Sale Reports

Here are some pre-sale and post-sale reports for some star lots that have appeared in our sales

Pre Sale Reports

Pre Sale Reports

Rare George Washington portrait comes up for auction in Cirencester

Directors Lindsey Braune and Elizabeth Poole of The Cotswold Auction Company are delighted to bring a highly desirable small portrait of the first American president to auction in their 19th October Pictures sale at the Cirencester, Bankside saleroom.  “This will be extremely interesting for both British and US buyers” said Lindsey, “Because we believe it was executed by James Sharples, a well-known eighteenth century  British pastellist, who worked in the UK and then in 1794 travelled to the United States with his family.  It is thought that Sharples secured a sitting from America’s first president, George Washington, not long after his arrival in the USA, c. 1795-7.”   Once the sitting had been obtained both James Sharples and his wife Ellen produced multiple versions for a ready local market in Philadelphia, then the American Capitol.

A few of these have survived and come to the market at rare intervals, always met with a great deal of interest by collectors of eighteenth century American pictures and history.

This picture comes from a local house and was formerly at Bowden Hall in Upton St Leonards near Gloucester. From this same family collection, and also with an American theme, earlier this year The Cotswold Auction Company sold the first African-American published book of poetry by a slave girl, Phyllis Wheatley, 1773 for £16,500.

It is believed that the portrait was once part of the collection of nineteenth century British collector Jeffery Whitehead and was exhibited in London twice – in 1899, incorrectly attributed to Russell, and in 1891 as ‘Sharpless’ (as James Sharples was known at the time).  It then sold at Christie’s in 1915, when Whitehead’s whole collection was consigned for auction.  It was bought by a picture dealer by the name of Schroeder and found its way to this local Cotswold collection near Gloucester.

This rare portrait bears an estimate of £30,000 to £50,000 and the auctioneers welcome enquiries at or 01285 642420.

Small is beautiful – mosaic pictures in Cirencester auction!

Small is beautiful – mosaic pictures in Cirencester auction!

The Cotswold Auction Company are extremely excited to offer a rare pair of micro-mosaic pictures on copper by Luigi Moglia (1813-1878) “Cumaean Sibyl” after Zampieri Domenico and “The Persian Sibyl” after Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino (Domenico’s Sibyl can be found in the Galleria Borghese and Guercino’s Persian Sibyl is listed in the Musei Capitolini, Rome).  Luigi Moglia was active in Rome circa 1850-1870 and worked in the Studio Vaticano del Mosaico (Mosaic Studio of the Vatican).  His expertise was copying in micro-mosaic the famous artworks of Rome.  He was one of the most highly sought after mosaic artists of all time and in 1851 won a gold medal at the Great Exhibition of London for his micro-mosaic “The Ruins of Paestum”.  His work features in the V&A including a mosaic of the Pantheon, Rome from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert collection, one of the world’s greatest decorative art collections.  The V&A also house a Moglia micro-mosaic “Lavinia as Flora” which measures 37cm x 30cm, the same size as the pair of plaques coming up for sale in Cirencester on the 19th October.  Lavinia as Flora is also a copy of an important painting, this being Titian’s Girl with a Bowl of Fruit.

Micro-mosaics are made of small glass tesserae and at first glance these works can easily be confused with paintings, as was the case with Arthur Gilbert himself.   The British Museum has a small micro-mosaic plaque by Luigi Moglia of a spaniel and very few works come up for auction. Other pieces by the artist can be seen in the Royal Collection, Cincinnati Museum of Art and several Italian museums.   The most recent Moglia works to have appeared at auction include a small oval plaque, 3.8cm x 9.6cm of a spaniel, which sold on 5th December 2019 at Christies for £5,000.  In October 2017 another small micro-mosaic plaque by Moglia measuring 6.5cm x 4.3cm, also of a spaniel, realised £6,200.

This spectacular pair of panels is expected to realise £10,000-£15,000 at The Cotswold Auction Company’s Pictures sale in October.  They have come from a local deceased estate and were hanging by the side of the fireplace for many years, having been passed down to the last lady owner by her great-uncle.

Also offered for sale in this auction is an oil by Jacques Emile Blanche (1861-1942), head and shoulders portrait of gentleman smoking.  Blanche was a French artist, largely self-taught, and became a successful portrait painter working in London and Paris.  He exhibited in Paris at The Salon and The Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts.  One of his closest friends was Marcel Proust and he is also mentioned in Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas.   Blanche was influenced by contemporaries such as James Tissot and John Singer Sargent.  His style of colouring and loose brushwork is also reminiscent of Manet.  He visited London for a year from 1884 and had many British patrons including the Duchess of Rutland.  This oil on board showing a gentleman smoking and with slightly rosy cheeks – he may well be a fellow artist.  It carries an estimate of £1,000-£2,000.

Auction preview photos can be seen on and the sale will take place at the Bankside Cirencester saleroom on 19 October.

Post Sale Reports