The December 2013 sale of European Sculpture & Works of Art brought a total of £5,602,125 against a pre-sale estimate of £4-5.9 million. The top lot was a 13th-century ivory statuette of the Virgin and Child hidden in a private collection since the middle of the 20th century, which sold for £2,546,500, more than double the high estimate.
Erik Bijzet, Head of Auction Sales, European Sculpture & Works of Art, said: “Today’s results confirm the strong demand for Medieval artworks, new discoveries and pieces with noble provenance. We saw international bidding, with participation from Russia, Asia and the US. The top lot of the sale, the 13th-century ivory statuette of the Virgin and Child, brought £2.5 million, more than double the pre-sale high estimate. When a photograph of this object was presented to Sotheby’s, I immediately saw that it was very special. Uncovering documents, many of them centuries old, over a year-long research period revealed its full history. The price demonstrates that collectors are continuing to seek out the very best the market has to offer.”
The European Sculpture & Works of Art Department is amongst the broadest of collecting categories at Sotheby’s. The diversity of property cultivated by such practice has never been more apparent than in our upcoming Medieval to Modern sale on 4 December, which will offer works of extremely fine quality from across an extraordinary range of dates, countries and materials. Leading the sale is a newly discovered medieval ivory statuette representing the Virgin and Child Enthroned, which was miraculously preserved by the nuns of the Syon Monastery during their eventful three century-long exile on the European mainland. Later on, the ivory was treasured in the private chapels of the Earl of Shrewsbury and the Duke of Norfolk, but has since resided completely unnoticed in a small private collection.
Four full-length marble female figures representing the Seasons, carved by Carlo Nicoli in the late 19th century, are the most impressive marbles in the sale. Nicoli supplied a similar set of marbles for the façade of the Galleria Umberto I in Naples; the four figures offered at Sotheby’s were, until recently, kept at the artist’s family villa on Lake Lugano. Additional highlights of the sale include four small private collections of early rings, cameos and jewels dating from the Byzantine era to circa 1800, tabletop bronzes from the Renaissance to the 1920s and a range of Kunstkammer rarities.
Please note that this lot will be sent to Greenford Park Art facility after the sale, and not as stated in the catalogue.
Radiocarbon dating measurement report no. RCD-8155, prepared by A.J. Walker of RCD RadioCarbon Dating, East Lockinge, states that the statue dates between 1427 and 1521. The guarantee line should therefore read Follower of Andrea Pisano, Italian, probably Orvieto, 15th century.
This lot has been withdrawn
Please note the following addition to the provenance of the present ring: it was part of the collection of Mr. Edouard Guilhou by 1909, was illustrated in Seymour de Ricci's 1912 catalogue of this collection, and was sold in Sotheby's 1937 sale of the Guilhou collection. For full references see sothebys.com.
Please note that this lot will remain in New Bond Street after the sale, and not as stated in the catalogue.
Please note that subsequent to further research the department cannot guarantee that these marbles were made in the 15th century. As such the guarantee line should read Circle of Niccolò dell'Arca, Italian, Bologna, probably second half 15th century.
Please note that there is another terracotta version of the present model in the collections of Sèvres - Cité de la céramique (inv. no. MNC 7983). The Sèvres terracotta is in fragmentary condition and has various compositional differences.
Please note that the first line of the provenance for this lot should read: Probably sold in the sale of Tricot, d'Espagnac and others, Le Brun, Paris, May 22, 1793.
Please note that in addition to the stamp the present bronze is also signed and dated: BARYE 1840.
Please note that in addition to the signature the present bronze is also stamped: PEYROL
This lot should have a dagger symbol in the printed catalogue. VAT will be charged at 20% on the hammer price, although in appropiate circumstances the VAT may be cancelled or refunded. Please refer to the printed catalogue for further VAT information.
This Lot has been withdrawn from the sale.
Please note that the present bronze is indistinctly inscribed: ROMAN BRONZE WORKS N-Y-