Exceptional Collection of Rugs & Carpets

Over the last several years our Fine Rugs and Carpets department, headed up by Andrew Brandt, has been quietly building up a loyal following of collectors, designers and dealers. Attracted by the high-quality bar and carefully selected offering, we are now conducting six auctions each year featuring weavings from all the major centres of Central and East Asia.

This June we are delighted to offer two single-owner collections in a single auction with the proceeds going to benefit the McMaster Museum of Art and the Ontario Arts Foundation, respectively. The online auction runs June 23 - 28.

The first collection features primarily an array of village and tribal pieces from the Caucasus and Central Asia. Of particular note is a stunning late 19th century South Caucasian Prayer Rug in rich colours and in very good condition. A number of Turkoman weavings of very fine quality and condition round out this wonderful collection.

The second collection is centred on Chinese weavings from the mid 19 through the early 20th century. Throne covers, runners and rugs of excellent quality are scattered throughout the collection alongside numerous Persian and Indian silk or part silk workshop rugs.

Please see the online gallery here.

Contact Andrew Brandt at for private viewing or condition reports.

Posted: 6/25/2018 12:00:00 AM
By: Stephen Ranger

The Select Auction of Canadian Art & Decorative Arts

What’s New: Our Select Auction of Canadian Art & Decorative Arts

Last year’s ‘Canada 150 Auction’ was not just a great theme – it demonstrated how successful the concept of a Canadian Content sale could be. With our diverse expertise, it seemed obvious to create a platform to offer items with a Canadian pedigree drawing from our Canadian Art and Decorative Arts departments. This new auction category: The Select Auction of Canadian Art & Decorative Arts launches this weekend.

We asked the coordinators of the auction, Hayley Dawson (Decorative Arts) and Rochelle Konn (Canadian Art) to describe their experience working together to assemble the sale and some of their personal favourite pieces.


As the first time working closely with another department to organize a sale, I was pleasantly surprised by the cohesiveness of the final product. I think it highlights the common thread in Canadian art and culture; you can see the markers of a young nation trying to succeed and a love for nature and folk culture that intertwine throughout the sale.

We’ve included a lot of fantastic Canadian silver, particularly from Quebec. I never thought I could be so impressed by a simple piece of silver as I am by the Laurent Amiot snuff box (Lot 3). If you look very closely, you can see in the photo that the cover is attached by a “flush-hinge” that is designed and crafted seamlessly into the engraved details on the front. You can tell when you handle it that it was constructed to last for generations. 

The collection of Karin Pavey pottery (lots 210-216), particularly the teapots, are a natural favourite of mine. With their wild colours and surreal forms they look like they are straight out of the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Karin Pavey is currently a pottery instructor at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum and I have been trying (without success to date) to join one of her drop-in classes for a while now. Rochelle and I enjoyed pairing these colourful decorative pieces alongside paintings with similar bright palettes like Cécil Emond's and Mary Pavey's. 

Lastly (although I could name more favourites), there is a fascinating group of photographs and other artefacts from William Lyon Mackenzie King. I can’t imagine (but hope) it would be possible to come across such an intimate and historically significant collection as this for sale again in the future. 


You’ve put me on the spot - there are so many interesting things to choose from. With regard to the art, there's a great little René Richard gouache that I love, lot 19, Forest Interior and a lovely Pegi Nicol painting Rockcliffe in First Spring, lot 16, that I would love to own.

A lot of the art is folky, colourful and whimsical works that are just really joyful. The two Conrad Furey paintings of rowers (lots 190 and 196) make me eager to get up north to go canoeing, and lot 136, the Cécile Emond painting, has me dreaming of picnics in High Park this summer. There are also two beautiful carved paddles by Northwest Coast artist Bill Henderson (166 and 167) that are stunning.

Moving away from the ‘flat art’ – I am really drawn to the Brooklyn Pottery lots, specifically lot 180, the "O'Canada" jug. Lot 2, the Conquest of Canada medal is amazing, a really important relic of Canadian history that I just want to hold in my hand. And of course, the Michael Fortune "Bee's Wing" living room table (lot 241).

