London – Celebrating art from antiquity to the 20th century, Classic Week at Christie’s London will comprise 13 auctions this December. Delve into an array of extraordinary art and objects, from Sir Anthony van Dyck’s Portrait of Princess Mary, Daughter of King Charles I of England – one of the most important European royal portraits to come to auction for a generation – to 17th-century gilded pineapple cups, Ancient Egyptian artefacts, rare Old Master drawings and much more. The auctions run from 4 to 14 December, with pre-sale public viewings from 30 November.
European Sculpture & Works of Art | 4 December
The sale is led by an Italian 17th Century pair of Male Nude Figures Astride Panthers (estimate: £200,000-300,000). Discovered in an Italian Noble Collection, this pair of bronze groups are closely related to a slightly larger pair of bronzes of the same composition which were formerly in the collections of Barons Adolphe and Maurice de Rothschild which have recently been attributed by scholars - Victoria Avery and Paul Joannides - to Michelangelo. The present pair were created from an original model and are therefore made independently of the larger pair, and are of exquisite quality. Further notable highlights include a very rare small-scale relief of the Virgin and Child, circa 1485, by celebrated Renaissance master Andrea della Robbia (estimate: £80,000-120,000). Having been in a private collection for the last 150 years unbeknown to scholars, it is an exciting rediscovery which has not featured in any of the literature or major exhibitions on the artist. Other notable lots include a marble bust of Oliver Cromwell by Francis Harwood, 1757 (estimate: £80,000-120,000) and a very rare Anglo-Norman altar or processional crucifix, third quarter 12th century which provides an exciting moment in the market for collectors of medieval art (estimate: £80,000-120,000).
Old Masters/ New Scholars: Works of Art Sold to Benefit Rugby School | 4 December
The sale Old Masters/New Scholars: Works of Art to Benefit Rugby School comprises approximately 200 lots from the collection of Rugby School. Carefully selected to ensure that nothing which is intrinsic to the history of Rugby School will be sold, the works to be offered span Old Master and British Drawings and Watercolours, Books and Manuscripts, Antiquities, 19th Century Paintings, Sculpture and Chinese Ceramics. Rugby School’s Governing Body will use the proceeds from the sale to benefit the School’s current and future students, including a newly designated museum space on the School site for the remaining works including the important collection of memorabilia which relate to the invention of Rugby Football. The auction is led by one of Lucas van Leyden’s very rare surviving drawings, A young man standing (estimate: in the region of £1.5 million), and the recently rediscovered Study for 'Perseus and Andromeda’ by Sir Edward Poynter P.R.A. (estimate: £120,000-180,000). With estimates starting at £500, the sale presents works at all price levels and is expected to realise in the region of £3 million. Please click here for the full press release.
Antiquities | 5 December
One of the highlights of the sale is an Egyptian limestone head from a shabti for the Pharaoh Akhenaten (estimate: £200,000-300,000), previously in the collection of the celebrated Australian artist Sir Sidney Nolan. Representations of Akhenaten are extremely rare as after his death many were destroyed because they were considered heretic. Another lot leading the sale is a monumental Roman marble head of Apollo (estimate: £200,000-300,000) previously in a princely European collection. Likely to be a Roman copy from an Hellenistic original, the sculpture depicts the god’s youthful and idealised beauty. A cast of this head is also on display in Basel’s Skulpturhalle. A previously unpublished and beautifully painted Etruscan red-figured calyx-krater (estimate: £20,000-30,000) depicting the hero Herakles fighting an Amazon, will also be offered for sale on the 5th December. London-based designer and decorative artist Bridie Hall will be curating a section of the Antiquities sale view incorporating the ancient objects on offer with her own classically-inspired creations.
