All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled square in the catalogue that are not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the day of the sale, and all sold and unsold lots not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the fifth Friday following the sale, will be removed to the warehouse of ‘Cadogan Tate’. Please note that there will be no charge to purchasers who collect their lots within two weeks of this sale.
A youthful prodigy in his field (appointed Head of Sotheby’s Book Department when he was only 27) Anthony Hobson, who died last year at the age of 92, was the greatest expert in the world on Renaissance bookbinding. Academic honours were showered upon him throughout his career, but his preeminence in the book world was sealed by his presidency of the Internationale de Bibliophilie (1985-1999), where his patrician elegance, considerable charm, command of languages and profound scholarship made him a magisterial figure.
An all-round bibliophile of great distinction, he was also an ardent and lifelong collector of art and furniture. While the Renaissance values of order and beauty were cornerstones of his aesthetic, his Old Master drawings, for instance, stand as a shorthand for the whole notion of the Grand Tour, the question of which art one could best live with was of almost equal interest: never the crushing centrepiece that drains the soul out of a room, always the brilliant pieces that set the stage, flaring into life or receding into the background as needs be.
Greatly informed by the taste of his wife, Tanya Vinogradoff, granddaughter of the painter Algernon Newton, R.A., his collection ranged with confidence and delight across periods and registers, endlessly curious and endlessly increasing. Medieval Persian, Neoclassical, 18th Century Indian, Regency, Pre-Raphaelite individual delights became part of a much larger whole in the beautiful Queen Anne house he lived in for the last 55 years of his life. This sale is testament to an exceptional life of the mind and senses (except for the digital remarkably enough he lived his life without letting a television, radio or computer darken his door) led by the man singled out by Cyril Connolly as among the most ‘impressive scholar aesthetes of our day’.