There is no doubt about it: summer 2012 is London's moment in the limelight. To join in the celebrations, Bonhams Knightsbridge is holding an Olympic Games sale in July. So if things go wrong in the 100m, there's another way you can get your hands on a gold medal – and in a slightly less stressful fashion.
Being first in the field applies to George Daniels, one of the greatest watchmakers of all time. Despite little education or family support, London-born Daniels taught himself to mend watches and invented the co-axial escapement – one of the great leap forwards in the history of horology. This invention funded his passion for motor cars, and by the end of his life – Daniels died last October – he had assembled a wonderful collection that is on offer in June at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex. On page 22, Richard Williams writes about Daniels' extraordinary story and how he achieved against the odds.
Bonhams New York is featuring the work of another innovator: Louis Tiffany. At the turn of the century, no American household with any pretension would be without one of his glowing lamps. As Eric Knowles describes on page 40, it was Tiffany's passion for glass that led him to experiment with techniques that blended it together in a molten state to produce subtle shades and textures. It made his company a world-beater.
Bonhams also features another American who tore up the rulebook: Andy Warhol. His image of Queen Elizabeth II – the cover of our Diamond Jubilee issue – is from a series, Reigning Queens. On page 26, Adrian Dannatt writes about how Warhol took the portrait tradition and transformed it through mass media and mass production, and juxtaposed the rare, the rich and the ordinary. In their individual ways, all of these artists were first among equals.