Gold Boxes: An Important Private Collection | 5 December
The overall quality of this private collection reflects the exquisite taste, knowledge and expertise of a collector who has spent a lifetime studying and acquiring the very finest examples. Comprising 88 lots, with estimates starting from just £600, the collection is expected to realise in excess of £3.5 million. It is rare to come across so many masterpieces within a single collection of gold boxes, all illustrating exemplary craftsmanship, quality and provenance, created during the 100 year-period when snuff-boxes were seen not only as functional objects to carry one’s ground tobacco, but also as symbols of status, prestige and wealth that were often exchanged as diplomatic or personal gifts. The group encapsulates the finest boxes made in a large panel of mediums, hardstone, enamels, lacquer, mother-of-pearl and vari-gold by some of the most accomplished goldsmiths in Europe. All the great eighteenth century Parisian masters are represented, including a Louis XV enamelled vari-colour gold snuff-box by Jean George (estimate: £100,000-150,000), a Louis XV gold-mounted lacquer snuff-box by Pierre- François Delafons (estimate: £120,000-180,000), a Louis XVI vari-colour gold snuff-box by Charles Le Bastier (estimate: £100,000-150,000) alongside works by Noel Hardivilliers, Daniel Gouers, John François Garand, Jean-Baptiste Bertin, Louis Roucel and Adrien-Jean-Maximilien Vachette whose boxes were amongst the most coveted, and their masterful techniques and influence disseminated across the cultural centres of Europe. Among many other highlights, jewelled gold-mounted and agate German boxes intricately carved as animals illustrate the quality and rarity of the extraordinary skill of the Dresden workshops, as well as the influence of the nearby Meissen factory.
Old Masters Evening Sale| 6 December
Leading the sale is a masterpiece by Sir Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of Princess Mary (1631–1660), daughter of King Charles I of England, full-length, in a pink dress decorated with silver embroidery and ribbons, 1641, which is offered from a Distinguished Private Collection (estimate: £5,000,000-8,000,000). Commissioned to celebrate the crucial alliance between the British crown and the House of Orange, this intimate ad vivum (from life) portrait of Princess Mary, the finest portrait of the type, is remarkable for its royal provenance, the superb quality of its draughtsmanship and its exceptional condition. It is one of the most important European Royal Portraits to come to auction for a generation. Please click here for the full press release.
The Netherlandish Proverbs by Pieter Brueghel the Younger is offered from the collection of Herbert and Adele Klapper (estimate: £3.5-5.5 million). Brueghel based this animated scene, teeming with figures, on an original composition by his father, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Berlin, Gemaldegalerie, Staatliche Museen). It visualises the vernacular and wit of the sixteenth-century Netherlandish people in the figurative representation of over one hundred proverbs. Klaus Ertz records nine autograph versions of this composition by Brueghel the Younger and considers the present work to be one of the finest autograph variants, most comparable to probably the earliest surviving version in the Stedelijk Museum. A half-length Portrait of Lady Selina Meade (1797–1872), by Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. is being offered at auction for the very first time, having been a gift from the artist to the sitter's brother, Richard Meade, 3rd Earl of Clanwilliam and then passed by descent (estimate: £800,000–1,200,000). This picture was painted in 1819 during Lawrence’s six-month stay in Vienna, where he had travelled to execute a number of the celebrated full-length portraits commissioned by the Prince Regent, later King George IV, to commemorate the allied victors over Napoleon, which secured Lawrence’s reputation as the finest portraitist of his generation.
The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection: Important Old Master Pictures Evening Sale | 6 December
A focal point within Classic Week, Christie’s will offer a landmark, two-part sale of The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection in London on 6 & 7 December. This collection is testament to a lifelong passion for superlative works of art, and above all for Old Master paintings of the highest calibre. This is one of the most important private collections of Golden Age Dutch and Flemish pictures to have been formed in living memory, revealing the unerring eye of Eric Albada Jelgersma and his wife Marie-Louise Albada Jelgersma for outstanding quality. Christie’s will devote a special, stand-alone Old Masters Evening Sale to The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection comprising over 40 paintings, including works by the greatest artists from the 17th century, notably Frans Hals, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Breughel the Elder, Judith Leyster and Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. This sale is led by the finest pair of portraits by Frans Hals to remain together in private hands: Portrait of a gentleman, aged 37 and Portrait of a lady, aged 36 (estimate: £8-12 million) and includes arguably the most important Golden Age painting by a female artist left in private ownership, Merry Company by Judith Leyster (estimate: £1.5-2.5 million). Please click here for the full press release.
