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    A PAPAL HARLEY DAVIDSON

    Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

    A 1,570cc custom Harley-Davidson signed by His Holiness, Pope Francis comes up at Bonhams autumn Stafford sale on October 20. Known as the ‘White Unique’ it was created at the suggestion of Dr Thomas Draxler, founder of the ‘Jesus Bikers’ group in Austria, as a fundraising vehicle, to be donated to the Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio), the official support for Catholic overseas missions. 

    The machine is finished in pearlescent white, with Chicano (Mexican American) style detailing, numerous gold-plated components, a Dorne wreath ornament, a sunken cross and Pope Francis’ signature on the tank. It is estimated at £50,000-100,000 and all proceeds will be donated to charity.

    The ‘Pope Bike’ being presented to His Holiness, Pope Frances’ in Rome 

    © Photo Vatikan & Jesus Biker

    ZURICH PORTRAIT PRIZE WINNER ANNOUNCED

    Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

    A portrait tracing the emotional connection between a new parent and her baby – Cybil McCaddy with Daughter Lulu by Enda Bowe – has won the National Gallery of Ireland’s Zurich Portrait Prize. Enda Bowe’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Red Hook Gallery, New York. His work is concerned with storytelling and the search for light and beauty in the ordinary. As well as a cash prize of €15,000, the artist will receive a commission worth €5,000 to produce a new work for the National Portrait Collection. The judges were Mike Fitzpatrick, Fiona Kearney and Mick O’Dea.

    The prizewinning photo by Enda Bowe

    APTER-FREDERICKS TO MOVE TO AN ONLINE MODEL

    Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

    The venerable London antique firm Apter-Fredericks is closing three floors of showrooms and moving to an online business model. In mid September they will vacate the Fulham Road premises, their location for the past 73 years. A company statement said: “Despite this change, Apter-Fredericks is still committed to dealing in the finest eighteenth century English furniture.  We are keen to embrace the future and operate in the new norm.  Our business will continue to offer fine and important pieces of English furniture to private clients, interior designers and institutions. We shall be available to assist in sourcing, selling and restoration.”

    The firm will continue to present our stock by website and will be available to view by appointment and at art fairs – specifically Masterpiece London and the Winter Show New York.

    “In giving up the shop with our three floors of showrooms, we find our storerooms rather over-stretched.  We would encourage you to contact us should you require any furniture or should you have been considering a particular piece of stock in the past, all of which will be sold at the most agreeable prices.”    

    MILES DAVIS DESIGNED TRUMPET AT EXCEPTIONAL SALE

    Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

    A trumpet designed and played by Miles Davis, one of the most significant jazz musicians of all time, comes up at the Exceptional Sale at Christie’s in New York on October 29. The ‘Martin Committee’ Trumpet in B Flat, model T3460, by the Martin Co., was commissioned circa 1980 and features a deep blue lacquer and gilt crescent moon and stars, designed according to Davis’s specifications. The ‘Moon and Stars’ trumpet is estimated at $70,000-100,000.

    In a performing and recording career of almost fifty years Miles Davis produced many critically acclaimed albums and Kind of Blue, recorded in just two sessions in 1959, remains the best-selling jazz album of all time.

    ‘Martin Committee’ Trumpet in B Flat, Model T3460

    Sotheby’s to revert to private ownership

    Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

    Sotheby’s has entered into an agreement to be acquired by the art collector and media and telecom entrepreneur, Patrick Drahi after 31 years as a public company. Drahl is the ninth richest man in France.

    Sotheby’s ceo Tad Smith said in an announcement: “Our 275-year history has been marked by innovations that have not only changed Sotheby’s, but the wider industry along with it. And just over the past several years we have modernized and expanded both digitally and physically, and it’s clear that we are just getting started. Private ownership at this moment in Sotheby’s development would empower us to accelerate many of those growth initiatives and focus on long-term success. “

    Tad Smith

    Patrick Drahi is a knowledgeable businessman and a passionate collector who understands Sotheby’s and the markets we operate in, Smith added. He shares our brand vision for outstanding client service and has the patience to make that possible. There are no immediate changes to the business.

    Patrick Drahl is a French-Israeli businessman with French, Portuguese, and Israeli citizenship. He is founder and controlling member of the Netherlands based telecom group Altice and owns cable TV companies in Israel and the US.

    MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPTS LOST IN WAR RETURNED TO BONN UNIVERSITY

    Thursday, April 11th, 2019

    More than 600 books and manuscripts lost during the Second World War were today returned to Bonn University in Germany. The repatriation was facilitated by Sotheby’s. The books were discovered in a Belgian private collection. This is one of the largest single returns of objects lost during the war. Among them are numerous historical works of high cultural and material importance, including medieval and modern manuscripts, medieval documents, historical maps, early 15th-century prints, rare prints of the 16th century and numerous colored bird books. The most valuable bird book is Audobon’s The Birds of America.

    How exactly the books and manuscripts found their way to Belgium is not known. It is possible that they were taken by Belgian soldiers in the years after the war. Curator of Manuscripts and Historic Books at ULB, Dr. Michael Herkenhoff said: Many valuable volumes were stored between 1946 and 1950 in a bunker in Bonn. They may have been stolen during the period of the Belgian occupation in Bonn.”

    Charlotte Miller, Specialist in Books and Manuscripts at Sotheby’s in London explained that in 2017 a large collection of books was offered to Sotheby’s from a private collection in Belgium. Many had their library stamps expunged, bindings removed or title pages destroyed. Sotheby’s set out to discovered the true provenance of the library. The medieval manuscripts were listed on Bonn University’s Inventory of Losses.

