Artworks from Chester and the Northwest make a mint at Bonhams London auctions

Louise J. Rayner, 'Eastgate St.' sold for £95,000

Artworks from Chester and the Northwest make a mint at Bonhams London auctions

Spicebox sold for £65,000

Artworks from Chester and the Northwest make a mint at Bonhams London auctions

John Martin 'Diogneses throwing away his Cup' sold for £32,000

Artworks from Chester and the Northwest make a mint at Bonhams London auctions

Giovanni Costa, Chester sourced painting sold for £14,375

Residents asked to search attics and basements for hidden treasures which have run into millions of £'s

A Bonhams Regional Director, Antony Bennett, says that the northwest of England is producing some of the company's most outstanding items with winning results at auction in London. "The Northwest punches above its weight when it comes to art," he says.

Last year residents of Chester, Manchester, Carlisle, Southport and North Wales, found a steady stream of art works that made strong prices in front of the most discriminating art buyers and collectors in London. Art finds running into millions was locally sourced according to Bonhams specialist in the region.

Antony Bennett comments: "This region has a fantastic wealth of art stored away in private homes and collections, sometimes without the owners' even realizing it. Some of this art treasure trove emerges at our appraisal days, and some is walked into our offices when people want to have new insurance appraisals made. We are constantly surprised by some of the breathtaking works that we source here for sale in the world's top art market. It includes paintings, furniture, silver, Asian art, virtually everything across the art spectrum."

A selection of local finds include:

  • A group of images of Chester by Louise J. Rayner (British, 1832-1924) including Eastgate Street, Chester, from east of the Cross looking towards the Eastgate. The Grosvenor Hotel on the right, sold for a total of £95,000 in Chester.
  • A collection of Chinese jade and oriental ceramics from Manchester sold in May 2011 for £300,000 in London.
  • A collection of ornithological watercolors by Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935), sourced in Southport made £100,000.
  • A Chester sourced painting by the Italian artist, Giovanni Costa, sold in London in January for £14,375. The owner had thought that as it was a minor Italian artist it would make a few hundred pounds at most.
  • A Bonhams appraisal day find in Buxton, a John Martin (British, 1789-1854) painting Diogenes throwing away his Cup signed and dated J.Martin.1833, made £32,000 to its owners delight. The painting went to London where it was regarded as a discovery and included in an exhibition about the artist.
  • A fascinating piece of silver locally sourced from North Wales - a breathtaking spicebox which the Duke of Monmouth gave as a gift to the daughter of the mayor of Chester - is now in Chester Grosvenor Museum, having been bought for £65,000 at Bonhams.

The spicebox was reputedly the gift of James, Duke of Monmouth (1649 - 1685), illegitimate son of Charles II to Henrietta Mainwaring (1682 - 1688), youngest daughter of George Mainwaring (1642 - 1695), Mayor of Chester and MP for Chester in 1689. It was then passed down through the family by descent to Lloyd Mainwaring (1905 - 1991).

On a tour of Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, it is believed that the Duke stayed with the mayor at his house on Watergate Street in the City of Chester on the night of the 9th September 1682 and stood godfather to the mayor's newborn daughter, Henrietta, at a service at Chester Cathedral on the afternoon of Sunday 10th September. Two days later, having run in - and won - a horse race at nearby Wallasey, the Duke sent back his winnings - including this spice box - as a gift to his godchild.


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 appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

  1. Julian Roup
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8259
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8209
  2. Antony Bennett
    2 St John's Court
    Chester, United Kingdom CH1 1QE
    Work +44 1244 313936
    FaxFax: +44 1244 340028

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