T he recent London sale, Arts of the Islamic World & India including Fine Rugs and Carpets, included two fascinating lots consigned to Sotheby's via the Online Pricing Platform. Here we take a closer look at their stories.
This wonderful early candlestick made £47,880 selling above the high estimate including buyers premium. Astonishingly, it was spotted in a California shop where it was very modestly priced. The buyer, a private collector with no specialist knowledge, had a hunch it was something unusual but never dreamt it was so early in date. Our client then sought our opinion and shipped it to London for this specialist sale.
The candlestick is from a group, some of which are held in the Victorian and Albert museum, which scholars now attribute to Eastern Anatolia or Jazira, the area where modern day Turkey, Syria and Iraq all meet. Dating to the 13th or 14th century, it is brass with silver and gold inlay and decorated with five engraved cartouches of courtly figures, and profusely decorated with bands of running dogs and inscriptions.
A second item in the same sale was the Irish Donegal carpet . The Donegal factory made hand knotted carpets around the turn of the century in the style of Turkish Ushak carpets, selling to country houses in Ireland and the United Kingdom. As a side note, the factory also produced Art Nouveau design carpets after designs by C. F.A. Voysey and Gavin Morton, which are the most commercial and popular today.
With extraordinarily full pile, the exceptional condition of this particular carpet is accounted for by the unusual, almost fantastical history as told by the present owner. He relates that his father was an antique restorer, who some forty years ago was commissioned to work on some damaged library panelling for a client. In the course of the restoration, he discovered a sealed room, in which the carpet had been stored, probably for at least fifty years. The present owner's father purchased the carpet, thinking to use it at home, but it proved too big. Passing it on to his son, it again turned out to be too large, so it has been stored ever since, until a recent clear-out prompted the present owner to contact Sotheby's.