The Attack, an important cameo glass plaque by Thomas and George Woodall, smashed world records selling for £169,250 at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 1st May, as part of the British and European Glass Sale. The lot was secured by a buyer in the saleroom after a lengthy bidding battle.
Crafted over 115 years ago in 1896 in dark amethyst glass overlaid with white the piece is carved with a 'Pompeian' scene where a maiden is surprised in a state of undress on her terrace by two cupids, gods of desire. Her modesty protected only by a translucent veil and her discarded clothing and jewels scattered in the foreground, the maiden is set upon by the mischievous cupids.
The Cameo glass method was first invented in the Roman era and later revived in the nineteenth-century by two craftsmen, to whom Thomas and George Woodall were apprentices. Unwilling to sign his work and pre-occupied with social reform, Thomas Woodall's name mostly faded from history. George, on the other hand, was a showman and local celebrity. Many of the figures depicted in his works were modelled on his daughters. Relations between the two brothers had become strained and The Attack was to be the last work that the brothers collaborated on.
Simon Cottle, European Director of Glass at Bonhams said, "Carved in the Roman manner The Attack is one of the finest pieces of Cameo glass work ever produced. Reminiscent of the priceless Portland vase created nearly two thousand years ago and which stands in the British Museum, this piece is in outstanding condition having always been in private hands. With several major international buyers bidding, the market has recognised the significance of a true masterpiece and the price achieved reflects this. This piece may well hold the record for any piece of English glass ever sold at auction."
Other top lots in the sale included A Venetian Cameo Glass Vase by Attilio Spaccarelli which made over ten times the estimate selling at £26,250 and set a new world record for a work by the artist. A Beilby wine goblet which sold for £63,650 set a world record for glass of this particular type.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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 www.bonhams.com