Monday, 24 August 2015

Auction Find of a Random Bird Print


I was toying with the idea of writing a post about an auction find yet hesitated until I was reading Chronica Domus' latest post 

about some information on her beautiful slop bowls by a very informative reader. 
 I thought I would share my little object with its background 
which is by no means on the same level as the level of research 
nor beauty of object.

In smaller auction houses, there tends to be lots where not one object but a group of objects are sold together.  I won the bid for another print but this print came along for the ride.  
When I bid on the object, I did see this print but ignored it.


It was strange in retrospect that I didn't pay this much attention.
But I was concentrating on figuring how much 
I would put on my absentee bid.  
I rarely bid live because one can get carried away!  
But I love bird prints and I have a small collection to prove it.

Please ignore the white paint - I know I try to!

I actually have more prints ready and waiting to be framed.
I even have a matching bird themed bowl for the aperture for the wash stand.


But I think the intense calculation and more importantly the cracked glass distracted me from examining the print further.


It was only after I brought it home that I started reading up on the print.
I looked at the penciled autograph, and the raised blind stamp and thought perhaps it was worth googling the name I was unfamiliar with.


Truthfully speaking, I would not be too swayed by a print with a name and date on the lithograph alone.  But one had to consider that for a name that is not particularly well known to the general public, it wouldn't be worth the hassle to create a blind stamp to give false credibility to a possible forgery.

I had a look and there was a website that served as an archive of the artist Archibald Thorburn.

I then turned the print around and inspected the reverse where there were two stickers.


One of the stickers refers that a certain Lady D Hunt might have left or her items were held at Allens' Depositories.  The possibility of an item belonging to a then aristocrat still doesn't guarantee that the item is worth anything.
There is a bit of the sticker which had ripped off.
I googled it and it led to this bit of information written by a local historian of the area.
It seems that perhaps it was one of those general broad businesses that dealt in matters of the home
but also house clearances.


The other sticker seemed to be from the possible seller of this artwork.
I googled and all there was were references to auction houses whose art had provenances that led back to W. H. Embleton on Jermyn Street in London.
Jermyn Street is a rather smart address and always has been but of course while researching this I was reminded that not everything is on Google!

Some may say it is crass to discuss money but we have all watched enough episodes of Antiques Roadshow to know that we all love the stories but we are curious to see if the emotional value the family or bearer of the object matches the financial value.
In my case, there was no expectation.

I went and got the glass replaced and 
it shows the piece in a better light.  
It is nice but I don't know if I would have put a bid on this myself.

Upon researching past results and prices for art ready to purchase, 
the item could fetch up to £275 which is a bonus considering the piece I aimed to buy was only half that price.

But let me remind you that the item an art gets sold for isn't the item one pockets.
If I were to auction it then I would lose at least 25% of the price and the fee wouldn't be too dissimilar at an art gallery.

 
The other bird prints on the wall are of a different nature as it was by another artist, period and country.


And even though I have hung the prints without taking this one into consideration 
I am still going to stick it next to them and enjoy my bargain find!
 
I must reiterate that for those of you who are into art history that you will enjoy the latest post by Chronica Domus
( Please click on name for link.)


40 comments:

  1. Now I have the intro music of Antiques Roadshow in my head....

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    1. It is a comforting sound of a Sunday evening.

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  2. Well, Naomi, it seems as though we both love a little detective work, especially so with items that have managed to find their way into our lives, in one manner or another. Someone should come up with a new television show about this very subject. Can you imagine how entertaining that would be?

    I too have purchased art work with not an iota of knowledge as to where it came from, or who the artist was, only to discover a label in the back that led me down the garden path to unearthing who had originally sold the piece. Beyond that, nothing, a dead end! It seems you've had far better luck than I with your new acquisition, which I am certain will look wonderful added to your existing ornithological wall. Your bird corner is beautiful and so very well put together, bravo!

    Thank you for the shout out on my latest adventure in detective work. I'm pleased to have played a small part in inspiring the writing of this fun post.

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    1. This is why I love an auction. So much detective work and calculations with setting personal limits and the drama of the hammer. I'd buy groceries through auction for a bit of fun :)

      I wish I always found a great little find but you would grimace if I showed you some of the other stuff that came with it. There was a bad bit of embroidery that was crumpled and folded within the frame. I loved the first post about your slop bowls but the follow up was just so fun and interesting so am glad I bothered to do this post thanks to you!

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  3. How interesting. I love the bird corner, those prints are so beautiful, and your new acquisition, the colours are so pretty I know you can find a perfect place for it... also love the bird bowl for the wash stand, how perfect.
    The detective work makes it all fun doesn't it? Okay I somehow missed CD's post so off now to read that, thanks Naomi. XO

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    1. I will stick it in the bird corner - I am realizing not every thing can be done and I must not be so binary about things - I am taking a - this will do approach of late! Otherwise it ends up in piles...I think you will enjoy the latest CD post x

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  4. I did love CD's post as well and also your interesting discoveries too Naomi. I know you're already unhappy with the white walls but you have such a splendid collection of peints that really displaying them to their best advantage is worth a day's labor to create that perfect setting.
    If you lived close by, I'd donate a day's worth of elbow grease to assist.
    When you finally get those walls where you're happy with them re-post and show us the results.
    Bet it will be night and day!

