Bonhams | Rare Warhol Painting of Mao to star at New Bond Street on 29 June

Andy Warhol, Mao,1973

Mao, 1973, by Andy Warhol, estimated at £580,000-780,000, will be offered at the Bonhams Post War and Contemporary Art sale on 29 June.


Bonhams will lead the Post-War and Contemporary Art season with a spectacular Andy Warhol painting of Chairman Mao, estimated at £580,000-780,000, to be offered at New Bond Street on 29 June.

The stunning, densely-textured painting comes fresh to the market having originally been handled by the artist’s legendary dealer Leo Castelli in the 1970s. The distinctive coloration and clarity of composition makes this arguably the finest of the series ever to appear at auction. Renowned as one of Warhol’s most significant, signature images, the Mao paintings feature in many of the world’s most prestigious public and private collections worldwide.

Warhol was transfixed by the People’s Republic of China in 1971. ‘I have been reading so much about China,’ he said at the time. ‘The only picture they ever have is of Mao Zedong. It’s great. It looks like a silkscreen.’ Inspired, Warhol made his first picture of the communist leader the following year. The Mao series is based on a photograph taken from the cover of The Thoughts of Chairman Mao – otherwise known as the Little Red Book, of which almost a billion copies were printed in China, leading to an acute paper shortage during the Cultural Revolution. During the early seventies, Warhol used to carry the Little Red Book around in his pocket. Eric Shiner, director of the Andy Warhol museum, describes the artist as ‘smitten with communism – with everyone wearing the same clothes and reading the same books’.

In the early 1970s, after a decade of screenprinting, Warhol returned to painting. His Maos tend to be more painterly than his earlier pop art, developing from the relentless replication of the 60s into more personalised, one-off works combining silkscreens with gestural painted additions. This particular piece has unusually thick impasto, with expressive brushwork in subtle blue hues and a halo of vivid scarlet interrupting the almost blinding vibrancy of the acid green background.

‘It is one of the finest – if not the finest – example of Warhol’s small format Maos out there,’ said Ralph Taylor, Senior Director for the Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art department. ‘It’s an absolute classic, brilliantly executed, with sterling provenance. Collectors who target the very best will find much to admire with this painting.’

More info on Bonhams


Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917) Eternel printemps, second état, 1ère réduction  9L’Éternel Printemps sell for more than £900,000  
One of Auguste Rodin’s finest sculptures, L’Eternel Printempswas sold for £938,500 at Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art sale on 4 February. It had been estimated at £500,000-700,000.  This is a new world record at auction for a second state casting of the statue.
Created at the height of Auguste Rodin’s passionate love affair with the young Camille Claudel, L’Eternel Printemps is one of the French sculptor’s most highly acclaimed works.
Bonhams Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, India Phillips, said: “This is a wonderful price for a very special piece.  Rodin poured a huge amount of emotion into L’Eternel Printemps and you can feel that in the raw physicality of the sculpture making it one of his most enduring images.”
Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917) Eternel printemps, second état, 1ère réduction  7

The Game of Thrones star reads one of the tragic painter’s most impassioned letters to his brother, Theo

In advance of Sotheby’s sale of Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Paysage Sous un Ciel Mouvementé‘ from the Collection of Louis & Evelyn Franck, actor Charles Dance, OBE, brings to life excerpts from the artist’s letters to his brother written during his time in Arlestumblr_nwa1gum9HI1u6x3h6o1_1280

 Paysage Sous un Ciel Mouvementé’  will be a major highlight of our Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale on 5 November in New York.

“Doing it for the kids”: Bonhams announces the Robbie Williams Charity Sale

Photography Credit - James Eppy 3

Bonhams is delighted to announce the Robbie Williams Collection Sale, titled: “Doing it for the Kids”. Proceeds of the sale will be donated to children’s charity, the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, of which Williams is a patron.

