The upcoming sotheby London April Sale is not a very large one, there are only 200 lots. But since the goods on offer are far less than spectacular, it should be clear the diminutive size of the sale was not done to showcase quality.
Rather to us, it signifies the growing difficulties finding above average pieces of antique weaving for sale, forget about getting masterpieces at this point in time.
There are only 60 lots of ‘collector’ rugs and the remaining 140 are all larger, decorative carpets.
Both of these groupings have little to toot the horn about and, by and large, there is nothing exceptional or noteworthy in the entire sale catalog.
The cover lot, for instance, is well-known in some circles, as it is an ex-textile gallery Ottoman Velvet panel little lord franses was selling some years ago. It is far from a best of type.
It’s, in reality, a better than OK example, supposedly consigned to the sale by a “New York collector”, which might be the case but the late 16th/early 17th century dating it carries in the catalog is, in our estimation, incorrect.
Plus the cataloguer’s long-winded, and tacky pompously posed description, which ends with:
“The sophisticated simplicity and elegance of this magnificent and unique çatma panel exemplifies the highest standard of Ottoman textile production of the late 16th and 17th centuries.”,
doesn’t convince us this velvet is worth the 20-30,000 pound estimate it carries.
While panels like this, or even any examples of period Ottoman velvet, rarely come to the market of late, the catalog cites almost 20 similar ones and, while we do not profess to know them all, we do know a few and find them all to be superior to this one.
Perhaps, the scarcity will propel the price to the estimate range, but we doubt it, as there are not a great number of buyers for Classic Period Ottoman Velvets of this ilk -- they all want the masterpieces.
With that as a preface, we will soon illustrate a few other pieces from the sale and likewise add our comments alongside.
We should get around to doing this in the next day or so but, honestly, the fact there is not even one major piece to discuss doesn’t fill us with desire for this task.
Regardless of our waxing negatively about much of what happens in the rug world, not only at sotheby or bozwell's, we would surely prefer to spread kudos and positive commentaries.
But, as our readership well knows, little that happens in rugdom is truly laudable. And unless one is disingenuously willing to put a happy face on reality, or as in the case of some pundits just too ignorant to realize what is airport-art, that happy face shouldn't be smiling.
Lord Knows, no happy face 'emoticons' will be gracing these page anytine soon.