Former Vogue editor auctions contents of Lake Como villa, with antique sculptures, paintings and artefacts expected to fetch £360k
An exquisite private collection of antique paintings, sculptures and furniture owned by one of Europe's most accomplished former fashion editors is set to go under the hammer.
La Rosa di Montevecchia: An Italian Villa comprises over 200 lots found in the collector's Lake Como home, all reflecting her passion for the natural world, and expects to fetch over £360,000 in total.
As the voice of luxury fashion magazines including Harper's Bazaar Italy, Vogue Italy and Vogue France, the unnamed former editor had an eye for design and a talent for mixing different periods and styles, and items on offer range from £500 to £25,000.
The sale includes a selection of items that demonstrate the collector's affinity with wildlife and flowers.
Among the highlights are two 18th Century carved wood lambs, estimated to fetch between £1,000 and £1,500, and a pair of 19th Century carved wood lions, expected to sell for a price between £1,000 and £1,500.
There is also an oil painting of Orpheus charming the animals by a follower of Jacob Bouttats, estimated between £5,000 and £8,000.
Plus a pair of late 17th to early 18th Century paintings by Angelo Maria Crivelli of turkeys and landscape and storks in a landscape, estimated between £6,000 and £8,000 for the pair.
In addition to antique sculpture and paintings, the sale includes a selection of highly decorated Maiolica ceramics, which auctioneers Christie's, the house conducting the sale, expect to fetch £800 to £1,200.
As former editor of Harper's Bazaar Italy, Vogue Italy and Vogue France, the collector had an eye for design and a talent for mixing different periods and styles
Painting capturing nature and the wider world such as these are expected to fetch around £8,000 each
A pair of late 17th to early 18th Century paintings by Angelo Maria Crivelli of turkeys in a landscape and storks in a landscape, estimated between £6,000 and £8,000 for the pair
Among more unusual items is a French birdcage from the late 19th to early 20th Century (estimate: £700-£1,000).
Located between the bustling city of Milan and the rolling countryside around Lake Como, the majestic 18th Century villa that housed the items is set within a spectacular garden, brimming with over 300 species of rare, near-extinct roses.
For many years a tranquil haven for an elegant businesswoman, the villa witnessed a more turbulent past.
It was once owned by an English noblewoman who was heavily involved in the 'Risorgimento', the unification struggle of the 1860s.
The auction takes place on 1 July at Christie's in South Kensington, London.
Own a piece of Abbey Road (without having to nick it) as hundreds of famous London street signs go under the hammer
If famous road signs are right up your street, this auction is for you.
Signs for streets including Abbey Road and Downing Street are going under the hammer as part of a sell-off of old signage by Westminster City Council and Transport for London.
The two authorities are upgrading signposting in the capital as part of the Legible London campaign.
Estimates range from £20 to more than £1,000 for each of the 362 signs, which also include those which have directed tourists to Madame Tussauds, the Royal Academy of Arts and the London Aquarium.
The sale is set to take place on May 21 at at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex.
Dozens of road signs are stolen every year, with famous of funny streets repeatedly targeted by trophy hunters.
The Welsh village of Llanddewi-Brefi had its sign stolen numerous times after the name featured in a Little Britain sketch and the city council had to start mounting the Abbey Road sign on buildings to stop it being taken.
Robert Davis, deputy leader of the Tory-run council, said: 'London is home to some of the most famous street signs in the world and buyers now have the chance to acquire a genuine piece of the capital's history.
'More than 15 million visitors came to London last year and they were greeted and guided to historic locations by signs like these.'
The sale of the signposts, which were installed during the 1990s, has been described by auctioneers as an 'absolute one-off'.
More than 360 old black finger signs were also on sale as part of the Legible London campaign
James Rylands, director of Summers Place Auctions, said: 'This is a rare opportunity to pick up a real piece of London's history.
'Estimates range from £20 to over £1,000 and buyers can buy a single sign to use as a signature piece displayed indoors or purchase a number of signs and display them on a post, just as they would have been seen in the capital.'
He added: 'If you imagine you travelled on the train, commuting for 40 years, this is your chance to pick up a sign for perhaps Victoria Station, that you know so well.
'I honestly think it will be huge. We have had a lot of interest already. Last year London had more than 15 million visitors.
'Obviously the big attractions were the Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics. There are lots of visitors from overseas who want a souvenir of their time in London.'
The sale of the signposts, which were installed during the 1990s, has been described by auctioneers as an 'absolute one-off'
Source: Daily Mail
An historic Chinese vase made for an 18th century emperor has sold at auction for £50,000 - but could have been worth ten times that value had a previous owner not drilled a hole in the bottom to turn it into a lamp.