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    1. Gosh I would love to boss you around GSL! White is what happens when one has decision fatigue during a gruelling reno...

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  5. Love this post! Love your bird prints too - although know what you mean about the new one, stylistically different in more of a landscape painting style, rather than specimen style as your other ones. I find provenance quite fascinating, and when I've bought bits and pieces from the local auction rooms I like to try to find out who was selling it (not in a name way, just more a why it was being sold sort of way). Art is always a good one though as the stickers on the back will tell more than say a silver pot (unless it has a family crest, or dedication on it). The little bird corner of your home is really lovely. What's wrong with the white walls too?! xx

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    1. Yes the subject is bird the mood and style are different but I have had too many frames just sitting on the floor waiting to be hung so now I need to stop curating and just hang it up next to them. I know what you mean by provenance and the reasons why people sell. There is an afternoon show here about auction finds and sellling and most of the people sell an unloved jug worth a few hundred quid to go on holiday or buy a new washing machine! I try and remind myself that Hicks said white walls are for art but lately I'm not so sure about that. But it will do is my new mantra xx

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    2. Love the bird paintings - and they look so good on your white walls. Love collections of paintings, specially of natural objects, whether birds, flowers, leaves, shells. I have a couple of different collections: about 6 or 7 small icons and a grouping of portraits of women - the collection was originally started to distract my mother from her disapproval of a female nude (painted by G) hung on our dining room wall - I surrounded it with other portraits (clothed) of women, all styles, including a couple of Picasso lithos. It worked.
      Interesting that the lovely extra bird belonged to a Lady D Hunt and was held in Bournemouth. A lot of people retired to Bournemouth from the senior ranks of the civil service in the late 60s/70s. If they couldn't afford or preferred to stay in England rather than heading to Monte Carlo or the Cote d'Azur. It was very genteel with some solid respectable houses. And also not far from very pretty English countryside. Many of the more senior civil servants were Sirs who retired with their Ladies. I remember meeting some. But of course if the painting is correctly labelled, this might not be a knight's wife as she is listed as Lady D Hunt. She could have been the daughter of a peer. It's interesting to speculate.
      And always a pleasant surprise to find you've picked up something that has a higher value than your purchase price. The only auctions I've ever bid on have been at our church fete and then usually I only bid if the object gets off to a slow start so I try to encourage interest. Sometimes I've been stuck with truly ghastly things. But I just donate them back again for the next fete or give them to our Op Shop. Someone else is sure to love them. Pammie xx

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    3. They are prints actually. But I quite enjoy prints. It's the mature poster right? I love the way the old prints lend something intangibly cosy to a room. Of course there is nothing like a painting but unless you curate well - a gallery wall of paintings is hard. I am playing around with one right now - just simple landscapes but it isn't quite working. And of course - laying them on the ground is nothing close to hanging on the wall - but there are so many holes from hanging up and down!

      I was thinking very much your vein of thought too Pammie! Bournemouth is still a haven for not only pensioners but younger families.And the depository also did house clearances so I suspect it might have been one of those? I hadn't thought of the title origin but that of course could be another clue and if the picture were more valuable I might have had to find out the family tree of Lady Hunt too - Philip Mould would have right? I should have shown the ghastly thing I also picked up and might do later to even things out. But at least in an auction you have the chance of getting lucky where as you don't get an extra freebie at David Jones or Myer! I am starting a xmas pile to donate too xx

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    4. Ooops, yes, should have realised they were prints. Don't worry I'm not a painting/print snob. Love prints too. Have a few I've picked up in French brocantes, mostly very small ones. Also have a fabulous small painting of a beautiful dog, set against a landscape background. It's gorgeous. Bought in the antiques market in Arezzo years ago. Had thought of developing a collection of small dog paintings but have never found another I liked as well that would work with it.
      I'm not a serious curator of our paintings and their hanging, really a bit slap dash. Some of my biggest arguments with G have been about hanging paintings. He holds it in place and I say Yes right, that's good. Then he bangs a nail in and I say Oh No- that's terrible. We'll have to put it higher - or lower, or more to the left. He dreads it when I say we have to hang something. Anyway there's almost no wall space left.
      Auctions are fun - I'm just a bit scared at real auctions where serious money changes hands. Afraid I might get carried away. And of course auctions in London or Paris are so superior to anything I've seen in Canberra. DJs or Myer can't compare. Pammie xx

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    5. Pammie you are hitting a very sore point because I lost a bid for a beautiful painting for a stunning and well painted Pekingese. And now I wish I had put a higher bid - although we knows what my competition would have bid!!! I would love a wall of animal paintings. another of florals. I have a print wall of people I might share in future. Nothing special but there's a theme...