Old Masters Day Sale | 7 December
The cover lot for the sale is Head of a young woman by Michele Tosini, called Michele di Ridolfo, which is one of the finest examples of the Mannerist artist’s work (estimate: £30,000–50,000). Further sale highlights include a pair of monumental works with distinguished provenance by Luca Giordano, The Rape of Deianira; and The Rape of Persephone, dating to his artistic maturity (estimate: £70,000-100,000). They were previously owned by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and displayed at Chatsworth House, and previously Chiswick House, Lord Burlington’s exceptional Palladian villa in west London. A fascinating view of Blackwell Yard from the Thames by Francis Holman, dated 1784, was owned by the Wigram family, who also owned half of Blackwall Yard by the early nineteenth century (estimate: £70,000–100,000). An elegant company playing cards by Pieter Codde, dated 1636, is a work by one of the most significant genre painters of his generation in Amsterdam (estimate: £50,000–70,000). Renowned for his depictions of elegant gatherings, with fashionably dressed people gaming, playing music and dancing, this small panel, painted at the height of his artistic powers, is an exceptional example of the lively, engaging scenes of daily life for which the painter became so well known.
The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Sale | 7 December
The Collection Sale on 7 December is the second part of the landmark sale of The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection. It will comprise over 350 lots of furniture, decorative objects, sculpture, antiquities, silver, Asian works of art and a selection of the Old Master paintings. Eric Albada Jelgersma’s wider collection of sculpture, antiquities, English furniture, kunstkammer objects, silver, Chinese bronzes and ceramics was assembled with the same impeccable taste as the Old Master paintings and is no less expansive in its nature. The unique interiors in Brussels and Amsterdam provided the mise en scène for the impressive group of paintings. The interiors were assembled with the same impeccable taste, under the guidance of the renowned interior designer Axel Vervoordt. Please click here for the full press release.
British Art: Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art | 11 December
Comprising 125 lots with estimates ranging from £700 to £100,000, the sale includes a wealth of treasures, including a collection of 26 works from the descendants of Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (lots 101-126). With the critically acclaimed Burne-Jones retrospective at Tate Britain running until 24 February 2019, the group – which features Love disguised as Reason (estimate: £40,000-60,000) – is likely to be received with heightened excitement within the market. The collection features many private drawings and sketches intended for the artist’s granddaughter Angela Mackail (later the novelist Angela Thirkell), which reveal Burne-Jones’ humorous and affectionate nature, including School for Dragon Babies, 1884 (estimate: £2,500-3,500). Building on this group, the sale offers a strong selection of Pre-Raphaelite pictures including a collection from Rossetti’s patron George Rae, and works by artists such as Arthur Hughes, John William Waterhouse – including Study of the head of a young man, possibly for 'Narcissus' (estimate: £60,000-80,000), Sir John Everett Millais and Simeon Solomon, including The Knight of the Lord's Passion (estimate: £30,000-50,000). Another highlight of the sale is an extremely rare striking watercolour on vellum, Bows, by Francis MacNair, the sister-in-law of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and a key member of the avant-garde Glasgow School of Art ‘Four’ (estimate: £40,000-60,000). The sale also includes a strong selection of Sporting & Wildlife Art, led by a group of watercolours by Archibald Thorburn, including a magnificent depiction of Pheasant in the snow, 1909 (estimate: £80,000-120,000), and Maritime paintings including works by Eduardo de Martino and Montague Dawson.
19th Century European Art | 11 December
Comprising 63 lots, with estimates ranging from £4,000 to £600,000, the sale is led by Arnault and two Whippets, 1867, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (estimate: £400,000-600,000). Renowned Gérôme scholar - the late Professor Gerald Ackerman - wrote extensively on this work, noting that this is a splendid painting; in it, one sees Gérôme at his happiest, and in the tassels, at his witty best. Within this work, he depicts his favourite subjects: animals, costumes and weapons - and he does so flawlessly. Gondolas before the Molo, Venice by Félix Ziem will be included in the forthcoming supplement to the catalogue raisonné (estimate: £80,000-120,000). The artist’s views of Venice are his most compelling and sought-after compositions, whilst he also painted in Constantinople, North Africa and in the forest of Fontainebleau. This work glorifies both Venice’s architecture and daily activities. White Lilacs,1888, by Henri Fantin-Latour reveals the artist’s mastery of still-life painting (estimate: £60,000-80,000). Held in high regard among fellow painters and critics in the Batignolles group, whose best-known member was Edouard Manet, Fantin-Latour’s work was also collected by American artist James McNeill Whistler. Further highlights in the sale include The Count of Palatino in the costume of a Palikar by Richard Parkes Bonington (estimate: £40,000-£60,000).