The centuries-old vase was made for the Chinese Emperor Qianlong, but its hugely important seal of authentication was destroyed when a two centimetre hole was drilled in its bottom to feed an electrical cable through.
The former owner of the antique even customised it with fittings and a garish lampshade, giving it pride of place in his hallway.
Cut price: Auctioneer Amy Brenan, left, carefully holds the £50,000 vase, right, that could have sold for up to £500,000
But experts believe that if he hadn't have drilled the hole, then the 15 inch tall vase may have sold for up to £500,000.
The vase sold instead for £47,800 when it was sold at Duke's Auctioneers of Dorchester, Dorset.
The bottle vase dates from the 18th century is likely to have been made for the Imperial household.
A relative of the unnamed owner bought it off a London-based dealers at the turn of the 20th century and converted it into a lamp years later.
It was inherited by the last owner who has kept it ever since at his home on the Isle of Wight.
Andrew Mulborough, a specialist in Asian art at Duke's, said he was invited to the property to inspect other antiques when he saw the vase out of the corner of his eye.
He said: 'It was on a floor-standing cabinet in the hallway. I initially thought that it couldn't be original and asked the owner if I could have a closer look.
'As soon as I touched it I knew it was a fabulous piece of Chinese porcelain.
'I was hoping to find an Imperial mark on the bottom of it but tragically there was a hole from where the mark would have been.
'My heart did sink and the joy of finding the vase was equalled to my disappointment.
'Given the sheer quality of the workmanship on the vase, which was top notch, it is highly likely there would have been an Imperial reign mark on it.
'These marks tell you during which reign it was made and also that it was made for the Imperial household.
'The owner told me it wasn't him who made the drill hole. He was a little disappointed but just said that was the way it was.
'I brought it back to Dorchester and very carefully removed the lamp fittings around the top of it.'
The bottle vase was decorated with buddhistic lions in underglaze blue and red, a technically difficult process.
Guy Schwinge, a partner at Duke's, added: 'The irony is that if the vase had not been drilled and turned into a lamp base, it could easily have fetched £100,000.
'If the Imperial reign mark was still intact, the vase would have sold for more than £500,000.'
Ceramics from the Quinlong period are highly-sought after, especially among the newly rich Chinese who are buying back their lost heritage.
In 2010, a pair of Qianlong vases which were given to a couple as a wedding gift and kept on a bedroom shelf as ornaments fetched £500,000 at the same auction house.
Later the same year a blue and white dragon vase from the same era, valued at just £10,000, sold for almost £5million at an auction in San Francisco.
Earlier this year, another vase which was valued at £10,000 to £15,000 sold for almost £1million in Leyburn North Yorkshire.
A pair of Gandhi’s sandals from the 1920s that were given by the great holy man to a friend are expected to fetch more than £15,000 at UK auction Mullock's in Shropshire.
This iconic footwear has a half-inch heel, which would have boosted the diminutive peace activist's 5ft 4inch frame.
The size eight sandals, said to be worth £15,000, form part of a £250,000 archive of material relating to the Indian hero that is being sold.
Other lots include a shawl, hand-woven by thread that Gandhi spun himself, his bedsheet, prayer beads and photographs.
There are also three of Gandhi’s delicately carved miniature figures depicting the wise monkeys; speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil.
Gandhi gave many of the items to a close friend in 1924 when he was living at Palm Bun at Juhu in Maharashtra, India. They have been passed down the friend's family over the years who have now decided to sell the collection.
Richard Westwood-Brookes, the expert from Mullock’s, said: 'There is a huge collection of Gandhi material in the sale.
'It includes his leather sandals which really are iconic and were given to a friend in 1924.
'They are not in the best condition, but that doesn’t really matter to serious collectors.
'We have grown a reputation for selling items of Indian origin in recent years, and buyers come from around the world.
'Items that belonged to Gandhi are accorded great significance and status by many people in India and beyond.
'They are treated often has holy relics and the market is growing, particularly in the US, as well as in India.
'Other items in the sale in include many photographs and even his prayer beads.
'Among the photographs is one showing him in a smart suit and carrying a hat from when he worked in the legal profession - as far removed from his usual image as it is possible to get.'
Not only are the sandals part of the famous image of the Gandhi, along with his spectacles and loin cloth, but they have spawned a phrase.
‘Gandhi’s flip-flop’ entered the lexicon to describe a dry mouth the night after drinking heavily.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi - known as Mahatma Gandhi - was the leader of Indian nationalism and was famous for using non-violent civil disobedience.