It's been fun working with the Decorative Arts department; and a great, totally new experience working with such different items that are not usually together in one sale. It was an interesting challenge to figure out how to present them together for the purposes of creating a cohesive online gallery and catalogue; and how to ensure we were presenting everything in the best, complementary manner.

We first tried to order them all chronologically, but that ended up not working very well as most of the art was from the mid to late 20th century, and the decorative/historic lots date back to the 18th century. So we decided to just incorporate the paintings based on their aesthetic qualities, into the chronological order of the decorative/historic pieces. 

The next step we’re excited about is setting up the preview – and we hope everyone has the chance to come see what we’ve done!

To find out more from Rochelle and Hayley, you can contact them at:

To view the Gallery click here

Posted: 6/13/2018 12:00:00 AM
By: Tess McLean

Canadian Art Spring Season 2018

Lot 31
Sorel Etrog
War Remembrance

Linda Rodeck Introduces our Spring 2018 Canadian Art Season.

For centuries, trading merchandise from far and wide has proven lucrative to industrious merchants, particularly those who specialized in luxurious or rare goods. But throughout history such trade has also generated significant intellectual, spiritual and philosophical dividends.
I can't help thinking about the great Spice Routes and Silk Roads when I think of auction season. Each spring and fall, an auction house will assemble thousands of precious items, brought from all over the world and from all time periods. It wasn't so long ago, for example, that Waddington's sold a woolly mammoth tusk! These items exhibit a rare beauty which is often the primary reason they are desired but there are also magnificent stories that attach themselves to objects.  
Waddington's Spring 2018 Canadian art sale, which is comprised of 160 lots, represents 160 amazing creation stories, biographies or histories about each lot's maker, their subject, their execution, their owners both prior and current, and their significance in the past, present and future. Each sale is a fascinating installment in the story of Canadian art-making and collecting.
Join us on a journey of discovery this season by reading some of the stories you will find in our Canadian Art auction catalogue or stop by our previews to hear some of the wonderful anecdotes our specialists can provide in person. 

To view the Auction Gallery and PDF Catalogue: click here

Auction: Monday, May 28 at 7:00 p.m.

On View:

Friday, May 25 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Saturday, May 26 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Sunday, May 27 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Monday, May 28 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Or by appointment.

Preview and auction take place at Waddington's.

To find out more:

Posted: 5/1/2018 12:00:00 AM
By: Linda Rodeck

Ormo-what? Ormolu!

This is a term that we hear around our auction house on a regular basis, especially in our Decorative Arts department.

It’s an odd-sounding word in English, but the French translation makes it clear – it means ground gold - “or” (gold) “moulu” (ground, as in ground up into a powder). The practice was perfected in France in the 1700’s and was used extensively in the decorative arts, and to enhance the beauty of furniture.

It was a process performed by gilders, who would mix the gold powder with mercury in a 1 to 10 solution and then burn the mercury off to create of vibrant matte gold finish. Using this process, one gram of gold could be stretched to gild many square inches. By burning off the mercury, about 20% it would become airborne which was extremely hazardous for the health of gilders.

Breathing in mercury, a neurotoxin, literally caused them to become as “mad as a hatter”. In fact, most gilders didn’t live beyond the age of 40. In France, after 1830, the government passed a law banning the use of mercury in gilding, but it’s difficult to say how strictly this was enforced.

Today, the term “ormolu” refers generally to a gilded matte gold finish, regardless of the process used to adhere the gold to the metal. “Hang him a gilder that hath his brains perished with quicksilver is not more cold in the liver” – John Webster, The White Devil.

Interested in finding out what your decorative arts, art, jewellery or might be worth?  Contact Ellie to find out.

