Lot 32. Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton P.R.A., R.W.S. (British, 1830-1896): An important bronze figure of An Athlete Wrestling a Python, on rectangular naturalistic base, signed, dated and numbered to one side F. LEIGHTON 1877 XXIV, and inscribed to the base verso PUBD BY ERNEST BROWN & PHILLIPS AT THE LEICESTER GALLERIES, LEICESTER SQUARE, LONDON., brown patina, the underside with number 152.5cm high. Estimate £50,000-80,000. Sold for £106,250 (€124,254). Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- The dramatic bronze sculpture, An Athlete Wrestling a Python by Frederic, Lord Leighton, sold at Bonhams Important Design Sale today (Wednesday 5 April) for £106,250 against an estimate of £50,000-80,000. This, the inaugural Important Design Sale, made a total of £1,443,750. 

An Athlete Wrestling a Python is a very rare bronze reduction by Leighton, a revered Victorian painter and sculptor. The full-scale work, dated 1877, is now part of the Tate Britain collection in London. 

Bidding was fierce when a porcelain bowl by Dame Lucie Rie crossed the block. The bowl, of wide conical form raised on a slender circular foot, sold for an impressive £106,250 against an estimate of £20,000-30,000. 


Lot 7. A Porcelain Bowl by Dame Lucie Rie (Austrian/British, 1902-1995), impressed 'LR' seal; circa 1976, diam 21cm. Estimate £20,000-30,000. Sold for £106,250 (€124,254)Photo: Bonhams.

of wide conical form raised on a slender circular foot, the pink glaze with inlayed linear design, jade green internal and external band, wide bronze bands to the top and bottom in manganese copper carbonate glaze.

Other highlights include: 

• A monumental carved white marble figure of ‘Diana about to bathe’ sold for £85,000 against an estimate of £30,000-50,000.


Lot 64. Holme Cardwell (British, 1813-1895): A monumental carved white marble figure of 'Diana About To Bathe', the large than life-size barefoot nude goddess resting against a draped rustic tree stump, her bow and quiver and sandals to one side, on naturalistic integral square base, signed to one side HOLME CARDWELL OF MANCHESTER, Sculpt. ROME 1862, and raised on a later green marble moulded stepped square plinth, the figure, 187cm high, the plinth, 42cm high (2). Estimate £30,000-50,000Sold for £85,000 (€99,403). Photo: Bonhams.

• A pair of George III carved mahogany open armchairs sold for 6 times their estimate, for a total of £60,000 against £8,000-12,000. 



Lot 77. A pair of George III carved mahogany open armchairs, circa 1760, each with an arched back, curved acanthus clasped and cabochon embedded arm supports, above scroll carved scrolling arm terminals, on foliate, cabochon and scroll carved channelled front legs terminating in scroll feet, with scroll eared cabriole back legs, each chair: 71cm wide. (2). Estimate £8,000-12,000Sold for £60,000 (€99,403). Photo: Bonhams. 

• A hand-built burnished and carbonised terracotta vessel by Magdalene Odundo, OBE, sold for 4 times its estimate of £10,000-15,000 to make a world record £42,500. 


Lot 6. A Hand-built Burnished and Carbonised Terracotta Vessel by Magdalene Odundo, OBE (Kenyan/British, 1950-), incised signature to base 'ODUNDO'; 1986; the bulbous body with narrow neck leading into an organic, angled, trumpet mouth, the mixed-colour finish depicts soft orange cloud-forms against black, height 33.5cm. Estimate £10,000-15,000Sold for £42,500 (€49,701). Photo: Bonhams. 

Jon Baddeley, Managing Director, Bonhams Knightsbridge said, “This was the first in our Important Design series at Bonhams showcasing some of the very best sculpture, ceramics, furniture and silver in their respective fields. We were delighted with the results which demonstrate that buyers want tightly curated sales that offer fine quality, good provenance and items that are fresh to the market. We are looking forward to our next Important Design Sale on 25 October for which we have already had some exciting consignments. It is interesting to note that buying across collecting categories is a trend that’s here to stay.