Bonhams sets sail for the Maritime Paintings and Decorative Arts auction

Important Maritime Paintings and Decorative Arts
20 Jan 2012
New York

Bonhams is pleased to announce its Maritime Paintings and Decorative Arts auction taking place January 20. Featured prominently throughout the auction are masterworks by celebrated American and British maritime painters, including Nicholas Pocock, James Edward Buttersworth, Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen and John Steve Dews. Also offered is a wide variety of objects that will appeal to any collector, such as fine scale ship models, sailor's folk art, silver trophies, scrimshaw, important prints and charts, campaign furniture and other decorative arts.

Gregg Dietrich, Maritime sales consultant at Bonhams, has worked to gather pieces for a focused and tightly curated sale, with an emphasis on the documentation of historic naval engagements and decorative arts.

The 18th century British artist Nicholas Pocock's The Battle of Cape Santa Maria (pre-sale est. $120,000-$180,000) dramatically depicts one of Britain's greatest victories during the Age of Sail. The beautifully rendered painting shows the H.M.S. Indefatigable and her consorts capturing the Spanish squadron and their treasure off Cape Santa Maria on October 5, 1804. This battle was a precursor of what would happen to the combined French and Spanish Fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar, Nelson's decisive victory, almost a year later.

James Edward Buttersworth's Yacht Race (pre-sale est. $80,000-$120,000) illustrates the contest between Mohawk, owned by rear Commodore Garner of the New York Yacht Club, and the yacht Dauntless, owned by James Gordon Bennett. The close race took place on October 26, 1875, and was much publicised at the time, as the challenge was intended to test out the seaworthiness of newer designed shoal draught centre boarders against more traditional deep keel yachts. Buttersworth's attention to detail and use of vivid colours come together to make a striking and historically significant painting.

Two other highlights of the auction come from the Dutch painters Bonaventura Peeters the Elder and Jacob Adriaensz. Specialising in seascapes and shipwrecks, Peeters' Sea Battle is a commendable example of artistry ($30,000-$50,000). Jacob Adriaensz's Shipping Outside the Flushing Harbour depicts the main harbour for ships of the Dutch East India Company (pre-sale est. $30,000-$50,000).

A resplendent French diorama depicting three naval ships (pre-sale est. $10,000-$15,000) is certain to attract many collectors. Believed to be from Dieppe, and made just prior to the Napoleonic wars, the diorama includes a frigate, a brig of war and an armed cutter, sailing in formation, each built up and carved from ivory. The exquisitely crafted ships sit atop a sea of pale green silk which is handsomely framed in an oval domed case.

Other highlights include: John Steven Dews' Atlantic Racing for the Kaiser Cup (pre-sale est. $60,000-$80,000), a French nautical timepiece/barometer desk set (pre-sale est. $10,000-$15,000) and a model of the clipper ship Lightning by Peter Ness (pre-sale est. $8,000-$12,000).

Press Contacts:

Julie Saunders Guinta
(917) 206-1681


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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