Art from antiquity to the 20th century

  • Event date 2 - 10 July
  • Event location London
Classic Week in London has drawn to a close with a total of £63,345,958, setting new world records for masterpieces and newly discovered artworks offered fresh to the market. The results highlight the continued global demand for works spanning antiquity to the 20th century and reaffirm our dominant position in the market.

Old Masters Part I and The Exceptional Sale concluded with spectacular results, realising a combined total of £50,788,420. In one of the strongest Old Master paintings sales in London in over a decade, two auction world records were set: Titian’s Rest on the Flight into Egypt selling for £17,560,000, drawing worldwide interest and admiration, and Quentin Metsys’s masterpiece and landmark rediscovery The Madonna of the Cherries, which was acquired by the Getty Museum for £10,660,000. Frans Hals’s endearing depiction of a gentleman of the de Wolff family, sold on the instruction of the Viscount Cowdray and his estate, realised £5,715,000 and A standing man turning to the left with outstretched arms by the Florentine artist Alessandro Allori topped the bill for an Old Master drawing at £239,400.

A Greek bronze head of Eros from the Sydney Lamon collection led The Exceptional Sale at £1,855,000 — selling for more than twice its high estimate — followed by an Imperial Chinese clock from the Nezu collection, which sold for £756,000. Further highlights with historic provenance included a bureau mazarin by BVRB from Buxted Park, a pietra dura tabletop with the arms of the Cavalli and a Louis XVI giltwood pliant from Versailles, which was acquired by the French State and will be returned to the château. In the Antiquities auction, an Etruscan bronze kore from a princely collection sold for three times the pre-sale low estimate at £302,400.

Two works by Albrecht Dürer led the Old Master Prints sale on 2 July. A soulful intaglio self-portrait by Jean-Étienne Liotard made £189,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £35,000–45,000, setting a new world record for a print by the artist at auction. Another intaglio self-portrait, from Icones Principum Virorum by Sir Anthony van Dyck, set a world record for the artist at auction, selling for £107,100 against an estimate of £40,000–60,000.

Old Masters Part II featured paintings, drawings, watercolours and sculpture from seven centuries across the European schools. Selling for a staggering 26 times its low pre-sale estimate, a 16th-century depiction of The Adoration of the Magi made £264,600 and a Venetian view of the Grand Canal by the artist known as The Lyon Master attracted competitive bidding and realised £189,000 against an estimate of £60,000–80,000. A significant number of works were offered without reserve and performed well.

A pair of 17th-century English table globes — still in working order — led the Valuable Books and Manuscripts sale on 10 July at £201,600, with a rare English incunable from the library of Prime Minister William Gladstone realising £52,920 against a pre-sale estimate of £15,000–20,000.

The overall results of the auctions demonstrate the strength of the global market for works by history’s greatest artists, designers and craftsmen. The continued demand for masterpieces, pieces with notable provenance and objects with compelling stories remains apparent. The auctions attracted bidders from around the world, underscoring the widespread appeal and enduring value of these timeless creations. Join us again when Classic Week returns in the autumn.

Old Masters | New Chapters

Discover the enduring legacy of Old Masters illustrated by four masterpieces on offer in Old Masters Part I