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Strauss & Co’s decorative arts sale features two impressive single-owner collections

  25 September 2019     Archived

Strauss & Co is pleased to announce details of its forthcoming decorative arts sale in Cape Town, due to be held at the Vineyard Hotel on Monday, 7 October. Presented twice annually in Cape Town, this specialist sale is well known for featuring important single-owner collections. The catalogue for the upcoming spring sale includes art and objets from China, England and Japan drawn from two notable collections: the Andrew Newall Collection and the Estate late Mrs Sonia Lapin.

The Andrew Newall Collection comprises impeccable Asian artefacts, notably one hundred and fifty pieces from the Orient. The collection includes exceptional Chinese and Japanese ceramics, silver, bronze and enamelware, as well as a concise grouping of Burmese, Indian, Mongolian, Thai and Tibetan silverware. The Estate late Mrs Sonia Lapin encompasses jewellery, silverware and furniture, all with good provenance.

Andrew Newall is the son of British-born artist Albert Newall, a pioneering abstract painter and photographer who settled in Cape Town and opened Gallery Medici in Kalk Bay. Andrew worked with his father. An entry in a 1975 guide to Cape Town listed Gallery Medici as “specialists in the unusual”.


Strauss & Co’s joint managing director Vanessa Phillips undertook the process of cataloguing the Andrew Newall collection. “Strauss & Co is delighted to be offering works from this wonderful private collection of Asian art and objets. Andrew’s passion and insight as a collector are self-evident in every one of the lots on offer,” says Phillips.


Chinese artisanal traditions are particularly well represented in the Newall Collection. The sale commences with a large Ming Dynasty blue and white vase from the Wanli period (estimate R30 000 – 40 000). Standout ceramic pieces include a dish decorated with a pair of dragons in pursuit of flaming pearls with Qianlong mark, a Ming-style dish from the Qing Dynasty featuring a portrayal of the Three Friends of Winter before a rocky outcrop, and a doucai lotus pond and ducks bowl from the period of Emperor Jiaqing. These three ceramic pieces carry estimates of R35 000 – 40 000 each.


Chinese snuff bottles have proven extremely popular at recent Strauss & Co auctions. The Newall Collection includes an exceptional celadon glass and cinnabar red overlay snuff bottle from the Qing Dynasty (estimate R12 000 – 15 000), and a rare Qing Dynasty ruby-red glass snuff bottle produced by the Imperial Glassworks (estimate R12 000 – 15 000) that is accompanied by a paper label for John Sparks Ltd, a respected 20th century London dealer in Chinese snuff bottles.


Exceptional craftsmanship is central to the Newall Collection. A 6cm-high grey jade wine cup from the Qing Dynasty (estimate R20 000 – 30 000) evokes a wispy horizon in polished translucent stone. A reticulated ivory box from the Qing Dynasty (estimate R12 000 – 15 000) features delicately carved designs. A Qing-period bronze silver-wire figure of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, features embroidered details picked out in silver on her flowing robe (estimate R70 000 – 90 000).


The Chinese offerings span all the major periods of production. The catalogue includes an ornately decorated late-Republic period yellow bottle vase featuring four iron-red bats amongst the floral motifs and Buddhist emblems (estimate R30 000 – 40 000). The Japanese lots include a fine cloisonné enamel vase by Hayashi Kodenji that dates from the Meiji period (estimate R30 000 – 35 000).


The late Sonia Lapin (née Kalmanson) grew up in New York City but, after marrying Port Elizabeth-born businessman Joseph Lapin in 1971, lived for the rest of her life in Houghton, Johannesburg. The Lapins travelled extensively and collected prolifically. The upcoming sale will feature a selection of the late Sonia Lapin’s jewellery, furniture and silverware.


Sonia Lapin focussed on well-known Georgian silversmiths active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Her collection included pieces by Paul Storr, John Hawkins and The Batemans. She frequented well-known dealers in England and South Africa, including Garrard & Co. and Sotheby’s Parke Bernet. A pair of George III silver entrée dishes and covers by Joseph Angell I of London, purchased in Canada in 1978, carry an estimate of R25 000 – 30 000.


Collectors are custodians of artefacts whose journeys into the future are unknown. The upcoming sale includes three Chinese blanc-de-chine pieces formerly owned by Italian journalist and author Dr Carlo Maria Franzero (1892–1986) and sold through Bluett & Sons Ltd, London, in 1974. The small sculptural pieces include a saddled horse (estimate R10 000 – 12 000) and figural group from the Kangxi period
(estimate R12 000 – 15 000).


Other notable lots on offer in the three-part decorative arts sale are two candleholders produced by celebrated Zimbabwean silversmith, Patrick Mavros. Both dated 2000, Root Tree and Klipspringer features a standing male and recumbent female klipspringer, while two standing elephants occupy the base of Root Tree and Elephant. The two Mavros lots are estimated to sell for R70 000 – 80 000 each.


Mid-century European furniture has in recent years grown in stature at market. Strauss & Co’s sale features four Danish pieces, including a chair by celebrated architect and designer Finn Juhl. Designed in 1956, Juhl’s oak and caned SW 96 easy chair for Søren Willadsens Møbelfabrik (estimate R55 000 – 60 0000) is a modern classic. The Danish selection also includes a rosewood and maple-lined sideboard designed in the 1960s by Axel Christiansen Odder for ACO Møbler (estimate R20 000 – 30 000).


A global leader for South African art, in March 2019 Strauss & Co became the first South African auction house to achieve over R100 million at a single sale. The sale included two important single-owner collections.


Strauss & Co will be hosting an extensive programme of public talks and social events in the lead-up to this sale.


Press enquiries: Bina Genovese,


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