Auctions: More bullfights than Goya dreamt of

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The Independent Online
GOYA'S definitive bullfight painting, brought to Sotheby's from the obscurity of private ownership and estimated at pounds 4m-pounds 6m on Wednesday (10.30am), has created a puzzle: who painted the other four 'Goya' bullfights?

Two are in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, one is in the Prado, Madrid, and one is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Sotheby's reckons that its spectacular find, a late work of 1824, 'demotes' the other four, all of which were painted by the same hand. Experts from the three museums have examined the picture, which has an impeccable provenance and is in fine condition under. There has been some fluttering in the dovecotes; the Prado's 'Goya' bullfight is no longer on view.

In this height-of-season week, Christie's Old Master sale, Friday (11am), is competing for top price, offering Pieter de Hooch's The Courtyard of a House in Delft (1658) for pounds 4.5m-pounds 6.5m. Phillips's 238-lot Old Master sale (estimates up to pounds 350,000 but plenty in the low thousands) is Tuesday (11am). Bonhams is Thursday (11am): some estimates less than pounds 1,000.

ROPS EROTICA

More coquettish than Old Master nudes is the erotica of Felicien Rops, the Belgian fin de siecle engraver with the hand of a Daumier and the eye of a satyr. The Belgians will go wild over this private collection of a deceased Irish-American at Christie's South Kensington Thursday (10.30am), which includes 150 of Rops's letters (pounds 1,000-pounds 1,500). Low hundreds for other lots. More naughtiness at the same auctioneer's Thursday (12 noon) with a decorative arts sale containing Icart prints and a Zach bronze semi-nude 'riding crop' figure (pounds 10,000-pounds 12,000).

ANTIQUE AND TRIBAL

Fine extensive private collection of Melanesian art at Sotheby's Monday (2pm). More tribal art at Phillips, with antiquities, Tuesday (12 noon), and Bonhams Wednesday (2pm). Antiquities: Sotheby's Thursday and Friday (11am daily).

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COUNTRYWIDE

Weston-super-Mare: No-reserve contents of the manor, Uphill, on the premises, Thursday and Friday (10.30am daily). Furniture, rare books. Greenslade Hunt Fine Art (0823 332525).

Southampton: Office equipment and vehicles. Marchwood Industrial Park, Wednesday (11am). Edward Symmons (0703 779778).

Newcastle: More than 1,000 lots of fine arts and antiques over four days; Tuesday-Friday (10.30am daily). Anderson and Garland, Marlborough House, Marlborough Crescent (091-232 6278).

Manchester: Ex-mail order sale of wedding clothes, children's wear, fancy goods, Thursday (11am). Auction International, 51a Broughton Lane, Strangeways (061-832 2400).

Broadway: Contents of West End manor, on the premises today (10.30am). G Herbert Banks (0299 896968).

Telford: Government surplus, including household wares, electrical spares, machinery, at the Racquet Centre, Wednesday (10am). Harrison and Hetherington (0228 26292).

Berwick-on-Tweed: No-reserve deceased's estate; antiques, effects, Monday and Tuesday (10am daily). Auction Galleries, Mount Road, Tweedmouth (0289 307569).

Birmingham: Televisions and videos, Monday (7pm). Biddle and Webb, Ladywood, Middleway (021-455 8042).

GENERAL SALES

Ilkley: Furniture, ceramics, silver, paintings and collectables, Wednesday 10am. Andrew Hartley Fine Arts, Little Lane (0943 816363).

Sevenoaks: Wednesday and Thursday (10am). Phillips, London Road (0732 740310).

Countrywide sales by Antiques Trade Gazette (071-930 4957) and Government Auction News (071-734 8291/4, hotline 0891 887700).

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