He lived modestly and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn he had hand spun on a charkha.
Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 by Nathuram Godse who thought he was too sympathetic to India’s Muslims.
The auction takes place on May 21, with the catalogue viewable on UKauctioneers.com
SOURCE: MAIL ONLINE
With her mouse-brown curls and shy grin, the pretty girl in the seventh row of the black and white school photo bears little resemblance to the pouting blonde bombshell she would become.
But she does have a glint in her eye that suggests she knew she was heading for greater things.
In 1941, when the class photograph was taken, the future Marilyn Monroe was Norma Jeane Baker; just another pupil at Ralph Wardo Emerson Junior High School in Los Angeles.
The photograph, which is to be auctioned next month, bears an inscription on the back by the then 15-year-old Norma Jeane, dedicating it to a classmate of hers named George, a friend she describes as a 'super swell fellow'.
On the back of the 24-inch print the future film star wrote: 'To "Georgie". A super, swell fellow, in fact really keen! (I really mean it Geo.) Norma Jeane Baker.'
The black and white photo, which is now being sold by a private collector, is expected to sell for $9,000 (£5,900) when it is auctioned by Bonhams in Los Angeles on May 5.
It was taken in the summer of 1941, a year before Monroe married her neighbour's son, Jim Dougherty, in a bid to avoid having to go into care when her guardians moved away.
She signed with 20th Century Fox in 1945, Columbia Pictures in 1948, and by 1952 was being described by Life magazine as 'the talk of Hollywood'.
The 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, featuring her famous rendition of Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend, cemented Marilyn Monroe's celebrity, and smash hit soon followed smash hit.
Lucy Carr, a specialist in entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams, said: 'Marilyn had a famously difficult childhood and the period this photograph captures, when she was living with family friend Ana Lower, was one of the few times of stability and relative happiness in her early life.
'Her childlike appearance in this photograph is quite different than the platinum blonde bombshell image she would become known for.
'Photographs signed by Marilyn as Norma Jeane Baker are quite rare and sought after by collectors, and only a few other signed examples of this Junior High School class photograph have ever come to auction.'
She added: 'A variety of collectors are interested in Marilyn Monroe. Her appeal continues to grow and truly spans the globe.
'In the past, we have received bids on Marilyn Monroe memorabilia from clients in the US, Europe and Asia, as well as South America and the Middle East.'
Marilyn Monroe, as she became early on in her career, became a sought-after actress and appeared in hits including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot
Source: Daily Mail
A Noah's Ark of 18th century porcelain creatures said to be the most significant in the world has emerged - and is tipped to sell for up to £2million.
The magnificent menagerie features more than 140 ornate animals and birds, many of which come in matching pairs, made by famous German porcelain pioneers Meissen.
The pieces were hand-crafted in the 1730s and 1740s by Johann Kandler, who at the time was court sculptor to Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland.
Highlights include a 19-inch snuff-sniffing porcelain monkey worth £400,000 and a 17-inch pair of guinea fowl valued at £200,000, both commissioned in 1732 for the King of Poland's Japanese Palace in Dresden, Germany.
Other pristine pairs include parrots, bitterns, lions, cats and ducks - and all items bear the famous Meissen crossed swords logo.
The rare artefacts are from the private collection of British aristocrats Sir Gawaine and Lady Baillie, amassed at their West Sussex home.
Sir Gawaine, a racing driver in the 1950s and 1960s, inherited the beginnings of the collection from his Anglo-American heiress mother, Lady Baillie, who had started collecting Meissen ornaments at her home at Leeds Castle in Kent in the 1930s.
Experts have described the Meissen collection as the most significant to ever appear at auction and expect it to sell for up to £2million.
The collection was amassed by British aristocrats Sir Gawaine and Lady Baillie at their West Sussex home. Pictured are two £60,000 bitterns (left) and a porcelain monkey (right) is expected to sell for £400,000
Alice Bleuzen, ceramics expert at auctioneers Sotheby's, said: 'This is the most extensive collection of Meissen animals and birds ever seen.
'Each item is of the highest quality and 95 per cent of them are 18th century originals rather than 19th century reproductions.
'Porcelain is not easy to work with but Johann Kandler was a master and this is why Meissen sculptures became famous, luxury products.
'The auction represents a wonderful opportunity for collectors.
'There is something here for everyone with items ranging from a miniature hare valued at £400 to the almost life-size monkey sculpture at £400,000.
'Never before have Meissen items of such rarity appeared at auction.'
