Chronology : 1640-1649 1840-1849 2000-2009 2003
1547 Queen Katherine Parr
2023 SOLD for £ 3.44M by Sotheby's
The fifth consort Catherine Howard was beheaded in 1542. Widowed for the second time in February 1543, Katherine was part of the household of Princess Mary, the daughter of Henry and the late and divorced Catherine of Aragon.
The ailing King Henry married Katherine in July 1543. A political and intellectual powerful figure in her own right and a religious and educational patron close to Protestantism, the new Queen was instrumental of reconciling Henry with his three children who will later reign in their turn, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth.
Henry died in January 1547. Katherine withdraw from the court, made her fourth wedding and died in her first childbirth in 1548.
A portrait in three quarter length of Katherine was probably painted in 1547 while she was the queen dowager, before the secrecy of her fourth marriage was broken. The lavishly dressed queen is identified by a crown topped brooch on her chest which is well described in the inventories of the jewels of Queens Catherine Howard and Katherine Parr. The artist is not identified but an earlier portrait of the queen is by the same hand.
This oil on panel 92 x 72 cm was sold for £ 3.44M from a lower estimate of £ 600K by Sotheby's on July 5, 2023, lot 6.
#AuctionUpdate Attributed to Master John, this portrait of Queen Katherine Parr is one of only two surviving near contemporary paintings of Katherine. Almost 200 years since it was last offered at auction, the work soars to £3,436,000, 4x its high estimate. #SothebysOldMasters pic.twitter.com/EVAnPE9DpY— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) July 5, 2023
mid 1560s Queen Elizabeth I
2007 SOLD for £ 2.6M by Sotheby's
A full length life size portrait where the standing queen is wearing a gown in scarlet satin and white silk displays the desired elegance and luxury also increased by pearls, gems and embroidery. A side panel displays a profusion of ripe fruit in line with the young maturity of the queen while the rest of the background is painted in gold. In her hands the glove is a symbol of power and the carnation flower is the symbol of an expected betrothal.
It was painted in the mid 1560s, in the follow of the draft proclamation, for the use of Hampden House, possibly with a suitor in mind. Once convincingly attributed to Steven van der Meulen in the follow of a similar full length portrait made in 1561, it was recently re-attributed to George Gower although the earliest documented works by this artist were made in 1573.
This oil on panel transferred to canvas 196 x 140 cm was sold for £ 2.6M from a lower estimate of £ 700K by Sotheby's on November 22, 2007, lot 4. The image is shared by Wikimedia,
1632 The Little Prince of Orange
2018 SOLD for $ 2.4M including premium
Van Dyck definitively left Antwerp in January 1632. Very cleverly he stopped at the court of The Hague to confirm his expertise by making portraits of the Prince of Orange and of his family. Relationships are close between Stuarts and Oranges. The agents of the King of England are around the corner and commission the artist to make an additional copy of his Orange portraits. The game is won : in April 1632 Van Dyck is triumphantly welcomed in London where he will remain until his death.
The stadhouder's heir is his son Willem who is almost six years old. The young boy is standing full length. He is richly dressed in a long gown in the golden orange color of the princely house of Orange, with lace collar and cuffs. The clothing is princely but the attitude is of any real child, lively and without any trace of childish complacency.
Several versions of this image exist but only two have autograph qualities. The oil on canvas 119 x 105 cm supplied to the stadhouder is kept in the Schloss Musigkau museum in Dessau. The other oil on canvas, 128 x 100 cm, is certainly the portrait of a young Dutch prince listed in the sale of the late King Charles's goods by the Commonwealth in 1652. It is estimated $ 2M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on February 1, lot 42.
The painting that comes at Sotheby's has recently been cleaned, revealing the qualities of an original. Pentimenti have been detected and two almost imperceptible but important details are better than in the Orange version : the curiosity expressed by the boy to an unidentified action out of field and the strength of his dog. From his stay in The Hague, Van Dyck already reserved the best of his art for the King of England.
