Bonhams sells iconic Scottish golf painting for over $1 million

Auction Man

Auction Man

2015-12-10 16:51:09

An 18th century artwork described as "one of world's most famous golfing paintings" has sold at Bonhams for more than $1 million.

Lemuel Francis Abbott's painting 'The Portrait of Henry Callender' dated from the 1790s, and is one of the earliest-known artworks to depict the game of golf.

The subject, Henry Callender, was Captain General of the Blackheath Golf Club, one of the world's oldest golf clubs, and the portrait had hung in the club house for more than 150 years.

The painting found international fame after it was widely reproduced as a print, first in 1812 and then again during the early 20th century. Offered for the first time in its history, the portrait achieved a sale-topping £722,500 ($1,096,700).

“Working with this painting has taken our department on a fascinating journey through British cultural history,” said Andrew McKenzie, Bonhams Director of Old Master Paintings.

“A Scottish expatriate, Henry Callender was both connoisseur and sociable bon viveur and his charisma shines through this charming painting. The sale marked an incredibly exciting opportunity for golfing enthusiasts all over the world.”

Also up for sale was an antique golf club believed to be the very same putter held by Callender in the portrait. Fittingly, the painting's new owner also won the club with a final price of £62,500 ($94,870).

Further notable results from the Old Master Paintings sale included a winter landscape by Gysbrecht Leytens which sold for £110,500 against an estimate of £20,000-£30,000, and a still life from the workshop of Jan Brueghel the Younger which fetched £86,500.


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