Alistair McCrea

Alistair McCrea has joined Heritage Auctions.

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McCrea joins Heritage in London

Heritage Auctions has hired Alastair McCrea as European director of entertainment and pop culture to join its London office. He joins from Surrey saleroom Ewbank’s where he worked for 12 years and became a partner.

Heritage recently moved to a larger London office in Hanover Square, Mayfair. The venue previews upcoming auction highlights, from its more than 50 departments. Heritage has offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, Brussels, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Seized Auerbach work to be sold

Frank Auerbach’s Albert Street

Frank Auerbach’s Albert Street, 2009, seized by the NCA.

Artwork and gold seized from a “prolific money launderer” as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation are to be sold.

A painting by Frank Auerbach (b.1931), Albert Street, 2009, will be offered by a process yet to be decided. The NCA got the go-ahead for the sale following its forfeiture being granted at a hearing on April 29. A large amount of gold bullion was also seized and will also be on offer. The proceeds will be “returned to the public purse”.

Lenn Mayhew-Lewis (69), of Oxted in Surrey, was caught with eight kilos of gold bars and shavings when he was arrested in 2019 by West Midlands Police officers acting on NCA intelligence.

Mayhew-Lewis, who was last year convicted of money laundering, is being sought by the NCA after he absconded ahead of his sentencing. He was sentenced in his absence to five years in prison.

The artwork was seized as part of the investigation. It was purchased in 2017 for £1.6m according to the NCA but Auerbach’s works can fetch far more. The agency believes the painting was used by another individual, following its purchase by Mayhew-Lewis, as collateral to secure a £5m loan from a UK auction house.

The forfeiture of the assets was possible by the listed assets provision of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Arén in charge of Bonhams Nordics

Louise Arén

Louise Arén is now CEO of Bonhams Nordics.

Bonhams has appointed Louise Arén as CEO of Bonhams Nordics.

She joined the firm when Bonhams bought Bukowskis in 2022, where she is CEO, and will remain in her role at Bukowskis while taking on the expanded leadership role.

The promotion is to boost closer ties between Bukowskis in Stockholm and Helsinki and Bruun Rasmus sen in Copenhagen (also bought by Bonhams in 2022).

Jakob Dupont, CEO and managing director of Bruun Rasmussen, is stepping down from his position, and Arén will be interim managing director of that firm.

Getty returns a looted bronze head

Bronze head

The J Paul Getty Museum will return this bronze head to Turkey.

The J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is to return a bronze head from its antiquities collection to Turkey.

In LA, the head of a youth had been on display at Getty Villa Museum but new information showed that it was illegally excavated.

The sculpture was acquired by the museum in 1971, with the head detached from the body. The body of the figure has not been identified, but the head has been associated by some scholars with the archaeological site of Bubon in the Burdur province of south-western Turkey, where illicit excavations in the late 1960s brought to light several ancient bronzes that were subsequently sold abroad.

Most depict Roman emperors and members of their family. This head (above), however, is highly idealised and has not been identified.

Stolen clock now back at museum

An 18th century bracket clock by the English clockmaker Thomas Hunter Jr (c.1760-70) has been recovered after being stolen 23 years ago.

It had been on display at Preston Manor, part of Brighton & Hove Museums, since at least 1905 but was stolen by two men on February 12, 2001. Despite an investigation by Sussex Police, they were never traced.

The clock was finally recovered thanks to The Art Loss Register (ALR). It was offered at an auction house which subscribes to the ALR due diligence service. It was checked against the database ahead of the planned sale.

The ALR’s research team identified the item as a match, despite extensive restoration and alteration to the clock. It had different urn finials and feet making it appear at first glance to be a different clock.

The recovery team compared the wood grain which matched up exactly.

The clock, with painted decorations above the face with maritime motifs, was left by the Stanford family who presented Brighton Corporation with Preston Manor and its contents in 1932.

It had been a big draw for visitors to the house as sailing ships moved to music when the clock chimes every hour.

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1 French royal snuffbox found in vendor’s bathroom stars in single-owner sale

2 Coin hoard found under a farmhouse floor all sold in ‘white glove’ Dorset auction

3 Long-lost John Lennon guitar recovered from an attic comes to auction

4 Royal Mail now refuses to deliver antique swords

5 Stolen 18th century bracket clock returned to museum after more than 20 years

In Numbers


The number of exhibitors listed as taking part in the the Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. The event takes place from May 17-19.