Here are some pre-sale and post-sale reports for some star lots that have appeared in our sales
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 01285 642420.
Post Sale Reports
Small is Definitely Beautiful at £100,000!
Cirencester auctioneers Elizabeth Poole and Lindsey Braune of The Cotswold Auction Company were delighted with an outstanding result at their Tuesday 19th October auction in Bankside Saleroom. A house pictures record was achieved, but this was not for an oil or a watercolour – but for a very unusual pair of 19th century Italian micro-mosaic pictures. Micro-mosaics are usually found in small tablets or even as jewellery and it is extremely rare to come across not one, but a pair of full-sized classical portraits. These were the Cumaean Sybil and the Persian Sybil, ancient priestesses, worked in unbelievable detail in fine glass mosaic by Luigi Moglia (1813-1878). Auctioneer Elizabeth Poole, who catalogued them at a property near Cheltenham, where they had happily sat on the wall for several decades, commented “My initial impression from across the room was that this was a fine pair of oil paintings, however on closer examination the minute mosaic workmanship could be seen. They were quite breathtaking!”. Similar pieces come to the market so rarely, the auctioneers placed a conservative estimate of £10,000 to £20,000 on them. Interest prior to the sale came from all over the world.
“We had seven phone bidders, ranging from American and Italian collectors, London galleries and local trade interest, bidders in the room and online. It was finally an Asian buyer who triumphed over the online under-bidder to take the pair at £100,000 to the delight of the owners”.
These pictures came from a local deceased estate near Cheltenham, where a family member had built up a sizeable art collection in the mid-20th century and quite possibly purchased the pair of mosaics at that time.
Also in the sale was a rare and important pastel portrait of George Washington, first US President, by British artist James Sharples (1751-1811) in profile, 23cm x 18cm. This picture was formerly at Bowden Hall in Upton St Leonards, near Gloucester and has also remained in a family collection. It was believed to have once been owned by 19th century British collector Jeffery Whitehead and exhibited in London twice in the late 19th century, before being sold as part of Whitehead’s collection by Christies in London in 1915. This portrait sold to a London telephone buyer at £25,000.
Other stand-out pieces in this Cotswold Auction Company Autumn sale were a tall and imposing polished white stone garden statue, female nude, attributed to Paul Vanstone (b.1967) and this raced away from its estimate of £1,500 to £2,000 to realise £5,500, selling to a buyer in the room.
Channel Islands buyers are always on the lookout for artwork of these beautiful islands and an oil by Henry King Taylor (shipping off Mount Orgueil, Jersey), ex-Omell Gallery stock, again exceeded estimate at £3,400. An Antoine Blanchard oil, Paris street scene with Notre Dame, brought £2,100, a Jacques Emile Blanche half-length portrait of a young man came in at £1,750, while a charming 18th century portrait of a lady in pearls sold at £1,400.
An unusual Globe Wernicke sectional bookcase including two corner sections sold online at £2,300 while a pair of Howard & Sons-style armchairs came under the hammer at £2,000.
Entries for the November/December sales at the Cirencester and Cheltenham salerooms are now being accepted. Please contact the auctioneers on 01285 642420/01242 256363 or email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.