Untitled Mural

This Untitled Mural, from a cottage wall, was due to be offered at Lay’s Cornish Art & Fine Art sale on April 11 and was withdrawn pending further research.

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Modern British mural sale delayed

A mural painted on a wall inside a Surrey cottage that had been due to be offered for auction at Lay’s was withdrawn from the April 11 sale “pending further research”. It had featured in a 2022 episode of BBC’s Fake or Fortune?, which investigated whether the artwork was by Modern British artist Ben Nicholson (1894- 1982) or his friend Frederick Staite Murray. The mural was painted onto the wall of Staite Murray’s home, Red Stream Cottage in Bramley, Surrey.

In the TV show it was deemed a one-off collaboration between Nicholson and Murray. The current owners had the mural expertly removed and preserved and ahead of the auction it had an estimate of £40,000-80,000.

Northern Art Fair dates announced

Dates for this year’s Northern Antiques Fair have been announced. The annual event, staged at The Garden Rooms event space at auction house Tennants of Leyburn, North Yorkshi re, runs from September 26-29.

The fair is one of the first major events to take place after the August lull. Last year it coincided with both British Art Fair and the LAPADA Berkeley Square Fair, but the latter event runs later this year, scheduled for October 22-27.

Harbour painting returns to family

Danzig Harbour picture in a Berlin room

Danzig Harbour photographed in a Berlin home before the owners had to flee.

A painting belonging to a Jewish family who were forced to flee Germany under the Nazis has been returned to the family’s remaining heir with the help of Art Loss Register (ALR).

Danzig Harbour by Wilhelm Alexander Meyerheim (1815-82) had belonged to Gisela Thomas née Freiberg and her family in Berlin but they were forced to leave their possessions behind when they f led persecution. Thomas’ mother organised for their belongings to be professionally photographed before they left to record what they owned.

The missing painting was registered with the ALR in 2000. Thomas died in 2015 and the painting, which had been consigned to Bonhams in London, has now been returned. The ALR thanked Bonhams and the consignor for their help.

Greek artefacts are withdrawn for now

Christie’s withdrew four ancient Greek artefacts ahead of its April 9 Ancient Greek Vases from the Zimmermann Collection auction in New York. They were withdrawn amid concerns about their provenance and connection to Italian antiquities dealer Gianfranco Becchina, who was convicted in February 2011 of illicitly dealing in antiquities by a court in Rome. He appealed that conviction and the case remains in the Italian court system.

The items withdrawn were an Attic cup, decorated with warriors and other figures, from c.570-560BC, estimated at $15,000-20,000, the lid of a lekanis or bowl decorated with sphinxes from about 570- 5 50BC, gu ide d at $8000-12,000, and a hydra or water pot featuring Dionysos with a drinking horn, c.530- 520BC, est imated at $7000-9000.

A Christie’s spokesperson denied allegations that it knew about the connections to Becchina ahead of the sale. In a statement the auction house said: “Christie’s takes the subject of provenance research very seriously, especially when it relates to cultural property. We publish our catalogues well in advance of our auctions and invite the public to review them. We have strict procedures in place to help us ensure that we only offer objects we are legally able to sell, and, as a part of that due diligence, we collaborate closely with public authorities and institutions all over the world.

“Any suggestion that Christie’s knew these objects originated with Gianfranco Becchina is categorically false. When we were made aware that there could be documentation evidencing such a connection, we withdrew the works from sale for further research and will research this together with the Italian authorities.”

Florida museum buys Chinese box

Celadon-glazed dragon box

Circular celadon-glazed dragon box made at the Yue kilns purchased by The Norton Museum of Art.

The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, has purchased an early Northern Song Dynasty stoneware box from a private US collector for a six-figure sum.

The circular celadon-glazed dragon box made at the Yue kilns is, according to Laurie Barnes, Norton’s Elizabeth B McGraw senior curator of Chinese Art, the sole piece of ‘Secret Colour’ Yue stoneware in the US.

One of the dragon’s horns is inscribed with a single character, Wang. The inscription indicates that the box may have been a special tribute ware from the Princess of Wu-yue, given by her to rulers of neighbouring kingdoms. The box, dating from 907 to the early 1000s, will be added to Norton’s collection of more than 700 objects and artworks from China.

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2 Louis Vuitton luggage collection – including a trunk made for a large rubber duck – comes to auction

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5 Famous Titian comes to auction at Christie’s this summer

In Numbers


The straight-line distance in kilometres from the ATG office in Southwark to Easter Island (according to the distance.info website). A copy of ATG recently made its way to the outpost in the Pacific Ocean, see 'Back page' for details.