Our London Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale totalled £39.3m ($60.7m/€54.8m), led by Lucas Cranach the Elder’s masterpiece La Bocca della Verità,which sold for £9.3m, a record for the artist at auction. A total of six new artist records were established. Four paintings from the Collections of Castle Howard together realised £9.1m, over the high estimate of £5.6-8.2m.
Alex Bell, Joint International Head and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department said: “As the market for Old Master & British paintings continues to evolve we’re seeing an ever more discerning and international collector base vying for a greater diversity of works. Whether it’s a work that transcend genres, such as Cranach’s masterpiece, or a ground-breaking still life created by a female artist over four centuries ago, we saw both new and established buyers from Europe, Russia and Asia competing tonight. Paintings spanning five centuries continue to surprise and excite.”
This summer's Evening sale is led by important paintings from the collections at Castle Howard in Yorkshire- one of Britain's finest houses. The collections of art and antiques are amongst the greatest in the world and have been assembled over a period of three hundred years. Highlighting the group are Bernardo Bellotto's Venice, a view of the Grand Canal looking south from the Palazzo Foscari, commissioned by the 4th Earl of Carlisle for Castle Howard in 1738-9 and thus making its first appearance on the art market. It is ably supported by a masterpiece of the Rembrandt school: Ferdinand Bol's Portrait of a boy aged 8 was bought at auction by the 5th Earl and undoubtedly constitutes the artist's finest portrait. The sale also includes perhaps the most important work by Cranach left in private hands, La Bocca della Verita; a Rococo masterpiece by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and important works by Gian Domenico Tiepolo, Willem Claesz. Heda and Pompeo Batoni.