LONDON—Bonhams held its auction of Old Masters on July 8. Only 53, or 57 percent, of the 93 lots sold, but despite the sell-through rate, the £2.86million ($4.6million) total came in within estimates on the back of two exceptional results.
The first was an unsigned 18th-century Italian vedute painting, View of the Tiber Looking Towards the Castel Sant’Angelo, with St. Peter’s in the Distance, which Bonhams had found in a cottage in Devon, England, during a routine valuation. Bonhams catalogued it as the work of Andrea Locatelli, with a £150,000/250,000 estimate, but was then informed by an expert on the far superior view painter Giuseppe Zocchi that it related to a drawing by that artist, and was therefore identifiable as his work. At the sale, the painting was announced as being by Zocchi, and was sold for a record £1.3million ($2.1million) to a private phone buyer, underbid by London dealer Richard Green.
Green also underbid another top lot, Boy at a stone window, an untouched and fresh-to-the-market portrait by 17th-century Flemish artist Jacob van Oost depicting the sitter with a lute. Estimated at £50,000/80,000, the painting sold to French & Co., New York, for £624,000 ($1million).