Art Market: Rare medieval ewer is sold for pounds 660,000

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The Independent Online
A MEDIEVAL north German aquamanile cast in bronze as a knight on horseback, which Sotheby's estimated to fetch between pounds 50,000 and pounds 80,000, sold for pounds 660,000 yesterday. The aquamanile, an ewer used by priests to wash their hands during Mass, went to an anonymous European collector.

Although only one other example of its type exists - in the Schleswig-Holsteinischen Landesmuseum - one leading dealer said: 'That price doesn't make sense.' He put its value at pounds 150,000. However, Elizabeth Wilson of Sotheby's pointed out that there was interest from several museums as well as trade among seven bidders: 'This has a Bayeux tapestry magic and presence.'

In the same sale, a rare ninth-century Anglo-Saxon gold jewel, found on a beach in Dorset, sold for pounds 41,800, above its lower estimate.

A Florentine bronze stallion, circa 1600, from the workshops of Antonio Susini, who worked with Giambologna, sold for pounds 93,500. It was bought by Dany Katz, the London dealer, who ignored the estimate of pounds 40,000 to pounds 60,000. The sculpture relates to a version in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

A painting of seafood and kitchen utensils, picked up at an English street market some 30 years ago for a few shillings, sold for pounds 935,000 at Bonhams yesterday. The owner thought it was a decorative photographic print until she brought it to the valuation desk, where it was identified as an unrecorded work by Luis Melendez (1716-80), the Spanish master of still-life painting.

(Photograph omitted)