Sloane Street Auctions is excited to offer a remarkable and eclectic assortment of works from five prominent Belgravia collections, including rare and important Islamic sculpture and manuscripts, large and impressive Old Master paintings, and unique ancient Greek and Roman cameos. The sale will include works by Sir Alfred Munnings, Giovanni Paolo Panini, and Sir Anish Kapoor, alongside a number of watercolours and sculptures by the prominent St Ives artist William Black, and a selection of nudes from a single-owner collection, including Jean Cocteau, F. N. Souza, Ivon Hitchens, and John Piper. An important collection of 22 signed, first-edition novels by Sir William Somerset Maugham, are also expected to delight collectors. Offered on 27 April at the Cadogan Hotel, Sloane Street Auctions is open for viewings seven days a week, and will welcome guests to an evening drinks reception and pre-sale viewing on 20 April.
The sale is led by a collection of rare and important Indian, Islamic, Oriental and Melanesian sculpture and works on paper. A carved schist stone figure of a seated Buddha Mucalinda highlights signifiant Buddhist sculptures, and depicts the Buddha seated in siddhasana on the coils of the naga, wearing samghati with both hands in dhyanamudra. Dating from 13th century Khmer, traces of the original red and green polychrome remain visible. It has an estimate of £10,000-£20,000. A Northern Indian/Nepalese large seated bronze Buddha dating from the 15th century is also included, and comes from the Dorian Rae Collection, a significant Canadian collection of Southeast Asian art. It has an estimate of £2,000-£4,000. Important works also include a Lopburi (Cambodian) 11th-13th century large sandstone torso mounted on a base, which carries an estimate of £10,000-£20,000, and an extraordinary antique carved alabaster camel’s or giraffe’s head from the Robert Barley collection, with an estimate of £5,000-£8,000.
A large selection of 107 Quranic manuscript leaves represents Islamic works included in the sale. To be offered as a single lot, the manuscripts include beautiful illuminated sections, with some extensive marginalia, and early Bihari. With an estimate of £2,000-£3,000, the leaves are expected to generate significant interest amongst collectors. Rare and beautiful pigments on linen are also likely to prove popular. A late 18th century Gelupka School (Tibetan) Thangka depicting Buddha Amitayus, the Buddha of Endless Life, carries an estimate of £3,000-£5,000. A Thangkar depicting a teacher and deities on a mountainous landscape, likely of Mongolian origin, carries an estimate of £2,000-£3,000. A monumental Tanjore (Thanjavur) painting of Balakrishna is also featured, attractively composed of mediums including pigment, gold foil, and precious and semi-precious stones. It is expected to fetch £3,000-£5,000.
The sale includes a number of large and impressive Old Master paintings, led by a monumental oil on canvas (103in. (H) x 86in. (W), unframed) recently attributed to Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765), which represents an important addition to the oeuvre of the renowned Italian artist and architect. The painting illustrates the moment at which St Paul is bitten by a viper, yet remains unharmed, an apparent miracle which is taken by spectators as proof of his divine protection. The painting can be dated to 1735 by comparison to a smaller version dated the same year, which is currently held in the Duke of Wellington’s Museum at Apsley House, London. It has an estimate of £50,000-£80,000. It is preceded by a captivating painting from the workshop of Nicolas Regnier (1591-1667), which depicts the moment a distraught Hero discovers the dead body of her lover Leander, before throwing herself off her tower to join him in death. The painting has an estimate of £8,000-£12,000.
A unique collection of cameo jewellery comes from a significant, single-owner Belgravia collection. They are led by a remarkable cameo of a hawking party, dating from mid-15th century Germany. Mounted in a 19th century Victorian diamond brooch setting, the outstanding piece is estimated at £20,000-£30,000. Also representing the collection are four ancient Greek and Roman, and Renaissance cameos, each in gold settings, with estimates of £3,000-£5,000. A Renaissance Revival pendant set with an agate bust of a warrior, with natural pearls and rubies, is also to be offered, and carries an estimate of £10,000-£15,000.
An assortment of watercolours and sculptures by the St Ives artist William Black is also expected to generate considerable interest. Part of the St Ives group, Black was a self-taught artist who belonged to the same Cornish milieu as Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, whose distinctive deconstructionist style exhibits the artist’s experimentation with shape and colour. With estimates ranging £400-£800, these accessible works will undoubtedly tempt collectors. Sculptures by Black are also featured, each comprised of copper and cooper wire, with estimates of £500-£800.
Other highlights of the sale include:
- An architectural capriccio, Niccolo Codazzi (1642-1693). Estimate: £20,000-£30,000
- Untitled (1988), Sir Anish Kapoor CBE RA (1954), ink and gouache on paper. Estimate: £20,000-£30,000
- Squashes, peaches, apples, grapes and plums on a stone ledge, attributed to Michele Pace (called Michelangelo del Campidoglio Vitorchiano, 1625-1669). Estimate: £15,000-£20,000
- Blue Devi (2008), Arpana Caur (New Delhi, b. 1954). Estimate: £6,000-£8,000
- Self-portrait of the Artist, Maximilian Florian (1901-1982). Estimate: £3,000-£5,000