Caricatures Sell for World Record Prices Totaling $500,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions

LONDON, Maddox Street—Napoleonic and Georgian satire was in high demand and making top prices in Bloomsbury Auctions’ sale on Thursday 25th June. The packed-out Maddox Street saleroom saw competitive bidders pushing prices to new record heights, with 98% of the lots selling for a total of £320,000 ($500,000), over three times the low estimate.

All lots in Lord Baker of Dorking’s opening collection of Napoleonic Caricatures sold, with many achieving well over estimate. James Gillray’s iconic The Plumb-pudding in danger, showing Pitt and Napoleon carving up the globe, sold for £18,600 far exceeding its previous record of £11,950 set in London, 2002 [Lot 51].  Other record prices included Gillray’s set of six Egyptian Sketches, £10,416 [Lot 8], The Valley of the Shadow of Death, sold for £4,712 [Lot 68] and Fighting for the Dunghill, sold for £4,340 [Lot 6] both also by James Gillray.

The second collection of Georgian Social & Political satire from the Property of a Gentleman also saw impressive prices with Robert Seymour’s Living Made Easy selling for £8,060 (estimate £1,500-2,000, Lot 123), George Cruikshank’s Monstrosities of Fashion achieving £7,688 (estimate £2,000-3,000, Lot 116) and Thomas Rowlandson and George Moutard Woodward’s Le Brun, Travested selling for £5,000 (estimate £2,000-3,000, Lot 122).

Rupert Powell, Head of Books and Works on Paper at Bloomsbury Auctions commented after the auction; “Today’s sale has shown a resurgence in caricatures from the golden age of satire. We’re pleased to see such exceptional prices achieved across the sale for our two vendors, who are of course delighted that their collections have been so enthusiastically received by the market.”

Auction Guide