Lyon & Turnbull


33 Broughton Pl, Edinburgh, United Kingdom EH1 3RR
0131-557-8844

About Auction House

Jonathan Lyon established his auction house, Lyon & Turnbull in 1826, making it the oldest auction house in Scotland today. It is also the largest independent auction house in the U.K. with a base in Edinburgh and operates on a global scale by providing valuations and auction services. The high-quality auction house specializes in Scottish paintings, British & European paintings, Asian works of art, fine art, antiques, books, furniture, jewelry, and contemporary art and design and hosts no less than 30 auctions annually.

Auction Previews & News

11 Results
  • Auction Result, Press Release
    Stylish MODERN MADE auction a success for Lyon & Turnbull in London

    Lyon & Turnbull’s MODERN MADE auction at The Mall Galleries in London on October 23 proved a  resounding success. The multi-discipline sale of modern and contemporary art, design and craft  posted £800,000*, striking a chord with clients for whom 2020 has been a year to focus on the  home. “At this difficult moment, some collectors do have extra disposable income and more time to  devote to their passion” said Head of Sale Philip Smith . “This type of sale is a perfect arena to  starting a new collection, further their interest in the fields or look for an investment for the future.”  William Ratcliffe (British 1870-1955) The Red Curtain, circa 1916 -Ly…ull Modern Made.jpg Important works from across the Modern British canon provided some of the high notes, headlined  at £25,000* by The Red Curtain, a key Camden Town school work by William Ratcliffe (1870-1955).  Dated to c.1916 - and included in The London Group held that year at the Goupil Gallery - this  heavily impastoed oil shares many compositional similarities to The Artist’s Room, Letchworth in The  Tate Gallery collection. Both works are thought to depict the Arts and Crafts style sitting room of 102  Wilbury Road in the new garden city of Letchworth - the home of fellow artist Stanley and Signe  Parker. Ratcliffe and Parker (whose father was one of the architects of Letchworth) met while  students at the Manchester School of Art.  Sir Cedric Morris, continued his market purple patch when The Atlas Mountains, Morocco doubled  hopes at £24,375*. The artist-plantsmen is best known for his vibrant botanical studies painted in his  beloved Suffolk but this landscape was painted sometime between 1918 and 1926 during a winter  trip away. Each year Cedric Morris and his partner Arthur Lett-Haines closed the East Anglian School  of Painting and Drawing they ran from Benton End between March and October in order to travel  abroad. This painting has been given by the artist to Professor Bullock of the Old Rectory, Fen Ditton,  Cambridgeshire.  A new addition to the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Howard Hodgkin's work is the 1981 study  Untitled…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Lyon & Turnbull Nov. 2-3 auction shines spotlight on British design icons Archibald Knox & Charles Rennie Mackintosh

    Celebrity collectors of Knox’s Celtic-inspired silver and pewter wares include Brad Pitt EDINBURGH, Scotland – Lyon & Turnbull’s highly anticipated Decorative Arts: Design Since 1860 auction on November 2-3 includes important works by both Archibald Knox (1864-1933) and Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928). It is a live online auction with in-person previewing of goods available at the company’s historic Edinburgh saleroom. Archibald Knox’s designs for Liberty & Co., are very well documented, especially his designs for the “Tudric” and “Cymric” ranges, which the luxury department store in London famously marketed. Today, more than a century after Knox’s wares were first showcased at Liberty’s Regent Street venue, a legion of fans – including celebrities – compete to acquire the artist’s metalware designs at auction and elsewhere. Among those known to admire and collect Knox’s designs is Hollywood actor and film producer Brad Pitt. It has even been suggested that his 12-year-old son Knox was named after Archibald Knox. with ebonized plinth and shell-inlaid handles, the upper section with two doors flanked by uprights pierced by squares, the base with single paneled door enclosing a single drawer and a shelf, 36cm wide, 122cm high, 35.5cm deep Some of the finest examples of Knox wares seen in the marketplace for many years are entered in Lyon & Turnbull’s November 2-3 auction. Estimated at £20,000-£30,000 ($26,000-$39,000) is a rare, circa-1900, extra-size Tudric pewter and abalone clock – a minimalist form thought to have been inspired by the Celtic standing stones of Knox’s native Isle of Man. At 25cm high, this piece is considerably larger than its smaller counterpart, which measures around 16cm high. Knox is known to have produced only a few extra-size clocks during his Liberty period, and it is possible that the rare example offered by Lyon & Turnbull was produced as a special commission. decorated oak, with rectangular top and single drop leaf above square tapered legs linked by stretchers and terminating in brass caps and castors, the whole with stenciled checker decoration, 122cm long, 58.5cm deep (closed), 86cm deep (open), 76cm high A previously unrecorded oak gate-leg table by Charles Rennie…

