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Soldiers behaving badly at art auction

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Drunkenness, brawling, and lewd behaviour – no, not a typical day at the Moore Allen & Innocent saleroom, but the actions of soldiers in an 18th century painting that will go under the hammer at the firm’s auction of works of art next week.

March of the Guards towards Scotland 1745, by John Collet (1725-1780), is an almost exact replica of The March of the Guards to Finchley by his more famous contemporary, the satirist William Hogarth.

The painting is a depiction of a fictional mustering of troops on the Tottenham Court Road before their march north to the London borough of Finchley to defend the capital during the second Jacobite rebellion of 1745.

The Hogarth original, and the Collet copy, feature indisciplined soldiers scrapping, groping wenches and sprawling on the floor, drunk on gin.

Hogarth’s painting was intended as a gift to George II, whose own image is immortalised on one of two pub signs in the painting.

However, the King was not amused the the depiction of his most favoured guards, and demanded that the Earl of Harrington, who presented the picture to the royal court, “Take this trumpery out of my sight!”

Hogarth’s original now hangs in the Foundling Museum, at Brunswick Square in London. Wherever the Collet version ends up, its new owners will need a lot of wall space – the oil on canvas measures a whopping 234cm (over seven and a half feet) wide by 189cm (6ft) tall. It carries an estimate of £5,000 to £8,000.

A far more serene scene is captured by a follower of Raphael in La Madonna della Sedia. The oil on canvas features Mary embracing the infant Jesus, while the young John the Baptist devoutly watches.

The Italian renaissance original, painted in around 1513, forms part of the Palazzo Pitti collection in Florence. The version to be auctioned in Cirencester dates from the 19th century, was sold by the Florentine art dealer Philpott & Jackson.

The unsigned oil measures 75cm square, while the ornate giltwood and gesso frame almost doubles the size of the piece to 132cm tall.

It commands an estimate of £2,000 to £3,000, while an182cm wide oil on canvas of Jesus feeding the five thousand, by the 19th century Spanish artist Juan Cabral Bejarano, should achieve between £800 and £1,200.

Staying on the theme of faithful reproductions, a pair of 18th or 19th century copies of works by the Dutch painter Gabriël Metsu are so close to the 17th century originals that the artist has even copied cracks on the panels.

The Poultry Seller features an old man seated with clay pipe, while a young woman sells a chicken to an older woman. Man Selling Poultry is a study of the same man selling a chicken to a young woman. Bids of between £1,000 and £1,500 are expected for the pair.

Meanwhile, an unsigned oil on copper study of The Senate Palace, Rome with crowds, horses and carriages in foreground, attributed to a follower of the Venetian painter Canaletto (1697–1768) should achieve £3,000 to £5,000, as should a pair of oils on canvas, studies of flowers in vases in the 18th Century Dutch School manner, attributed to a follower of the Flemish painter Pieter Casteels.

There are a smattering of local scenes and artists among the 250 lots of paintings, prints, maps and antique books.

Among the best are Cow by Tree, an oil on canvas study of a British White in the naïve manner by the 19th century Northleach-based painter John Miles (estimate £1,000 to £1,500); an oil on panel painting of Duntisbourne Abbots church by the Irish horse racing artist Peter Curling (estimate £800 to £1,200); and a 1950 study of a racehorse, jockey and groom at Heythrop Point to Point by Oxfordshire artist Raoul Millais, whom accompanied Ernest Hemingway on his Spanish adventures (estimate £300 to £500).

And anyone who wants to take a punt on an outsider, might be interested in two head and shoulder charcoal studies of women, which may or may not have been drawn by the English-based American artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925).

The portraits are certainly signed ‘John S Sargent’, and they come from the Blythe Priory estate of the portrait painter John Seymour Lucas, a close friend of Sergent’s. But are they actually by Sergent? Neither vendor nor auctioneer can be sure. The pair carry an estimate of £800 to £1,200, but could be worth £10,000 to £15,000 each if their authenticity can be proven.

The sale takes place in Cirencester on Friday, October 26 from 9.30am. For a full catalogue log on to


Written by secretagentmarketing

October 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

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