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Taxidermy theft is unravelled

A member of a gang which stole taxidermy from a wellknown dealer a year ago has been sentenced.

All the items stolen, including two full African lion mounts, two infant zebras, a troop of baboons and a king penguin, were recovered.

Jason Robert Hopwood, 47, of Drummond Road, Romford, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to his part in the burglary and fraudulent use of a registration plate. He was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Kingston Crown Court on April 4. He was also ordered to work 200 hours’ community service.

The burglary took place at the Wimbledon warehouse of London Taxidermy on March 1, 2016. Dealer Alexis Turner told ATG he had lost a significant portion of his stock following the raid. However, many of the 27 stolen items were very identifiable.

Acting on information three weeks after the incident, Essex Police found an abandoned van with the stolen goods inside in the Stapleford Abbots area in Essex. Turner told ATG he received all of the items back within a month.

Lost Hilliard

A private collector lost a 16th century miniature of Elizabeth I by Nicholas Hilliard when visiting Woodstock, Oxfordshire, on Friday, March 31. The missing miniature, just over 1in (2.5cm) high, has been reported to Thames Valley Police (reference LP-JD-22-17).

The owner says the miniature is of museum quality and “it is really important it is found and properly preserved”.

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1 Battle of Culloden letter 1746 for sale at Stroud auction

2 7 bestsellers from Scottish & Welsh house contents sale

3 Mayfair Gallery loses fight for return of Qing dynasty silver tea set

4 Christopher Lee’s pen collection at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury

5 Exceptional Ming ‘fish pond’ bowl sells for more than £22m

Nazi loot act targets Welfenschatz hoard

A court in Washington DC has been given the go-ahead for Germany to be sued for the return of the Welfenschatz trove of medieval devotional art.

The ruling is one of the first cases affected by the new Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act, which makes it easier for Nazi-related restitution claims to be filed in the US.

The heirs of three Jewish art dealers say that in 1935 the Nazis forced the sale of the collection, once owned by the Dukes of Brunswick, at only 35% of its market price. It was purchased by the Dresdner Bank on behalf of Hermann Goering. The objects are now in Berlin’s Bode Museum.

Germany believes the US should not rule on its national affairs and has sought to dismiss the lawsuit. However, on March 31, the US court argued the case can be considered a taking of property which is in violation of international law.

Pimlico planning decision challenged

The plans to redevelop the premises of Pimlico Road antique dealers and a historic timber yard on the same site have been challenged in the courts. Travis Perkins, owner of Newson’s Timber Yard on the Pimlico Road, was granted the judicial review by London’s High Court on March 27.

Grosvenor’s plans, approved by Westminster City Council last year, include the creation of two larger and two smaller shops from the existing five galleries and shops as well as the reconfiguration of five existing f lats into seven rental apartments.

Antiques dealer Humphrey Carrasco and interior design firm Coote Bernardi are among those galleries affected.

Xuande ‘fish pond’ bowl brings £22.9m

A Xuande mark and period ‘fish pond’ bowl, trumpeted by Sotheby’s as among the greatest examples of early Ming blue and white porcelain in private hands, sold in Hong Kong for HK$229m (£22.9m) on April 4. The 9in (23cm) lobed bowl, expected to fetch ‘in excess of HK$100m’, sold to an Asian private collector.

No comparable piece from the reign of the art-loving Xuande emperor (1425-35) has ever been offered at auction before. The only similar examples are two smaller bowls preserved in the National Palace Museum, Taipei. This example, in perfect condition, has been extensively published in Japan since its first public exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum in 1963.

The price is the second highest for Ming porcelain next to the Chenghua period ‘chicken cup’ sold for HK$250m (£21.5m) at Sotheby’s in 2014.

V&A snaps up photo collection

The Royal Photographic Society collection is to be moved from Bradford to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The controversial move will add 270,000 photographs, 26,000 publications and 6000 cameras and accessories to the South Kensington collection.

Through its FuturePlan development project, the V&A will establish a new Photography Centre due to open in autumn 2018.

New purpose-built storage facilities have been created to house the expanded photography collection, and an extensive project to catalogue and digitise the RPS collection is now under way.

The integration of the two photography holdings unites objects such as William Henry Fox Talbot’s first cameras with his earliest handmade prints and 1844 publication, The Pencil of Nature.

In Numbers

£40,000

The budget for the National Portrait Gallery as its seeks to “develop a collection of popular, global and ephemeral portraits with a particular focus on pre-1600 material”.

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'Names of Things' by Victor Chinnery

Names of Things, by Victor Chinnery, reviewed in last week’s ATG, is available from sales@jeremymillspublishing.co.uk priced at £35 with £3.95 postage.