  • Artists, Auction Industry
    Artist to Know: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

    Lyon & Turnbull Offers Painting from Scottish Abstract Artist During World War II, Scottish artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham sought refuge in a small Cornwall town called St Ives. She believed that the sea air would improve her health, and the remote location would shield her from the war. Barns-Graham instead found herself in the company of Britain’s leading Modernist painters, an environment that helped grow a passion for abstraction. Decades later, she would be recognized as one of Scotland’s most prominent women artists. A painting from Barns-Graham will highlight Lyon & Turnbull’s upcoming post-war art auction. The sale will begin at 10:00 AM BST (5:00 AM EDT) on October 23rd, 2020. Before placing a bid, learn more about Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in her studio, 1985. Image from David Crane for the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust. The child of a prominent landed family, Barns-Graham enjoyed early opportunities at the Edinburgh College of Art. The relationships she formed during those academic years connected her to the St Ives artist group, which came into its own during the 1940s and 50s. A distinct interplay of light and beautiful scenery kept Barns-Graham near the Cornwall shores. However, the community quickly grew crowded and competitive, qualities that eventually weakened the movement. By the 1960s, Barns-Graham had grown apart from her St Ives peers to start personalizing her abstract paintings. They became more geometric and defined, characteristics that ran parallel to her marital troubles and subsequent divorce. The artist’s style grew increasingly experimental as well. For a time, she repeatedly painted square blocks of color to examine how parts form a whole. “I can’t stop,” she said in a 1966 interview after years of painting the squares. “They have endless possibilities.” Available in the upcoming Lyon & Turnbull event is an example of these square paintings. The untitled piece was completed in 1960, right when Barns-Graham’s obsession with the shape began. “This work reads like a study or experimental exercise, in which she tests the vibrations provoked by the juxtaposition of contrasting, often jarring, colours,” the auction house states in the lot essay. It is offered with…

  • Auction Result
    Lyon & Turnbull announces results of ‘Five Centuries’ auction in Edinburgh

    A rare 17th century Indo-Portuguese embroidered coverlet worked in chain-stitched yellow silk on a cotton ground with a central profile portrait of a ruler within bands of musicians, hunters, boats, fish and animals sold for £18,750. EDINBURGH.-Lyon & Turnbull’s Five Centuries auction in Edinburgh on September 2-3 was hugely successful – thanks in no small part to a selection of furniture and works of art from Balcarres House, Fife, home of the Earls of Crawford & Balcarres. Balcarres House, commanding a view across the Firth of Forth, has been home to the Lindsay family since 1595. The 206 lots of furniture and works of art provided a cross-section of life in a grand country mansion – and evidence that the British country house look has never really fallen from fashion. A total of 1836 bidders registered for the sale – some 1626 of them choosing to participate across four online bidding platforms. “The collection provided a rare glimpse into another world and a time gone by, and it truly captured the spirit we aim to achieve in our ‘Five Centuries’ auctions” said specialist and Head of Sale, Douglas Girton. “From the rare and beautiful study of Bacchus and Ariadne by Giuseppe Piamontini (1664-1742), to the barn-found objects such as a rare Victorian bicycle, buyers responded with huge enthusiasm”. “It was thrilling to witness such lively bidding across all collecting categories. I was particularly encouraged to see so much interest in traditional 18th century furniture, which goes against everything we’ve been hearing recently. I’m delighted for our vendors, who’ve had to wait so long to see their items go under the gavel. It was worth the wait!” The 27cm high Piamontini terracotta represented an exciting addition to the sculptor’s oeuvre. Giuseppe Piamontini was a close follower, only 12 years younger, of Giambattista Foggini (1652-1725), founder of the school of Florentine late Baroque sculpture. In fact, this particular model, known in a number casts, was once attributed to Foggini before a full-size marble version dated 1732 and signed by Piamontini came to light in 1991. Dr Charles Avery, former deputy keeper of…

