Important Gaucho Painting to be Sold at Toovey’s

Juan Manuel Blanes’s Gaucho on Horseback in a Uruguayan Prairie Landscape, oil on canvas, circa 1879-1885

A major work by Uruguay’s most important painter Juan Manuel Blanes of a Gaucho has been re-discovered here in Sussex by Toovey’s fine art consultant Tim Williams. It will be sold at Toovey’s Washington salerooms on February 15th and carries a pre-sale estimate of £80,000-£120,000.

Juan Manuel Blanes (1830-1901) is renowned for painting grand history paintings and portraits, as well as scenes and events that shaped Uruguay’s national identity during the years of conflict that resulted in independence from Spain.

The Uruguayan national gallery in Montevideo is named Museo del Bellas Artes Juan Manuel Blanes and houses the largest collection of the artist’s work.

Tim’s research has revealed the painting’s remarkable provenance. The first owner of the painting was the notable Spanish aristocrat Baldomero Hyacinth de Bertodano, 7th Marquis de Moral. He lived at Cowbridge House near Malmsbury in Wiltshire and the painting hung there until his death in 1921. The contents of Cowbridge House were auctioned to divide the estate between five family members. The painting was included in the sale. Described as ‘A fine Oil Painting, The Gaucho on the Pampas in Argentine about 52 by 46 ins’. Baldomero’s brother, Charles Edmund de Bertodano, a notable Railway engineer, purchased the painting from the auction and it has remained with his family to the present day.

The landscape being sold at Toovey’s depicts a scene with a Gaucho on horseback pointing, as two horsemen gallop away on the horizon. Despite the reference to Argentina in the Cowbridge House auction catalogue, the painting in fact shows a Uruguayan prairie. The golden glow of Blanes’s palette and the way that he paints the effect of light playing on that prairie is remarkable.

Toovey’s fine art consultant Tim Williams with Juan Manuel Blanes’s important painting Gaucho on Horseback

Tim explains how Blanes’ Gaucho paintings celebrate the way of life of these independent, rugged horsemen whose lives embodied the South American ‘Wild West’ and national identity in a similar way to the cowboys of the United States. The open prairie beneath an expansive sky would have contrasted with the pressured urban lives of the cosmopolitan collectors who patronised Blanes’ work.

Commenting on the forthcoming auction Tim said “This is the first time that this important painting has appeared on the market in some 102 years – I can’t wait until sale day to see what happens!”

Juan Manuel Blanes’ Gaucho on Horseback in a Uruguayan Prairie Landscape, oil on canvas, circa 1879-1885, will be auctioned at Toovey’s on February 15th with a pre-sale estimate of £80,000-£120,000

Rare Louis Vuitton Trunk sets New World Record at Toovey’s

The Louis Vuitton ‘explorer’s’ (malle cabine) trunk exterior

A new world record at auction of £66,000 has just been set at Toovey’s Washington salerooms for a Louis Vuitton ‘explorer’s’ ‘malle cabine’ trunk discovered by their specialist William Rowsell.

Toovey’s specialist William Rowsell has established the saleroom’s reputation as leaders in the auction of Louis Vuitton trunks.

This early trunk was beautifully crafted but quite plain in comparison to later examples. the inscribed name and initials to the top and sides are believed to relate to Dr Edward Percival Dickin. Born in Yorkshire in 1871, he studied in Paris and worked in Northampton Hospital.

The record breaking Louis Vuitton zinc covered ‘explorer’s’ (malle cabine) trunk, circa 1895, with Toovey’s specialist William Rowsell

The famous Louis Vuitton LV was not used until 1896. All Louis Vuitton trunks are numbered and the original paper label, no. ‘37942’, in the interior confirmed its authenticity and date.