“It’s a privilege for me to be a patron of The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, it makes a real difference to these children whose lives have been tragically limited. The sale gives a great opportunity for bidders to know their money will go to such a fantastic charity, whilst also taking home some of my most prized possessions that have been personal markers of my career so far,” said Williams.

Katherine Schofield, Bonhams Head of Entertainment Memorabilia, said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed as auctioneers of the Robbie Williams Charity Sale. To be recognised as pioneers for both the single-owner sale, and our fantastic successes in the Entertainment Memorabilia department, is a great honour.

“Robbie Williams is one of the most successful British recording artists of all time. His many items will no doubt be adored for years to come by enthusiastic bidders at the upcoming sale and will be raising money for an excellent cause.” Items featured in the sale include:

•A set of handwritten lyrics for one of Robbie’s bestselling singles Let Me Entertain You – estimate £4,000-6,000

•The cream two-piece suit worn by Robbie Williams in the music video for the single Radio – estimate £5,000-7,000

Take That: An MTV video music award – estimate £2,000-3,000

•A multi-platinum award for the album I’ve Been Expecting You – estimate £2,500-3,000

Bonhams Robbie Williams Charity Sale “Doing it for the Kids” will be streamed live via the Bonhams website:

“Doing it for the Kids” – The Robbie Williams Collection Sale – Wednesday 15 July at 3pm at Bonhams Knightsbridge, Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge, London

IWC Ref. 348 Türler with its original guarantee certificate

GEi5j Quando si parla di qualità, non solo riguardo all’arte orologeria, si intende la cura di ogni particolare, la purezza dei materiali, l’accuratezza di un progetto. Quando si pensa ad un oggetto di qualità lo si concepisce per piccole produzioni, in pochi esemplari e questa è la caratteristica che  le grandi maison come Patek, Vacheron o Audemars Piguet hanno in comune. jNvHb All’epoca di questa referenza 348, IWC in tutta la sua storia aveva prodotto circa 1.5 milioni di esemplari. Per fare un esempio, Omega nello stesso periodo aveva già sul mercato più di 20 milioni di orologi. Ciò non vuol dire certo che Omega non abbia a cuore la qualità ma certo colloca la casa di Schaffhausen in quella elite cui i collezionisti rivolgono più spesso il loro sguardo. MYwWy Questa referenza, che strizza l’occhio al classico dei classici, il Calatrava, non passa inosservata anche per il co-logo Türler. Questo celebre rivenditore svizzero si distingue per essere presente solo su timepiece importanti e ciò accresce non poco il pregio del qui presente IWC. Il calibro è il famoso 8531 automatico ospitato in una cassa da 35mm. A corredo, la garanzia originale. – Andrea Foffi & Manuel Galvez

Purchase, questions or evaluations @: – –

Talking about quality, not only about the watchmaking art, we refers to the care of every detail, the purity of the materials, the accuracy of a project. When we think about a quality piece, it is conceived for small productions, in small numbers, and this is the feature that the big fashion houses like Patek, Vacheron and Audemars Piguet have in common. By the time of this reference 348, IWC in all its history had produced about 1.5 million examples. For example, Omega in the same period had already on the market more than 20 million watches. This certainly does not mean that Omega did not care about the quality but sure put the house of Schaffhausen in the elite to witch collectors often turn their gaze. This reference, which gives a nod to the classic of classics, the Calatrava, does not go unnoticed for the co-logo Türler. This famous Swiss retailer stands to be present only on important timepiece and this greatly increases the value of this IWC here posted. The caliber is the famous 8531 automatic housed in a 35mm case. Complete with its original guarantee certificate. – Andrea Foffi & Manuel Galvez

Purchase, questions or evaluations @: – –

Bonhams: The Lauren Bacall Collection. London 15 February 2015

Annex - Bacall, Lauren_15

Una sorprendente collezione d’arte e gioielli raccolta dalla celebre attrice di cinema e teatro, Lauren Bacall, in anteprima a Londra 15-19 febbraio prima di andare in asta da Bonhams a New York il 31 marzo e il 1 aprile 2015.