Craftsmanship: Up for auction is the biggest collection of Meissen animals ever. Pictured left are pied wagtails worth £20,000 and, right, two £40,000 parrots
A rare deep-blue diamond ring worth up to £1.5million could make history when it goes on sale.
The ‘fancy’ diamond - which will go under the hammer later this month - weighs 5.30 carats and is set in a Trombino ring made by renowned Italian jeweller Bulgari, who is favoured by Hollywood film stars.
The term ‘fancy’ is used to describe a diamond of intense colour, and the colour ‘fancy deep-blue’ is one of the rarest in the world.
The cushion-shaped diamond is set within a mount of brilliant-cut and baguette-cut diamonds. Blue diamonds are structurally very pure and account for less than 1 per cent of all diamonds mined.
The ring is thought to have been made in 1965 and is estimated to fetch up to £1.5million at Bonhams Fine Jewellery sale in Mayfair, central London, on April 24 at 2pm.
The world-record price for a fancy deep-blue diamond is £686,000 per carat but, according to staff at Bonhams, the Bulgari ring has the potential to break this.
Jean Ghika, director of the jewellery department, said: ‘There have only been 30 diamonds of this size and colour that have come up for sale globally over the last 10 years, which is a fraction of the percentage of white diamonds that have been sold during the same period of time.
'There are a number of people who are interested in this kind of stone because they don't come on the market very often'
Jean Ghika, Bonhams jewellery director
‘There are a number of people who are interested in this kind of stone because they don't come on the market very often. It attracts connoisseurs, collectors and people who just simply want to wear it because it's a wonderful stone.’
In September 2011 Bonhams sold a fancy vivid-blue diamond ring by Bulgari for £1.9million.
The ring, set with two pear-shaped diamonds, more than doubled the pre-sale estimate - which is why experts predict the Trombino Bulgari ring will produce another record-breaking sale.
American antiques have well established styles. In the early years, they tended to contrast with more ornate European styles, but eventually came to reflect and influence those across the Atlantic.
American antiques dates from the late Gothic period (1550-1625); in Europe this style was inspired by Roman architecture and was characterised by decorative panels and indigenous woods.
In America, this is usually called Early Colonial or Early American (1565-1700) and tended to be simpler and more rustic.
The period is divided into the Oak Age (1540-1660), Elizabethan (1558-1603). American Colonial (1600-1690) and Pilgrim Century (1600-1690)
Baroque (1620-1715) in Western Europe was characterised by ornate twisted columns and heavy moldings inspired by the Roman Catholic Church.
Comparable American antiques from the Pilgrim Century were far more austere and simple in style. This period encompasses Puritan (1645-1670) Pennsylvania Dutch (1670-1820) and Dutch Colonial (1694-1702).
The French-influenced Rococco in Europe (1695-1760) was a lighter version of Baroque.
This contrasted with Anglo-German styles favoured in America: William and Mary (1700-1725), Queen Anne (1720-1750), and Pennsylvania German (1720-1850). The Neo-Classical movement (1755-1830) in Europe saw the emergence of slender, less ornate styles and this was suited to the American style.
From this time on, American antiques began to mirror European styles – and also to influence the European market.
Americans readily adopted Chippendale (1755-1790) Hepplewhite and Sheraton (1790-1820), but also created new styles such as Shaker (1775-1870), the sharply geometric Federal styles (1780-1830) and neo-classicist Duncan Phyfe (1800-1850)
From this time on, European and American styles are practically the same: American antiques dealers refer to Victorian (1830-1880), Arts & Craft (1880-1900), Art Noveau (1900-1930) and Art Deco (1920-1930) just as we do.
Courtesy of Paul Sollom, Walsall, West Midlands. Source: Daily Mail April 6th 2013
Rare Turkish wine bottles from 16th century sold by Cornish family fetch world record price of £750k
Two rare 16th-century Turkish bottles have fetched a world record price of £758,500 at auction - more than five times their guide price.
Both made in the town of Iznik - famous for its ceramics - circa 1575, one of the bottles sold for £547,250 (including buyer's premium) and the second for £301,250.
Experts put the difference in price down to one being 'a rarer colour' than the other.
Used to hold wine and water during the Ottoman Empire, the bottles were sold by the Copeland family from Trelissick House, near Truro, Cornwall.
Roger Tappin, regional director of Bonhams auctioneers, said the price of the bottles had exceeded all expectations and was 'a new world record'.
He said they had survived '500 years of being shipped around' and their value was 'terribly difficult to assess because they were almost unique, perfect examples from that period'.
Iznik pottery is named after the Turkish town where it was made between the mid-15th and 17th centuries.
