UK

The United Kingdom accounts for more than one fifth of the global art market sales and is the second biggest art market after the US.

Through auctioneers, dealers, fairs and markets - and a burgeoning online sector - buyers, collectors and sellers of art and antiques can easily access a vibrant network of intermediaries and events around the country. The UK's museums also house a wealth of impressive collections

Dick Francis' Dead Cert

19 February 2001

UK: THE title page had a semi-circular portion excised from the outer margin, but this copy of the 1962 first of Dick Francis’ annual racing thrillers, Dead Cert, had a jacket and it sold for £2050 to Bromlea & Jonkers at Dominic Winter's sale held on January 31.

The Mysteries of Alchemy

19 February 2001

UK: THE English Literature and History sale held by Sotheby’s on December 19 opened in unexpectedly dramatic fashion when an English alchemical manuscript drawn up in 1624 by Leonard Smethley, miraculously transmuted an estimate of £6000-8000 into something just as welcome as the gold or silver that ancient practitioners hoped for – a huge bid of £180,000!

Andy Capp and Roosevelt

19 February 2001

UK: BOOKS were not really the main attraction in this sale, although it did contain a 1795 first edition of John Aikin’s illustrated Description of the Country... round Manchester. This was, however, an ex-library copy that had been rebound and had its share of stamps.

Early 19th century Italian marble and pietra dura table

12 February 2001

UK: Emblazoned with the full armorial of the Strutt and Galton families, this early 19th century Italian marble and pietra dura table stole the limelight at Short, Graham & Co.’s sale in Gloucester on January 23.

Jade chicken cup flies to £19,000

12 February 2001

UK: When a private UK vendor consigned a Chinese celadon jade cup to Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) at £400-600, he could not have hoped in his wildest dreams to sell it for almost 50 times the low estimate.

Ceramics take high ground in Devon floods

12 February 2001

Lambeth tugs and Staffordshire jug bring in bidders UK: THE Devon branch of Bonhams & Brooks were undoubtedly pleased to have disposed of their ‘Fine Furniture, Clocks and Objects’ before the floods, but in fact the weather did not seem to affect turnout for what looked more like an end-of-year clearance in December.

Instruments play second fiddle to bows

12 February 2001

THE Bath auctioneers Gardiner Houlgate (15 per cent buyer's premium), who have made musical instruments a widely and well-regarded specialist subject, saw a respectable 70 per cent take-up for their 317-lot event on 1 December.

British & Irish Sales 2000

12 February 2001

THERE are yet two major Sotheby’s sales of last December to report – the Travel & Map sale of December 14 and the English Literature & History sale of December 19 – but as there are no 2001 Sotheby’s sales scheduled until May, there is no fear of an overlap, and these sales aside, the three brief reports that appear below bring my wider coverage of the old year’s book sales to a close.

Buyers warm to February art date

12 February 2001

UK: Last week London saw Sotheby’s and Christie’s first ever round of major Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary sales in February.

Computer-age factor causes bureau bids to crash

12 February 2001

UK: HARROGATE, in terms of preserved 18th century elegance, may be the North’s equivalent of Bath, but even here 21st century pressures apply.

Riding in 50 years on

12 February 2001

UK: Fifty years in the same family, and for much of that time tucked away in a cupboard, this 6in (15cm) wooden Redcoat on a prancing horse was in perfectly preserved condition when offered at the Gloucestershire rooms of Wotton Auction Rooms (10 per cent buyer's premium) on January 23 & 24.

An exotic blend for coffee

05 February 2001

UK: IT WAS standard case furniture: tables and other useful pieces of mahogany that made much of the running in the 224-lot sale of furniture held by Christie's South Kensington on January 10, topped at £12,000 by a good Georgian library bookcase from a private deceased estate.

Slay bells ring at arms and armour specialists

05 February 2001

UK: OTHER auctioneers may look for a seasonal angle but, as Birmingham arms and armour specialists Weller & Dufty (15 per cent buyer’s premium) are aware, the arms trade is not a natural beneficiary of the Christmas spirit. True, the two murderous six-shot pepperbox pistols, right, could have been carried by a passenger on one of those Christmas card coaches, but they were among the day’s top bids on December 6 for the less sentimental values of rarity and condition.

Two eye-openers boost Surrey total

05 February 2001

UK: THERE was a time when any antique eyebath brought a gleam to the eyes of auctioneers, but one might have thought those days had passed. Not so, if the reaction to an example offered in the Dorking Halls sale is anything to go by.

No post-festive blues here

05 February 2001

UK: BIDDERS trudged through the post-Christmas snowfall to the two-day 1623-lot sale at the Gloucestershire rooms of Wotton Auction Rooms Ltd (11.75 per cent buyer’s premium) on December 28-29 which yielded a number of successes across the board.

Forgotten Minton blooms on sale day

05 February 2001

UK: EARLY 20th century ceramics were again very much in evidence at the Leicester rooms 500-lot pre-Christmas dispersal.

A businessman plumps for Lowry

05 February 2001

UK: THE current market for anything by L.S. Lowry (1887-1976) was highlighted on January 6 at Cranbrook Auction Rooms (10 per cent buyer’s premium) by this rather uncharacteristic signed crayon drawing, right, The Fat Man.

John Evelyn’s copy of Hungers Prevention comes back for £3400

05 February 2001

UK: THE general and specialist art sales held in Swindon in December are getting fairly short shrift here – 1350 lots were offered over two days – but before this report appeared, the Wiltshire firm had already held their first sales of the new year and the last of the old must necessarily be tidied away.

£14,000 tables to choosy bidders’ tastes

05 February 2001

UK: A SUBSTANTIAL offering of furniture, most of it 19th century and brown, received a mixed response from the Scottish and North of England trade at the last Phillips sale in Edinburgh before Christmas.

The French connection in the English tradition

05 February 2001

UK: TAKE a look at this meuble d’appui right, mounted with gilt, painted with flowers and inlaid with olive, plum, rosewood, purpleheart and ebony – a sumptuous piece of late 19th century Gallic furniture, n’est-ce pas?

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