At the end of June, we have our two-day Fine Furniture, Sculpture, Carpets, Ceramics and Works of Art auction on 27 & 28 June. Kicking off Day Two of our auction, we are pleased to be offering the Imogen Paine Collection of Rabbits. Comprising over 140 lots, it represents a lifetime's collection, offering mostly rabbits and hares, including examples by some of the finest 19th century and contemporary animalier sculptors. Here, Imogen Paine explains more about her love of rabbits and how she came to starting her collection.
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Imogen Paine – photographed seated on a limited edition “Placide” The Rabbit by Hubert Le Gall for Dumonteil
(available for sale by private treaty), with bronze figure of Beryl by Mark Coreth, wearing lot 589
It all started for me nearly 25 years ago when my husband gave me a baby rabbit called Beryl - a house rabbit - and unlike our hutch-bound rabbits as a child, Beryl was to be freerange. This turns out to be the key to knowing rabbits. Once I learned to understand his myriad behaviours, all reflecting his innate instincts despite living in a home (he slept on the sofa), the world of rabbit sculpture also opened up before me.
Lot 592: λ Boris Campistron (French, 1988- ), A limited edition bronze model 'Lapin Aux Aguets', 2020 | Est. £1,200-1,800 (+ fees)
My first ‘proper’ job was working at the Sladmore Gallery in London. The job instilled in me a deep appreciation of the broad and varied range of animalier artists and their differing approaches to modelling, casting and patination. I had been educated mostly then in the world of 19th century subjects - the larger animals such as horses, wild game, African and Asian predators, often romanticised.
Lot 561: λ Guido Righetti (Italian, 1875-1958), A rare bronze model 'Lièvre Assis', 20th century | Est. £6,000-8,000 (+ fees)
And then I saw how Barye, Moigniez, Cain, Mêne and Dubucand had at some point sculpted a rabbit or a hare. I saw how they presented in so many guises: crouching scared, crouching sleeping, relaxed and grooming, on the run, nursing young- all could be observed and portrayed with realism. With the rise of the domestic house rabbit, particularly in America, sculpture followed, with the work of artists like Brenda Putnam who were clearly sculpting rabbits living a very relaxed and quite likely sofa-bound life. And poses less likely to be seen in the wild such as Peter Hayward’s snoozing rabbit.
Lot 588: λ Geoffrey Dashwood (British, 1947-), A limited edition bronze model of a rabbit, Contemporary | Est. £2,500-4,000 (+ fees)
In my lifetime of collecting bronzes of rabbits and hares, I have always been most attracted to examples where the artist has most successfully, and realistically, captured these multiple personality traits.
Lot 591: λ Nicola Hicks (British, 1960- ), A limited edition bronze model of a rabbit grooming its face, Contemporary | Est. £5,000-8,000 (+ fees)
In this auspicious Chinese Year of The Rabbit, the time has come for me to find new homes for my collection. My resident house rabbits have fallen now from 13 to 8 and I feel it is also a good time to release my collection of bronzes into the world. I hope they find collectors who appreciate and cherish them as much as I have done.
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Tuesday 27 & Wednesday 28 June | 10.30am BST
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
Browse Day One
Browse Day Two
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- Viewing in Newbury:
- Friday 23 June: 10am-4pm
- Saturday 24 June: 10am-3pm
- Sunday 25 June: 10am-3pm
- Monday 26 June: 10am-4pm
- Day of sales: from 8.30am
- Dreweatts 360 Virtual Auction Tour | Available from Friday 23 June