Sotheby's offer Picasso ceramics from the Lord and Lady Attenborough collection
An incredible collection of Picasso ceramics assembled over a lifetime by Lord and Lady Attenborough will be sold at Sotheby's this autumn.
The auction is comprised of 67 lots, and is expected to achieve a combined total in the region of £1.5 million.
"This is quite simply the best collection of its kind in private hands, infused with the sheer joy that it gave Lord Attenborough and his delight in Picasso’s impish sense of humour," said Séverine Nackers, Sotheby’s Picasso Ceramics Specialist.
"There is no doubt that the appearance of these ceramics on the market, with the distinguished provenance of such a well-loved and respected actor, director and producer as the late Lord Attenborough, will generate a great deal of excitement among collectors anxious to become their next custodians."
Attenborough and his family began collection Picasso's ceramic works in 1954, and spent the next 50 years acquiring pieces, often directly from the Madoura pottery in Vallauris where Picasso worked for a quarter of a century.
Lord Attenborough recounted the thrill of meeting the artist himself at Madoura in 1963: "I think my heart missed a beat – the impact would, I am certain, have been no less had I suddenly found myself face to face with Shakespeare or Beethoven. He was outrageously charming."
Amongst the most notable lots are a large sculptural Terre de faïence vase, entitled Grand vase aux femmes nues, made circa 1950 and estimated at £250,000 - £350,000; the unique ceramic jug Visage de femme, executed in 1951 and valued at £120,000 - £180,000; and the classically inspired vase Personnages et têtes, made in 1954 and priced at £50,000 - £70,000.
"At Old Friars, our family home, there was a huge, long table in the hall and the top surface of it would have four or five Picasso pots and underneath it there would be another four or five," said Michael Attenborough, CBE.
"Dad scattered them liberally everywhere; he adored them and just loved their extraordinary combination of beauty and wit."
The sale takes place in London on November 22.
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