Saturday, April 4, 2015



     Sotheby’s to Preview  Outstanding Old Master Paintings in Hong Kong on 2 – 6 April 2015 Including  MASTERPIECES FROM THE LEGENDARY COLLECTIONS OF  CASTLE HOWARD (“Peng Lai Qiong Yu”)    
 This spring, and at a moment when international interest in Old Masters Paintings is at an all- time high1, Sotheby's will bring to Hong Kong a group of exceptional works, a number of which recently adorned the walls of one of England's greatest country houses: Castle Howard, also known under the Mandarin name of “Peng Lai Qiong” (Magnificent Fairyland Palace in English). 

The backdrop to Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou's recent wedding, and to the famous TV drama and Hollywood film Brideshead 

In 2014, Sotheby’s worldwide total for sales of Old Master Paintings stood at US$294.8 million/ HK$2.3 billion, a figure that established the company as market leader in the category for the eighth time in 10 years. 


Revisited, Castle Howard is not only the finest Baroque building in England, it is also home to one of England's greatest privately owned collections.   

Masterpieces from this legendary collection will be offered in Sotheby’s Old Masters and Treasures Sales in London on 8 July 2015.

  Among the highlights to be showcased in Hong Kong from 2 to 6 April are a magnificent view of Venice by Bernardo Bellotto, one of the 18th century’s most talented view painters; a powerful portrait of one Britain’s most famous monarchs, King Henry VIII; and a striking depiction of a young boy by Dutch artist Ferdinand Bol.  All of these works were commissioned or bought by the Howard family over the course of 300 years.  

Selected Works from the Collections of Castle Howard  
Bernardo Bellotto (1722 – 1780) Venice, A View of The Grand Canal Looking South From The Palazzo Foscari and Palazzo Moro-Lin Towards The Church of Santa Maria Della Carità, With Numerous Gondolas and Barges  Oil on canvas  59.7 x 89.5 cm Estimate: £2.5 – 3.5 million* / HK$28.8 – 40.3 million 

One of the most critical eras in European cultural history was that of the ‘Grand Tour’.  While the Grand Tour was undertaken almost de rigueur by 18th-century young men of social standing, for the 3rd and 4th Earls of Carlisle it was an experience that was ultimately to place them among the most important art patrons of their times. 

Sotheby’s Old Masters sale will include one of the great Venetian views acquired by the 4th Earl on his famous second Grand Tour in Italy in 1738-39.  

One of no fewer than 15 works commissioned or bought by the Earl from Bernardo Bellotto (1722 – 1780), Venice, A View of The Grand Canal Looking South From The Palazzo Foscari ranks, together with its companion paintings, among the earliest and most important examples of works by Bellotto purchased by a British patron.  

Painted when Bellotto was just 16 years old, at a time when he was working in the studio of his uncle Canaletto, this exceptional work bears witness to his remarkable precocity.  

It also constitutes a major contribution in our knowledge of the painter’s early career, showing that even while still in his teens Canaletto’s nephew had begun to develop his own distinctive approach to the vedutista’s art.     
Circle Of / Studio Of Hans Holbein The Younger (1725 – 1815)   Portrait of Henry VIII Dated 1542  Oil on panel  Estimate: £800,000 – 1,200,000 / HK$9.2 – 13.8 million
This powerful portrait of one of England’s most famous monarchs was painted in 1542 in the studio of Hans Holbein, one of the greatest Western portraitists of the 16th century. 

 Driven by a love of women and the desire for a male heir, King Henry VIII is renowned for having had no fewer than six wives.  The work is dated 1542, the year when the King’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, niece of the Duke of Northumberland, the ancestor of the Earls of Carlisle, was beheaded on the grounds of alleged adultery. 
Ferdinand Bol (Dordrecht 1616 – 1680 Amsterdam ) Portrait of a Boy Painted in 1652 Oil on canvas  170 x 150 cm Estimate: £2 – 3 million / HK$23 – 34.5 million  

Unlike his father, who was best known as a collector of Italian antiquities and paintings, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748 – 1825) collected more broadly, embracing contemporary British pictures, as well as Dutch and Italian Old Masters.  

His acquisitions transformed the collection at Castle Howard into one of the most significant in Britain.  A fine example of 17th century Dutch painting is to be found in Ferdinand Bol’s Portrait of a Boy. 

 Bought from the Fagel family in 1801, this impressive work is surely the finest portrait by the artist, one of Rembrandt’s favourite and most talented pupils. It is without any doubt Bol's most original work, in which he finally steps out of the shadow cast by his teacher to establish his own independent style.  
Selected Works from Sotheby’s Old Masters Sale  
Lucas Cranach The Elder (1472 – 1553)   La Bocca della Verità (The Jaws of Truth)  Oil and tempera on red beechwood  111 x 100 cm  Estimate: £6 – 8 million / HK$69 – 92 million
Painted in circa 1525–27, this rare masterpiece of German Renaissance painting can be counted amongst the most important works by Lucas Cranach the Elder remaining in private hands today and comes to auction for the first time in its history. 

The work depicts the rarely portrayed subject of the Bocca della Verità, the ‘Mouth of Truth’, and relates to an ancient stone mask of a river god in the porch of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Rome, in which anyone who did not speak the truth while placing their hand inside the open mouth of the river god would lose it.   

Willem Claesz. Heda Still Life with A Glass Painted in 1633 Oil on panel 59 x 79 cm Estimate: £2 – 3 million / HK$23 – 34.5 million     
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium and prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.  

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