Nazy Vassegh is launching a new fair called Eye of the Collector. (Photo: Eye of the Collector.)

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Eye of the Collector will take place in an as yet unnamed location in central London between May 13-16.

It will be held in a historic location allowing for the art on sale to be hung in a “grand domestic setting”.

The pictures and artworks come from 30-40 galleries and artists, selected by a curatorial committee. Works from established artists will be shown alongside their lesser-known contemporaries.

Entry will be by invitation only between May 13-15 and the fair is open to the public on May 16.

Australian auction house centenary

Australian auction house Leonard Joel is releasing a book and hosting an exhibition this month to celebrate its centenary.

The book 100 Years of Auction History documents the many private collections that the firm has handled over the years since it was established in 1919 by its namesake, Leonard Joel. These include that of WHD Le Souef, director of Melbourne Zoological Gardens, whose collection of curios was sold in 1923.

All proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to Arts Project Australia and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The centenary exhibition will take place in Melbourne on October 19-20 and will include highlights from forthcoming auctions such as the Valley of Sir Richard Arkwright 1911 by Arthur Streeton (1867-1943).

Painted during Streeton’s time in England and having remained in the same family for 105 years, it is estimated at Aus$70,000-90,000.

Lady Chatterley’s saved for the UK


The copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover from the famous obscenity trial sold at auction and now bought for Bristol University.

Fundraising led by writers’ association English PEN has helped save for the nation the judge’s annotated copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover from the notorious obscenity trial.

Bristol University is finalising funds to make the purchase after the government temporarily stopped the export of the book in May this year. It was sold to a US collector at the auction of the Stanley J Seeger collection at Sotheby’s in October 2018 for a hammer price of £45,000.

The government was asking for a buyer to match the £56,250 (the hammer price plus fees) required to keep it in the UK. English PEN raised more than £20,000 and further funds are being raised by a number of groups.

The annotated copy of DH Lawrence’s work had belonged to Sir Laurence Byrne, the judge who presided over the 1960 case. He carried the book into the courtroom in a damask bag stitched by his wife, Lady Dorothy, who made annotated notes for her husband in this copy.

Five AI artworks up for sale online

Auction house William George will offer a group of five artworks created by a computer algorithm: artificial intelligence (AI) designs.

Winning bidders will receive a printed canvas of the artwork, a USB memory stick of the creations with image rights and a book collection of AI art in which it features. The art will be available for bidding in a timed online auction on starting on September 26 and ending on November 14.

Fresh Brexit CITES alert sounded

Defra issues a fresh warning for the antiques trade on the import and export of CITES-listed natural history specimens ahead of Brexit on page 8 of this issue. It underlines potential changes to the transit of CITES-listed items after October 31.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, items such as antique ivory or rosewood would require permits to travel between the UK and the EU.

Earlier this year Defra had warned that CITES-listed natural history specimens would no longer be able to pass through Dover or the Eurotunnel. However, to ensure enough capacity, the government has now included these ports, as well as Belfast and Holyhead, to a new longer list.

Watches get away in white-glove sale

Fellows’ Online Watches & Watch Accessories timed auction on September 23 was a white-glove sale with every one of the 456 lots getting away for a total hammer of £124,080.

New arts hub to open next May

Cromwell Place, the arts hub under development in South Kensington, will open next May. The new scheme, close to the Victoria and Albert Museum, will include offices, viewing rooms, art storage and exhibition spaces.

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In Numbers


The hammer price paid for the lightsaber used by Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) in the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the first in the famous franchise (below). The 900-lot auction, held by Prop Store in London on September 30-October 1, achieved a sale total of more than £4m.


The lightsaber used by Luke Skywalker in the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, sold for £120,000 in an auction held by Prop Store in London on September 30-October 1.