Italian artist Antonio Zucchi’s portrait of architect James Adam bought by National Galleries of Scotland and the V&A.

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UK institutions buy Adam portrait

The National Galleries of Scotland and the Victoria & Albert Museum have bought Italian artist Antonio Zucchi’s (1726-95) portrait of architect James Adam (1732-94).

The £480,000 purchase was made via New York Old Master dealer Adam Williams Fine Art. The Art Fund contributed £150,000, with the remaining amount coming from the V&A and NGS.

Adam, a Scottish architect and furniture designer, was the younger brother and business partner of Neoclassical architect Robert Adam (1728-92) and son of mason-architect and entrepreneur William Adam (1689-1748). Together the family enjoyed the status of being Scotland’s foremost architects of the 18th century.

Zucchi, who was born in Venice, later worked in the UK as the Adam family’s chief decorative painter. He painted the ceilings at residences including Kenwood, Newby Hall and Osterley Park.

The portrait is now on show at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh before going on display in the V&A’s British Galleries in London later this year.

Darwin mentor’s notebooks on hold

The notebooks of Charles Darwin’s mentor, the Scottish geologist Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875), have been temporarily blocked from export in the hope of finding a UK buyer.

Considered of “outstanding significance for the development of modern scientific knowledge”, the notebooks were consigned for sale by the executors of Charles 3rd Baron Lyell who died in 2017.

However, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has halted the sale and is calling for a UK buyer to raise £1.44m to keep them in the country.

The decision on the export licence application for the notebooks and manuscripts will be deferred until July 15 and could be extended until October 15 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the notebooks is made at the recommended price of £1.44m.

Coca-Cola bottle prototype sells

An early Coca-Cola bottle, a 1915 prototype of the design still used today, has been sold at auction for $92,250/£70,420 (or a premium-inclusive $110,700).

The bottle, one of only two known, was a highlight of a three-day sale held by Morphy Auctions in Las Vegas on April 12-14 that took a total of $3m.


Early Coca-Cola bottle, a 1915 prototype of the design still used today – $92,250 (£70,420) at Morphy Auctions.

Morphy Auctions’ president Dan Morphy said: “This bottle is a missing link in the history of Coca-Cola. From the moment it arrived in our hands, we knew it would create a buzz. It’s considered a highly important piece, not only by Coca-Cola collectors but also advanced bottle collectors.”

The new owner of the bottle is a private collector.

Man Utd US tour programme

Among the rarest football programmes are those produced for overseas tour games.

A single sheet for a match played between Hearts and Manchester United in New York on May 22, 1960, was estimated at £30-40 at Stacey’s of Rayleigh in Essex on April 15. It sold for £3600.

The Jam Tarts, the team that had won the league and cup double in Scotland that season, met United, rebuilding after the Munich air disaster, on four occasions during the 10-match summer tour of North America. At this Triborough Stadium game the score was 3-0 to the Red Devils.

The sheet, in good condition with no writing, was given away free at the ground by American League Soccer News. According to the vendor it had been brought back to the UK at the time by a United player.

Late Turner work at auction this July

A late work by JMW Turner (1775-1851) depicting a Surrey landscape will be offered at Sotheby’s Old Master evening sale in London this summer.

Landscape with Walton Bridges, estimated at £4m-6m, will appear at the auction on July 3. Once owned by the banker JP Morgan, it has now been consigned from a private Japanese collection where it has been for around 35 years.


'Landscape with Walton Bridges' by JMW Turner – estimated at £4m-6m at Sotheby’s.

The 2ft 11in x 3ft 11in (88cm x 1.18m) oil on canvas dates from c.1840-50 and was one of around 10 works in Turner’s late series of works where he returned to the landscapes depicted in his engravings for Liber Studiorum, a book published earlier in his career, c.1810-11. This example is the only one that remains in private hands.

Duo sentenced over Rodin copies

An appeal court in France has handed a one-year suspended jail sentence to a US businessman in a long-running case over copies of Auguste Rodin sculptures.

Gary Snell, whose former company Gruppo Mondiale is alleged to have produced more than 1000 bronzes marking them as ‘reproductions’, was also ordered to pay damages to the Musée Rodin. The case centres on the right to produce casts of Rodin works from the artist’s original plaster moulds. On his death in 1917, Rodin left his entire collection to the French nation and legal provisions relating to the production of further casts remain vested in the museum.

However, some of Rodin’s moulds at the Rudier Foundry never entered the Musée Rodin but were subsequently sold and later acquired by Gruppo Mondiale.

Snell’s lawyers claimed that the copies were legitimate as the artist’s copyright has expired.

The court of appeals in Paris also handed a four-month sentence to dealer Robert Crouzet, who sold the plaster casts to Gruppo Mondiale.

Grays Antiques

Incorrect information appeared in the dealer listing for Grays Antiques, Mayfair, contained in the insert in ATG No 2389. It should read: Evonne Antiques 351-353, Pushkin Antiques 331-332. Grays apologises for any inconvenience this may have caused.

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1 Five highlights from Golding Young & Mawer’s sale of Stamford dealers’ St George’s Collection

2 James I silver box, Lucie Rie bowl and a mahogany side table – six auction highlights in the last week

3 Auction house Christie’s launches tie-up with 1stdibs

4 New York Old Master dealer helps UK museums buy Zucchi portrait of James Adam

5 Search for UK buyer to pay £11.5m for Old Master drawing blocked from export

In Numbers


The stake in the TEFAF New York fair that New York art advisory firm Artvest has sold to TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation), which has now taken full control of the fair business. Artvest, run by Jeff Rabin and Michael Plummer, helped establish TEFAF in the US in 2016. The next TEFAF New York Spring fair runs from May 2-7.