Asian Art at Blythe Road sale

Over 100 Indian and South East Asian objects from the collection of the late, well-known and well-traveled Portobello Antiques Market dealer, Henry Brownrigg, will feature in auctioneers Matthew Barton Ltd’s biggest auction since starting at 25 Blythe Road in west London.

A 12th century Khmer bronze figure
A 12th century Khmer bronze figure of Buddah, from Cambodia

The auctioneer of European and Asian works of art will hold a two-day sale of just under 800 lots of European and Asian Works of Art on May 24 and 25.

The sale which comprises silver, ceramics, jewellery, watches, works of art, and objects of vertu, from both Europe and Asia, has prices ranging from £50 through to £22,000, all carefully catalogued by erudite and experienced specialists, to suit all pockets.

Highly-respected expert Arthur Millner has catalogued the Indian and South East Asian Works of Art, and for the first time specialist Max Rutherston is curating a group of netsuke.

Alongside objects from the collection of Henry Brownrigg, there will be 38 lots of silver from the collection of English silver lecturer, the late Myrtle Ellis and about 30 snuffboxes from a mid-20th century Viennese collector, Sammlung Hoffenreich. In the region of 50 lots of netsuke from the Julius and Arlette Katchen collection are also part of the Japanese section.

A boxwood netsuke of Fukusuke
A boxwood netsuke of Fukusuke

For almost four decades Henry Brownrigg’s stand at Portobello Antiques Market was an essential weekly event for aficionados of Indian art. The range of unique objects, whether bronze images, paintings or metalwork, were always unusual and reasonably priced and equally appealing was the conversation. Over the years he had become a respected authority on an extraordinary variety of subjects, often quite unrelated to his main specialist area. Sadly he died just before Christmas after continuing with his business and interests right to the very end.

The diversity reflects Henry’s enthusiasms, and includes Keralan wood carving, Deccan metalwork, South Indian bronze images and Javanese sculpture. A 12th century Khmer bronze figure of Buddah, from Cambodia, is estimated at £600-800, while a 9th century Javanese volcanic stone stele depicting Durga Mahisasuramardini, the 8-arm goddess is expected to fetch £800-1200 and a pair of 19th century painted wooden doors probably from Rajasthan, India carry an estimate of £700-900.

A silver mounted paper knife that belonged to HRH Duke of Windsor

Julius Katchen (1926-1969) was brought up in New Jersey, a musical prodigy of a family of Russian immigrants. He established a reputation early and was on the international concert circuit as a pianist in his twenties, settling in Paris. He bought his first netsuke on a concert tour in Japan in 1953 and thereafter took time off from his professional duties when traveling to go netsuke hunting with his young wife Arlette. Together they rapidly put together a large and impressive collection, estimated in the region of 1000 pieces. After Julius’ death in 1969, Arlette continued to buy pieces for 45 years afterwards. These 50 lots

20th century Japanese miniature inlaid chest of drawers

range from £150 – £4,500. Among the pieces, is a boxwood netsuke of Fukusuke, dating from the early Meiji period, circa 1870, expected to fetch £1,200-1,800, while a Japanese wood netsuke of a nursing mermaid, dating from the Edo period, circa 1790 is estimated at £2,000-3,000.

Elsewhere on the first day, a 10th/11th century pala bronze shrine, probably from East India, depicting Siva and Parvati carries an estimate of £15,000-18,000; while a monumental copper gilt Nepalese Aureole from a shrine dating from the 18th/19th century measuring 85 by 103cm is estimated at £7,000-9,000, and a delightful 20th century Japanese miniature inlaid chest of drawers is expected to fetch £700-1,000.

Day two commences with a very early 18th century Dutch Delft five-piece garniture from the factory of De Metaale Pot, which was initially established in Delft (est: £5,000-7,000), and later on a silver mounted paper knife that belonged to HRH Duke of Windsor, inscribed XMAS 1916, and believed to have been a gift from grandmother Queen Alexandra (est: £600-800) and among the jewellery, a flamboyant mid 1960s 18ct gold amethyst, emerald and diamond brooch by Andrew Grima, who designed jewellery for the Royal Family as well as for Jacqueline Onassis, is estimated at £1,800-2,200 .

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