Molti dei 750 lotti in asta hanno arredato le tre residenze della Bacall: la casa di Los Angeles che condivideva con il suo primo marito, Humphrey Bogart, la sua casa di campagna ad Amagansett, New York, e il suo appartamento a New York, il famoso The Dakota, che domina Central Park, che ha condiviso con il secondo marito, Jason Robards fino al 1969.

Caratterizzano questa anteprima sei bozzetti in bronzo di Henry Moore, il più grande scultore inglese del XX secolo e uno degli artisti preferiti della attrice. Loren Bacall ha cominciato ad apprezzare le opere di Moore all’inizio del 1950, quando viveva a Los Angeles. Dopo averlo finalmente incontrato nel suo studio nel 1975, dichiarò di aver realizzato un sogno.

Oltre a Moore sono esposte le sculture in bronzo di un altro artista,  lo scultore americano, Robert Graham, le cui opere hanno sempre affascinato Lauren Bacall. In modo particolare per  il realismo espresso dalle figure femminili e di cui queste tre sculture (le “ragazze”) sono un esempio. Robert Graham era sposato con amica vicina alla Bacall, Anjelica Huston.

Saranno esposte inoltre stampe contemporanee e moderne di David Hockney, Jim Dine, Richard Avedon, Henry Moore e John James Audubon e dipinti di Sir Noel Coward, Aaron Shikler e Georges Wakhevitch.

Si potranno veder inoltre alcuni tra i più amati gioielli della attrice, creati da Jean Schlumberger.

Jon King, Vice Presidente e Direttore del Business Development di Bonhams, ha commentato: “Bonhams è lieta di condividere con il pubblico una rara prospettiva del mondo di Lauren Bacall. La sua collezione è un vero e proprio esempio della sua straordinaria passione per l’arte e il gusto e testimonia la straordinaria esistenza di una donna speciale”.

Lauren Bacall, vero nome Betty Joan Perske, nacque a Brooklyn nel 1924. Ha frequentato l’American Academy of Dramatic Arts, accanto ad attori come Kirk Douglas. Fu grazie ad una foto in copertina sulla rivista Harper’s che il regista Howard Hawks la notò. Hawks le cambiò il nome in Lauren e la fece esordire giovanissima accanto a uno dei mostri sacri di Hollywood, Humphrey Bogart, nel film Acque del Sud (1944), tratto dal romanzo Avere e non avere di Ernest Hemingway (più tardi, dopo la morte di Bogart, conobbe personalmente Hemingway, stringendo con il famoso scrittore e sua moglie una profonda amicizia).

Fu proprio sul set di questo film che tra Bogart e la Bacall, appena diciannovenne, nacque l’amore e, nonostante l’attore avesse venticinque anni più di lei, fu un sentimento molto profondo, che le lasciò un segno indelebile. Bogart fu l’unico amore della sua vita, come ebbe lei stessa a dire molte volte e al quale rimase accanto fino alla morte. I due si sposarono nel 1945 e dal matrimonio nacquero due figli, Stephen (1949) e Leslie (1952).

Il 14 novembre 2009 le è stato conferito il premio Oscar alla carriera dalla Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. È scomparsa il 12 agosto 2014 a seguito di un ictus, circa un mese prima del suo novantesimo compleanno

An astonishing art and jewellery collection assembled by acclaimed actress of stage and screen, Lauren Bacall, who died in August 2014 will be previewed in London from 15 – 19 February, before it is auctioned at Bonhams New York on 31 March and 1 April. Highlights of the collection, including works by some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, can be seen at the Bonhams headquarters, 101 New Bond Street. The opening hours are 9am – 4.30pm, and admission is free.

London is one stop on an international tour which takes in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris and New York, and the selection features jewellery, decorative arts, tribal works of art and prints as well as paintings and sculptures. Many of the 750 lots to be auctioned graced three of Bacall’s residences: the Los Angeles house she shared with her first husband, Humphrey Bogart, her country home in Amagansett, New York, and her apartment in New York’s famed The Dakota, overlooking Central Park, which she shared with second husband, Jason Robards until 1969.

