Published date: 22 May 2012
There is no doubt about it: summer 2012 is London's moment in the limelight. To join in the celebrations, Bonhams Knightsbridge is holding an Olympic Games sale in July. So if things go wrong in the 100m, there's another way you can get your hands on a gold medal – and in a slightly less stressful fashion.
Being first in the field applies to George Daniels, one of the greatest watchmakers of all time. Despite little education or family support, London-born Daniels taught himself to mend watches and invented the co-axial escapement – one of the great leap forwards in the history of horology. This invention funded his passion for motor cars, and by the end of his life – Daniels died last October – he had assembled a wonderful collection that is on offer in June at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex. On page 22, Richard Williams writes about Daniels' extraordinary story and how he achieved against the odds.
Bonhams New York is featuring the work of another innovator: Louis Tiffany. At the turn of the century, no American household with any pretension would be without one of his glowing lamps. As Eric Knowles describes on page 40, it was Tiffany's passion for glass that led him to experiment with techniques that blended it together in a molten state to produce subtle shades and textures. It made his company a world-beater.
Bonhams also features another American who tore up the rulebook: Andy Warhol. His image of Queen Elizabeth II – the cover of our Diamond Jubilee issue – is from a series, Reigning Queens. On page 26, Adrian Dannatt writes about how Warhol took the portrait tradition and transformed it through mass media and mass production, and juxtaposed the rare, the rich and the ordinary. In their individual ways, all of these artists were first among equals.
The miracle of Joan Miró, says Martin Gayford, is that his ethereal constellations of extraordinary marks have the same authority as his earthiest landscapes
He was the king of Pop Art and always ahead of the curve. No wonder Andy Warhol's portraits still challenge and provoke, says Adrian Dannatt
Henry Moore returned to the reclining female figure throughout his long, venerable career. Yet each work has a different quality, says Timothy Wilcox
For years, the Irish Impressionist Walter Osborne was ignored – despite his extraordinary talent and faultless eye. Bruce Arnold looks at the artist's life and discovers why
Timothy Potts has transformed the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Now he is off to the Getty. How does he do it, asks Lucinda Bredin
The Tiffany lamp was the must-have item for the fashionable American at the turn of the 20th century. Eric Knowles reveals how its creator, Louis Tiffany, single-handedly revolutionized coloured-glass production
Christopher Nevinson and Paul Nash were rivals at the Slade. Then they were pitched into the hell of the Western Front. Paul Gough describes the effect of the Great War upon their work
The famous basket weaver, Dat So La Lee, was presented as an Indian princess. But the truth is even more interesting, says Jim Haas
Lost for decades, the murals by one of the leading female artists of Russia's celebrated Silver Age, have been rediscovered. Zinaida Serebriakova's work, says Matthew Sturgis, is still frank and radiant
To celebrate the Bonhams Olympic Games Sale, Matthew Pinsent describes why gold medals are precious pieces of history
One of the most famous wines in the world, Château d'Yquem, is surprisingly affordable. Bruce Palling explores the reason why
The author Edmund White draws inspiration from the belle époque pleasures of his favorite Parisian restaurant