One of the Hokusai illustrations bought by the British Museum.

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Museum acquires Hokusai drawings

More than 100 rediscovered works by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760- 1849) have been acquired by the British Museum.

The works had been drawn in 1829 as illustrations for an unpublished book but only came to light in 2019 having been forgotten for more than 70 years.

The 103 small drawings were previously owned by the collector and Art Nouveau jeweller Henri Vever (1854-42) and were last publicly recorded at an auction in 1948 in Paris. They are believed to have remained in a private collection in France and were only rediscovered in Paris last year.

Hokusai created the drawings for a book called Great Picture Book of Everything but it is not clear why they were never published. The British Museum was able to buy the drawings with the help of a grant from Art Fund but the price was undisclosed.

Old Master dealer’s collection for sale

Christie’s is staging an online auction of works formerly in the collection of the late Old Master dealer Piero Corsini.

Featuring predominantly Italian works from the Renaissance to the 19th century, many of the lots have been stored away since his death from pancreatic cancer aged 63 in 2001. The sale is expected to realise in the region of £1m-1.5m.


A capriccio by Sebastiano Ricci and Clemente Spera, a 2ft 2in x 2ft 11in (66 x 88cm) oil on canvas – estimate £25,000- 35,000 at Christie’s online sale of works formerly owned by the late dealer Piero Corsini.

Born in Florence, Corsini began to buy Old Masters from the age of 18. For the next 25 years he dealt privately from his native city, before moving to New York in 1981 where he opened a gallery on Manhattan’s East 63rd Street. He later opened a gallery in Monaco in 1997.

The sale will open for bidding on September 23 and run online until October 7. A physical viewing will be also be taking place at Christie’s King Street rooms from September 24-30.

Auction supports Chiswick House

Jeremy Vine, Clare Balding and Chiswick Auctions are among the supporters of a charity auction planned to help Chiswick House & Gardens in west London, the 18th century villa and gardens planned by Lord Burlington. The trust running the estate has suffered a 60% reduction in income due to the coronavirus.

Chiswick Auctions auctioneer Adrian Biddell will take to the rostrum for the sale planned for September 26.

It will be the culmination of the #welovechiswickhouse campaign which aims to raise £120,000 over 120 days, by the end of the summer.

Philatelic firm to hold coin sales

Venerable philatelic auction house Harmers of London will hold its inaugural coins sale at the Westbury Mayfair Hotel on September 25.

The firm, which first sold stamps at auction in 1918, is planning biannual sales of coins in London after becoming part of the Italian Bolaffi Auction Group in late 2018.

The first sale comprises 392 lots across a range of numismatic disciplines from Greek and Roman currency to 20th century British and European issues with estimates ranging from £50 to £125,000.

Six fairs planned at Wimbledon site

Ed and Jennie Cruttenden, owners of Sunbury Antiques at Kempton Park, are hoping to hold up to six fairs in Wimbledon, south London, next year.

The addition to the fairs calendar – Wimbledon Homes & Antiques Fair – launched on August 30 at Prince George’s Playing Fields, located off the A3 in London.

Read more about the first fair in Fairs, Markets & Centres, page 52.

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In Numbers


The percentage of collections kept in storage by art and antiques collectors, according to the respondents of The Finances Behind Collecting report by Vastari. It found respondents whose collections have an overall insurance value of over $10m have less than 40% of their collection currently on view, with the remainder in storage. The report used data from 94 respondents as part of Vastari’s Global Collector Trends report.