Heading the preview are six bronze maquettes by Henry Moore, Britain’s greatest 20th century sculptor and one of Bacall’s favourite artists. Bacall’s deep admiration of Moore began in the 1950s while she was living in Los Angeles. After finally meeting the sculptor at his studio in 1975, she wrote: ‘It was and will be ever a high point of my life … [it was the] realization of a dream.’

Also included in the highlight exhibition are bronze sculptures by noted American artist, Robert Graham, whose works fascinated Lauren Bacall. She was captivated by the precise realism and bold expression of the female form in Graham’s work and referred to these three sculptures as her “girls”. Robert Graham was married to Bacall’s close friend, Anjelica Huston.

Contemporary and modern prints by David Hockney, Jim Dine, Richard Avedon, Henry Moore and John James Audubon as well as paintings by the legendary Sir Noel Coward, Aaron Shikler, Georges Wakhevitch will also be featured.

Some of the actress’s best loved jewellery pieces, created by designer Jean Schlumberger, will be on display with other items including an 18-carat yellow gold, enamel, cultured pearl, and rose diamond Mogul-inspired camel brooch by British jeweller, Elizabeth Gage. This piece is accompanied by the original drawing and correspondence showing the extent of the collaboration and friendship between the jeweller and the client.

Jon King, Vice President and Director of Business Development at Bonhams, said: ‘Bonhams is delighted to share with the public a rare insight into the world of Lauren Bacall, the accomplished collector. Her collection is a truly a reflection of her extraordinary taste and remarkable life.’


Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske in Brooklyn in 1924. She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, alongside Kirk Douglas, and supported herself by working as an usherette and a model. It was her work in modeling which led to her breakthrough: she was spotted by Diana Vreeland, then fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar. Bacall soon appeared on the cover of Harper’s, catching the attention of the celebrated director, Howard Hawks.

Hawks changed Bacall’s name to Lauren and took a change on the inexperienced starlet, casting her in his adaption of Hemingway’s tale, To Have and Have Not. The 19-year-old Bacall was so nervous that her head shook involuntarily, so she tilted her chin down to steady herself, with the result that she looked up from under at the camera. Her unusual style of delivery, combined with the script’s innuendo, was to prove a winning combination.

The public was hooked on the chemistry between Bacall and Bogart, and the studio took advantage, casting them together in Key Largo, The Big Sleep and Dark Passage. The couple married in 1945, had two children, and remained married until Bogart’s death in 1957. Bacall later had a third child with her second husband, Jason Robards.

Bacall also became an accomplished stage actress, receiving great acclaim for her work in Cactus Flower, Applause, and Woman of the Year. She continued acting in movies as well, and appeared in more than 30, including How to Marry a Millionaire and Murder on the Orient Express. The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) – on which Barbra Streisand was director, producer and star – earned Bacall a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination. In 2009, Bacall collected an Oscar in recognition of ‘her central place in the golden age of motion pictures.’

Lauren Bacall died in August 2014, aged 89.


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Scarica il catalogo dell’asta evento Bonhams che vedrà protagoniste le più belle auto d’epoca nella splendida atmosfera di fine ‘800 che solo il Grand Palais può regalare.

L’asta avrà luogo dal 5 al 7 febbraio 2015 presso il Grand Palais, Parigi.



info on

By Manuel Galvez e Andrea Foffi – –

Download the catalog of the auction event that will draw the most beautiful vintage cars in the beautiful atmosphere of the late ‘800 that only the Grand Palais can offer.

