Bust of a scholar up 124% on estimate at Sotheby's

An unattributed bust of a scholar dating to the late 16th or early 17th century realised £134,500 ($214,810) at Sotheby's on November 12.

The bust was the top lot of the London sale, which brought together works chosen by art dealer Danny Katz, and performed well against a £60,000 ($95,826) high estimate, achieving an increase of 124%.

Bust of a Scholar Italian
The bust was most likely produced in Italy in the late 16th or early 17th century

It was initially thought to be Flemish during the 1900s, due to its resemblance to similar works by Dutch sculptor Henrick de Keyser (1565-1621).

However, the facture of the sculpture, which has been skilfully modelled in wax, indicates an Italian origin - as does the naturalistic representation of the sitter.

The piece bears particular resemblance to contemporary works by Cattaneo (1509-1572) and Vittoria (1525-1608).

The simple cloak or cassock indicates a scholar or a priest, and it is likely that the piece was constructed to be placed in the alcove of a tomb.

Pierre-Jacques Volaire's two paintings depicting Vesuvius erupting sold as a single lot and made £116,500 ($186,063).

Volaire Vesuvius Sotheby's

Volaire was a commercially successful painter based in Naples


Volaire (1729-1799) was significant painter of volcanic scenes in Naples, who made a roaring trade selling his dramatic scenes to aristocrats on the Grand Tour in the 18th century. 

The late 1700s saw an explosion of seismic activity in the area, which brought in tourists from across Europe keen to witness the eruptions.

A self portrait by Anna Alma Tadema (1865-1943) made £98,500 ($157,315) - up 97% on a £30,000-50,000 ($47,913-79,855) estimate.

Anna was the daughter of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, a Victorian classical painter.

She is notable for the extraordinary level of detail in her painting, and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1885, before obtaining a medal at the Paris Salon in 1889.

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