Mosaic roundel

The mosaic roundel created by Boris Vasilyevich Anrep for Augustus John’s London home sold for £15,000 at Dreweatts.

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However, in the first half of the 20th century he was feted for his skill as a mosaicist and was a close friend of many of the members of the Bloomsbury Group.

In 1912, he co-curated Roger Fry’s second Post- Impressionist exhibition, where he promoted the work of Russian artists, such as Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov and Nicholas Roerich.

His first success was the hall of artist Ethel Sands’ house in Chelsea, a dark turquoise blue floor with Byzantine characters (1917) followed by the walls decorated with portraits of Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington and Virginia Woolf in male costume (1920).

Made to commission

Probably his best known works are the series of four mosaics created between 1928-52 for the staircase at the entrance to the National Gallery. They were paid for by private patrons, mainly the industrialist Samuel Courtauld and Anrep’s friend Maud Russell, wife of the banker Gilbert Russell.

Much of Anrep’s work was made to commission and remains in situ and little if any seems to have appeared at auction.

This 3ft 7in (1.08m) roundel depicting a saint was commissioned by Augustus John for his house at 28 Mallord Street London in 1919 together with a large overmantel mosaic depicting John and his family.

The two panels were covered up with panelling and rediscovered only when a family (who had purchased the property in 1962) redecorated the property in 1970. The overmantel was subsequently removed and sold to the V&A Museum.

The roundel was offered for sale at Dreweatts in Newbury as part of the sale of Furniture and Works of Art on March 30-31.

Like the V&A panel, it is executed in cement rather than plaster. The colours were deemed somewhat dull and it would benefit from conservation. However, works of art from the Bloomsbury School have rarely been more desirable. Estimated at £700-1000, it took a hammer price of £15,000.