Coming up this October, we have a series of fantastic auctions, including 'The Collection formerly from Flaxley Abbey: An Oliver Messel Commission' on 3 October; 'Chilham Castle: The Selected Contents from a Christopher Gibbs Interior' on 4 October; as well as 'Modern and Contemporary Art' on 19 October. Ahead of the auctions, we are delighted to have Harry Triggs, Founding Director of TM Lighting, picking out some of his favourite pieces, as well as offering his advice on how best to light each work.
TM Lighting is the leading specialist in art lighting and believes that when art is lit to its best advantage it has the power to transform, helping the observer to fall in love with the object or subject. The business helps its clients to understand the impact that great lighting can have on an individual work or an entire collection. Using its own British designed and manufactured products, it provides tailored solutions to an international client base that includes globally acclaimed artists, private and public collections, museums and historic houses along with retail and hospitality brands.
Harry Triggs's Top Picks
Lot 28: Circle of Pieter Borselaer (Dutch 1632-1692), Portrait of Catherine Boevey, 'The Perverse Widow', three-quarter length, in a black dress and mant, Oil on canvas | Est. £4,000-6,000 (+ fees)
"This portrait of an 18th century custodian of Flaxley Abbey, Catherine Boevey, would be a highlight to any portrait collection. The paler colouring of Boevey’s skin tone would be lit most effectively with light that emitted the full visible light spectrum."
Lot 101: A Berlin puce-ground and gilt two handled urn and pierced cover, late 19th century | Est. £80-120 (+ fees)
"This intricate urn made in Germany in the late 19th century presents European landscapes alongside a magenta fish scale decoration. Along with its two animal-headed handles, this is a beguiling ceramic that can be appreciated ‘in the round’. When lit correctly, the details crafted and painted into the work are brought to the fore."
Lot 200: A Charles X gilt metal mantel clock, mid 19th century | Est. £300-500 (+ fees)
"This beautifully ornate gilt mantel clock provides a classical counter to a more modern eight-day bell striking movement clock. The fully lit gilt of the piece would require a warmer light, at 2700K."
Lot 350: English School (17th century), Portrait of a Cavalier, full length, dressed in red with a white dog, Oil on canvas | Est. £7,000-10,000 (+ fees)
"Different textures are celebrated in paint in this work by the 17th century English School, where the subject’s sumptuous clothing is set against an equally impressive textile backdrop. Red colouring in painting requires high colour rendition lighting, as lower colour rendition lighting can make the colour appear dull."
Lot 319: An embroidered four fold screen, early 20th century | Est. £300-500 (+ fees)
"This largescale embroidered screen depicting a rural landscape of greens and browns could become a focal point of a room if lit with a soft pool of light to reveal all its facets and the materials from which it was made."
Lot 345: After Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Self Portrait, Oil on board | Est. £600-800 (+ fees)
"This miniature work, a 19th century painting in the style of Sir Peter Paul Rubens, demonstrates the dynamism of paint, even when confined to a small space. The piece is framed in an elaborate ebonised frame with hardstone ovals, adding to the power of the tiny oil work. This piece, including its ornate frame, would ideally be spotted individually with a small gallery spotlight, or placed in a cabinet with directed cabinet light, illuminating the work precisely with a tight pool of light."
Lot 357: After Francesco Bartolozzi R.A. (Italian 1727-1815), Six Allegorical Scenes, Stipple engravings in carved giltwood frames | Est. £700-1,000 (+ fees)
"This beautiful set of engravings depicting allegorical scenes are some of the most delicate works presented in the October sales. As works on paper, they should not be lit with any more than 50 lux, which alleviates any risk of damage. LED lighting should be used instead of incandescent, and the works should never put into direct sunlight."
Lot 185: λ Christo (American/Bulgarian 1935-2020), Package, Fabric, rope and wood | Est. £30,000-50,000 (+ fees)
"‘Package’ is one of Christo’s early examples of his ‘wrapping’ technique, where the artist addressed the perception and consideration of an object beyond its face value by wrapping it in fabric. Christo’s practice would eventually become known around the world, making this early example an important piece of history. Conservation-grade lighting is vital for a work such as this, limiting deterioration to the piece. As it is made from a natural material, we would recommend limiting the light to 50 lux."
Lot 51: λ David Bomberg (British 1890-1957), The Garden and Tower of the Sacristy, Cuenca Cathedral, Oil on canvas | Est. £200,000-300,000 (+ fees)
"Bomberg’s depiction of Cuenca Cathedral is a fine example of the artist’s approach to bringing built and natural environments together in a single space. Lighter tones in paintings are only brought out with full use of the colour spectrum, so the earthy colour palette would be given greater prominence under high colour rendition index lighting."
Lot 136: λ Sir Alfred Munnings (British 1878-1959), 'A double sided sketch, Study for Lord Ivor Churchill R. A. 1923; on the reverse A Study for Picture of Lord Ivor Churchill & the 9th Duke of Marlborough', Oil on panel | Est. £50,000-70,000 (+ fees)
"This double-side study panel by the celebrated equine artist Sir Alfred Munnings is representative of his eye-catching style. His quick, light brush strokes are brought together with a bold, deep colour palette, simultaneously evoking speed and vibrancy in his subjects. We would recommend using a neutral tone light to balance the warmth of the red jackets without over accentuating the wood. The complex colours in this work would likely require experimentation to perfect the light level."