FROM HAREM COACHES TO HUNTING BIRDS SOURCED IN DISTANT LANDS BONHAMS SALE OF EXOTICA AROUSES INTERNATIONAL INTEREST

. July 6, 2007

On 2 October 2007, Bonhams will hold one of the most extraordinary sales to be staged in London this year. Over 600 lots of non-European artefacts sourced by the venerable West End gallery owner Gordon Reece, will be sold for “no reserve” at Bonhams’ Knightsbridge salerooms.

On his travels around the world Gordon Reece, interior design advisor to the stars, sourced art and antiques from Africa, India and the Asian Sub-Continent to sell to his clients. With such diverse items as tribal “love masks” and mythical and ritual sculptures, to gigantic Indian doors, stone columns, miniature temples, jewellery, ceramics and furniture it is no wonder that his client list reads like a Who’s Who? of the arts and media world?

Examples of items in Bonhams’ no reserve sale of The Contents of Gordon Reece’s Gallery include:

A large wood figure of a mythical Hamsa bird,
the body painted in green and gold with elaborate red plumage detail to tail and head feather, mounted on rectangular wood stand, 19th Century, Southern India. 71 inches [180 cms] high. (Previously retailed at: £9,500.)

A very elegant scarlet and gold-lacquered rectangular cabinet,
with central brass lock and hinges; decorated on the exterior with cameos depicting mountainous river landscapes, scholars in pavilions and birds in flight beside scrolling flowers and foliage. The two hinged doors opening to reveal a design of three shelves and two drawers; Qing Dynasty or later, China; (some repair); 45 x 23.5 x 75 inches [115 x 60 x 190 cms]. (Previously retailed at: £42,500.)

An extremely elegant and rare wedding coach or ‘Harem Carriage’,
with carved teak wood, reticulated superstructure on four wheels. The domed cover with knop finial, of sectional form with iron fittings, designed from individualy fitted strips of teak, supported by carved wood columns; each wheel with cylindrical metal cymbols. 18th/19th Century, Rajasthan, India (some old damage) Overall length approx 15ft [428 cms] long, carriage measures 58 inches (147 cms) long, and 105 inches (269 cms) high, each wheel 29 inches (74 cms) diameter. (Previously retailed at: £14,500.)

Provenance: Reputedly once in the collection of the Rajasthan Royal Family. Thought to have been part of the dowry from a Gujerati princess or high ranking aristocrat marrying into the Jodphur family or ruling class. Traditionally pulled by two white bulls.

A sectional painted wood figure of a rampant Yarli lion, (Vahana),
with wings and decoration to neck, with teeth bearing and ferocious facial expression, jumping over a kneeling figure, 19th Century, Maduri, Southern India (old damage). Approx 72 inches [182 cms] high. (Previously retailed at: £8,900.)

A spectacular Naga wood sculpture,
probably a Genna-Post for a chieftain; carved with four prominent heads above a stylised stag with antlers and five Mithun heads; Tribal area of Nugbi Village, Naga Hills, South of Kohima, Assam (some old damage) Approx 150 x 27 inches [380 x 69 cms] long. (Previously retailed at: £18,000.)

A grey-stone torso thought to be the Deva or Bodhisattva from the Chinese Pantheon, Wei-To [Sanskrit: Skanda];
wearing flowing robes, kerchief and belt, with both hands held together on the pommel of his sword. Some possibly original red and gold pigment remainin;, fitted stand. Style of the Tang Dynasty, China; (old damage), 30 inches [77 cms] high. (Previously retailed at: £22,000.)

An extremely impressive set of five circular painted wood columns,
each one of cylindrical form with fluted shaft and a stepped cylindrical base, with ornate Corinthian capitals incorporating mythical animal-head motifs, 19th Century, Gujarat, North West India [5] (some old damage) each one approx 118 inches [300 cms] high. (Previously retailed at: £9,800.)

A rare wood ‘Nuptial Palanquin’,
carved with reticulated and other rectangular panels in sectional form, decorated with horseman, birds and figures, Bihar Province, North East India 41 x 34 x 44 inches (104 x 87 x 117 cms). (Previously retailed at: £4,600.)

A Jain temple offering chest,
carved from teak wood, and decorated with brass and iron fittings, on wooden wheels, India 37 x 26 inches [94 x 66 cms]. (Previously retailed at: £1,700.)

Gordon Reece describes himself as “lucky” man, but his discerning eye and depth of knowledge for the subject, and huge energy has enabled him to travel the globe in search of exquisite cultural objects to sell in his two galleries – one in the London; the other in Yorkshire. His search for items of innate beauty, form and artistic quality have taken him as far away as Azerbijhan and Afghanistan to Burma and Bhutan, Thailand and Tibet.

Gordon Reece says he “must have been born a collector”. At a very young age, it was different shaped stones that first fuelled his passion for collecting as he filled his bedroom with a diverse collection. As he got older his tastes became more sophisticated, but his curiosity never waned and his perpetual passion for collecting eventually turned his “hobby” into a highly successful business, which has lasted 26 years.

After an exciting but exhausting 26 years, Gordon Reece has decided to sell-up. While riding on the crest of a wave, he wants to bow out for the time being to take things easy and Bonhams will hold a final sale of his remaining stock, this autumn.

Category: Auction News

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