      Hanging is a big deal - thats why it has taken me a long time to get my act together because then it becomes a whole day. I am equal opportunist when it comes to auctions - just up my budget ;) x

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  6. We went to an auction a few weeks ago...just out of curiosity. A cute little pottery jug went for $4000. Yes, $4000. If I was more informed I might enjoy them more. Hunter did get his first living room set at an auction in Miami many moons ago. I think he got the entire se..two couches, an end table, and a coffee table...for $150. Of course he was 21 yo and easily pleased. We actually kept the coffee table after we married.

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    1. Jugs and ceramics are huge here!!! I love those stories about a family using a ming chinee vase as a door stopper and it selling for 25 million quid. What a bargain Hunter had - I wish there were more of those but they don't really do sets and here it is quite varied in levels of auction houses. I still have Mr CSW's first coffee table for sentimental reasons!

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  7. Love this post and luff the Philip Mould style research. Do you recall the one where he wanted to see if the paintings that were allegedly fake Turners ended up being real? MAGIC! xx

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    1. I wish I had Philip walking me around and guiding me though! I didn't see the Turner one - must youtube it now! I did see his Vuillard, old master, and that terrible one where the wildenstein institute told that posh lady who had all sorts of evidence that her monet was not genuine. xx

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  8. Your Zbird corner is lovely even with the white paint!Have you named each and everyone?

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    1. They luckily have their names on the print but they are so well behaved that I hardly need to call them out individually!

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    2. YOU ARE A GOOD MAMA!Trained them well.

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    3. Tweet tweet tweet. Now I want a little oinker to babysit once in awhile like you do!

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  9. Oh how fun -I had a similar experience recently when I purchased a 'nothing' print for the beautiful frame for another piece of art (a great way to find antique interesting frames affordably). Well before throwing away the print I looked it up and found out it was very rare and valuable - museums held exhibitions of them! needless to say it was not thrown away :-)

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    1. I love stories like this!! So true about frames. Even over here it is cheaper to buy at auction for frame value alone! The art is sometimes extra.

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  10. It's very pretty. I find a lot at auction. Appeals to the treasure hunter in me.

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    1. Yes end of rainbows and auctions. And I love the role of the dice and the mood being so influential and heightens the drama for me!

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  11. Wow Naomi what a find. I also collect bird prints and books. My husband is a huge bird watcher or was when he had more time. I love that you got this almost accidentally! Those are the best finds of all. Your corner grouping looks lovely and I think the white walls do as well! xo

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    1. The next time you come to London you have to look out for some exotic birds that escaped London zoo and now live and thrive in Hyde Park! x

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  12. Congratulations on your find Naomi. I only tend to go to art auctions when I'm on a cruise but I never come away with anything, but it's fun nonetheless. I love your persistence to find out more about things! xx

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    1. There is something about an auction that still generates the retail therapy buzz in me!! xx

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  13. Hi Naomi .... being a bird lover, I actually love your print and can totally relate to your interest in the history of it ... I love your birdie corner with the related plate and if you could see my home you would smile as there are birds everywhere - crockery, curtains and more!!. I never bid on auctions as I too get carried away and as for online bidding,... there is always the annoying part of picking up the article etc! xx

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    1. I do love all your birdie collection I see on IG! I view them as nature's orchestra - odd that people are out of tune but rarely is a bird. Yes I advise absentee bids otherwise the paddle just keep sgoing up!! xx

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  14. What a beautiful collection! Congratulations on your score - you did well, girl!! And great research. For me, that's the exciting part. It's always interesting to dig up a piece's origin. Sometimes with research, I'll determine there might not be any value, which is just fine. But, mostly, I've done well. Cheers

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    1. Thanks Loi, Researching stuff is great - it's like being a detective but without the crime!!

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  15. You did the right thing in concentrating on building a collection you love, and not worrying about the resale of individual pieces. Still, it is always nice when a companion piece in a lot turns out to have substantial value. Indeed, buying in lots is a good way to get interesting pieces, because people assume that nothing good would be lotted together, and don't examine these items closely.
    --Jim

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    1. My prints overall don't have that many themes though as it is all what I got lucky at auction with although I have a people wall now elsewhere! I quite looking at the lots grouped although I don't get lucky like this all the time!

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  16. Your bird print collection is wonderful and I love that you are very particular about what you add. A true art collector!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Featuring Sharon Santoni

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  17. It wouls be totally at home in a New England collection. They seem to favor sketches in that style. I LOVE the prints in your collection on the wall. Such great color.
    Had to thank you for the tip you shared re grapefruit and Tanqueray. I made grapefruit g&ts with tanq for happy hour tonight. Loved them! My friend wasn't keen on the idea as she hates grapefruit and loves tanq on its own. But she loved it, too. Just what I need...another favorite cocktail :)

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    1. Thanks - they are a great color and can't imagine what the originals would be like. Grapefruit was a revelation at the time plus his brother is one of those scientific bartenders so it came from a good source!

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