Auction Catalogs, Collection Highlights, Reference

Redford and Graves

Hidden in plain sight in the reference collection is George Redford's Art Sales, N8675 .R4 V.1-2. Or if you like long full titles that tell you exactly what something is, Art sales. A history of sales of pictures and other works of art. With notices of the collections sold, names of owners, titles of pictures, prices and purchasers, arranged under the artists of the different schools in order of date. Including the purchases and prices of pictures for the National Gallery. Look for the two volume set bound in bright green cloth. The title is in brown on the spine and the cover. It is rather ironic that a book with such vivid description is so nondescript on the outside. Published in 1888, this catalog serves as a reference to early British art sales at public auction, using catalogs from the British Library, Christies, and other sources. The arrangement is quite diverse. In so much, there are listings by collector and by artist. The latter is divided into a number of categories, by country, as well as medium. The headings for collectors are quite interesting in that they include extensive documentation of the collection, as well as rather pithy description of the contents of the estate. There are also a number of essays on collectors present. The work here is expanded by Algernon Graves in a book with an equally wordy title, Art sales from early in the eighteenth century to early in the twentieth century (mostly old master and early English pictures), or simply Graves Art Sales, at N8675 .G72 v.1-3. While the Graves volumes increase the organization, it is at a cost of the descriptive passages. There are also corrections to the original text.