Duke’s of Dorchester enjoyed a stellar year in 2021. Turnover more than doubled from 2020 to just over £8million. This figure excludes a number of private treaty sales which pushed the total towards £10 million.
A series of country house actions contributed to the significant growth in revenues in spite of the disruption caused by the pandemic.
The contents of Wormington Grange in the Cotswolds, the family home of the veteran dealer and adviser to the Landmark Trust, John Evetts, sold for just over £1.5 million. The auction delivered the second highest price for a painting sold in the provinces last year. The £292,500 paid for a Dorset Landscape by Algernon Newton more than doubled the previous auction record for the artist.
Dewlish House, a Baroque mansion in Dorset, included a number of superb pieces of English furniture. Top price was the £65,000 paid for a William and Mary pier mirror with a verre eglomise border in scarlet and gilt.
The highest price achieved at Duke’s last year was the £465,000 for a 4.5 litre Bentley (1929) from the Newton House Collection. A tempera on panel by Frederick Cayley Robinson sold to a private collector for £123,500 establishing a new record for the artist. The painting originally belonged to Kerrison Preston, whose spectacular collection included the tiny Fra Angelico panels sold by Duke’s more than a decade ago for £1.8 million.
During the year Duke’s recruited Rufus Bird from the Royal Collection to head up a new Heritage and Valuations division. Rufus, who was a Director of Christie’s prior to working as Surveyor of the Queen’s Works of Art, offers a comprehensive collections care service unique in the auction world.
The select Asian Art Auction in December was small in terms of lots but realised over £800,000 with a top hammer price of £380,000 for a gilt bronze Tara. Duke’s rigorous approach to registration and deposits means that that auction is 98% paid by value as of 14th January. We anticipate this policy will be attractive to future vendors.
2022 has got off to a promising start. The Spring Fine Art sale on 28th April will include a magnificent Louis XV mantel clock mounted on a bronze rhinoceros from an important Noble Collection. The clock, which was requested for an Exhibition at the Getty Museum in California in 2007, is offered with an estimate of £100,000- £150,000.