The auction will take place from 5 to February 7, 2015 at the Grand Palais, Paris.

info on

By Manuel Galvez e Andrea Foffi – –

“December Fine Watch sale” at Bonhams Bond Street: Patek Philippe Ref. 3974 sold for £218,500

Lot 105 - 1
Lot 105: Patek Philippe. 18ct gold automatic perpetual calendar minute repeating wristwatch with moon phase, sold for £218,500

L’asta “December Fine Watch” di Bonhams è stata un grande successo, con lotti veramente combattuti per pezzi rari come la referenza 3974 di Patek Philippe (venduto a £ 218.500) ed un importo complessivo dei lotti in offerta pari a £ 1.500.000.

Paul Maudsley, direttore del Watch Department di Bonhams, ha commentato: “Stiamo notando un forte aumento della domanda di temepiece complicati Patek Philippe, come cronografi e ripetizione minuti, pur rimanendo sostenuta la domanda per i modelli sportivi Rolex e il tanto amato Rolex Day-Date. Crediamo che il mercato nel 2015 confermerà questo trend”.

L’insolito Ulysse Nardin “Trilogy of Time”, è stato venduto a un offerente di Hong Kong per £ 72.100. La serie comprende l’Astrolabium Galileo Galilei (segnalato nel Guinness dei Primati come il più complicato orologio mai realizzato), il Planetarium Copernicus, e il Tellurium.

Ha contribuito a dare un tocco regale all’evento, un Rolex Day-Date creato per il Sultano dell’Oman, che porta il tradizionale Khanjar come emblema. In oro bianco 18k, questo orologio ha raggiunto quasi il doppio della sua stima originale, raggiungendo la cifra di £ 32.500.

Per ulteriori informazioni

By Manuel Galvez e Andrea Foffi – –


The December Fine Watch sale at Bonhams flagship Bond Street saleroom proved a great success, with fantastic prices achieved for pieces such as the rare Reference 3974 Patek Philippe (£218,500), and £1.5 million worth of bidding.

Paul Maudsley, Director of the Bonhams Watch Department, said: “We’re observing the demand for complicated Patek Philippe watches such as chronographs and minute repeaters growing ever stronger, whilst remaining buoyant is the trend for Sports Rolex models and the much loved Rolex Day-Date – something we expect to remain strong well into the auctions in 2105.

“At our final Fine Watch sale, Reference 3974, the much coveted Patek Philippe 18ct gold automatic perpetual calendar minute repeating wristwatch circa 1989, became one of the most valuable pieces we’ve sold this year. After some spirited bidding moving far above estimate, a telephone bidder succeeded in taking the piece home to London – just in time for Christmas.”

Further sale highlights include the unusual Ulysse Nardin ‘Trilogy of Time’, sold to a Hong Kong bidder for £72,100. The series comprises the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei (at the time this was reported in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most complex watch ever made), the Planetarium Copernicus, and the Tellurium.

Bringing a royal flair to the sale, a Rolex made for the Sultanate of Oman, bearing the traditional Khanjar (dagger) emblem. The 18ct white gold automatic calendar wristwatch sold for almost double its original estimate, selling at £32,500.

Further sale highlights include a 19th Century Patek Philippe perpetual calendar minute repeating full hunter pocket watch (£42,500), from Girard Perregaux a rare 18ct rose gold automatic tourbillon wristwatch (£26,250), and a single-owner collection of 18 Rolex bracelet watches sold well, with top lot of the selection, lot 148, a ‘Red Submariner’, selling at £9,000.

By Manuel Galvez e Andrea Foffi – –



Sotheby’s to offer Matisse “Odalisque au fauteuil noir”, est. £9-12 milion – London, Feb. 2015

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Una delle celebri “Odalische” di Matisse all’asta “Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale” di Sotheby’s a Londra il 3 febbraio 2015.

Helena Newman, co-direttore del dipartimento “Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide” di Sotheby’s, ha dichiarato: “Dopo il più alto risultato complessivo mai raggiunto dal nostro dipartimento, con l’asta di New York “Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale”, possiamo ragionevolmente prevedere un altro record a Londra con Matisse. Questo eccezionale dipinto è uno dei più belli del celebre “ciclo delle Odalische” . Il 2014 è stato un anno estremamente eccitante per il mercato dell’arte impressionista e moderna che Sotheby’s continua a guidare per il quarto anno consecutivo”.

