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Sotheby's to present its largest ever sale of European sculpture and works of art: Medieval to Modern
Venus by François-Marie Poncet. Estimate £200,000-300,000. Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- Sotheby’s London is to present the company’s largest ever sale of European Sculpture and Works of Art: Medieval to Modern on Tuesday, 3 July 2012. The auction will comprise some 200 lots and feature nine private collections, and is estimated to bring in excess of £4 million.

Spearheading the sale is an Important European Private Collection of Medieval Works of Art. This group includes the auction’s highest-value item, a mid-13th century copper alloy Leopard Aquamanile estimated at £400,000-600,000. It is especially rare to find an aquamanile (designed for the washing of hands and used in Western Europe from the 12th century onwards) in the form of a leopard.

From the same collection comes an exciting rediscovery: a partially gilt, champlevé and cloisonné plaque, only recently identified as a missing section of the Shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne (estimate £8,000-12,000). A French Gothic ivory, known as the Sulzbach Virgin and Child, considered one of the most successful representations of ivory groups of the Virgin and Child of the 14th century, is estimated at £300,000-500,000. The collection also includes a chesspiece representing a Queen, carved circa 1400 (estimate £50,000-80,000).

Further highlights in the auction include:

· A fragmentary diptych with Scenes from the Life of Christ, produced in Germany in the late 14th century, originally part of a diptych which was in the collection of the Fugger family of Augsburg (est. £30,000-50,000)

· A large oak group of St Anne teaching the Virgin and Child to read, produced circa 1510 (estimate £60,000-80,000)

· A partially glazed and polychromed terracotta of Christ the Redeemer, attributed to Giovanni della Robbia, a new addition to the body of work by the artist (estimate £70,000-100,000)

· A selection of momento mori from a European Private Collection, including a remarkable marble skull crowned with a wreath of oak leaves (estimate £40,000-60,000)

· A 17th-century cup depicting sea creatures and the mythological figure of Andromeda from the circle of George Pfründt in South Germany (estimate £50,000-70,000)

· A Bust of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria by German sculptor Guillielmus de Grof, one of only three known casts and restituted to the heirs of its erstwhile owner in 2012 (estimate £50,000-70,000)

· A group of marbles, including Venus by François-Marie Poncet (estimate £200,000-300,000), Telemachas by Italian sculptor Luigi Bienaimé (estimate £70,000-100,000), a rare life-size marble of Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victorious after Antonio Canova (estimated £100,000-150,000) and The Graces Crowning Venus by Antonio Frilli, after a design conceived by Canova (estimate £120,000-180,000)

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