RWB Auctions in Royal Wootton Bassett.

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Wiltshire saleroom debut date revealed

RWB Auctions has announced the date of its inaugural auction at its new premises in Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire.

The auction house, founded by Jon White who also runs antiques centre Old Bank Antiques on the same high street, will hold its first sale on January 17-18 with in person and online bidding.

This debut auction will be followed by its first specialist sale, focused on coins, on January 31.

The firm plans monthly Homes and Interiors sales alongside a specialist sale each month (with a different specialism throughout the year). It will offer jewellery, coins, antiques, clocks, ceramics, fine art, glass, books and furniture.

The auction house has a team of 11 with head auctioneer Gareth Wasp supported by colleagues Steve Bucknell, Edd Thomas and Becky Tilly-Trickett.

The building, opposite the town’s half-timbered Town Hall, was a former Co-Op supermarket and comprises 9000 sq ft which includes a 4500 sq ft saleroom plus a bistro and an art gallery called The View Gallery.

Grays announces festive openings

Grays Antique Market, the two-storey antique emporium in Mayfair, is holding Christmas shopping events this December.

A late-night shopping event will take place on December 7 from 5.30-7pm followed by a special Saturday opening on December 9 from 11am-4pm (this follows its first on December 2). The extended hours at the 58 Davies Street venue (close to Bond Street tube station) are designed to attract shoppers who are not free to come during its usual opening hours of Monday to Friday 10am-6pm.

Grays’ 80 antiques dealers and jewellery specialists in the centre will be ready to welcome guests.

A Botticelli found in family home

A painting by Sandro Botticelli, said to have been forgotten for more than 50 years, having disappeared from the Italian state’s art records, has been recovered from a family home near Naples, according to The Guardian.

Dating to the 15th century and believed to be worth about €100m, the work was initially housed in a church in the town of Santa Maria la Carità before being entrusted to the local family who kept it at a private residence for more than a century.

The carabinieri are now investigating whether the painting belongs to the state.

Massimiliano Croce of the carabinieri told The Guardian: “The artwork had been passed down from generation to generation among members of this family.

“We are evaluating whether they acquired it properly … If we were to verify that the family who owned it was not entitled to keep it then it will pass into the hands of the state. Otherwise, it could remain the property of the family but exhibited in a museum to ensure greater security.”

Gallery moves just down the road

Contemporary and Modern art dealership Opera Gallery has moved and expanded in Mayfair. Following 16 years at 134 New Bond Street it has relocated to 65-66 New Bond Street. The gallery is more than 6000 sq ft, doubling the size.

The new site opened with an exhibition called Untitled Rencontres, featuring works by Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet, Lucio Fontana, Yayoi Kusama, Joan Miró, Pierre Soulages and Andy Warhol as well as artists represented by the gallery such as British-Israeli designer Ron Arad and Swiss painter Andy Denzler.

The gallery was originally founded in 1994 in Singapore by prints dealer Gilles Dyan.

Lorenzetti panels to be auctioned


Pietro Lorenzetti’s St Sylvester, estimate €1.5-2m, and St Helena, €400,000-600,000, at Tajan.

Two rare Old Master paintings from the Sienese school of the early 14th century have been rediscovered in France and are coming to auction at Tajan in Paris on December 13.

The two panels by Pietro Lorenzetti, active in Siena from 1306-45, depict St Sylvester and St Helena. They were probably part of a large altarpiece made of five or seven panels, which was cut apart, having fallen out of fashion in the 18th century.

The tempera and gold leaf on wood panels were acquired in Paris in 1860 and stayed within the family. Recently Old Master specialist Cabinet Turquin rediscovered them in the family’s collection and consigned them to Tajan with an estimate of €1.5m-2m for the St Sylvester and an estimate of €400,000-600,000 for the St Helena.

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In Numbers


The hammer price for a trademark depiction of cats by Louis Wain (1860-1939) at Bonhams’ Modern British and Irish art sale in Knightsbridge on November 29. Titled Come Birdie Come and Live with Me, it matched the auction record for the artist set by A Highway Robbery that sold in the same rooms in March. With premium added, the price was £38,400.