NEW YORK—Sotheby’s sale of Victorian and Edwardian art in London on Dec. 14 grossed £5.9 million ($11.6 million), the highest total in more than a dozen years, and was 83 percent sold by value. Of 110 lots offered, 72, or 65 percent, were sold.
The two highest prices of the sale also set new records for the respective artists: £624,000, or $1.2 million (estimate: £250,000/350,000), for Campaspe, 1896, by John William Godward (1861-1922); and £612,800, or $1.2 million (estimate: £150,000/200,000), for Liverpool Custom House and Wapping, by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-93). Another work by the artist, The Trysting Tree, 1881, brought an overestimate £232,000, or $456,738 (estimate: £100,000/150,000).
Most of the top-selling lots produced solid prices that fell within presale estimates. They included: From a Ligurian Spring, by Henry Herbert La Thangue (1859-1929), which sold for £456,000, or $897,727 (estimate: £400,000/600,000); and Elaine, an oil by John Melhuish Strudwick (1849-1935), which fetched £433,600, or $853,628 (estimate: £400,000/600,000).
Said Sotheby’s specialist Grant Ford: “The extraordinary level of interest we saw today was reminiscent of the late ’90s, when the market for Victorian paintings was at an all-time high. Bidding was vigorous across the board and came from a wide international spectrum.” Buyers of the top-selling works included American, British, Canadian and Greek collectors, according to Sotheby’s.
Two works by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) scored high prices: Among the Ruins, an oil on canvas on board, sold for £299,200, or $589,035 (estimate: £250,000/350,000); and Love’s Missile made £254,400, or $500,837 (estimate: £225,000/275,000).