  • Auction Industry
    Three centuries of European furniture and works of art from historic Scottish country house to be offered at auction

    Flemish Mythological Tapestry of Dido and Aenaes. Estimate: £6000 - 8000 + fees. Photo: Lyon & Turnbull. EDINBURGH.- This September Lyon & Turnbull’s Five Centuries auction in Edinburgh will include a selection of furniture and works of art from Balcarres House, Fife, home of the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres. Balcarres House, commanding a view across the Firth of Forth, has been home to the Lindsay family since 1595. The furniture and works of art presented in the auction on 3rd September provide a cross-section of life in a grand country house. Through these pieces, a glimpse into the public and private lives of the previous generations who called Balcarres home, is offered. “The collection provides us with a rare glimpse into another world and a time gone by, and it truly captures the spirit we aim to achieve in our ‘Five Centuries’ auctions. From the rare and beautiful terracotta figure study of Bacchus and Ariadne by Giuseppe Piamontini (1664-1742), to the everyday objects like the collection of copper kitchen wares, the selection encompasses the life of a grand country house.” - Specialist and Head of Sale, Douglas Girton. The property of the Earls of Crawford & Balcarres on offer spans over three centuries of European art and interiors. Feature items include: an interesting Flemish tapestry, dating from 17th-18th century, depicting the legend of Dido and Aenaes, estimated at £6,000-8,000*; and a fascinating 17th century terracotta sculpture of Bacchus and Ariadne attributed to Italian sculptor Giuseppe Piamontini, estimated at £3,000-5,000*. Moving into the 19th century, on offer is a remarkable French Florentine marble and pietra dura mantel clock by Paris maker Hunziker, with a beautiful lapis lazuli dial, expected to reach between £2000-3000*, and a rare pair of French Carton Moule ‘seaside’ dolls, dating to around 1800, and estimated at £1,000-1,500*, as well as over 200 lots from the attics and stores of the house to include furniture, clocks, pictures and works of art. Lord Balniel and heir apparent to the 29th Earl of Crawford, commented “Balcarres continues to be our family home as we continue into the 21st century. It has…

  • Auction Result
    A shot in the arm for traditional Scottish pictures

    Robert Brough R.A., A.R.S.A (Scottish 1872-1905), Breton Women by Street Light. Sold for £30,000. EDINBURGH.- Huge confidence was shown in the market for Scottish paintings at a specialist sale offered by Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh on July 15. This remarkable sale, that attracted close to 500 international bidders competing via remote means, shot over its top estimate and generated a selling rate of 97%, with 100 of 103 lots offered sold. Nick Curnow, Vice Chairman and Head of Paintings said the sale demonstrated great confidence – and a distinct uplift – in the market. “We were delighted to see an increased interest in traditional pictures, and continued competition on the big names of Scottish art.” There are few bigger names in Scottish Victorian art than William McTaggart (1835-1910). He remained loyal to his heritage throughout his career, when asked to follow his contemporaries to London he answered simply: “No, I would rather be first in my own country than second in any other.” He painted the coastline of the Firth of Forth on many occasions, his 26 x 27in (66 x 70cm) oil The Fleet Leaving Port Seton Harbour typical in its broad, expressive handling of paint and en-plein air technique. It was guided at £10,000-15,000 but found many admirers before it sold at £45,000. Joseph Farquharson (1846-1935), known particularly for his dramatic scenes of sheep in glittering, technicolour snow, showed another side of his art and lifestyle in a relatively small 18in x 12in (46cm x 31cm) oil titled The Garden at Finzean. Finzean was the family estate in Aberdeenshire Farquharson, a Scottish laird as well as a celebrated landscape painter, inherited in 1918 with this oil depicting the colourful patterns of border flowers on a summer’s day. It trebled hopes at £28,750. Robert Brough’s (1872-1905) art is often overshadowed by the drama of his untimely death: he suffered horrific burns in a train collision outside of Sheffield. A protégé of John Singer Sargent, the older artist rushed to comfort him in his final days and curated a memorial exhibition in celebration of his talent. He wrote: “. . . the…

