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Salvator Mundi unveiling delay

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism is postponing the unveiling of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi at The Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The Leonardo da Vinci painting was rediscovered by a small group of American dealers in 2005. It later sold at Christie’s New York in 2017 for a record-breaking $450m (including premium).

The painting of Christ as the saviour of the world was due to go on show at the museum on September 18.

No date has yet been given as to when it will be finally exhibited, although the Abu Dhabi department tweeted that “more details will be announced soon”.

Abu Dhabi’s newspaper The National suggested that the museum may wait for its one-year anniversary on November 11 and also that scholars were still trying to work out the full details of its ownership history ahead of it going on display.

After being exhibited at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the painting is due to appear at the Louvre in Paris in its Leonardo exhibition opening in October 2019. It will then go back to the Louvre Abu Dhabi for permanent display.

Hammer time in c.1810

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The Thomas Rowlandson watercolour estimated at $10,000-15,000 at Swann.

Back in the early 19th century a lot would have been ‘sold to a bidder in the room’, not phone or online – probably a gentleman wearing a periwig and tricorne hat, as this view demonstrates.

Several watercolours by Thomas Rowlandson on offer at Swann galleries in New York on September 20 are led by James Christie’s Auction Rooms, c.1810 (above), a variant of a similar, well-known work held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is estimated at $10,000-15,000 in the 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings auction.

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3 10 highlights from Sotheby’s Irish art sales going on view in Dublin

4 Movers and shakers: new hires at auction houses Sotheby’s, Sworders and Kingham & Orme

5 Six Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre examples flutter into regional salerooms

Auctioneer contest line-up revealed

Christie’s Arlene Blankers, Brettells’ Gemima Brettell, Dreweatts’ Lucy Gregory and Chiswick Auctions’ Jim Peak are among the competitors at this year’s NAVA Propertymark Novice Auctioneer of the Year competition.

The annual event, co-sponsored by ATG parent company Auction Technology Group, involves novice property, chattels and livestock auctioneers with less than 12 months’ selling experience, hosting a sale in front of a panel of judges and an audience of experienced auctioneers playing the role of bidders.

The event will be held on October 24, at the Cambridge Belfry at Cambourne, Cambridge, a day ahead of the association’s Annual Forum. For more details, go to nava.org.uk/events

A very different kind of ‘barn find’

Antiques and artworks seized from a bankrupt drug dealer who tried to hide his wealth by bizarrely disguising a house as a barn are being offered at John Pye Auctions.

Alan Yeomans, 63, formerly of Shedley Manor, Yeavley, in the Derbyshire countryside, was sentenced to six-and-a half years in prison in 2016 for offences including money laundering and the cultivation of cannabis.

Having been subject to a £650,000 confiscation order, Yeomans told officials he was bankrupt and concealed his six-bedroom home by using green cladding and a corrugated steel roof to pretend it was a barn. He was also later charged with failing to disclose antiques and oil paintings worth over £80,000.

A police spokesman said that when they raided the property they were not only amazed to find it was filled with valuable antiques, pictures and jewellery, but also located a secret door behind an oil painting which led to a room built by Yeomans to grow cannabis.

Salerooms make new appointments

Ex-Christie’s specialist Kirstie Imber has joined Sworders to head its modern and contemporary prints department.

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Kirstie Imber, who is now at Sworders.

She has 15 years’ experience in the art world, including specialist roles in the print and topographical department at Christie’s, where she was responsible for cataloguing and researching a number of single-owner print sales.

Cotswolds starter

At Cotswold auction house Kingham & Orme, former Hansons specialist John Keightley has joined as a senior valuer. He is a specialist in 19th and 20th century design, particularly glass.

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John Keightley, who has joined Kingham & Orme.

Tyneside role

Former Sotheby’s, Henry Spencer & Sons and Tennants valuer Nigel Smith has joined Newcastle saleroom Anderson & Garland’s valuation team.

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Nigel Smith, who is now part of the Anderson & Garland team.

He will be running the Asian and European ceramics and glass departments.

Managing director Julian Thomson said: “Nigel’s experience will really help with the firm’s expansion plans.”

In Numbers

38%

The gross IRR (Internal Rate of Return) that the new owner of Bonhams, Epiris, reported on its £1bn of buyouts and investments since 2011. The figure, which does not factor in management and administration costs, effectively gives an indication of the investments’ yield.