Matthew Barton announces European and Asian Works of Art auction

Art Daily
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'Prayers and Recitations at the Muharram Festival’, Circa of Sewak Ram. Patna, India, circa 1820-30. Estimate: £5,000-£7,000.
‘Prayers and Recitations at the Muharram Festival’, Circa of Sewak Ram. Patna, India, circa 1820-30. Estimate: £5,000-£7,000.

LONDON.-Matthew Barton‘s European and Asian Works of Art auction of 374 lots encompasses centuries of craftsmanship; when browsing the catalogue, the diversity of pieces and ‘cross pollination’ of styles will stimulate a collector’s interest in influences brought along the trade routes and spread through expanding kingdoms and empires.

Among the religious works of art, starting in South East Asia, a highlight from Cambodia is a Pre Rup style grey sandstone head of Harihara, a Hindu deity combining Vishnu and Shiva, circa 10th century, estimated at £4,000-£6,000. The Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian sculptures in the sale include a Jain brass shrine depicting Candraprabha, from Gujurat, circa 16th century, this has an estimate of £1,500-£2,500. Stucco and terracotta heads of Buddha as well as grey schist fragments from Gandhara (now a region in both Pakistan and Afghanistan) date from the 3rd to the 5th centuries. In the 1st century, rulers of the Kushan empire of which Gandhara was part, maintained contacts with Rome, and the classical aesthetic blends with Buddhist iconography in these pieces. Estimates start at £150. In contrast, an Ayuthia bronze of Buddha from Thailand reflects more the Gupta style from India. It is 16th / 17th century, with an estimate of £1,000-£1,500.

The Chinese section includes Kangxi (1662-1722) and Guangxu (1875 – 1908) pieces among the porcelain, one particular highlight is a pair of Chinese Guangxu (1875 – 1908) bowls and covers estimated at £2,500 – £3,500. In this section there is also 18th century celadon pieces, 19th century Chinese silver and 18th and 19th century Chinese jade. For beginner-collectors of Chinese works of art who may hesitate to buy at vertiginous heights there is scope to start here, estimates begin at £100 and go up to in the region of £3,000.

The Indian paintings section begins with a very European looking ‘British warships off an Italian coast’, from Kutch, Western India, 18th century, estimated at £1,000-£1,500. The interest in Western prints amongst Indian artists resulting from increasing interaction with Europe is well known, but the artists of Kutch from the mid-18th century onwards, developed a unique style, with works ranging from exact copies of European scenes to local scenes with exotic European features. Good figurative Indian miniatures follow, a highlight of many includes ‘Prayers and Recitations at the Muharram Festival’, Circa of Sewak Ram. Patna, India, circa 1820-30. This has an estimate of £5,000-£7,000.

The silver section also has a richesse of objects. The paired down aesthetic seen earlier in the sale among the Japanese bronze Meiji pieces comes back into 20th century taste with a stylish Danish ‘Grape’ tazza, post 1945, designed by George Jensen in 1918, Copenhagen, with an estimate of £1000-£1,500. Particularly glamorous silver pieces include an American cocktail set, Tiffany & Co, New York, circa 1955, carrying an estimate of £2,500-£3,500. A George V silver cafe-au-lait set with tray, Liberty’s, Birmingham, 1914-18, is estimated at £2,000 – £3,000. Among the 18th century silver pieces, a George III silver basket, Robert Hennell, London 1777, has an estimate of £4,000-£6,000. Further back in time in the capital, a Commonwealth silver porringer, SA in monogram, London, 1658 is estimated at £800- £1,200.

A beautifully cast and chased George IV basket, 1822, made by William Elliott has an intriguing link to the author William Makepeace Thackeray. William Elliott (1773-1855) was apparently the main supplier of silver to the retailer Thomas Hamlet (c.1770-1853). Hamlet, rising from murky origins, became one of the most fascinating figures peopling London’s early 19th century trade in luxury goods, appearing in a number of works by Thackeray as the great jeweller Mr Polonius (‘The History of Samuel Titmarsh and the Great Hoggarty Diamond’, ‘Vanity Fair’ and ‘The Bedford Row Conspiracy’). In the 1820s and 30s he was thought to be immensely wealthy, supplying to members of the royal family, getting involved with the Aldobrandini tazze, setting up a theatre and amassing an important picture collection. To the surprise of his contemporaries however, the structure of his fortune proved to be built on shaky foundations: the edifice collapsed and he was declared bankrupt in 1841. Estimate: £1,800-£2,200.

Among the textiles a 19th century Ottoman silk embroidered cotton panel is estimated at £1000 – £1,500 while an applique felt Mihrab hanging, Banya Luka, Ottoman Balkans from the first half of the 19th century has an estimate of £1,200 – £1,800. The objects of vertu include a Russian miniature casket, Pavel Ovchinnikov, Moscow, 1898-1908 estimated at: £2,000 – £3,000 and a ruby figure of an owl, Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio, Lima, Peru, circa 2000, is estimated at £1,000 – £1,500.

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