Ellie Muir Manager Appraisals & Consignments


Posted: 1/30/2018 12:00:00 AM
By: Ellie Muir

"Fantastic Martin Brothers Birds Soar"

Published in Antiques and the Arts Weekly

by Madelia Hickman Ring

TORONTO, CANADA – On December 6, Waddington’s offered an extraordinary private collection of nearly 100 pieces of sculptural stoneware objects and pots by Martin Brothers Studio potters, including, most notably, a small flock of Robert Wallace Martin’s “Wally Birds.”

The sale realized $502,309 CDN and all 92 lots offered were sold, achieving the rare distinction of “white-glove” status. With very few collections of this size available on the market, Waddington’s was not certain what the outcome would be, and the sale exceeded the expectations of Bill Kime, Waddington’s senior specialist in ceramics, glass and silver and one of its senior auctioneers.

The success of the sale underscores not only the strength of market for this specific collecting category but also Waddington’s sale strategy of selling with conservative estimates and without reserves. Kime said there had been extraordinary interest in the sale from private collectors, dealers and institutions but that more than half of the pieces were purchased by private collectors.

While there was international interest, most buyers were from the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Kime said he was surprised at the amount of interest from Canadian buyers and was pleased that several pieces, including a few of the “Wally Birds,” were purchased by Canadian buyers.

The sale got off to a promising start with the first lot, a face jug selling for $9,000, six times its low estimate. The top-selling lot was a stoneware bird tobacco jar, by Robert Wallace Martin, dated 1907, approximately 8 inches tall. Estimated at $15/20,000, it more than tripled its low estimate when it sold for $48,000. Kime thinks it could have set a record price for a late Martinware bird due to its distinctive and unusual glazed decoration. According to Kime, Martin would go to London’s Old Bailey courthouse and sketch the birds there, giving them exaggerated features, and they would become the “Wally Birds” so alluring to collectors today. Many later birds were made as forms with movable heads; this ability to further animate the birds adds to their appeal. Regardless of size, “Wally Birds” did well: two 4-inch small birds each doubled their low estimates, while a 2-inch miniature bird brought three times its low estimate.

Working in late Victorian-era London, the Martin Brothers are considered to have been pioneers in transforming decorative arts from the formalism of the Victorian era to a more whimsical and naturalistic style that foreshadowed studio pottery of the Art Nouveau movement. Kime attributes the appeal of Martinware to their whimsical and eccentric aesthetic that, while they led the way for other Studio potters, was purely their own.

Eclectic to the core, the Martin Brothers’ work bears the influence of art and architecture from the Middle Ages and Gothic periods, but much of their unique pottery exists in a category of its own. While holding on to the eclectic characteristics of Victorian times, many of their sculptures took on exaggerated forms and personalities. Among recognizable Martinware forms are their sculpted face jugs, Gothic stoneware vases and spoon warmers resembling monsters, mythical creatures, classical figures and the use of sea life motifs and other fantasy-inspired figures. A fantastical beast-form spoon warmer jug more than tripled its low estimate when it sold for $19,200 and other forms outperformed their estimates as well.

Kime said that the collection was relatively unknown, belonging to a couple in the Vancouver Islands who began by collecting Moorcroft pottery. The couple were advised by scholar and dealer Richard Dennis and traveled to London in 1978. Staying in an apartment over his studio, the wife of the couple discovered the collection of Martinware he was assembling. The couple would continue to seek guidance from Dennis, as well as Vancouver gallery owners Neil MacMillan and Dan Perrin, who are recognized as “market makers” for Martinware. According to Kime, the collection had no obvious gaps and was extremely balanced, including works by not just the four Martin brothers but also the various workmen who were known to have worked in their studio. He concluded his comments by saying the sale was “the most fun he’d ever had in 40 years.”

All prices reported buyer’s premium.

Published: December 19, 2017

Posted: 1/30/2018 12:00:00 AM
By: Tess McLean

Staff Favourites in Our Decorative Arts Auction


Ellie Muir, our Appraisals and Consignments Manager, talks about two of her favourite lots in our Decorative Arts auction. Both sculptures were gifted to the Art Gallery of Ontario and are being deaccessioned to benefit future art purchases at the AGO. Meet "Psyche and the Butterfly" and "Dance of The Three Graces".


