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  • Sir Ralph and Lady Halpern Collection at Christie's
    February 15, 2005 LONDON, UK.

    Thomas Frank Heaphy, Oliver Goldsmith discovering his mistake.

    The contents of the town and country homes of Sir Ralph and Lady Halpern, will be offered at Christie’s at 2.30pm on 24 February 2005. Lovingly amassed over a period of twenty years, and in the true spirit of the English country house collecting tradition, the auction embraces everything from paintings, furniture, silver and porcelain to copperware and natural crystals. Sir Ralph is well known in the business and financial world as the former Chairman and CEO who successfully transformed the Burton Group that owned at the time Harvey Nichols, Debenhams, and a variety of some 2000 specialist chain stores. The collection reflects the Halperns’ passions for British landscape and seascape paintings and Georgian furniture, as well as fun and unusual objects. With estimates from £100 upwards, this single owner auction will appeal to collectors, designers and enthusiasts with every size of pocket.

    “This auction is the result of twenty, happy years of collecting,” says Sir Ralph Halpern. “My wife and I are shortly to engage in an overseas adventure which would not enable us to take our collections with us, so we have decided to sell everything, from our maritime paintings and silver candlesticks, to the Wedgwood dinner service, copperware and trinket boxes. It is with some sadness that we will be parted from objects and paintings that have adorned our home, and given us such pleasure, but we very much hope that they may inspire a new generation of collectors to begin their very own adventure in art and antiques.”

    The Halperns’ town residence, just off the Kings Road, was a showcase for Sir Ralph’s equestrian pictures. John Wootton’s superb An equestrian portrait of Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick (estimate: £30,000-50,000), and Charles Towne’s scene Mrs Townely Parker’s favourite hunters in a landscape (estimate: £40,000-60,000) are notable examples. The sale also boasts a selection of paintings, from the Halperns’ London home, which celebrate the great age of British Naval supremacy. Highlights include Thomas Whitcombe’s dramatic canvas HMS Crown with a cutter off Dover (estimate: £25,000-40,000). A pair of marine pictures by James Edward Buttersworth, one of A 70 Gunner with two frigates, the other Off Gibralter (estimate: £12,000-18,000), an impressive and imposingly large canvas, Shipping off Lisbon, with the tower of Belem, by John Thomas Serres (estimate: £40,000-60,000) and Anton Schranz’s Grand Harbour, Valetta (estimate: £4,000-6,000) also feature. Anton Domenico Gabbiani’s outstanding Triple portrait, which hung in pride of place in the Halperns’ London drawing-room, is also offered (estimate: £40,000-60,000). The Halperns furnished their country house with traditional English furniture, pictures and silver.