See 15 Record-breaking Works from Sotheby’s Old Masters Blast

From Botticelli to to Brueghel, the sale kept knocking off top prices.

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Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man (1613) (est. 2–3 million) sold for £6,802,500 ($11,658,805). The artist’s previous auction record was for The Edge Of A Village With Figures Dancing On The Bank Of A River And A Fish-Seller And A Self Portrait Of The Artist In The Foreground (1616), which sold at Sotheby’s London in 2008 for £3,513,250 ($6,918,570). Photo: Sotheby’s
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Sandro Botticelli’s Study for a Seated St Joseph, his Head Resting on his Right Hand (est. 1–1.5 million) sold for £1,314,500 ($2,252,922), making it the most expensive drawing by the artist ever to sell at auction. The previous high result was achieved for the same drawing at Sotheby’s New York in 1988, at which time Barbara Piasecka Johnson paid $88,000. Photo: Sotheby’s
Sandro Botticelli’s Study for a Seated St Joseph, his Head Resting on his Right Hand (est. 1–1.5 million) sold for £1,314,500 ($2,252,922), making it the most expensive drawing by the artist to sell at auction.
Photo: Sotheby’s
Giovanni Da Rimini, Left Wing of a Diptych with Episodes from the Lives of the Virgin and Other Saints (est. 2–3 million) sold for £5,682,500 ($9,739,237). The artist’s previous auction record was for The Crucifixion, which sold at Christie’s London in 2007 for £62,400 ($125,857). Photo: Sotheby’s
Giovanni Da Rimini, Left Wing of a Diptych with Episodes from the Lives of the Virgin and Other Saints (est. 2–3 million) sold for £5,682,500 ($9,739,237).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man (1613) (est. 2–3 million) sold for £6,802,500 ($11,658,805). The artist’s previous auction record was for The Edge Of A Village With Figures Dancing On The Bank Of A River And A Fish-Seller And A Self Portrait Of The Artist In The Foreground (1616), which sold at Sotheby’s London in 2008 for £3,513,250 ($6,918,570). Photo: Sotheby’s
Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man (1613) (est. 2–3 million) sold for £6,802,500 ($11,658,805).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Raffaellino del Garbo, The Madonna And Child With The Infant Saint John The Baptist, Beyond Them A Landscape With Saints Jerome And Francis (est. £300,000–500,000) sold for £662,500 ($1,135,459). The artist’s previous auction record was for The Annunciation, which sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2013 for $158,500. Photo: Sotheby’s
Raffaellino del Garbo, The Madonna And Child With The Infant Saint John The Baptist, Beyond Them A Landscape With Saints Jerome And Francis (est. £300,000–500,000) sold for £662,500 ($1,135,459).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Bartolomeo Cavarozzi, The Sacrifice of Isaac (est. £3–5 million) sold for £3,666,500 ($6,284,015). The artist’s previous auction record was for Still Life With A Basket Of Fruit And Two Children, which sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2000 for $882,500. Photo: Sotheby’s
Bartolomeo Cavarozzi, The Sacrifice of Isaac (est. £3–5 million) sold for £3,666,500 ($6,284,015).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Benedetto Gennari, Diana and Endymion (est. £200,000–300,000) sold for £506,500 ($868,091). The artist’s previous auction record was for Portrait of Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin, which sold at Sotheby’s London in 1995 for £172,000($273,754). Photo: Sotheby’s
Benedetto Gennari, Diana and Endymion (est. £200,000–300,000) sold for £506,500 ($868,091).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Jan Sanders van Hemessen, Portrait Of A Bearded Gentleman, Aged 34, Before An Extensive Landscape (est. £800,000–1,200,000) sold for £1,762,500 ($3,020,749). The artist’s previous auction record was for Suzanne et les vieillards, which sold at Ader Paris in 2011 for €495,680 ($722,881). Photo: Sotheby’s
Jan Sanders van Hemessen, Portrait Of A Bearded Gentleman, Aged 34, Before An Extensive Landscape (est. £800,000–1,200,000) sold for £1,762,500 ($3,020,749).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Jacob Huysmans, Portrait Of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl Of Rochester (est. 400,000–600,000) sold for £602,500 ($1,032,625). The artist’s previous auction record was for Portrait of Edward Henry Lee, First Earl of Litchfield, and his Wife, Charlotte Fitzroy, as Children, which sold at Sotheby’s New York in 1989 for $110,000. Photo: Sotheby’s