This version of Psyche shows her in a jubilant state, celebrating her new immortality and reunion with her husband, Cupid. She has accomplished momentous tasks assigned to her by Venus in order to achieve her union of love, and seems to be joyfully sending a butterfly, which symbolizes innocence as well as transformation, into flight. Everything about her is ascending up into the air, her hair, her arms, even the vines of roses encircling her body reach upward. Psyche now has her own butterfly wings as she has joined Cupid as an immortal.

Cesare Lapini made many sculptures of Psyche at various points in her journey - this one in particular shows her in her final state; self-assured and confident in her new place amongst the Gods.

Lot 241 - CESARE LAPINI (ITALIAN, 1848-AFTER 1902) PSYCHE AND THE BUTTERFLY Carrara marble, inscribed Gall.Lapini, Firenze, 1895, height 57.25 in — 145.4 cm Provenance: Gifted to the Art Gallery of Ontario by Mrs. J. Morrow Deaccessioned to benefit art purchases at the AGO.

Estimate: $20,000—30,000 


Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux is best known for his sensational marble sculpture “Dance” which adorns the façade of the Paris Opéra (a replacement is now there displayed as the original was moved to the Louvre in 1964 to preserve it from the elements).

When it was unveiled in 1868 it caused a sensation as it went against the popular Neo-Classical aesthetic of the time and instead favoured a raucous Baroque style where the figures seemed to move with joyous sensuality and abandon. Some unhappy onlookers were compelled to deface it by throwing bottles of ink. As is often the case, any publicity is good publicity, especially when it comes to art, and Carpeaux went on to produce many other iterations of “Dance”.

This lot shows three of those figures in a smaller configuration, but they are no less pleasurable to view. The swirling motion of the women with their fingers just barely touching give the sense that the centrifugal force of their dance could send them flinging outward at any moment as they emit peals laughter. Carpeaux produced plaster, terra cotta and bronze versions at his atelier right up until his death in 1875.

Lot 239 - JEAN-BAPTISTE CARPEAUX (FRENCH, 1827-1875) DANCE OF THE THREE GRACES, 1874 terracotta, incised signature and date, and with impressed ‘Atelier-Dépôt, Paris’, and ‘Propriété Carpeaux’ seals, height 31.5 in — 80 cm Provenance: Gifted to the Art Gallery of Ontario by the Junior Women’s Fund, 1958, inventory no. 57/27 Deaccessioned to benefit art purchases at the AGO.

Estimate: $8,000—12,000


To view the online catalogue: Decorative Arts

Posted: 12/5/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Ellie Muir

The Martin Brothers – A Private Collection

Martin Brothers Stoneware Bird Tobacco Jar, R.W. Martin & Bros., 1914 Est. $15,000 - 20,000

Comprised of nearly 100 pieces, this auction includes an intriguing mixture of sculptural objects and pots, most notably a small flock of Robert Wallace Martin’s ‘Wally birds’.

Working in late Victorian-era London, the Martin Brothers are considered to have been pioneers in transforming decorative arts from the stale formalism of the Victorian era to a more whimsical and naturalistic style that foreshadowed the Art Nouveau movement.

While holding appeal to the eclecticism characteristic of Victorian times, many of their sculptures took on disturbing and bewildering forms and personalities. The most celebrated examples can be found among Robert Wallace Martin’s grotesque bird sculptures, which may function as tobacco jars or vases, but are highly stylised to resemble the sometimes deviant human subjects after whom they were modelled. 

Eclectic to the core, the Martin Brothers' work bears the influence of art and architecture from the Middle Ages and Gothic periods, but much of their unique pottery exists in a category of its own. Among recognizable Martinwares, their sculpted ‘face jugs’, gothic stoneware vases and spoon warmers resembling monsters, portrayals of mythical creatures and classical figures, and the use of sea life motifs and other fantasy-imbued images are all very well represented in this collection. View the catalogue.

Please be sure to meet all the characters in this extraordinary collection at our preview opening at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 1, at Waddington's in Toronto.