Il ritratto raffigurante la Principessa Nézy-Hamide Chawkat, nipote dell’ultimo sultano di Turchia, “Odalisque au fauteuil noir” (datato 1942 e stimato tra £ 9-12 milioni) è una delle più belle opere di Henri Matisse appartenente al suo famoso “ciclo delle Odalische” con il quale l’artista ha creato uno degli emblemi più riconoscibili dell’erotismo nell’arte moderna.

Matisse aveva incontrato per caso la Principessa Nézy, come veniva chiamata, e affascinato dal suo suggestivo sguardo, le chiese formalmente di posare per lui. Per i successivi due anni è stata la sua modella prediletta. E’ stato solo quando la principessa ha lasciato Nizza per sposarsi nel 1942 che Matisse ha cercato una nuova musa.

“Odalisca au fauteuil noir” riflette l’interesse di Matisse per l’Orientalismo, che aveva dapprima esplorato nel 1920 e che ha richiamato la sua attrazione per i colori vivaci.

“Io dipingo odalische per dipingere il nudo. Ma come fare del nudo, senza che questo appaia fittizio?. E poi le dipingo perché so che esistono realmente. Sono stato in Marocco e le ho viste” (Henri Matisse, 1929).

One Of The Finest of Matisse’s Celebrated ‘Odalisque’ Paintings From the Peak of the Artist’s Career

A Highlight Unveiled Ahead of Sotheby’s London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale 3rd February 2015. Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Co-Head, Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide, said: “Following our highest-ever sale total for our Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York, we are delighted to announce a highly desirable highlight of our forthcoming London sale, Henri Matisse’s Odalisque au fauteuil noir. This exquisitely coloured painting is one of the finest of the artist’s celebrated ‘Odalisque’ paintings to come to the market. 2014 has been an extremely exciting year for the Impressionist & Modern Art market, which Sotheby’s continues to lead for the fourth successive year, and it is with great anticipation that we look to our February 2015 sale.”

An exquisite portrait depicting Princess Nézy-Hamidé Chawkat, the great granddaughter of the last Sultan of Turkey, Odalisque au fauteuil noir (dated 1942 and estimated at £9-12m) is one of Henri Matisse’s finest paintings from his famed ‘Odalisque’ series, his depictions of the notorious concubine figure, with which he created one of the most recognisable emblems of eroticism in Modern art.

Princess Nézy, as she was known, was spotted in the street by Matisse in 1940, who was drawn to her striking dark looks. Following a formal request, the Princess’s grandmother granted permission for the princess to sit for Matisse – accompanied by a chaperone – and over the course of almost two years she became his favourite model. It was only when the princess left Nice to be married in 1942 that Matisse looked for a new model.

A dazzling composition of pattern and colour, Odalisque au fauteuil noir reflects Matisse’s interest in Orientalism, which he had first explored in the 1920s and drew on his attraction to the vibrant colours, fabric and patterns that were so evocative of the Orient.

17th century watercolors once in Cassiano dal Pozzo’s “Museo Cartaceo” for sale at Bonhams

8 Hooded Crow

Si tratta di una delle più importanti collezioni di dipinti a soggetti naturalistici e archeologici mai create. Sono undici acquerelli in totale messi all’asta tematica “Bonhams Old master Paintings Sale” a Londra Mercoledì 3 di dicembre. Saranno venduti singolarmente e hanno una stima complessiva di £ 65.000.

I dipinti provengono dal celebre Museo Cartaceo opera del mecenate e viaggiatore Cassiano dal Pozzo, amico di Galileo Galilei. Dal Pozzo ha commissionato oltre 7.000 acquerelli a soggetti naturalistici e archeologici da alcuni dei pittori più importanti del suo tempo. Il suo fine era archiviare ogni antichità conosciuta in una prospettiva antiquaria ed enciclopedista.

