Sotheby's London sale A Connoisseur's Collection achieved a total of £7,021,976 with an extraordinary group of 18th-century British paintings, furniture and decorative arts. Highlights included the Warren Hastings Ivory suite comprising two pairs of Anglo-Indian carved and parcel-gilt ivory armchairs and sofa, Murshidabad, circa 1785, which achieved a combined total of £1,159,500, along with a Thomas Gainsborough, R.A., Study of a lady perhaps for The Richmond Water-Walk, which sold for £1,650,500 - more than four times its pre-sale low estimate.
In A Connoisseur’s Collection, wonderful 18th-century British paintings complement an impressive offering of furniture and decorative arts. The star of the show is a painting of a King Charles Spaniel by George Stubbs, which is accompanied by a group of drawings by Thomas Gainsborough, four of which were formerly in the collection of the Earls Spencer at Althorp. A painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds completes the selection of works from some of England’s greatest artists.
The furniture in the collection is no less spectacular. Featured in this section is a rare suite of solid-carved and gilded-ivory furniture, comprising four armchairs and a settee, whose origins can be traced back to mid-18th century India when it was purchased by Warren Hastings, Governor of India. Earlier still is an incredible George I gilt-gesso bureau-cabinet and a group of furniture that can be confidently attributed to England’s most celebrated cabinet-maker, Thomas Chippendale. Additional highlights include a commode from Mayhew and Ince, silver candlesticks made for Catherine the Great of Russia and sublime Chelsea porcelain.
With such a refined collection of the best in British art appearing on the market for the first time in many years, this sale provides a wonderful opportunity for today’s collectors to acquire some iconic pieces. The collection is being sold to benefit a charitable foundation.