Bonhams To Open Its New Queen Street Salerooms With 2008 Scottish Sale

Bonhams, one of the world’s leading international auction houses, has committed to holding its annual Scottish Sale in its new, state-of-the-art salerooms, which will be launched in August 2008. The Scottish Sale – now in its ninth year – will be the first auction to take place at 22 Queen Street, Edinburgh from 27 to 29 August. It will coincide with the world famous Edinburgh International Festival.

A variety of stunning objects with specific Scottish interest will be presented for sale over three days:
27 August – Silver, Jewellery, Arms And Armour
28 August – Glass and Ceramics, Books, Maps and Manuscripts, Works of Art and Furniture
29 August – Pictures.

Miranda Grant, Bonhams’ Director of Scotland, says: “We’re very excited about opening our new salerooms. I think people are going to be really surprised by the non-traditional space that we’ve created, which will show our clients’ items off to the best effect.”

With items still being sourced for the auction, star of the sale so far is an important sculpture by Robert Forrest (1789-1852) of James V – the last member of the royal family to hold only the title King of Scotland. The sculpture, entitled “James V at Cramond Bridge”, was carved from a single piece of sandstone and is believed to weigh more than 14 tonnes. The statue depicts an event popularised by Sir Walter Scott in his Tales of a Grandfather, where King James V was attacked while crossing the Cramond Bridge. Local tenant farmer, Jock Howison, rescued the king and he was rewarded with the land around Braehead. The sculpture is expected to fetch £30,000-50,000.

James V was just 17 months old when he became the last monarch to live his life as King of Scotland. He was handsome and charismatic and loved to move among people in disguise, adopting the name Gudeman of Ballenguich. His actions led him to be known as “The people’s king”.

Robert Forrest was a remarkable man who received a number of other notable commissions in his lifetime, including portraits of William Wallace and Napoleon, as well as the statue of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, which sits on top of the Melville monument in Edinburgh’s recently re-designed St Andrew Square.

Another item in the sale that has royal connections is a silver tray. It bears the inscription “Presented to George P Neele Esq by Queen Victoria as a mark of appreciation of the personal care and attention that he has for so many years devoted to Her Majesty on her railway journeys to and from Scotland June 1895”. Its estimate is £1,500-2,000.

Other highlights in the sale include:

An important painting by George Leslie Hunter “Loch Lomond”, expected to fetch £50,000–70,000. George Leslie Hunter (1879-1931) was part of the Scottish Colourist movement along with John Duncan Fergusson, Samuel John Peploe and Francis Campbell Cadell. They were among the first to introduce the intense colour of the French Fauve movement in Britain.

George Leslie Hunter’s mature work from the late 1920s is some of his finest and most fluid and the series of works done at Loch Lomond, one of Scotland’s greatest beauty spots, encapsulates this. Hunter was his own harshest critic, and there is a story of him standing on a footbridge throwing canvases he did not rate into a burn, to be swept into the loch.

An interesting and unusual item in the sale is a bronze sundial from the Skirrevore Lighthouse, made by Adie & Co., and expected to fetch £1,200–1,800. Scotland’s Skirrevore Lighthouse, now known as Skerryvore Lighthouse, is the tallest in Britain and among the most graceful of all lighthouse towers. It is even asserted by some that Skerryvore Lighthouse is the world’s most graceful lighthouse. Alan Stevenson, uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish novelist, designed it. It took six years and 150 men to build.

A beautiful selection of jewellery is also present in the sale with two very interesting lots:

A mid 20th century pearl and diamond design brooch in the form of bagpipes by Chaumet, Paris – estimate £3,000–5,000

A rare silver Mary brooch by Daniel Ferguson of Nairn – estimate £1,500–2,000.

Four Jacobite Glasses will also be auctioned. Currently, they belong to Geoffrey Seddon, recognised as the world’s leading authority on Jacobite Glass. They comprise:

A Jacobite composite wine glass – estimate £1,200–1,500 A Jacobite wine glass, composite stem domed and folded foot – estimate £1,000–1,500 A small Jacobite wine glass “Fiat” – estimate £1,000–1,500

A large opaque twist Jacobite ale glass – estimate £600–800

Auction info