The Last Treasures Of The Wrangham Collection 100% Sold At Bonhams

London- The Last Treasures from the Edward Wrangham Collection of Japanese Art was 100% sold at Bonhams New Bond Street on 19 July. The 230-lot sale was the final chapter in the series of Wrangham Collection sales which began at Bonhams in 2010, following the death of Edward Wrangham in 2009. The sale made a total of £453,212. It sold 100% by lot and 100% by value.

Amongst the array of exceptional pieces, was an impressive collection of Japanese inro – a traditional, and often highly decorated, case for holding small objects, suspended from the obi worn around the waist when wearing a kimono.

The top lot in the sale was a fine and rare black lacquer three-case saya (sheath) inro by Kanshosai Toyo, dating from the 19th century, which sold for £21,500 against an estimate of £7,000-8,000.

Director of Bonhams Japanese Department and Head of Sale, Suzannah Yip, commented: "Among the many Western enthusiasts who have collected inro and other masterpieces of Japanese lacquer with such passion and commitment over the past 150 years, Edward ("Ted") Wrangham stands out on account of his pioneering scholarship and unerring eye. To Ted, each of his more than 1,000 inro was a cultural microcosm, carefully selected for its quality, originality, and contribution to our understanding of a fascinating aspect of Japanese art. It has been a great privilege to act as a custodian over such a magnificent collection these last 11 years at Bonhams. Meeting Ted and seeing his collection certainly represents one of the highlights of my career and so I am delighted that we could mark the final chapter with such an exceptional result- 100% sold and exceeding the total low estimate by 135%."

Other highlights of the sale included:

• A Black-Lacquer Three-Case Inro by Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), 19th Century. Sold for £20,250.

• A Fine Gold-and-Black-Lacquer Five-Case Inro, by Hon'ami Shoetsu, after Yamaguchi Soken, 19th century. Sold for £12,750.

• A Rare Lacquered Wood Koro (Incense Burner) in the Form of an Elephant, Attributed to Ogawa Haritsu (Ritsuo, 1663-1747), 18th Century. Sold for £11,475.

• A Fine Gold-Lacquer Three-Case Intro by Koma Kyuhaku, 19th century. Sold for £10,200.

• A Black-Lacquer Three-Case Inro By Koma Yasutada, 19th century. Sold for £9,562.

• A Complete Set of Twelve Ceramic Three-Case Into by Ogata Kenya II (1853-1923), late 19th century. Sold for £7,012.

Edward A. Wrangham O.B.E (1928-2009)

Born in London, Ted Wrangham grew up in Yorkshire in the north of England; his great-great-grandfather was William Wilberforce, famous for his role in the abolition of slavery. Ted was educated at Eton and Cambridge, where he read English, and in the late 1940s helped found the Alpine Climbing Group— he was even interviewed for the British expedition to Mount Everest in 1953. In 1957 he took to farming on the family estate in Northumberland. He campaigned for the protection of the environment in the northeast of England and played a key role in the creation of Kielder Water reservoir, in recognition of which he was later awarded the Order of the British Empire.

His tastes were greatly influenced by his uncle William ('Billy') Winkworth and his grandfather Stephen Winkworth, a legendary English connoisseur of Asian art who presented Ted with his first netsuke in 1938, when he was only eight years old. Although Ted was fascinated by both Chinese and Japanese art, it would be the study of Japanese inro as a whole—the techniques of their production, the biographies of their makers and (as he himself commented) 'the by-ways of the art'—that most ignited his enthusiasm. His scholarly contribution to what was then a relatively unknown field was acknowledged in the first dedicated exhibition of inro in the United Kingdom, held at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, in 1972. His reference book The Index of Inro Artists (1995) is considered one of the most important English-language studies on Japanese lacquer ever published.


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