Valuable Books and Manuscripts | 12 December
The Valuable Books and Manuscripts sale on 12 December boasts a wide range of material in every collecting category: from medieval manuscripts and autograph letters to early printing, cartography, economics and geopolitics. The top lot of the sale is the great Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith’s own copy of the foundational text of modern economic thought: the Wealth of Nations (estimate: £500,000 - £800,000), which will be sold alongside its immediate counterpoint, an inscribed copy of Karl Marx’s most important work on economics, Das Kapital (estimate: £150,000 - £250,000). Among the autograph manuscripts is an extraordinary piece of Polar history: the startling diaries of Norwegian explorer Tryggve Gran, detailing the search for Scott’s party and the tragic discovery of the tent (estimate: £120,000 - £180,000); please click here for the standalone press release. A further highlight among the autograph letters is a remarkable series of documents relating to early Scottish history, and especially the extraordinary life and reign of Mary Queen of Scots: these include three documents signed by Mary and one by her cousin and arch-enemy Elizabeth I of England. The top cartographic lots are the very rare, and beautifully printed, Chinese ‘Blue Map’ of the world showing the Qing empire at its greatest extent (estimate: £50,000 - £80,000), and a finely coloured copy, heightened in gold, of Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum orbis terrarum, the world’s first atlas (estimate: £80,000 - £120,000). John Clare’s copy of the first edition of Keats’ Endymion (estimate: £30,000 - £50,000) is a further highlight of an exceptionally rich sale.
An Adventurous Spirit: An Important Private Collection Sold to Benefit a Charitable Foundation | 13 December
An eclectic and carefully curated collection, entitled An Adventurous Spirit: An Important Private Collection Sold to Benefit a Charitable Foundation, will be offered across two London sales in December 2018 and February 2019. Major works from the collection will be exhibited together in London during Christie’s Classic Week from 9-12 December. An Adventurous Spirit provides a remarkable view of a unique collection spanning many fields, from Impressionism and 20th Century Design to important French and English 18th century furniture, all shown in beautiful homes from London to Saint Tropez and Saint Barths. Visitors to the galleries will witness an evocation of the extraordinary mis-en-scène, with masterpiece paintings shown alongside the objects, furniture and works of art as they were displayed in these exquisite homes. The December sale presents a wealth of disciplines and periods, comprising almost 400 lots, spanning important 18th century English and European Decorative Arts, Impressionist, Modern British, 19th Century and Victorian paintings, Silver, Jewellery and 20th Century Design through to decorative lighting and soft furnishings. Estimates range from £300 up to £1.5 million. Please click here for the full press release.
Topographical Pictures with Australian Art | 14 December
The Topographical Pictures sale concentrates on views of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australasia in the 18th and 19th centuries, from the great ages of exploration and empire. The sales presents historic early views of the wider world, a glimpse of the world as it was first seen by explorers, by traders and early settlers and colonisers – visions of now mostly long lost worlds. The sale will include Ernest Charton’s sweeping view of the port of Valparaiso on the Chilean coast, showing the port in its heyday in the early 1860s when it serviced the Californian Gold Rush, Chow Kwa’s view of the Bund at Shanghai as it was in the late 1850s which bears little resemblance to the Bund today, and panoramic views of Table Bay and Rio de Janeiro which show the great natural landmarks we still recognise today. There are works by artists taken on early voyages, Webber’s Tahitian watercolour from Cook’s third voyage (1776-1780), Petit’s sketch of a possum from Baudin’s voyage to Australia (1802), and the Danish artist Poul August Plum’s oil of Hawaiian girls coming out in a canoe to greet the Galathea on its arrival off Honolulu in 1846. The sale features a fine group of works by Chinese export artists which depict the fast-changing waterfront at Canton (Guangzhou), the only trading place with China for the west in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Notes to Editors:
To complement the Old Masters sale, Christie’s Education is holding a unique one-day course Van Dyck: Portraits, Personalities and Power Dressing on 4th December.
The Great Masters of European Art 1350-1850, a six-week online programme by Christie’s Education, provides students with an exclusive insight into the Old Masters market, introducing the major stylistic periods and the important developments in European art from the Early Renaissance to the Nineteenth Century.