Chiswick Auctions head for the high ground

West London-based auction house Chiswick have embarked upon a significant expansion of their activities, not least in the Asian Department.  In advance of their February 27 Asian Art Sale, Chiswick have revealed that they will hold a series of specialist sales within the category.

Their specialist Chinese paintings sales, launched last year, have, they say, been outstandingly successful. In November last year (their second such sale), they sold a Xu Naigu handscroll for a record breaking £267,600. The sale of this outstanding and important work secured for Chiswick a prestigious Asian Art in London award which was present to department head and Asian Art specialist Lazarus Halstead at a champagne gala evening held within the then unopened new Joseph Hutong Gallery at the British Museum.

20171109_201636 Asian Art in London, November 2017 and Lazarus Halstead receives the AAL auction award on behalf of Chiswick for their hand scroll by Xu Naigu, sold for £267,600  Photo by Paul Harris

Buoyed by this success, Chiswick announce a series of specialist Asian sales: Netsuke on February 27; Fine Chinese Paintings on May 14; Chinese Bronzes Song to Qing on May 24/5: and The Dragon in Chinese Art in November. These are in addition to the usual biannual Asian Art sales.

Chiswick recently appointed a Japanese specialist, Yasuko Kido, to supplement the efforts of Lazarus Halstead. Separately, other departments are being expanded: Beatrice Campi has been appointed Islamic and Indian Specialist and three book specialists formerly with Bloomsbury Auctions (now closed) have been taken on board. This is in addition to two fine art specialists who have come from the now closed Christies South Kensington (CSK).

Chiswick’s ambitions have, to some extent, been fed directly by the closure of CSK which is perceived by many to have left a distinct gap in the market for the sale of rather more modest pieces now abjured by the ‘big three’ (Sothebys, Christies & Bonhams). There will, however, be competitors in the market place: London-based Roseberys, Edinburgh & London based Lyon & Turnbull and Salisbury house Woolley & Wallis amongst them. Both regional competitors L&T and W&W now have London offices.