Jacob Huysmans, Portrait Of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl Of Rochester (est. 400,000–600,000) sold for £602,500 ($1,032,625).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Willem Kalf, A Still Life With Silver, Pewter And Gilt Objects On A Partly Draped Table (est. £200,000–300,000) sold for £482,500 ($826,957). The artist’s previous auction record was for Stillleben mit Ingwertopf und Porzellanschälchen, which sold at Vienna’s Dorotheum in 2008 for €467,300 ($637,952). Photo: Sotheby’s
Willem Kalf, A Still Life With Silver, Pewter And Gilt Objects On A Partly Draped Table (est. £200,000–300,000) sold for £482,500 ($826,957).
Photo: Sotheby’s
George Romney, Portrait Of Edward Wortley Montagu (1713–1776) (est. 2–3 million) sold for £4,002,500 ($6,859,885). The artist’s previous auction record was for Portrait of Elizabeth Ramus (1751-1848), which sold at Christie’s London in 2013 for £541,875 ($822,019). Photo: Sotheby’s
George Romney, Portrait Of Edward Wortley Montagu (1713–1776) (est. 2–3 million) sold for £4,002,500 ($6,859,885).
Photo: Sotheby’s
The Master of the Female Half-Lengths, Mary Magdalene Holding The Unguent Jar (est. £200,000–300,000) sold for £866,500 ($1,485,095). The artist’s previous auction record was for The Magdalene Playing The Lute, which sold at Christie’s London in 2002 for £479,650 ($741,459). Photo: Sotheby’s
The Master of the Female Half-Lengths, Mary Magdalene Holding The Unguent Jar (est. £200,000–300,000) sold for £866,500 ($1,485,095).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Willem van Nieulandt the Younger The adoration of the Magi (est. 150,000–250,000) sold for £362,500 ($621,289). The artist’s previous auction record was for A Southern Landscape With Ruins, Possibly A Capriccio View Of Rome, which sold at Sotheby’s London in 2007 for £60,500 ($122,668). Photo: Sotheby’s
Willem van Nieulandt the Younger, The adoration of the Magi (est. 150,000–250,000) sold for £362,500 ($621,289).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Hieronymus Francken II, A Collector’s Cabinet (est. £150,000–250,000) sold for £422,500 ($724,123). Photo: Sotheby’s
Hieronymus Francken II, A Collector’s Cabinet (est. £150,000–250,000) sold for £422,500 ($724,123).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Dominic Serres, Two View of the Siege of Havana (1762) (est. £80,000–120,000) sold for £194,500 ($333,354). The artist’s previous auction record was for View Of The Citadel And Town Of Le Palais Belleisle With The British Fleet In The Distance, which sold at Sotheby’s London in 2007 for £164,800 ($305,185). Photo: Sotheby’s
Dominic Serres, Two View of the Siege of Havana (1762) (est. £80,000–120,000) sold for £194,500 ($333,354).
Photo: Sotheby’s
Michele Marieschi, Venice, The Bacino Di San Marco Looking Towards The Palazzo Ducale And The Piazzetta (est. 400,000–600,000) sold for £2,210,500 ($3,788,576). The artist’s previous auction record was for The Courtyard of the Doge's Palace, Venice, which sold at Christie’s London in 2009 for £2,169,250 ($3,532,980). Photo: Sotheby’s
Michele Marieschi, Venice, The Bacino Di San Marco Looking Towards The Palazzo Ducale And The Piazzetta (est. 400,000–600,000) sold for £2,210,500 ($3,788,576).
Photo: Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s London logged in their all time highest-earning Old Masters sale on Wednesday night with a final tally topping £68.3 million ($117.1 million). Fifty-one of the 63 lots sold for a by-volume sell-through rate of 81 percent. Ninety-five percent of lots sold for within or above their presale estimated prices.

The results were led by George StubbsTygers at Play (c. 1770-1775). The painting fell at a final price of £7,698,500 ($13,194,459) (all prices include buyer’s premium) on a £4–6 million presale estimate.

Following the sale, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, Henry Wyndam noted, “The key to unleashing the full potential of today’s market is to present such works with the right estimates in thoughtfully curated sales.”

The auction will perhaps best be remembered for the sheer number of artist records broken, however. Fifteen new all time highs were set for individual artists including Sandro Botticelli, Jan Brueghel, George Romney, Benedetto Gennari, and Raffaellino del Garbo, as well as two new records for artist collaborations and schools of Old Masters.

The Botticelli, which brought over £1.3 million, making it the most expensive work on paper by the Italian master ever to sell at auction, was particularly notable.  Study for a Seated St Joseph, his Head Resting on his Right Hand is the only drawing by the artist to have been seen on the open market since the 19th century and made over 25 times it’s previous result, $88,000, which was achieved at Sotheby’s New York in 1988.

See all the records in the slideshow above.

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