Sotheby’s flagship sale of Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art witnessed soaring prices across collecting categories. The sale was led by a superb 15th-century alabaster figure of St Philip by the Master of Rimini, which achieved a price of £542,500, more than five times over its low estimate. Early wood sculpture was represented by a 12th-century North German Virgin and Child, which sold for £338,500, against an estimate of £40,000-60,000.
The Renaissance highlight was Tiziano Aspetti’s Mars, which achieved a final result of £398,500, against an estimate of £50,000-70,000. The strong taste for Neoclassical sculpture was underscored by the price of £242,500 reached for Francis Harwood’s bust of Homer, against an estimate of £70,000-100,000.
The sale achieved a total result of £4,105,725, building on the £3,644,000 reached in the preceding July sale of Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art, and highlighting Sotheby’s status as the pre-eminent auction house for sculpture.
This December’s sale of Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art will showcase some of the finest three-dimensional objects on the market. The auction features masterpieces of European sculpture from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical periods.
Highlights from the early section of the sale include an exceptional pair of 4th-century gold garnet set Hunnic pendants, and a rare Italian 12th-century spiral column with Cosmatesque gold and polychromed mosaic inlay. These are joined by an important Italian Renaissance relief with the Virgin and Child attributed to Antonio Rizzo (1430-1499) and a recently rediscovered bust of Homer by the celebrated British sculptor Francis Harwood (fl. 1748-1783).