  • Auction Result
    Lockdown auction held behind closed doors includes £45,000 Beijing enamel vase

    The Qianlong (1736-95) mark and period painted enamel lotus vase sold at £45,000. EDINBURGH.- A rare Chinese imperial vase found in a Scottish country house topped the Asian Art sale held ‘behind closed doors’ by Lyon & Turnbull on May 13. The Qianlong (1736-95) mark and period painted enamel lotus vase sold at £45,000 was one of 14 lots consigned by the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres of Balcarres House in Fife. The estate, commanding a view across the Firth of Forth, has been home to the Lindsay family since 1595. Decorated with a delicate floral design against a vibrant yellow ground, the 27cm vase is of a type made in the 18th century at the Imperial Workshops in the Forbidden City in Beijing. At Balcarres for several generations, it was probably among the collection of Chinese literature and works of art amassed by the 25th Earl (1812-1880) and his son the 26th Earl (1847-1913) and now distributed amongst several British institutions. It was not in perfect condition. After careful research by specialists, it was revealed that holes to either side of the neck of the vase suggested it once had a pair of bronze dragon-shaped handles, similar perhaps to those that adorn two pairs of enamel vases of this type in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei. The Asian art auction calendar has been much changed by Covid-19 restrictions, with the traditional May series of sales in London postponed until later in the year. However, in the wake of a successful series of ‘live online’ sales during the lockdown period, Lyon & Turnbull chose to keep the date in the diary. Despite the absence of Far Eastern buyers in the room, auctioneer and managing director Gavin Strang took bids across four different international platforms and bi-lingual telephones via video-conferencing software. More than 500 bidders registered their interest. Grace Tu, Head of Asian Art at Lyon & Turnbull commented: "The sale attracted a great level of interest from a wide range of international markets, especially Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, India, USA, Canada and UK. Our internet bidding system,…

  • Auction Preview
    The Classic Tradition : European Art from 15th to 19th Centuries

    Several Baroque paintings by prolific French artists depicting landscapes, portraits, and religious scenes will be presented in the upcoming Lyon & Turnbull auction. The Deposition, by Eustache Le Sueur, reflects the Baroque style as well as the artist’s signature use of color and lighting. Also available is a portrait of John Julius Augustine by Sir Thomas Lawrence, a leading English painter of the early 19th century. Lawrence played an instrumental role in the founding of the National Gallery in London.  Notable sculptures available in this auction include a work attributed to Gervais I Delabarre, titled Virgin and Child. This terracotta piece captures the mother’s face with classical details, while her child’s hand reaches toward her chest. Interested collectors or admirers of European art can explore the full catalog and register to bid online on Lyon & Turnbull. 

  • Auction Preview
    African & Oceanic Art, Antiquities and Natural History

    Python was one of two vase painters from ancient Italy whose names have survived with their works. Python painted in the red-figure style, largely capturing traditional mythological and Dionysian themes. Two known signed works by Python reside in the British Museum and the Paestum Museum. Highlighted in the upcoming African & Oceanic Art, Antiquities, and Natural History auction, presented by Lyon & Turnbull, is a bell-shaped vase attributed to Python. Designed for the mixing of wine and water, this vase shows a young Dionysus wearing a wreath with a thyrsus in one hand. In the other, he is shown offering a phiale to a nude and bearded Silenos.  An ancient Celtic shield from the fifth century B.C. is also highlighted. Produced from a single sheet of bronze, the design features concentric bands rising into a dome and several diamond-shaped perforations. The shield was designed to be worn by Celtic elites and displayed at festivals and religious events. Also available in this auction are helmets from various civilizations, including an Illyrian-type Greek helmet. Passed from father to son, ancient Greek soldiers prized these helmets. Browse the full catalog and register to bid on Lyon & Turnbull.