Tale immenso materiale oggi è diviso tra varie collezioni reali dei Windsor e quelle della British Library di Londra; ma la parte maggiore di esso è a Windsor presso la Royal Library. Ciascun esemplare del Museo Cartaceo è stato numerato e rilegato in volumi che nel tempo sono passati dalla famiglia Dal Pozzo a Papa Clemente XI fino a quando finirono nella collezione di Re Giorgio III nel 1762.

Nel 1780 alcuni dei volumi ed alcuni degli acquerelli, compresi quelli in vendita, furono restaurati nella nuova legatoria reale a Buckingham Palace. Successivamente queste opere trovarono una sede permanente nella biblioteca reale di Windsor.

All’inizio del XX secolo, una serie di volumi del Museo Cartaceo sono stati venduti dall’allora bibliotecario di Windsor, Sir John Fortescue, per raccogliere fondi per la manutenzione della Biblioteca. Molti anni dopo, per puro caso, questi undici acquerelli sono stati scoperti in un negozio di antiquariato dal successore di sir John, il maggiore Sir Owen Morshead. Sir Owen, un eroe di guerra pluridecorato, è stato direttore bibliotecario a Windsor tra il 1926 ed il 1958.

British Library London
British Library London

Andrew Mckenzie, di responsabile del dipartimento di arte antica per Bonhams ha dichiarato: “Il Museo Cartaceo è stata una delle più importanti collezioni di dipinti di storia naturale e archeologica mai creata. E’ un omaggio allo spirito per la ricerca e la conoscenza universale che hanno caratterizzato l’uomo di quel tempo”.

By Andrea Foffi e Manuel Galvez – –

One of the most remarkable collections of natural history and archaeological paintings ever created

Eleven watercolour paintings once in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle are to be offered at Bonhams Old master Paintings Sale in London on Wednesday 3 December.   They will be sold individually and have a combined upper estimate of £65,000.

The paintings are from the Paper Museum – Museo Cartaceo in Italian – assembled by the 17th century Roman intellectual, Cassiano dal Pozzo, a friend of Galileo and patron to the French Classical painter Nicolas Poussin.  Dal Pozzo commissioned over 7,000 watercolours of natural history and archaeology painted from first had observation by some of the leading painters of the day.  Each sheet of the Paper Museum was numbered and bound in volumes which in time passed from the dal Pozzo family to Pope Clement XI until they ended up in the collection of King George III in 1762.

In the 1780s at the newly established Royal Bindery in Buckingham House (later Palace) some of the volumes were rebound and some of the watercolours, including the ones in the sale, were remounted. The books eventually found a permanent home in the Royal Library at Windsor.

Early in the 20th century, a number of volumes of the Paper Museum were sold by the then Librarian at Windsor, Sir John Fortescue, to raise funds for the Library’s upkeep.   Many years later, by complete chance, these eleven watercolours were discovered in an antique shop by Sir John’s successor as Librarian, Major Sir Owen Morshead.  Sir Owen, a much decorated war hero from the Great War where he served with the Prince of Wales, was the Librarian at Windsor from 1926-1958. He played a key role in reorganizing the Library along rational lines bringing in Kenneth Clark, for example, to catalogue the six hundred drawings by Leonardo da Vinci for the first time.

The eleven paintings are made up of ten studies of birds and one of a fish and include a magnificent Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (£7,000-9,000), a Short-eared Owl (£6,000-8,000) and a Paradise Whydah (£3,500-4,500).

Bonhams Director of Old Master Paintings, Andrew Mckenzie, said: “The Museo Cartaceo was one of the crowing achievements of Rome in the Baroque era and is one of the most remarkable collections of natural history and archaeological paintings ever created.  It is a tribute to the restless spirit of enquiry into all branches of knowledge which characterised the time.”

By Andrea Foffi e Manuel Galvez – –