Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Indian jewels and photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe are among items collected by a Scottish aristocrat that are estimated to sell for as much as $1 million.
Colin Tennant, who died last year, gained notoriety for the parties he hosted on Mustique in the Caribbean in the 1960s and 1970s. Princess Margaret, sister of the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth, Mick and Bianca Jagger, and David Bowie were among the guests.
Tennant, who lived to be 83, sold his private island and moved to nearby St. Lucia with his pet elephant, Boopa, in 1992. He was described by newspapers as an eccentric socialite who collected widely and left his Indian-style “Beau House” to Kent Adonai, his locally born servant and elephant-keeper. Proceeds of the auction will benefit the Glenconner Estate, said Bonhams.
“The collection is a wonderful mix,” said Charlie Thomas, the Bonhams specialist in charge of the Sept. 28 London sale. “There are serious academic pieces combined with fun lots.”
A gold pendant from the treasury of the Indian ruler Tipu Sultan, set with a 38-carat emerald, is valued at 80,000 pounds ($127,600) to 120,000 pounds. It is the most expensive piece in the 225-lot sale, which may raise 650,000 pounds. Tipu was known as the “Tiger of Mysore” for his opposition to British rule. He was killed, and his treasury looted, at the Siege of Seringapatam in 1799.
Mapplethorpe photos of Princess Margaret and the Jaggers at an Indian costume party for Tennant’s 50th birthday in 1976 carry low estimates of 300 pounds each.
Tennant inherited 1 million pounds in 1963 on the sale of the family commodity trading business. He assumed the title Lord Glenconner when his father died in 1983.
A pair of cufflinks and a silver snuff box, both gifted by the princess to Tennant, are cataloged at 1,000 pounds to 1,500 pounds each. A late 17th-century marble bust symbolizing America is priced at 3,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds.
Three paintings from the collection of Jeff Koons will give a contemporary twist to a new fair devoted to Old Masters in Paris in November.
The U.S. artist will lend female nudes by Nicolas Poussin, Jean-Honore Fragonard and Gustave Courbet to the first edition of Paris Tableau. The event, featuring 10 Paris galleries and a further 10 international dealers, will be held in the Palais de la Bourse from Nov. 4 through Nov. 8.
Koons has been an active buyers of Old Masters in recent years, adding to his collection of contemporary pieces. A retrospective show of his own works, including the signature chromium steel sculptures “Rabbit” and “Balloon Dog,’’ was held in the Chateau de Versailles from September 2008 to March 2009.
“Jeff has been inspired by Old Master artists all his life,” the Paris-based dealer Maurizio Canesso, president of the fair, said in an interview. “Works from his collection will show people that these paintings can be bought and don’t just exist in the Louvre.”
Fragonard’s “Young Girl Holding Two Puppies,” Poussin’s “Jupiter and Antiope” and Courbet’s “Femme Nue” were all offered at auction between June 2007 and April 2008. They sold for $1.4 million, $959,400 and 1.6 million pounds respectively.
A Chinese porcelain vase has failed to sell at auction -- despite being almost identical to the 18th-century one bid to a record 51.6 million pounds in November.
The lot at Canterbury Auction Galleries in Kent, entered by a Chinese seller, was a recently-made copy, dealers said. It was cracked and of unspecified date, according to the catalog. It was valued at 5,000 pounds to 6,000 pounds and resembled the record-breaking vase offered at Bainbridges in Ruislip, west London last year.
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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