A Rowlandson revolution? Drawing conclusions as major-name works come up for sale again

29 June 2004

BACK in July 1984, Christie’s took £75,000 (£81,000 with premium) for Thomas Rowlandson’s (1756-1827) pièce de résistance watercolour of Box-lobby loungers.


Gainsborough’s finest takes a £65,000 loss

29 June 2004

WAS it a case of not being market-fresh or a change in fashion that resulted in such a dramatic nose-dive in value for this black chalk, stump and watercolour, right, by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), when it came up at Christie’s King Street on June 3? Against hopes of £40,000-60,000 it scraped home with a final bid of £35,000 (£41,825 with premium) from a private collector.



29 June 2004

ON July 15, Bonhams will present a double-catalogue sale of 500 lots of natural history books and watercolours from a single collection and one of the highlights will be a very special copy of Audebert & Viellot’s Oiseaux dorés ou a reflets metalliques... of 1800-02.


Time for this marvel of the ancient world to strut its stuff once more

28 June 2004

THIS technical marvel of the ancient world, pictured right, known as a Roman glass diatretum or cage cup, was cut out of a single blank of glass to form two layers. The solid inner cup is linked to its outer cage only by a series of delicate struts.


Post-1900 works take the honours at London sales

28 June 2004

TWENTIETH century and Contemporary art underlined their status as the key growth areas for the major auction houses when London’s June round of Part I Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary sales netted £120.4m. Six months ago the equivalent sales took £94m, while back in June 2003 – when war was raging in Iraq – they could only muster a relatively modest £81m.


Opinion divided over blue and white vase

22 June 2004

AUCTIONS are often the best way of settling whether a work is genuine or not. Of the speculative entries in Christie’s South Kensington’s 584-lot sale on June 11, most were contested by Hong Kong and mainland Chinese dealers. Before the sale, trade and auction specialist opinion was divided as to whether this 10 1/2in (27cm) high blue and white vase (shown right) was a Yongzheng (1723-35) mark and period vessel or a 19th/20th century copy as catalogued.


Silversmiths of London mark success over centuries

22 June 2004

Silver made in London has borne the distinctive leopard symbol hallmark since 1300 AD, making it one of the earliest forms of consumer protection.

Witt Library fees

22 June 2004

THOSE wanting access to the 1.8m photographs and reproductions of paintings, drawings and engravings at the Witt Library will now have to register and pay a fee.


Buffalo bill of £470,000

22 June 2004

IF the Toguri collection’s £600,000 black and white baluster vase was a masterpiece of Cizhou art, the size, detail and ingenious use of the stone’s natural inclusions make this monumental black and grey water buffalo, offered in Sotheby’s Bond Street’s 127-lot mixed owner outing on June 9, a master class in jade carving.

Worcester blue now scales the heights

22 June 2004

THE very earliest English porcelain has long held sway in the market, but one feature of Part I of the mammoth Zorensky Worcester collection sold by Bonhams in March was the high prices paid for some of the late 1760s and early 1770s underglaze blue ground tablewares.


The John Greaves connection encourages a £520,000 bid for Copernicus

22 June 2004

THE 463 lots that made up the first portion of science books from the Earl of Macclesfield’s library at Shirburn Castle, sold by Sotheby’s on June 10, covered just the letters A-C, but the contents of this extraordinary library, virtually untouched since the 18th century, are such that even this starter helping raised a premium-inclusive total of £3.57m.


Whose Hieroglyphica Mexicana?

22 June 2004

VALUED at £1000-1500 in a June 29 sale at Bonhams is a bound manuscript entitled ‘Hieroglyphica Mexicana, or, an Introduction into the Origin, Nature and Meaning of the Ancient Paintings by the Semi-Civilized Nations of America, with Sketches of their Languages, History, Arts & Sciences’.

Georgia on my mind at Baldwin’s

22 June 2004

THERE was scarcely a facet of numismatic endeavour which was not represented in Baldwin’s (15% buyer’s premium) sale of May 4 and 5 (2018 lots).

New blood among antiquities

22 June 2004

AFTER the first couple of days, all nine dealers participating in London Sculpture Week (which ended on June 18) reported a great deal of interest in their exhibitions with old clients joined by museum people and, most importantly, new customers.


Sleeper at Sotheby's June 10 sale

22 June 2004

THIS wucai dragon jardinière, third right, entered together with three routine pieces of 17th and 18th century Chinese blue and white (pictured with it), with pre-sale hopes of £900-1300, proved a sleeper and was the focus of an intense bidding battle between Hong Kong, Taiwanese and mainland Chinese dealers at Sotheby’s Olympia’s 387-lot outing on June 10.


Chinese-taste wares still dominate, with quality and rarity overcoming any shortcomings over condition

22 June 2004

PROFESSOR Edward T. Hall (1924-2001) was a born collector, amassing over a million cigarette cards as a schoolboy at Eton College and later building a celebrated collection of clocks and scientific instruments that was sold at Christie’s King Street last July.


Chinese-taste wares dominate at Bonhams

22 June 2004

IN the last three years Bonhams have bagged several large quality Chinese consignments such as the Cunliffe collection of blue and white and the De Boulay collection sold last November, but this June there were no such dispersals to spark bidding battles between dealers or collectors in their 465-lot auction on June 8. Although few entries flew, there was demand for the best-quality Chinese-taste works and entries with mainland Chinese appeal.

Fire at warehouse damages Coys’ lots

21 June 2004

A FIRE that struck three storage warehouses in Vauxhall has damaged lots consigned to the classic car and automobilia auctioneers Coys for their July 3 ‘Jaguar Legend’ sale at Chiswick House.

Olympia change 2005 dates to suit Grosvenor House

21 June 2004

CONSTERNATION among Olympia dealers during the recent summer fair that next year their event would not overlap with Grosvenor House has been ended by the Olympia organisers changing their 2005 dates to June 9 to 19.


The dealers who carve their own niche in the fairs season

17 June 2004

IN one of the most crowded week’s in London’s arts and antiques calendar, the Grosvenor House and Olympia fairs are still in full swing. Some may ask if we need more in the way of dealers’ selling exhibitions but they would get a dusty reply from the trade.