The Attic vases bought by the Louvre at a Drouot auction in Paris for a combined price of €550,000 (£482,455).

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Louvre buys Lucien Bonaparte vases

Two Attic black figure vases that formerly belonged to Lucien Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon, were acquired by the Louvre from an auction held at Drouot in Paris by Pierre Bergé et Associés.

These classic examples from the 6th century BC, c.520-500, from what is known as the Leagros Group, stand 17.5in (44.5cm) high.

They were part of a large group discovered during excavations undertaken by Lucien on his estate in the Etruscan town of Vulci from 1828-29 and granted a licence to be exported by the Vatican Museum at that time.

The vases were subsequently sold from Lucien’s collection in 1837.

They were offered at the auction on May 16 as two separate lots, each estimated at €200,000-220,000, but with the option to be sold together.

The Louvre exercised its right of pre-emption and bought the vases at a combined price of €550,000 (£482,455).

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Contemporary sale back for summer

Christie’s has relaunched its summer contemporary art auctions in London. Having dropped its summer series in this category last year, Christie’s will now stage two day sales on June 28.

The new events are an auction of 100 works from the Saatchi Gallery collection and a separate auction branded Post-War to Present.

Canova bust comes to London auction


Bust of Peace by Antonio Canova is estimated in excess of £1m at Sotheby’s.

One of the few autograph works ever to have emerged at auction by the neo-classical sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1821) will be offered at Sotheby’s in London this summer.

Bust of Peace is a known work, having first been exhibited by the great Italian master in 1817 at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, but it had become lost over the years.

More than 200 years since it was last seen in public, the bust is to be sold on July 4 with an estimate in excess of £1m.

It was acquired by Sotheby’s vendor on the UK market within the last 10 years. Bought as an unattributed work, the current owner has conducted extensive research into the 21in (53cm) high sculpture and identified it as being from Canova’s celebrated series of Teste Ideale (Ideal Heads).

Sir Francis Drake shown ‘wart and all’


Portrait billed as one of the earliest paintings of Sir Francis Drake – estimated at £300,000- 500,000 by Bonhams.

Bonhams is offering a portrait at its Old Master sale in London on July 4 which is billed as one of the earliest paintings of Sir Francis Drake. It is estimated at £300,000-500,000.

Consigned by a private collector, it has been on loan since 2016 at the vice-admiral and navigator’s former home of Buckland Abbey, now a National Trust property.

The portrait has been catalogued as ‘Anglo-Dutch School, late 16th/early 17th Century’. The auction house said that scientific analysis of the painting combined with the approximate age of the sitter suggests the possibility that it dates from the 1570s.

The work at Bonhams was previously in a different UK collection until 1982, where the identity of the sitter was unknown.

However, the physical similarities to other known portraits, including the presence of a facial wart, helped the current owner identify the subject, something that Bonhams head of Old Masters Andrew McKenzie said was now “widely accepted by the leading scholars on English portraiture of this period”.

Paul Whitfield passes away

Antiques Trade Gazette regrets to announce that Paul Whitfield has died. He held senior roles at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams, and was well-respected and was renowned for his wide-ranging knowledge across the art and antiques world.

In Numbers


The number of women in the top 100 artists at auction last year, according to a recent analysis by the art market site MutualArt.


In our London Summer Capital of Art 2018 supplement (ATG No 2344), there was a captioning mistake in the preview of Masterpiece fair. Here we reproduce the correct images and their captions. Apologies for the error.