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Museum quality pieces and royal connections in Bonhams Russian sale in London
Vasilii Polenov, He that is Without Sin. Est. £1.2 – 1.8 million. Photo: Bonhams.


LONDON.- Museum quality paintings by Vasilii Polenov, Jewellery albums belonging to Grand Duchess Ksenia Alexandrovna and stunning examples of Fabergé, offer much to excite buyers at the Bonhams Russian Sale, taking place on November 30th in New Bond Street, London.

Following a successful and well-attended two-week exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, two rare paintings by Vasilii Polenov are among the highlights of the sale. Considered masterpieces of the golden age of 19th century Russian painting, the two works entitled “He that is Without Sin” (est. £1.2 – 1.8million) and “He is Guilty of Death” (est. £600,000 – 800,000) are new to the market and have never been seen at auction before.

Bonhams will be offering a work by the celebrated portrait painter Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Bel’sky entitled “A young sorceress”, estimated to sell for £250,000 – 350,000. A student of Vasilii Polenov, the portrait is among the best of the artist’s early works and was exhibited at the XXXVII Annual Exhibition of Wanderers in St Petersburg in 1909.

Two rare works by Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich were acquired by the present owners from the artist, and have remained in a private collection ever since. The paintings are from Roerich’s South West series circa 1921: “The Grand Canyon” and “Rocky Landscape” are both estimated to sell for £100,000 – 150,000. A double-sided work by his son, Svetoslav Roerich, entitled “King Solomon”, is estimated to sell for £200,000 – 300,000.

Two lavishly illustrated inventories of jewellery belonging to, Ksenia Alexandrovna, the Grand Duchess of Russia, have been consigned by a direct descendent and are estimated to sell for £150,000 – 250,000. The inventories illustrating two personal logs of gifts comprise, amongst others, Fabergé jewellery. Grand Duchess Ksenia was the daughter and sister of monarchs, married to a Grand Duke who lavished gifts upon her, and mother to another prominent figure, Princess Irina Youssupova

An exceptional range of Fabergé and works of art including silver, jewellery, porcelain, glass, woodwork, hardstone carvings, bronzes, paintings and icons are all represented in the Russian Sale.

A further lot with Royal provenance is a Fabergé parcel-gilt and wooden clock that belonged to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. Estimated to sell for £200,000 – 250,000, the clock was amongst twelve Fabergé pieces purchased by the Dowager Empress in 1897.

From a private collection, a stunning gold, platinum, amethyst and diamond brooch by Fabergé c. 1908- 1907 is estimated to sell for £60,000 – 70,000. Also from a private collection, a jewelled gold and nephrite Imperial presentation snuff box by Friedrich Koechli with a diamond-set monogram of Nicholas II is estimated at £80,000 – 120,000.

Estimated to sell for £100,000 – 150,000, Bonhams will be offering a jewelled vanity case by the celebrated Fabergé workmaster, Henrik Wigström. The vanity case opens at the push of a button to reveal twin spring-loaded lipstick holders flanking a hinged powder compartment. Such precision in the mechanical fittings would have caused delight each time the “surprise” was deployed. This particular example was on permanent exhibition at the Fabergé Museum, Baden Baden.





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