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Christie's to offer the Winkworth Collection: A treasure house of Canadiana in London
Cornelius David Krieghoff (1815-1872), Quebec Farm, signed and dated ‘C Krieghoff / Quebec 1856’ (lower right), oil on canvas painted arched top corners, 22 ¼ x 31 ¼in. (56.5 x 79.2cm.). Estimate 60,000 - 80,000 British pounds. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.

LONDON.- Christie’s presents the auction of the contents of 2 Campden Hill Place, W11, the home of the late Peter Winkworth (1929-2005), celebrated bon viveur and collector of early Canadian art. The sale includes all of the remaining Canadiana which adorned the walls of the house in Kensington following the private sales of 5,200 works from the collection to Canada in 2002 and 2005, as well as a selection of furniture and decorative arts from the Colefax & Fowler-decorated Winkworth household.

Highlights of the sale include the very first view of Niagara Falls taken on the spot, Captain Thomas Davies’s watercolour painted in 1762, An East View of the Great Cataract of Niagara (estimate: £40,000-60,000); Cornelius Krieghoff’s Quebec Farm, 1856 (estimate: £60,000-80,000), a classic winter landscape from the height of Krieghoff’s career in Quebec in the 1850s; and Joseph Légaré’s Chaudière Falls (estimate: £20,000-30,000) and Montmorency Falls (estimate: £20,000-30,000), two important and iconic Quebec landscapes by Canada’s first native landscape painter.

‘Peter Winkworth was there … Surely you know Peter. Has a house like an art museum in London. Youngish, about 35. Spends his life jetting around the world from art auction to art auction. Scads of money. Terribly hard to please. “If Peter comes to your auction,” confided a nice lady from Christie’s, the auction people, “then it’s made.”’ Brian McKenna reporting on Christie’s (Canada) sale, Montreal, 22 May 1969.

Born in 1929, the son of a French Canadian mother and an English father, Peter Winkworth was educated in Montreal and read History at Wadham College, Oxford before embarking on a career in the City of London with a firm of Canadian stockbrokers. His career was curtailed when he lost a leg in a boating accident off Monte Carlo, and he began collecting Canadiana in earnest during his year of convalescence. While still in his wheelchair, he married Franca Lombardi, the daughter of the Italian First World War fighter ace and pioneer aviator “Francis” Lombardi, in New York. He quickly mastered his artificial leg and embarked on a six-week tour of Europe with New York print dealer Harry Shaw Newman who introduced him to key contacts and destinations in the print and antiquarian collecting world. In the ensuing years, Peter, who struck a remarkable figure with his gold tipped cane, would become a familiar character to the printselling trade and a fixture on the auction circuit in London and Montreal, putting together what would become arguably the most extensive private collection of Canadiana ever assembled.

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