It is famed for its quality and detailed blue and white designs, often featuring flowers.
Pottery made in the town of Iznik in the 15th to 17th centuries is highly regarded. Iznik tiles decorate the London home of Victorian painter Lord Frederick Leighton (left) and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey (right)
Alice Bailey, head of Bonhams Islamic Department, said: 'To find one Iznik bottle of this type from the second half of the 16th century is very rare, but to come across two splendid examples in the same English collection is astonishing.
'The market for important Iznik ceramics is very strong, particularly amongst Turkish collectors, and these pieces certainly did not disappoint.'
The bottles came to the Copeland family through an ancestor, Leonard Daneham Cunliffe, who bought them from antiques dealer Frank Dickinson from his 104 New Bond Street Gallery in 1919.
Mr Cunliffe, who was deputy governor of the Bank of England and co-founder of the Cunliffe Brothers merchant bank, bought the Iznik bottles for £501 10s - worth approximately £11,000 today.
The banker owned a number of properties including the neo-classical Trelissick House, which passed to his step-daughter, politician Ida Copeland, when he died.
In 1955 Ida gave 376 acres of Trelissick gardens, parkland and woods to the National Trust, retaining use of the house itself for the Copeland family.
Trelissick House has remained the family home of the Copelands, and one of Ida's grandsons, William Copeland, still lives in the house with his family.
Mr Copeland has recently decided to move and the contents of the house will be sold on site by Bonhams.
He said: 'We have been guardians of these fine works for a number of years and now that we are moving locally it is time to pass them on for others to enjoy.'
The sale - including ceramics, furniture and silver - will take place in July and is estimated to raise between £1million and £1.5million.
An ancient Buddhist artefact discovered being used as a doorstep and valued at £30,000 has been sold for more than £500,000.
The granite relic was given to Bronwen Hickmott’s parents by a tea planter who returned to Britain from Sri Lanka in the 1950s.
Mrs Hickmott inherited the 2.4m-long (8ft) stone from her mother and father and began using it as a doorstep at her home in Exeter, Devon - affectionately calling it 'the pebble'.
But an expert who spotted the one tonne stone in a photograph later confirmed it was actually a Buddhist temple step - up to 1,300 years old.
It was put up for auction with a pre-sale estimate of £30,000 to £50,000 but sold yesterday for ten times as much - £553,250.
Mrs Hickmott said she was 'over the moon' at the sale, and that rival auction house Sotheby’s had previously shown no interest in helping her research the origin of what she called ‘The Pebble’.
And she told how she was also turned down by producers of BBC1’s Antiques Roadshow.
She likened the response of Sotheby’s and the BBC producers to that of shop staff in hit film Pretty Woman who famously refuse to serve Julia Roberts - and miss out on a fortune when she goes on a spending spree.
Mrs Hickmott said: 'They have had a Pretty Woman moment. It was a big mistake. I bet they are kicking themselves now.'
She added: 'We are over the moon. We did not have a clue what ‘The Pebble’ would sell for.
'It was very exciting and as the amount increased we were left speechless and holding our breath.
'I have loved ‘The Pebble’ virtually all my life. I always knew it was something special - but never knew how special.
'A few years back when I was trying to research what it was, Sotheby’s turned it down.
'I also tried the Antiques Roadshow but the producers said they knew nothing about it.'
It was not until Sam Tuke, from the Exeter branch of Bonhams, showed the step to the auction house’s art experts in London that its origin was identified.
Mrs Hickmott said: 'That is the first time we realised what we had got in the garden but we never expected it to make anywhere near as much money.
'We shall be sharing the proceeds with our family - our brothers and sisters and children.
'But for now we are celebrating in London. I am going shopping tomorrow.'
The museum piece from the Anuradhapura period, between 400BC to 1017AD, is decorated with carvings of lions, horses, elephants and birds.
It is said to symbolise the four stages life - growth, energy, power and forbearance.
Bonhams spokesman Julian Roup said: 'There was a huge amount of interest so it wasn’t that much of a shock, though we didn’t expect it to sell ten times the estimate.
'The Hickmotts are absolutely delighted. To say that they were astonished is something of an understatement.'
Sri Lanka’s ancient city of Anuradhapura is now a Unesco world heritage site.
It is just one of seven temple steps from the ancient Sri Lankan city of Anuradhapura left in existance today.
The popularity of ancient Eastern art has greatly increased in recent years and the step is expected to sell for a £30,000 to £50,000 when it goes on sale at an auction.
The city of Anuradhapura is the greatest monastic city of the ancient world that dates from the middle of the 5th century BC. It is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.