Prince Willem was to marry in 1641 Princess Mary Henrietta, the eldest daughter of King Charles I. King William III of England was his posthumous son.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1641 Royal Children by Van Dyck
2018 SOLD for £ 5.9M by Christie's
When van Dyck began this new mission in 1632, the royal couple had two children, Charles and Mary. James, Elizabeth and Anne will be born later. The artist watches them grow.
The mother, Henriette, brought to the Stuart court her French elegance with luxurious fabrics. A portrait kept in the Boston Museum shows Mary in 1637. The six-year-old princess wears a long silk dress to which the artist's skill brings a lustrous appearance.
On May 2, 1641 Mary marries a prince of Orange. In the days that followed, van Dyck paints a new portrait similar to the previous one, on which the little girl now wears her wedding ring and the brooch offered by her newlywed.
Making autograph copies is a common practice of van Dyck. By the quality of dress and jewels and the transparency of the embroidery, the 158 x 109 cm autograph oil on canvas for sale by Christie's on December 6, 2018 is perhaps the original painting of 1641. It was sold for £ 5.9M, lot 15. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
2018 SOLD for £ 2.6M by Sotheby's
An autograph replica in the same size with a possible participation of the studio was sold for £ 790K by Sotheby's on December 5, 2018, lot 30. The figure of the young princess is identical but the ambience background has nearly vanished, and the spectacular coral pink gown worn at the wedding has become a saturated orange, probably to please the new Orange in-laws of the princess.
A portrait of the same format and same year features her brother the Prince of Wales later King Charles II, aged 11, in armor. It was probably since its creation a pendant with Mary's picture in orange. It was sold for £ 2.6M from a lower estimate of £ 2M for sale by Sotheby's in the same sale as above, lot 29. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
These portraits of an 11 year-old Charles II, when Prince of Wales, and his 9 year-old sister Mary, Princess Royal, were among the last works #VanDyck painted for his royal patron, Charles I. #SothebysMasters https://t.co/cGm7aFEAvb pic.twitter.com/lYbs1RzTEW— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) September 13, 2018
1847 Mauritius Stamps
The Invitation Cover
2021 SOLD for € 8.1M before fees by Gärtner
The printing plate is made in intaglio by a local engraver in imitation of the stamps then applicable in Great Britain with the profile of Queen Victoria.
The first impression is made with a unique copper plate on which a single figure of each value has been engraved. The inks are different, red orange for the penny and dark blue for the 2 pence and each copy is individually printed. The plaque was sold for € 1.23M by David Feldman on December 1, 2016.
The stamps are inscribed POST OFFICE on the left edge, which corresponds to the marks previously used by this post, and also to the first US stamps issued in the same year.
The issue of 500 stamps of each denomination is ready just in time to be used for an invitation to a costume ball at Government House. The postal rate is 1 penny for a delivery in Port Louis and 2 pence for the rest of the island.
This first release is unique. A few months later, new plaques are prepared for multiple printing. The two editions differ in the text, which becomes POST PAID.
One of four surviving covers mailed for the invitation to the ball was sold for € 8.1M before fees by Gärtner on June 26, 2021, lot 1. It is illustrated with also the Bordeaux cover on the post sale release shared by Barnebys. It had been sold for CHF 1.4M before fees by David Feldman on November 3, 1993, lot 452.
This cover was circulated with the One Penny stamp. The recipient, "H. Adam Esq Junr", was locally best known : no address has been written. He remembered fifty years later having attended the ball.
The stamp is clean with clear margins. The mark PAID cancels the stamp and a mark PENNY POST is on the top left side of the cover. The reverse is stamped by the Mauritius Post Office at a date, September 27, 1847, which is the 7th day of the issue. Its provenance is unbroken from its first addressee to now. It was once in the collection of King Carol of Romania.
