Results: Pictures 1500-1900

03 December 2018

November 21, 2018

LONDON: A pair of majestic Venetian views soared to £32,000 (£40,000 with premium) at Roseberys London on November 21. The so called ‘capriccio’ oils (lot 62), comprising a fantastical mix of real and imagined buildings, were well executed examples after the great Italian artist Canaletto. The 61 x 82cm oil on panels had been estimated at £15,000-25,000 and eventually sold to a telephone bidder. Art collecting was an integral part to the Grand Tour undertaken by young aristocrats during the 18th century, and capriccio paintings were particularly popular souvenirs. Canaletto’s compositions were incredibly sought-after by wealthy foreigners travelling through Venice, particularly with travellers from Britain where he was well-known. Many artists and followers imitated his style and made highly-skilled copies of his pictures to fulfil the demand for Venetian views. The setting for this pair of compositions is the Grand Canal – though not as it has ever actually looked. In the oil pictured left, the central element is not the real Rialto Bridge constructed in 1590, but rather the design for another version of the bridge, published by the preeminent Venetian architect Andrea Palladio in 1570. The painter here drew very precisely on the illustration found in Palladio’s ‘I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura’, only adapting it slightly by adding further sculptures and a few small details. While a couple of different versions exist, this specific composition with Palladio’s Rialto Bridge design flanked by two of his buildings in Vincenza was commissioned by essayist and art critic Francesco Algarotti. Algarotti was a fervent advocate of the capriccio art form, as he believed it combined the best of both reality and the ideal through uniting nature and art. The best-known example of the Algarotti composition of the Palladian Rialto is held in the Galleria Nazionale in Parma, though there are several versions.
A pendant picture, matching the panel with the imaginary round building, is also held in Parma.

Another Italian highlight in the picture sale was an earlier 14th century crucifixion scene (lot 1). Catalogued as ‘Sienese School’, the 43 x 22cm tempera on panel with gold ground sold to an online bidder for £2600 (£3,250 with premium), well above the £600-1200 estimate.
A wonderful example of medieval gothic art, it had survived in great condition considering its age.

A tondo creation of a girl in a red dress (lot 245) by Elizabeth Gulland (1890-1910), a talented genre painter and mezzotint engraver of mainly 18th century portraits, sold on top estimate to a telephone bidder for £1,500 (£1,875 with premium). Typical of the artist’s style, the diminutive 11.5cm wide watercolour had graced the walls of the Royal Academy in 1894 and appeared at Christie’s London over 100 years later in 2005.

Catering to more modern tastes, another crowd pleaser was a beautifully composed watercolour and gouache Nymphs in a birch wood (lot 321) by Averil Mary Burleigh (1883-1949). The artist exhibited many times during her lifetime and this signed 22.5 x 18.3cm work is typical of her style. It tipped over top estimate to sell to an online bidder for £750 (£937 with premium).

Another attractive portrait was Tito Conti’s (1824-1924) oil of a Spanish lady holding a fan (lot 185). The 52 x 42cm oil on canvas, which had not been realigned, is typical of the popular genre costume scenes Conti painted with aplomb throughout the 19th and early 20th century. It sold to a telephone bidder for £3,000 (£3,750 with premium) against a £3,000-5,000 estimate.

The sale also featured a small selection of antique German maps. Among the highlights were two woodblock printed world maps (lot 35) from Laurent Fries’s (1485-1532) 1515 Ptolomeic atlas Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini, Geographicae. The maps were exceptionally rare and old but in superb condition, sturdy enough to be handled. Prepared by the noted German cartographer Martin Waldseemuller (1470-1520), the pair sold in excess of their £500-700 guide for £2,000 (£2,500 with premium) to a telephone bidder.

From the same collection was an engraving of Franciscus Ritter’s (c.1570-1644) Sundial Map of the World, 1640 (lot 38). This sold for £2,700 (£3,375 with premium), also to a telephone bidder.

Included elsewhere in the sale was a first state copy of Geographical Plan of the Island of Saint Helena by Lieutenant R P Read (lot 128) – dated to 1815, the year Napoleon was famously imprisoned on the island. This rare first state (of four) incorrectly identifies Napoleon’s residence as Plantation House in the centre of the island. Napoleon in fact lived at Longwood, shown in the lower left quadrant of the map. This was rectified in later states. It sold to an online bidder towards its top estimate at £480 (£600 with premium).

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For further information please contact Peigi Mackillop peigimackillop@roseberys.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8761 2522
Roseberys is a privately owned auction house operating at the heart of the fine art market for 30 years.
With offices in London’s Mayfair and Lambeth Roseberys offer a calendar of more than twelve specialist fine art, antiques and collectibles auctions each year.
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