Hard on the heels of the opening of the acclaimed New Bond Street headquarters, Bonhams has made another giant leap forward. This month, the company unveiled its first dedicated saleroom in Hong Kong. Designed by award-winning architects, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, it is state-of-the-art in every way. Set on the 20th floor of One Pacific Place – the centre of Hong Kong's art world – Bonhams now has a gallery and auction room that has changed the game in the region. Museum quality lighting? Yes. Online bidding facilities? Most certainly. There is also the expertise of Bonhams Asian department, which leads the field. Next stop: the New York salerooms, which will have a far-reaching redesign next year.
While this excitement is happening in the east, Bonhams Magazine has set off for a bracing summer beside the sea. Five of the major pieces coming up for auction and featured in this issue have a maritime theme – two of them, an oil by Eugène Boudin and a series of technical drawings for the D-Day invasion of 1944 – are very different views of the Normandy beaches. However, all the works
have one thing in common: they reflect the power of the sea.
In July's Old Master Sale, there's a painting by the 18th century marine artist, John Cleveley, depicting the arrival at Harwich of Princess Charlotte, who was to marry George III. The choppy sea has been stirred up by a stiff southwesterly wind, says our contributor, the former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West. He is one of Britain's most celebrated naval commanders, and knows his rigging and flags – the detail is fascinating – but he also gives an enthralling account of the background, and significance, of this historic event.
Cleveley's work, which was turned into a print, fulfilled the same role as a newspaper photograph, by documenting an occasion. John Constable's stormy beach scene at Brighton is equally revelatory, but instead of charting a public event, it provides a glimpse into the tumult of his heart. Together with the story of one of the chronometers taken on Darwin's voyage of the Beagle – written by the naturalist's great-great grandson, Simon Keynes – we have extended the nautical theme by featuring the harbour city of Copenhagen. René Redzepi, the chef of Noma, just voted the world's number 1 restaurant, gives Bonhams an exclusive on where to eat in his home city – that is, after you've been to his gaff.
Enjoy the issue.