Collecting special: Upcoming sales

Chinese ceramics and works of art

Christie’s, Hong Kong

June 1

With prices for Chinese ceramics heading for the stratosphere, it is not surprising that Christie’s has estimated that a rare and remarkable revolving vase from the 18th-century Qianlong period could realise as much as HK$240m (£19m). The piece has been given a dedicated catalogue that highlights both its rarity and the fact that it has been preserved in perfect condition. The neck and inner cylinder comprise a single part which revolves within the outer walls, base and foot which are lavishly decorated with piercing and enamel work.

See a short video of the vase at

The Evill/Frost collection

Sotheby’s, London

June 15-16

Said to be the greatest collection of 20th century British art ever offered, the 373-lot Evill/Frost sale will be a stand-alone three-part auction starting on the evening of June 15, tipped to realise more than £12m. It includes works by Stanley Spencer, Lucian Freud, Henry Moore, Edward Burra and Leon Underwood, whose “Negro Rhythm: Harlem NY” sculpture is expected to fetch £20,000-£30,000.

Impressionist and modern art

Bonhams, London

June 21

Modigliani’s “Portrait de Femme” from 1918 leads this sale with an estimate of £1.5m-£2.5m, while a selection of Picasso works includes a £300,000 watercolour and gouache study of a nude that was later included in the celebrated masterpiece “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. Marc Chagall is also represented in a watercolour called “L’Ecuyère bleu au coq rouge” that is estimated to fetch £60,000-£80,000.

Fine books and manuscripts

Bonhams, New York

June 22

Included here is an extraordinary 15th-century manuscript that contains key sections of the groundbreaking work Liber Abaci, or book of calculation, by the medieval mathematician Leonardo Pisano Bigollo, better known as Fibonacci. Fibonacci is widely credited with bringing the Hindu-Arabic numeral system to the west and explains its benefits in the text by applying it to book keeping and weights and measures. The manuscript on offer contains the part of Liber Abaci that deals with calculus and solving equations. It is expected to fetch up to $180,000.

Impressionist and modern art

Sotheby’s, London

June 22

This flagship evening sale will be led by what the house describes as one of Austrian artist Egon Schiele’s most important oil paintings. “Häuser mit bunter Wäsche, Vorstadt II” of 1914 was originally acquired by Schiele’s main patron, Heinrich Bohler, whose widow sold the depiction of colourful washing drying in a Bohemian town to Vienna’s Leopold museum. On the open market for the first time, it is set to fetch up to £30m.

Contemporary art

Sotheby’s, London

June 29

Another significant work to appear at auction for the first time is Francis Bacon’s “Crouching Nude” (1961), expected to realise £7m-£9m. The figure depicted in the large-scale canvas is believed to be a pastiche of elements from photographs showing Bacon’s friends Muriel Belcher and his closest female friends during the 1960s, artist Isabelle Rawsthorne and socialite and muse Henrietta Moraes.

Old Master and British paintings

Christie’s, London

July 5

The extensively titled “Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a trainer, a stable lad and a jockey” is being touted as one of the most important paintings by George Stubbs ever offered for sale. It could fetch more than £20m. Dating from 1765, the painting was commissioned by Viscount Bolingbroke, the owner of the hugely admired Gimcrack, which won 28 races out of 36 he was entered for. The legendary steed is shown not once in this painting, but twice: in the background winning a trial, and in the foreground being rubbed down by a stable lad.

Exceptional Decorative Arts

Christie’s, London

July 7

The star of this sale is a bronze by the 16th/17th-century Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries. “Mythological Figure Supporting the Globe” is expected to fetch £5m-£8m and dates from 1626, the year of De Vries’s death. Measuring 43ins high, it stood unrecognised for 300 years on a fountain in the courtyard of a European castle. The most recent De Vries work to appear at auction, “The Dancing Fawn”, was bought by the Getty for £6.8m 22 years ago.

Books and manuscripts

Sotheby’s, London

July 14

Auctions of books and manuscripts are not often linked to the less rarefied world of the football terraces, but the two come together in the sale of the earliest rules of club soccer, part of the historic archive of Sheffield FC, the world’s oldest football club (established 1857). Comprising the original, hand-written draft rules of 1858 and the only known surviving copy of the printed “Rules, Regulations and Laws of the Sheffield Foot-Ball Club (1859)”, the documents represent the beginnings of the modern game. Sotheby’s expects the archive, which dates back 150 years, to realise up to £1.2m.

The Beatles Illuminated

Christie’s, New York

July 20

A conservative $100,000 estimate has been applied to this sale, which comprises 50 lots of unpublished and previously unseen photographs of the Beatles taken during the band’s first visit to America in 1964. Shot in black and white by photographer Mike Mitchell when he was 18 years old, the images include scenes from the first US concert at the Washington Coliseum as well as a later one at the Baltimore Civic Centre. The photographs will be previewed in London in June.

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