The early story of Louis Vuitton is a romantic one caught up with the industrial and political revolutions of 19th century France. The company’s founder, Louis Vuitton, spent his early childhood in Anchay in the Jura region on the eastern borders of France. The 1830s witnessed a significant migration in France from countryside to city. In 1835 the thirteen year old Louis Vuitton left home. It took him two years to walk the 292 miles to Paris as he worked to feed himself along the way. He arrived in the city in 1837. These qualities of determination and hard work would inform his life and success.

At the age of sixteen Louis Vuitton was taken on as an apprentice in the workshop of the successful packer and box maker Monsieur Marechal where he quickly gained a reputation for his abilities in this fashionable field of enterprise.

In 1854 he married Clemence-Emile Parriaux and left Marechal to found Louis Vuitton. To begin with he specialized in packing fashions and fragile objects. It was not until 1858 that he introduced his revolutionary rectangular, stackable trunks. They were an immediate success and the business expanded.

Napolean III and the French Empire was re-established in 1852 and Louis Vuitton was hired as the personal box maker to the Empress of France, Eugine de Montijo.

Louis Vuitton’s son George Vuitton would build on his father’s reputation and establish Louis Vuitton as a worldwide company.

The story of the founder, Louis Vuitton, together with the beautiful craftsmanship which he established ensure that the earliest and rarest examples of the company’s work attract international attention at auction and underpin the continued reputation of this luxury brand today.

Rendel Williams Collection

Lot 3125 – Chailey delivery cart

Toovey’s are delighted to announce the single-owner collection of postcards from the estate of the late Rendel Williams (11 September 1941 to 12 December 2021).

Rendel Williams was a geography lecturer at the University of Sussex with a wide range of academic and personal interests connected to the Sussex landscape and history. His initial interest in collecting picture postcards was stimulated by academic research on coastal erosion where he was able to use evidence from postcards to estimate how fast the chalk cliffs had retreated over the past century. As a nature reserve manager with the Sussex Wildlife Trust he also used evidence from old postcards to show how the vegetation of the South Downs was changing and how sheep grazing needed to be reinstated to restore areas of open grassland suitable for rare orchids and butterflies.

Lot 3165 Sheep-shearing at Fulking

His professional interest in postcards soon became an absorbing hobby. At first, he limited himself to collecting images of agricultural scenes, but his interests spread to cover landscapes, buildings, transport and tourism, always in the county of Sussex. His collection grew to over 10,000 postcards.

Lot 3131 -One of a group of four postcards of Suffragists at Clayton

In studying the postcards, he became interested in the lives of the photographers the publishers who made them. He researched the background of all of the publishers and photographers in his collection, for which biographical details can be found on his website www.sussexpostcards.info. The website has become a well used historical and geographical record and will be preserved in posterity.

Lot 3230 Steam Roller accident at Littlehampton

Rendel gained great pleasure from collecting postcards and saw each one as a puzzle requiring historical and biographical interpretation. He spent many happy hours scouring postcard fairs and auctions for unusual and rare images. Meticulously assembled over more than three decades, you now have the opportunity to purchase his collection grouped into lots by locality and theme.

Toovey’s and the Williams Family would like to thank Bob Cairns for his kind assistance in sorting the collection.

The online catalogue for the first part of the collection is available here.

Rupert Toovey appointed as Deputy Lieutenant for West Sussex

The Revd. Rupert Toovey., DL

The directors and staff at Toovey’s would like to congratulate Rupert on his appointment as a Deputy Lieutenant for West Sussex. Appointment to the office of Deputy Lieutenant is in recognition of distinguished service to the community, or to the country or county.

Throughout his career, Rupert has supported charities and communities across the county both personally and through his business. As an art historian he has a particular interest in medieval wall paintings and Modern British Artists working in Sussex. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London, and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He remains a keen advocate for building communities through art, music and heritage. In 2010, Rupert was ordained in the Church of England. He serves as a self-supporting Priest in the Diocese of Chichester whilst working full-time at Toovey’s. In short, his appointment is very well deserved!