An important Henry Moore sculpture and a pair of major works by Ben Nicholson led the way at Bonhams this week, as part of an £8.2 million ($11.6 million) British Art sale in London.
The centrepiece of the auction was the Reddihough Collection, assembled over decades by Cyril Reddihough, the influential art patron and close friend of Nicholson throughout his career.
The collection’s most valuable lot was Reclining Figure by Henry Moore, a highly rare original plaster model conceived in 1945.
Most of Moore’s plaster models were destroyed, to prevent unauthorised casts from being produced, and this example sold for a world record £1,818,500 ($2.58 million) against an estimate of £150,000-£200,000.
The collection also represented the largest grouping of Nicholson works to ever appear on the market, which was topped by two particularly important works.
First was ‘1928 (Pill Creek)’, regarded as one of Nicholson’s finest paintings from the first decade of his career, which more than doubled its estimate of £200,000-£300,000 to sell for £722,500 ($1.02 million).
Second was ‘Painted Relief’, executed in 1941 as part of a series described as "probably the most crucial contributions of modernist British art to the international art scene in the first half of the 20th century", which sold for £434,500 ($618,700).
The entire collection achieved a total of £4,937,875 ($7.03 million).
"The astonishing total for this landmark collection is testimony to Cyril Reddihough’s great taste," said Bonhams director of Modern British and Irish Art Matthew Bradbury.
"His patronage of Ben Nicholson provided the artist with the security he needed to develop his ideas and was crucial to the emergence of the most distinctive and influential voice in British Modernism."
Away from the Reddihough collection, notable lots included Henry Moore’s Seated woman on a bench, which sold for £422,500; Jamaican market by John Minton, which sold for an artist auction record of £188,500; and Four Figures and Dog by LS Lowry, which sold for £146,500.