Clausen the Top Lot at Bonhams 19th Century Sale

19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art
27 Sep 2017
London, New Bond Street

Noon in the Hayfield by Sir George Clausen RA was the top lot at Bonhams 19th Century Paintings sale in London today, 27 September 2017, achieving £581,000. The sale – which took place in a packed room - made a total of £3.4 million with 87% of the lots sold by value.

Noon in the Hayfield was painted over several years and is a masterful rendering of the serene, rural subjects of the English landscape. Not surprisingly, it was hotly contested before selling to a bidder in the room. Clausen's compelling portrait of Marie, A Peasant Girl of Quimperlé was also well received and followed suit by also selling in the room, achieving £77,500.

Success for Morbelli, the Italian Divisionist
Three works by the Italian Divisionist, Angelo Morbelli, also made their mark at the sale. Le Risaiuole (1897), discovered by the Bonhams office in Milan, sold for £173,000, against an estimate of £60,000 – 80,000. Morbelli's Passagio con larici, another newly discovered painting - this time in a private collection in South America - sold for an impressive £87,500, while a third work by Morbelli, Il Telegramma, also performed well, achieving £118,750.

Bonhams Director of 19th Century Paintings, Charles O'Brien said: "This was an excellent start to the winter sale season and we were delighted that the auction was so well-attended – it's always good to see a packed room. The attention surrounding the works of Morbelli and Clausen, in particular, demonstrates the high regard in which these 19th century masters are held."

Pola Star
Another success story of the sale was Beltrán Masses' ethereal double portrait of the Hollywood actress Pola Negri with Rudolph Valentino, which made £149,000. Negri commissioned the Cuban painter, Masses, to paint the portrait of her together with her lover, Valentino, after the screen idol's untimely death from peritonitis. As Charlie O'Brien commented, "Masses built a successful career as a portraitist, and as a friend of Valentino's, could capture moments of stillness in the pair's otherwise dramatic lives. This is a very fine example of the artist's art deco style, and it was no surprise that the bidding for it was so fierce."


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also 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 forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

  1. Charles O'Brien
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8360
    FaxFax: +44 20 7447 7434

Related auctions