This beautiful couple of birds, probably jays or shrikes, reached 31.000 € yesterday at Horta. Initially estimated at 1.200 € in the bush, these two matching nineteenth century Italian micro-mosaics must have been very much sought-after to surpass 25 times the expertise of the auction house. The tufted bird has serious cracks which call for immediate repairing. Micro-mosaics date back to Roman times but attained their prime when wealthy travellers of the Grand Tour—formative visit to Italy for anyone who was someone in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—bought them as easily portable souvenirs to insert them in furniture at home. Butterfly scales were used at that time to create mosaics as well.
Minne’s works did well, with surprises. “The relic bearer” reached 11.000 €, from an initial 8.000 €, and his study in plaster for the head of “L’agenouillé à la coquille” went from an estimation of 500 € to a final price of 5500 €.
Another exciting month of auctions in Brussels. More and more people prefer to leave no birds in the bush and pay unexpectedly to have them in the hand.
Image credit © Horta