Saturday, November 12, 2011

Auction house: Bonhams

An ivory netsuke of a shishi Kyoto, late 18th century
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further five throughout the UK.

Bonhams magazine is the world's premier auction house magazine. Launched in 2005 by its present editor, Lucinda Bredin, the magazine is published quarterly and highlights some of the star items coming up for auction in Bonhams salerooms. But it aims to do more than provide glossy pictures with long captions: with the help of world-renowned writers – past contributors have included William Dalrymple, Philip Pullman, Jeremy Paxman, Lisa Jardine, Brian Sewell, Robert Harris and Colin Firth – the magazine explores stories behind the works.

Notable auctions
  • A dagger that once belonged to the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahalsold for £1,700,000 at Bonhams Indian and Islamic sale in London on 10th April 2008. 
  • On 14th July 2004 Bonhams sold a Roman glass cage cup which had formerly been in the British Rail Pension Fund for £2.6million. 
  • In December 2007 Bonhams held an auction of selected contents from The Savoy Hotel, London. Three thousand items of furniture from the hotel were sold just days after the hotel closed for a £100 million refurbishment.
  • An exceptional oil painting, The Sailboat, by the world's most expensive female artist, Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) sold for £1.7m at the Bonhams Russian Sale on 9 June 2008.
  • and many more
A lady seated in an interior with a cat, a vase of flowers on a window ledge behind her Qajar Persia, circa 1840

Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries. 
Two major salerooms in London – New Bond Street and Knightsbridge, as well as a further four throughout the UK in Chester, Knowle, Edinburgh and Oxford, and nineteen regional offices. 

René Lalique, 'Oiseau de Feu' an Illuminated Centrepiece, design 1922
Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York in the USA; and Sydney,France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Dubai. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to Bonhams

Exceptional and Rare Marquesas Islands Club,
French Polynesia

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