The great sale of pictures, sculpture, Sevres, Dresden, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, decorative furniture, bronzes, and works of ornamental art and fine materials, brought from the Duke of Hamilton's Palace in Scotland has been continued by Messrs. Christie, Manson, and Woods, at their rooms in King-street, St. James's, on the Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays of the past four weeks. The sale has been divided into five portions, comprising 2213 articles or lots, which are enumerated in the Illustrated Catalogue; and the volume, ontaining a large number of photographs, is sold for one guinea, but we have been permitted to copy some of these for the engravings presented in this Journal. The last portion of the sale begins to-day (Saturday) with the collection of miniatures, and goes on four days, next week, from Monday to Thursday, ending on the last day with the collections of Greek, Roman, and English coins, of antique and cinque-cento gems, and some small objects of value. We have, from week to week, noticed a few of the more important works of art sold in the three preceding divisions; and it is now to be stated that, on Saturday last, Mr. Burton purchased for the National Gallery, and for the National Portrait Gallery, two paintings of especial interest; the first being the portrait, by Valasquez, of Philip IV. of Spain, which was taken from the Palace at Madrid during the Peninsular War, by the French General Dessolle, from whose family it found its way to Fonthill. It is one of the finest portraits by Valasquez; and the price of 6000 guineas was bid before it became the property of the English Nation. "A Council of Eleven English and Spanish Statesmen, including Portraits of the Duke de Frias, Count Villamediana, Alexander Rouldio, Count d'Arenberg, and another; the Earls Dorset, Nottingham, Densier (Devonshire), Northampton, and Robert Cecil," described in the catalogue as the work of Juan Pantoxa, was knocked down to the representative of the National Portrait Gallery for the sum of 2400 guineas. Among other chief pictures sold on Saturday were "The Infant Christ Sleeping, holding a Crook and Scroll, Angels Guarding Sheep in the background," by Murillo, 2300 guineas (Arnot); Portrait of Henry Stuart, Cardinal of York, whole length, by L. A. Blanchet, 1300 guineas (Lord Moray); and "Distant View of Rome—Sunset," by R. Wilson, R.A., 1000 guineas (Agnew). The prices throughout the day were remarkably good, the total reaching the high sum of £33,562.
At the sale on Monday, which realised £36,000 altogether, a Louis XVI. secretaire of ebony, inlaid with black and gold lacquer, mounted by Gouthiere, with the monogram of Marie Antoinette in the frieze entwined with wreaths and festoons of flowers, sold for £9450. The same enormous price was given for a Louis XVI. commode of ebony, inlaid with panels of lacquer, with birds and plants in gold, mounted with ormolu by Gouthiere, and bearing the Queen's monogram, similarly in floral wreaths. Mr. Davis was the purchaser of the former, and Mr. Wertheimer of the latter. Such a price was never before given for a piece of furniture, though Marie Antoinette's little writing-table, in the first portion of this sale, fetched 6000 guineas. Porcelain vases, Sevres and Oriental, went for £1200 or £1600 the pair.
The sale on Tuesday produced only £16,000, including 3050 guineas for the Louis XIV. writing-table, of ebony, with frieze of ormolu and festoons of foliage (bought by Messrs. Colnaghi); and 1000 guineas for the little marble statuette of Voltaire (bought by Mr. Wertheimer). The bronze bust of Voltaire had been sold before. The total amount of the sales by Messrs. Christie, Manson, and Woods, in twelve days, has been £332,000, and there are five clays yet remaining.
The sale of the Beckford Library and other books from Hamilton Palace, by Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson, and Hodge, in Wellington-street, has also been going on for some days past, and has excited much interest; but the high prices given were rather for costly bindings, the workmanship of famous French hands, than for objects of purely literary worth. The sales had amounted to £23,000 on Tuesday evening.
Source: The Illustrated London News, No.2254—Vol. LXXXI, Saturday, July 15, 1882, p.66