The auction of the private collection of art collected by revered designer Robert Kime exceeded all expectations, achieving a total of £9.6 million.
Several equestrian lots were among more than 900 pieces sold in a three-day sale by Dreweatts in Britain earlier this month. All lots sold, in what is known as a “white glove sale” with the total far exceeding pre-sale estimates of £1.5 million.
The late Robert Kime (1946-2022) was one of the leading design figures of his generation. The sale of Robert Kime: The Personal Collection garnered widespread pre-sale interest, which led to competitive bidding in the room, on the telephones and on the internet. Most lots far exceed their pre-sale estimates.
The top lot of the sale was lot 50, an Elizabethan Portrait of a Man with Pickaxe and a Spade in a Landscape, which was a firm favourite of Kime’s and moved between several of his homes. The work was an example of Kime’s relationship with each of the objects in his collection — they were not merely ‘things’, but pieces that evoked a sense of feeling and engagement. The English School 16th century oil painting was highly sought after and finally sold to a US buyer on the telephone for £500,200 against an estimate of £10,000-£15,000 (Lot 50).
Among the equestrian works offered at the sale, a painting by William Nedham, A mastiff, a pomeranian, a newfoundland and a spaniel by a dark brown and a grey hunter in the grounds of Clopton House, Warwickshire (lot 5) proved popular, selling for £175,000 against an estimate of £20,000 to £40,000 to private collector in the US on the telephone.
A painting by the English artist George Gascoyne (1862-1933) that hung on the main staircase in the now-defunct Junior Carlton Club in London caused a big stir in the auction. Lot 309, The Turn of the Plough, was snapped up after a lively bidding war, by a private buyer on the telephone in the UK for £112,700. Its pre-sale estimate was £8000 to £12,000 (Lot 309). The work is painted in what’s known as the social realist tradition – a method of using visual art to highlight political and social issues – in particular looking at poverty, injustice and corruption within a society.
This particular painting was exhibited at the Academy in 1894 and hung in Robert Kime’s dining room.
An unusual addition to the collection was lot 413, a monumental pair of ‘Irish elk’ or giant deer antlers (Megaloceros Giganteus) from the Pleistocene period (circa 10,500BC to 8,000BC), which were housed at Robert’s Provencal home, La Gonette.
The pair sold for £93,950 against a pre-sale estimate of £9,000-£10,000 (Lot 413).
Among the equestrian lots in the sale were Martindale’s Starling; and Atlas; a depiction of the racehorse Cadabra from the 18th-century English School; and a plaster model of a horse by Brucciani, from the late 19th-early 20th century.
Will Richards, Deputy Chairman of Dreweatts said: “Dreweatts are delighted that the sale of Robert Kime’s personal collection has been so well received by collectors and buyers from around the world. In many ways, this sale was a biography of Robert Kime, through his collecting and his interests. His unparalleled eye and the respect in which he was held has been recognised in this landmark sale.”
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