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Molly K. Dorkin

Paid adviser employed by collectors to recommend and facilitate the purchase of works of art. There is a long history of recruitment of art experts by wealthy patrons for advisery purposes. In the 18th century art historians such as Johann Joachim Winckelmann were actively advising leading collectors like ...

Article

Molly K. Dorkin

Prior to the 20th century, the attribution of works of art was not governed by rigid regulations, and art dealers and auctioneers assigned attributions based purely on aesthetic grounds. Works were attributed to the artist whose manner they most closely resembled, but they were not further distinguished on the basis of quality; as a result, many paintings purchased as Renaissance masterpieces in the 18th or 19th century have since been downgraded to studio works or even much later pastiches....

Article

Bonhams  

Molly K. Dorkin

Auction house established in London 1793 by William Charles Bonham, a book dealer (also recorded as Walter Bonham), and George Jones, from a gallery founded by Thomas Dodd (1771–1850), a dealer in antiquarian prints. Bonhams originally specialized in sales of prints in the 18th and 19th centuries, at which time the market was robust. By the 19th century Bonhams was also holding sales of antiques, which were advertised in the London press alongside similar offerings from ...

Article

Noël Annesley

Auction house founded in London by James Christie (1730–1803). After a few years spent in the navy, James Christie worked as an assistant to an auctioneer named Mr Annesley in Covent Garden, London. He left Annesley in 1763 to set up on his own and in ...

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Stephen T. Clarke, Harley Preston and Lin Barton

English family of silversmiths, industrialists, collectors, and patrons, of French origin. The family originated from the town of St Pierre on the Ile d’Oléron off La Rochelle. They arrived in London a few years after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and between ...

Article

Molly K. Dorkin

The world’s oldest auction house, founded in Vienna in April 1707 by Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor (reg 1705–11). Originally called the Versatz- und Fragamt zu Wien (‘The Pawn and Query Bureau of Vienna’), the firm moved in 1777 to the site of an old monastery, the Dorotheerkloster, from which the name ‘Dorotheum’ is derived. By the end of the 19th century the premises were outdated, so Emperor Francis-Joseph I (...

Article

Place where works of art are displayed (see Display of art; see also Museum, §I).

Article

Linda Whiteley

French dealer, collector, museum official and painter. He studied under Charles Landon and Jean-Baptiste Regnault. In 1793 he began to deal in pictures and until 1812 spent part of his time travelling abroad (mainly in Italy) to increase his knowledge of art. In October 1816...

Article

French dealer, collector, writer, and painter. He was the son of a painter and picture dealer, Pierre Le Brun (c. 1703–1771), and great-nephew of Charles Le Brun. He studied painting with Jean-Baptiste Deshays, François Boucher, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard before becoming a leading connoisseur and art dealer. In ...

Article

Molly K. Dorkin

Auction house founded in London in 1796 by Harry Phillips (d 1840), formerly senior clerk to James Christie (1730–1803). Phillips’ inaugural sale of household furniture was held on 23 April 1796. The auctioneer soon distinguished himself by combining the skills he had learnt from observing Christie’s methods with a talent for ceremony and showmanship. Many of his innovations, such as holding lavish evening receptions for his clients and translating the business of sales into theatre, are widely employed by auction houses today. In his first year of business Phillips oversaw 12 auctions. He was soon charged with selling some of the most distinguished collections of the era, including those of Marie Antoinette, Stanisław II Poniatowski of Poland, and Napoleon Bonaparte. In ...