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What We Want From The Mr Howard Hodgkin Auction

October 2017Mr Porter

Interior of Mr Howard Hodgins’ Bloomsbury home

Shallow creatures that we are, usually when we publish a Staff Picks feature, it’s about clothing. This week, however, we’re broadening our horizons. On 24 October, there is an auction at Sotheby’s of the work of Mr Howard Hodgkin. If you are unfamiliar with the abstract British artist, who passed away last March, he was influenced by the likes of Messrs JMW Turner, Edouard Vuillard and Henri Matisse and one of his best-known pieces of work is the banyan tree mural he created for the British Council building in New Delhi in 1992. He was awarded a CBE and a knighthood in his long and critically acclaimed career. As well as his own work, the Sotheby’s auction will see pieces of art from his collection go on sale. “The discreet exterior of Howard Hodgkin’s London home gave you no indication of the richness within,” says the Sotheby’s description of the auction. “Opening the door was like stepping into one of his most vibrant paintings. Objects from India to Italy, which suggest a modern day Grand Tour, were displayed side by side, heightened by the sensational jewel-like tones of the walls.” With our appetites sufficiently whetted, we had a look at the long list of lots and picked out the things we want most. Not that we can actually afford to bid for them, of course. We’ve already spent this month’s salary on clothing.

Lot 3, Classical Tapestry (Flanders, probably Brussels). Estimate: £6,000–8,000

This is a sentence I never thought I would write: I want a Flemish tapestry. I could explain this away as merely another depressing indicator of my ever-advancing years – next it will be a cup of lukewarm Ovaltine, a footstool and a Midsomer Murders marathon, I suppose – or I could put a more positive spin on the whole thing and say that I saw one in Sydney-based tailor Patrick Johnson’s very beautifully decorated apartment, and loved how it looked. According to the lot description, this one comes with free “allegorical figures”, which is just the sort of thing I like to muse upon while grinding through the Fruit ’n Fibre each morning.