  • Auction Industry
    Lyon & Turnbull’s Contemporary & Post-War Art sale includes works by Nan Goldin

    Nan Goldin, Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a Taxi, NYC, 1991. Cibachrome print, A.P., signed, titled, editioned and dated verso, unframed, 71cm x 101cm (28in x 39.75in). Estimate: £6,000 - £8,000 + fees - to be offered at auction 16 April. EDINBURGH.- Influenced by the fashion photography of Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, Goldin's earliest photographic works are portraits of close friends glamorously dressed in drag. She intended her work to be an homage to their beauty and courage; exploring drag and its ability to fulfil the fantasy of reconstructed identities. Nan Goldin is an American photographer best-known for her deeply personal and candid portraiture. Her photographs serve to document herself and those closest to her, particularly the LGBTQ community and associated heroin-addicted subcultures. Influenced by the fashion photography of Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, Goldin's earliest photographic works are portraits of close friends glamorously dressed in drag. From the 1970s and throughout the 1980s, while she was living in New York, Goldin continued to socialise with and photograph people of ambiguous gender. She intended her work to be an homage to their beauty and courage; exploring drag and its ability to fulfil the fantasy of reconstructed identities. When Goldin first encountered drag queens in 1972, she quickly became obsessed. She explained: “I was eighteen and felt like I was a queen too- they became my whole world. Part of my worship of them involved photographing them. I wanted to pay homage, to show them how beautiful they were. I never saw them as men dressing up as women, but as something entirely different - a third gender that made more sense than either of the other two. I accepted them as they saw themselves; I had no desire to unmask them with my camera.” The Other Side, p.5.) Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a Taxi, a work to be offered by Lyon & Turnbull on 16 April, is part of a large series of colour photographs of glamorous drag queens taken by Goldin in New York, Paris and Berlin in 1991. This picture was taken in a cab as her…

  • Auction Result
    Hundreds of Decorative Arts & Design fans join Lyon & Turnbull’s auction from comfort of homes

    Thomas Whalen (1903-1975) marble panel, Dancing Figures, c.1930, marble panel, inscribed with monogram. Sold for £13,125. Auction record for the artist. EDINBURGH.-Lyon & Turnbull held a remarkably successful sale of 19th and 20th century works of art on April 1 – the firm’s first using the ‘live online’ format. Although held ‘behind closed doors’ in Edinburgh, the sale titled Decorative Arts: Design from 1860 attracted close to 1400 registered bidders across three online bidding platforms achieving a sale total of £570,000* and an excellent selling rate of 83%. With only occasional short breaks from the rostrum, Managing Director Gavin Strang sold 600 lots solo for a heroic 12 hours. Respecting current rules of social distancing, he was alone in the saleroom, fielding bids via video-conferencing software from three online platforms and phones operated by staff from home. Billing and payments will also be handled from home offices. "It was certainly the longest time I have ever spent in the rostrum, but it was also one of the most rewarding” said Gavin. “The bids came thick and fast from an unseen online audience of bidders who ensured I was never bored – if there hadn’t been so much bidding I might have been finished in half the time, so I’m not complaining!” He emphasised the need to continue trading while keeping the saleroom closed to the public. “I am glad we were able to able to offer the excitement of a live auction in a way which allowed all our staff and clients to stay safely at home. There may be lessons we will learn from this for the future of the business." Vendors had valiantly supported Lyon & Turnbull’s move to sell online in what are hugely difficult circumstances for the fine art auction business. They were repaid with some exceptional prices. The sale’s leading price was £35,000* (estimate £15,000-20,000) for a 48cm high cast of Sir George Frampton’s (1860-1928) most famous work, the sculpture of Peter Pan sited at the spot in Kensington Gardens where the magical boy appears each night in J M Barrie's Little White Bird. The original…