    Left: A manuscript of the “Comoediae” of Terenz, written in the 13th century

    Centre: Book of Hours, Use of Rome, in Latin [southern Netherlands (Bruges), c.1460-70

    Right: John James Audubon, The Birds of America from drawings made in the United States, printed in New York between 1840 and 1844 in 7 volumes


    AQUAMARINE AND DIAMOND TIARA BY FABERGÉ

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

    A Fabergé tiara wedding gift from Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1882-1945) to his bride Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland (1882-1963) comes up at Christie’s sale of Magnificent Jewels in Geneva on May 15. The 1904 tiara is of symbolic design with forget-me-not flowers tied with ribbon bows, signifying true and eternal love, pierced by arrows representing cupid. Composed of nine graduated pear-shaped aquamarines, old, cushion and rose-cut diamonds, the historic tiara has a pre-sale estimate of US$ 230,000-340,000.

    The Faberge Tiara


    The Grand Duke’s mother, Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia, was a keen Fabergé collector, and encouraged him to order his wedding present at the atelier Fabergé in St Petersburg. At the time of their 1904 marriage Frederick was 22 and Alexandra, 21. Archives show correspondence between the Grand Ducal Cabinet of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Eugène Fabergé, revealing deliberations on a commission of an important jewel. One of the letters dated 10 May discussed the possibilities that could be offered: ‘a diamond tiara’ for 10’000 roubles or ‘an aquamarine and diamond tiara’ for 7’500 roubles, and that only using aquamarines as gemstones was not possible. Another letter referred to drawings with designs Fabergé proposed for the top section of the tiara, sent to the Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna for her son’s approval. However, these drawings went missing. Fabergé expressed concerns that he held no copies himself and did not know which design appealed to the Grand Duke.

    Two weeks before the marriage Fabergé wrote to the Grand Ducal Cabinet that he was yet to receive any instructions to proceed. For a second time he asked for the return of the drawings as he could not advance his work without them. A subsequent letter referred to a completion for the wedding on 7 June, as requested by the Grand Duke by which Fabergé declared that it was impossible to execute the commission in such a short time. On the day of the wedding the Princess wore the traditional Hanoverian nuptial crown commissioned in 1761 for the wedding of King George III of England and Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The Fabergé tiara, her own special wedding gift from the Grand Duke, followed later.

    WAR OF INDEPENDENCE MEDAL MARKS CENTENTARY

    Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

    Dublin Mint Company Commemorative Coin.
    Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019

    A War of Independence medal was launched today by the Dublin Mint Office to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the War of Independence.  It shows an image of the Garden of Remembrance on one side, and Hibernia, the personification of Ireland, on the other.

    The image of Hibernia is based on original 19th century Irish coinage. The Garden of Remembrance, which is presented as a photographic image on the medal, was selected to feature due to its dedication to the memory of all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom.

    Daniel Penney, Managing Director, of the Dublin Mint Office, said: “In the centenary year of the start of the War of Independence we are honoured to be commemorating all of those who gave everything they had in the fight for Irish freedom. The War of Independence still remains one of the most significant events in Irish history. The Dublin Mint Office is delighted to be able to announce the release of the War of Independence Centenary Medal. ”

    Medals commemorating the Easter Rising and the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic were released in 2016, to mark 100 years since the rising. More recently a Michael Collins medal was released to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the end of the Irish Free State in 1937 and the establishment of the new state of Ireland.

    The Dublin Mint Office is part of the Samlerhuset Group and the medal is available free to members of the public at www.eireindependence.com/press

    THE HEART OF SPACE AT CHRISTIE’S ONLINE METEORITE SALE

    Friday, February 1st, 2019

    The Heart of Space meteorite.

    The Heart of Space, an iconic iron meteorite in the shape of a heart, will highlight Christie’s fifth annual online auction of meteorites.  It will run from February 6 to 14.  The Heart of Space originates from one of the biggest meteorite showers of the last several thousand years, which occurred in Siberia on February 12, 1947.

    The shockwaves from the explosion collapsed chimneys, shattered windows and uprooted trees; sonic booms were heard nearly 200 miles away and eyewitnesses thought the world was ending. Among the meteorites to land on Earth that day was a natural sculptural form from outer space in the shape of a heart. It’s the result of unlikely yet fortuitous cleavage along its crystalline planes as it burned through Earth’s atmosphere — a fiery plunge that thumb-printed the surface and evokes the texture of a Giacometti. It is estimated at $300,000 – $500,000.  There are 45 lots in the sale.

    FORMER DUBLIN TENEMENT NOMINATED FOR EUROPEAN ARCHITECTURE AWARD

    Thursday, January 24th, 2019

    The conservation of a former tenement house at 14 Henrietta Street in Dublin’s north inner city has been shortlisted for the prestigious European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019.  This is one of 40 projects selected from nearly 400 nominations across Europe.  Now a home to Dublin’s social history and open to the public since last September the house at 14 Henrietta Street tells the story of 300 years of city life, all within the walls of one address.   Conservation and restoration work at the Dublin City Council-owned building was carried out over a 10-year period.

    Heritage officer with Dublin City Council, Charles Duggan, who oversaw the restoration project, said:  “The 10-year long journey to rescue, stabilise and ultimately conserve and adapt 14 Henrietta Street entailed not only the stabilisation of the house due to its serious structural condition, but the preservation and recovery of the fragile traces of human occupation embodied in the fabric and form of the house. The conservation of the house and the creation of the museum has been a truly collaborative project; our dedicated design team, led by Shaffrey Architects, GEM Construction, specialist conservationists, researchers, and curators have been guided by conversations with people who lived in tenement flats in this house and on the street.”

    The St Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum in Kilkenny by McCullough Mulvin Architects has also been shortlisted.