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This finial from the hat of a Tibetan government minister has been consigned to Anthemion Auctions’ sale in Cardiff on May 24.

Thought to date from the 18th century, the 4in (10cm) high finial is fashioned from a central interior column in silver with goldsmiths’ work from Lhasa forming the exterior. The knob is made from coral (denoting the rank of government minister) and topped with a ruby. Pearls, emeralds and turquoise are also used. Folded inside the baseplate is the list of cautions and responsibilities incumbent with office, in Tibetan and Manchu scripts.

The piece comes from the deceased estate of Mervyn Niall Wingfield, 10th Viscount Powerscourt, and is estimated at £10,000-15,000.


A highlight of Lyon & Turnbull’s British and European paintings sale in Edinburgh on May 24 is this portrait by Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980).

The 2ft 3in x 19in (68 x 48cm) signed pencil drawing dates to 1958 and depicts the American violinist Yehudi Menuhin (1916-99).

It was acquired by the late Sigmund Root, a Czech émigré, for £1500 from an evening auction at the Royal Academy in London in May 1970, held in aid of the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey.

At Lyon & Turnbull, it is guided at £12,000-18,000.


In the form of an open lotus flower, this 4¼in (11cm) Egyptian alabaster vessel dates to the Old Kingdom (2686-2181BC).

Possibly used for ritualistic purposes, it was associated with the sun god Ra, who Egyptians believed emerged from the petals of a lotus flower.

Three other alabaster cups are known to exist, in the Cairo Museum, Ashmolean Museum and Manchester Museum.

The property of an American collector, this example is guided at £8000-10,000 in TimeLine Auctions’ sale from May 23-27.