Once behind the royal art collections – Roger Keverne sells his treasure | Auction News | THE VALUE



Just as James J. Lally recently announced the closure of his 35-year-old gallery in New York City, the antique circle is busy.

Roger Keverne, a prominent London-based Asian art dealer, decided to close his Clifford Street gallery last June. All the content that long-established Roger Keverne Ltd has left behind is under the hammer of Bonhams London’s two-part auction, which takes place in May and June.

Asaph Hyman, Global Head of Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art at Bonham, told us about the legendary collector and showed us the highlights of the upcoming auctions.

Roger Keverne, an esteemed Asian art dealer based in London

A dragon with an underglaze blue and yellow background and “ruyi “ bowl | 1662-1722
Six character mark Kangxi and period
Estimate: £ 30,000-50,000

All the prizes offered without reservation, the grand finale »Roger Keverne Ltd moves onThe sale will cover more than 800 lots in total, comprising a wide range of Chinese works of art, including ceramics, bronzes, jades, lacquers, cloisonné and painted enamels assembled for more than a half. 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 the British Royal Mandate holders, Spink & Son, and it was at this point that his connection to the Royal Family came into being. start.

For 17 years, Keverne served as senior director in charge of Asian departments – overseeing Chinese, Japanese, Islamic and Southeast Asian arts, and served both royal patrons and prominent collectors, including the diplomat British Sir Michael Butler, of 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. In addition to 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 related to Chinese art, especially in the areas of conservation and dating of the important collection of Chinese art in the royal collection,” Hyman said.

Asaph Hyman, Global Head of Ceramics and Chinese Artworks at Bonham

A polychrome limestone figure of a Luohan | 9th / 10th century
Estimate: £ 30,000-50,000

In 1992, the antiques lover decided to embark on a new chapter and bring his know-how to the heart of Mayfair. He founded his namesake gallery Roger Keverne Ltd with his wife Miranda Clarke, specializing in Chinese antiques, mainly lacquer, jade and cloisonne.

Asked about his meeting with Keverne, Hyman recalled: “Roger Keverne stands out for his personal warmth and welcome, his sense of humor and his willingness to share his vast experience with everyone, from the most informed people to the students who come. to enter Chinese art. field. It was this welcome that made his Mayfair gallery a “pit stop” for many collectors, curators, academics, dealers and auctioneers.

An archaic bronze ritual wine vase, Fanglei | Shang dynasty (13th / 12th century BC)
Estimate: £ 50,000 – £ 80,000

A thin blue and white rectangular box and a domed lid | Wanli (1573-1619)
Estimate: £ 30,000-50,000

The 2007 dedicated sale of the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo took place when Keverne donated the precious archaic bronze vessel, on behalf of the Compton Verney Museum, created by the philanthropist British Sir Peter Moores. The end of the Shang (13th-11th century BC).fangjia) was sold for US $ 8.1 million with fees.

A Beautiful Very Pale Green Jade Wedding Bowl | Qianlong (1736-1795)
Estimate: £ 30,000-50,000

While Roger Keverne has taken a step back from his gallery, the collection – each of the more than 800 items, will hopefully find its new owners in the next Bonhams Unqualified auction.

“Roger Keverne and Miranda Clarke decided it was time for them to move on from the fully immersive day-to-day management of a dealership. They recently moved from London to the beautiful countryside and would like to enjoy a different pace of life, hence the end of this chapter, ”said Hyman.

Before the pandemic subsides, however, interested collectors may 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 condition reports made available to enhance the experience.

Auction Details:

Auction house: Bonhams London
Sale: Roger Keverne Ltd Moving On (Two parts)
Dates: May 11, 2021 and June 7, 2021



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