charles.

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Provenance and craftsmanship overcome risk of overexposure

10 August 2004

AS its title suggests, the June 30 sale of scientific, medical and engineering works of art held by Christie’s South Kensington (19.5/12% buyer's premium) was something of a mixed bag. The 216-lot auction incorporated anything from 18th century microscopes and preserved amphibians to delft barbers’ bowls and scale models of locomotives.

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The finest strokes at South Ken

10 August 2004

THE Cricket, Tennis and Traditional Sports sale at Christie’s South Kensington on June 22 saw a hammer total of £87,355 from the 163-lot offering. Yet nearly three quarters of this figure came from the two top lots alone, hence the sold by value figure of 63 per cent was noticeably higher than the sold by lot figure of 51 per cent.

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Return to the podium

10 August 2004

WHEN Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1906, the problems that beset the 1908 Olympic Games had begun. Rome, the intended host city for the games, was forced to withdraw and London stepped in with an offer to take over. A 68,000-seat stadium in White City, completed Athens-style at the eleventh hour, became the location for the fourth modern games.

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Nicholas Jarry

10 August 2004

SEEN right is the illuminated title which, together with a full-page miniature of The Annunciation and numerous coloured and gold initials, make up the principal decoration of vellum manuscript collection of Prières et Oraisons Dévotés produced by the great calligrapher Nicholas Jarry (c.1615-7).

Victorian games go to museum

10 August 2004

AS one of Keys of Aylsham's (10% buyer's premium) huge, six-a-year, sales aimed squarely at collectors, the strengths of this 1423-lot outing on June 17-18 lay in toys and militaria.

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Catalogued For Sale

10 August 2004

REINFORCED at the spine with linen some time ago, the sale catalogue seen right was issued in 1836 by a Mr Pigott for a sale of farming stock, garden and other seeds, plus household furniture, held at Normandy Farm, near Ash in Surrey – the home of “the late William Cobbett, Esq. MP”, and of course author of Rural Rides. In a Bloomsbury Auctions sale of June 17, it was sold for £400 (C.R. Johnson).

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Griffiths sale sends out the pagans and nobles

10 August 2004

THE energy with which Spink pursue their business was made manifest on July 15 when they crammed in another sale which has not been part of their auction schedule in recent years. The total take was £250,850 and, although it was a 519-lot general sale, it offered several homogeneous sections. In all, it taught us really quite a lot about the state of the London coin market.

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Holmes past and future...

10 August 2004

THE sale at $350,000 (£190,215) of Conan Doyle’s autograph manuscript of the Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, has already been noted in the Antiques Trade Gazette (No.1646) but the Christie’s New York sale of June 9 that brought that very high bid also included the pair of first edition copies of The Adventures... and Memorials of Sherlock Holmes (1892 and ’94) seen right.

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High demand for portrait

10 August 2004

HIGHLIGHT of Sotheby’s (23.92/14.35% buyer's premium) book and manuscript sale on June 30 was Antonin Artaud’s 1947 portrait of his publisher Alain Gheerbrant, pencil, 14 x 20in (35 x 50cm), seen right, that made a double-estimate €210,000 (£140,000) to set a record for an Artaud drawing.

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