Issue 47, Summer 2016

Editor's Letter: Lucinda Bredin "We write a lot about artists in Bonhams Magazine, but perhaps not as much as we should about people who enable artists to create work – their patrons. In this issue, we have a number of stories which show how important patronage and commissions are. For instance, one of the most important collections of British modernism – to be offered in the Modern British Art Sale in London this June – was assembled by Cyril Reddihough, a Yorkshire solicitor who heard about the works of a certain Ben Nicholson and went to visit him. Reddihough came away transfixed, began a correspondence with the artist, went on Tuscan holidays with him and bought works by him and other members of the St Ives group throughout his life. Nicholson later acknowledged that the help of Reddihough and his other patrons was crucial: "The understanding they gave was invaluable and the work which they bought kept us going."

Before the 20th century, patrons were royal or noble. William Dobson, famously described by the gossipy biographer John Aubrey as "the most excellent painter that England hath yet bred", was Sarjeant Painter to the court of Charles I at the moment when the Civil War was about to ignite. Dobson's robust style was perfectly suited to that momentous era, says Waldemar Januszczak, when the court had to rough it in Oxford rather than glide around the Palace of Whitehall. We know little about Dobson himself; indeed his self-portrait, which is being offered in July's Old Master Paintings sale, is possibly the most revealing image he has left. Turn to page 26 to find out more.

While Dobson was at the beck and call of Charles I, it could be said that Leo and Marlys Keoshian were at the feet of legendary Californian furniture designer John Dickinson. They commissioned him to redecorate their house in 1968 and didn't change a thing for almost half a century. This astonishing collection of furniture and fittings – stainless steel bath, anyone? – will be offered at Bonhams Los Angeles in the autumn.

And sometimes an artist becomes a patron. When asked to help a hospice charity supported by Bentley, the great British artist Sir Peter Blake grabbed the steering wheel and designed the world's first Pop Art Bentley Convertible. It will be sold in aid of the Care2Save Charitable Trust at Bonhams' Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in June – and will doubtless achieve a heartening result."

Lucinda Bredin

  1. Claude Gellée, called Claude Lorrain (Champagne 1600-1682 Rome) A pastoral landscape with a shepherd and shepherdess beside their livestock in an Arcadian landscape with drovers on a bridge beyond

    Page 8

    Claude almighty

    With his revolutionary vision of nature, Claude didn't follow the herd. Which is why we shouldn't take his genius for granted, says Jonathan Jones

    Claude is such a hallowed name in western art that his true originality has got lost in a golden aura of vague importance. He is part of the furniture, a lacquer cabinet in the ...

  2. Page 16

    The battle of Paris

    Long overshadowed by his American rivals, Georges Mathieu's works are rightly enjoying a major revival. Matthew Wilcox looks back on a controversial career

    In 1957, Time Magazine covered a show by French abstract painter Georges Mathieu at Shirakiya Gallery in Tokyo. Before a rapt Japanese public, the abstract artist, barefoot and clad in a loose-fitting 'kimono', enacted an unprecedented ...

  3. Page 19

    Travel
    Route awakening

    Lucinda Bredin goes on a tour of Tuscany and Umbria in search of works by Piero della Francesca

    One doesn't need many excuses to tour around Tuscany and Umbria, but perhaps there is a need for a framework. Otherwise, how does one choose which glorious hill town to visit? After years of confining myself to the greatest hits of ...

  4. The world's first and only British Pop Art Bentley, this unique Continental GT V8 S Convertible is the result of a collaboration between Bentley Motors and the godfather of British Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake,2016 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible  Chassis no. SCBGE23W6GC058251

    Page 22

    Pop the hood

    Bags, badges, Beatles – and now a Bentley. Peter Blake tells Raffaella Barker why he gave the famous marque a makeover

    Sir Peter Blake RA, one of Britain's most famous artists – indeed, the living embodiment of a national treasure – has created a huge body of work since he graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1956. In addition to ...

  5. William Dobson (London 1611-1646) Portrait of the artist, bust length in a black tunic and white collar

    Page 29

    The full English

    Waldemar Januszczak hails the achievements of William Dobson, court painter to Charles I, and the first great national portrait painter

    When John Aubrey, the gossipy Baroque biographer, declared that William Dobson (1611-1646) was "the most excellent painter that England hath yet bred", he was on fairly safe ground. Aubrey was writing at the end of the 17th century. Hogarth had ...

  6. Page 30

    Restaurant
    A dish best served cold

    The ever-inventive Tom Kemble, head chef at Bonhams Restaurant, shares the secret of the perfect gazpacho

    Gazpacho is one of those dishes you associate with one ingredient: summer-ripened tomatoes. It is the intensity of their flavour in this dish that remains the most powerful memory of the experience. Ironically, in its original form, gazpacho did not have tomatoes in it ...

  7. Page 38

    Left on the shelf

    A rare inscribed first edition of Karl Marx's Das Kapital, once owned by the General Secretary of the First International, is to be sold in June. Francis Wheen traces its origins

    "See to it that the material you've collected is soon launched into the world," Frederick Engels wrote to Karl Marx in October 1844, shortly after the two ...

  8. Page 40

    Platform
    A new leaf

    Renowned for his suburban subject matter and painting in Humbrol enamel, George Shaw tells Michael Prodger how he raised his game to take on the Old Masters at the National Gallery

    In 2014, when George Shaw took up his two-year residency as Associate Artist at the National Gallery, he had mixed feelings about accepting the invitation. He had been going ...

  9. Page 43

    Life in porcelain

    Eve Newgas and her family fled the Nazis, taking their European porcelain with them. Rachel Spence recounts the tale of a dynastic collection

    When Edmund de Waal's 2010 family memoir The Hare With Amber Eyes became a literary sensation, porcelain collector Eve Newgas must have felt her own life story had come alive on the page. This June, her ...

  10. Page 50

    Carte blanche

    San Franciscan interior designer John Dickinson had a fetish for mock-primitive designs, whiter shades of pale – and acquiescent clients. Emma O'Kelly is in awe

    In 1968, eminent American hand surgeon Leo Keoshian and his wife, Marlys, commissioned John Dickinson to create an interior for their Californian-Mediterranean style house in Palo Alto. Fortunately, the Keoshians had a passion for design ...

  11. Page 56

    My favourite room
    Sean Scully

    Sean Scully is transported by Monet's bridge every time he visits the Resnick Rotunda in Philadelphia Museum of Art

    I must have first visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art 30 years ago, but I didn't really get to know the Resnick Rotunda until quite recently, when I struck up a friendship with Tim Rub, the Director.

    The museum ...

  12. Page 69

    Inside Bonhams
    Orient express

    Edward Wilkinson, Bonhams new Executive Director in Asia, talks to Lucinda Bredin

    There was standing room only and the phones were alive at Bonhams' sale of exceptional jade pieces in Hong Kong in April. Buyers were clamouring for rare and precious items from a collection never seen before at auction, including an outstanding figure of a male dancer which sold ...

Related auctions