Just as James J. Lally recently announced the closure of his 35-year-old gallery in New York, the circle of antique dealers is busy.
A famous London-based Asian art dealer, Roger Keverne, decided to close his Clifford Street gallery last June. All content left behind by long-established Roger Keverne Ltd is going under the hammer at Bonhams London’s two-part sale, which will take place in May and June.
Asaph Hyman, Global Head of Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art at Bonham, spoke to us about the legendary collector and showed us the highlights of upcoming sales.
Roger Keverne, an esteemed Asian art dealer based in London
An underglaze blue and yellow dragon and “ruyi” bowl | 1662-1722
Six-character and period Kangxi mark
All lots offered without reserve price, the grand finale »Roger Keverne Ltd moves onThe sale will cover more than 800 lots in total, showcasing a wide range of Chinese artworks including ceramics, bronzes, jades, lacquerware, cloisonné and painted enamels assembled over more than half a century.
As the child of a Yorkshire coal-mining engineer, Keverne decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps, but rather to follow his passion for history and art. At the age of 28, Keverne was appointed manager of the venerable Mayfair dealership – also one of Britain’s Royal Warrant holders, Spink & Son, and it was then that his connection to the royal family has begun.
For 17 years Keverne was Principal Director in charge of the Asian departments – overseeing Chinese, Japanese, Islamic and Southeast Asian arts, and served both royal patrons and prominent collectors, including the British diplomat Sir Michael Butler, the Rockefeller family. , as well as Florence and Herbert Irving, to name a few.
Roger Keverne (right) presenting a bronze incense burner to Prince Charles
Roger Keverne (right) meets Princess Margaret
He was also governor of the Compton Verney Art Gallery – one of the three most important collections of ancient Chinese bronzes in Europe. Over the years Keverne has helped provide advisory services for the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. As well as advising Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue, Director of the Royal Collection and Surveyor of the Queen’s Works of Art, outside his native country, Gustav VI Adolf, King of Sweden was also one of his many clients.
“He has been consulted by the Royal Household on matters relating to Chinese art, particularly in the areas of conservation and dating of the Royal Collection’s extensive collection of Chinese art,” Hyman said.
Asaph Hyman, Global Head of Ceramics and Chinese Artworks at Bonham
Polychrome limestone figure of a luohan | 9th/10th century
In 1992, the antiques lover decided to embark on a new chapter and bring his expertise to the heart of Mayfair. He created his homonymous Roger Keverne Ltd gallery with his wife Miranda Clarke, specializing in Chinese antiques, mainly lacquers, jades and cloisonné.
Asked about his meeting with Keverne, Hyman recalled: “Roger Keverne is distinguished by his personal warmth and hospitality, his sense of humor and his willingness to share his vast experience with everyone, from the most competent people to the students who come to enter Chinese art. domain. It is this reception that has made his gallery in Mayfair a “pit-stop” for many collectors, curators, scholars, dealers and auction house specialists.
Archaic Ritual Bronze Wine Vase, Fanglei | Shang dynasty (13th/12th century BC)
Estimate: £50,000 – £80,000
A beautiful blue and white rectangular box and its domed lid | Wânli (1573-1619)
The dedicated sale held in 2007, from the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, took place when Keverne donated the precious archaic bronze vase, on behalf of the Compton Verney Museum, created by British philanthropist Sir Peter Moores. Late Shang (13th-11th century BC) archaic bronze wine vessel with lid (fangjia) was sold for $8.1 million with fees.
A Gorgeous Very Pale Green Jade Wedding Cup | Qianlong (1736-1795)
While Roger Keverne has taken a step back from his gallery, the collection – each of the more than 800 items – will hopefully find new owners at upcoming Bonhams No Reserve sales.
“Roger Keverne and Miranda Clarke have decided it’s time for them to move on from the fully immersive day-to-day running of a dealership. They have recently moved from London to the beautiful countryside and would like to enjoy a different pace of life, d ‘where this chapter ends,” Hyman said.
Before the pandemic subsides, however, interested collectors might not be able to handle the items in person this time around. The auction house will instead host a virtual 3D exhibit, with additional images, videos and status reports made available to enhance the experience.
Auction house: Bonhams London
Sale: Roger Keverne Ltd Moving On (Two parts)
Dates: May 11, 2021 and June 7, 2021