The Bordeaux Cover
1993 SOLD for CHF 6.1M by David Feldman (worth US $ 4.1M at that time)
The only known unused copy of the 1 penny was sold for CHF 1.4M before fees. One of the four unused copies of the 2 pence was sold for CHF 1.5M before fees. A cover mailed for the invitation to the ball was sold for CHF 1.4M before fees.
A cover sent from Port Louis to a wine merchant in Bordeaux has been stamped at the overseas rate and includes a copy of both denominations. Discovered in 1902 by a schoolboy who was consulting the recipient's archives, it is kept with its letter. It was sold for CHF 5M before fees, CHF 6.1M including premium, lot 155.
The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1952 Cartier's Bestiary
2010 SOLD 4.5 M£ including premium
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor especially appreciated for years the works created by Jeanne Toussaint, director of high jewelry at Cartier.
Two jewels that had participated in the fabulous sale of the Windsor jewels in April 1987 at Sotheby's in Geneva come back to the same auction house in London on November 30. Each one is estimated 1 million pounds.
The most ancient, purchased by the Duchess in 1940, is a very elegant flamingo brooch made of ruby, sapphire, emerald, citrine and diamonds. Designed in 1952, the other jewel is an original panther bracelet in onyx and diamonds. Both are illustrated in the article shared by Bloomberg.
The compositions of colored gems promoted by Cartier were not only figurative. Jeanne Toussaint had developed in the 1920s these tutti frutti bracelets that were the most original jewelry of that time.
POST SALE COMMENT
The remarkable panther bracelet, designed to undulate around the wrist, was sold £ 4.5 million including premium, far above its estimate.
The flamingo brooch also got a very good price: £ 1.7 million including premium.
2003-2004 The Soul of a British Officer
2015 SOLD for $ 35M including premium
This aristocrat had previously shared the royal children's passion for horses and polo. The Prince of Wales will much later marry Camilla newly divorced from the Brigadier. The hero attended the wedding without resentment.
Lucian Freud was fond of horses, too, and a longtime friend of Andrew Parker Bowles. He painted his portrait in 2003-2004. During 18 months at a rate of three times a week and four hours per session, the Brigadier came to sit in the artist's studio.
Lucian's process is unique in the history of portrait painting. He rushed to the face of his model to inspect a tiny detail that provoked an equally abrupt return to save it on the canvas. Then he saturated his guest in an endless chatter before being ready to proceed with another detail. Lucian was very witty, which was quite necessary to maintain the patience of his models.
The obsession of the artist was to create lifelike works at the opposite of the dryness of a photograph. His method totally different from Bacon's led also to a strong emotion but Lucian managed to keep the realistic features of his characters. The Brigadier is still admiring today his portrait by Freud, better than life even in the glare of the medals.
The officer is not Sue Tilley. Lucian had not imposed an acrobatic attitude to this dignified sexagenarian who was indeed required to take the same position again at each new session. The result looks like a classic military portrait excepted that it is extraordinary in its psychological rendering.
This oil on canvas 224 x 138 cm is featured in Christie's evening sale in New York on November 10, lot 31B. I invite you to watch the video shared by the auction house, in which this piece is discussed by Brett Gorvy.
2007 Her Majesty's Bullion
2010 SOLD 3.27 M€ before fees
Gold bullion coins generally have a purity of 99.99%.
In 2007, the Royal Canadian Mint announces the launch of a product line to 99.999%. And as now the only way to get noticed is gigantism, they produce a coin with facial value of 1 million Canadian $. A small number of investors will then order similar parts.
The piece measures 53 cm in diameter, 3 cm thick, and weighs 100 kg. Chemists will appreciate this remarkable feat of engineering. The obverse is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse shows the emblem of Canada, three maple leaves. Its value to weight is approximately € 3.2 million.
The copy that was owned by an Austrian financial company is for sale by Dorotheum in Vienna on June 25. Exciting fate for this symbol of capitalism: the owner has gone bankrupt!
POST SALE COMMENT
This lot has been sold 3.27 million € before fees. This is the price of its metal value to weight, not surprisingly. The extreme purity of gold has not generated an added value.