Bill Kime Senior Specialist


Posted: 11/29/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Bill Kime


Most of us wine lovers have at one point experienced the nirvana that comes with the perfect glass of wine. Often, that perfect wine does not exist in isolation, but is accompanied by: the perfect date, a perfect meal, the perfect setting, or any number of other lovely things that are all part of the experience. Will any great wine taste better when it is shared with people you love and an inspired setting?

Well, there are some who would disagree and suggest that a perfect wine is simply a combination of a great region, exacting producer, ideal terroir and great vintage.

We are not here to argue either way, suffice to say that no less than 80 wines in our current auction are rated 100 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. A further 88 are rated between 97-99 points. From the classic 1989 Château Haut-Brion and 1986 Château Mouton Rothschild to newer vintages like the 2009 Château Leoville-Poyferre and the 2010 Château Petrus, perfection reigns supreme. Let’s not forget our friends in California like the 2001 and 2007 Harlan Estate, or the 2002 and 2007 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon. The legendary Penfolds Grange from 1998 and 2001 couldn’t have scored higher either -- unless someone has invented the 200-point scale!

We encourage you to really dig deep into this auction; we know you’ll be greatly rewarded whether you are looking for mixed lots of well-cellared wine for the holidays, or if you are intent on filling your cellar with the best of the best. We’ve got it all.

As we do prior to the end of every auction, we’ll send out a list of some wines that still represent great opportunities. If you aren’t already on our fine wine email list, please visit Fine Wine Emails to subscribe. In the meantime, feel free to contact Joann, Devin or myself with any questions you may have.

Enjoy the auction.

Stephen Ranger, Senior Specialist

Posted: 11/28/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Stephen Ranger


This past Tuesday, 139 works of Inuit and Northwest Coast artwork were presented for auction at Waddington’s, the premier auction house for Inuit art and now in our 39th year of conducting Inuit art auctions. The energy from a week of exhibition culminated in our busiest preview ever and carried directly over into spirited bidding during the sale.

Highlights of the auction include:

  • Over 90% of works sold, well above industry standard, resulted in elated consigners and buyers alike.
  • Feverish bidding led to prices repeatedly exceeding the healthy pre-auction estimates for early stonecuts and stencils. Three iconic Niviaxie stencils were each hammered down above the $10,000 mark.
  • Sculptural form took precedence for collectors, with the elegant and understated 20” caribou by Osuitok Ipeelee selling for nearly $30,000.
  • Impressive prices were also commanded from our curated selection of small-scale sculptures, such as Judas Ullulaq’s wonderful 6” work in antler, which sold for almost three times its estimate at $2,840.
  • Contemporary works from artists such as Bill Nasogaluak and Suvinai Ashoona sold well and within or above estimate.
  • The strong interest displayed for the Northwest Coast works during the previews resulted in 11 pieces selling for over a combined $30,000.

This year, we made some long overdue changes to how we present Inuit artwork in our catalogues. The Inuit community names are now included. Artists’ names are now also displayed in Inuktitut syllabics. Furthermore, Inuit artists' disc numbers – rooted as they are in the colonial system – have been removed from the catalogue descriptions, and now only appear in the index for reference.

It was particularly nice to see some familiar faces reappear during the auction and previews this season, as well as to connect with some new collectors. The interest in the artform is truly in a transition period between long-standing collectors - to those newer to it, and the interaction between these collector profiles is exciting to see and is reflected in the results of the sale. For further information about this auction or consigning with us in the future, please contact me directly. Thank you to all of our consignors and buyers for a wonderful evening.

Christa Ouimet
Senior Specialist




Lot 60 NIVIAXIE HUNTER WITH BEAR                                REALISED: $13,200




Posted: 11/23/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Christa Ouimet

Having our colours done - for the fall season

I may be the only person old enough in the Canadian and Inuit Art departments to remember the craze of “having your colours done”. Trained colour consultants would be engaged to find colours for their clients to wear that best complemented their complexion, eyes, and hair colour, thereby enhancing one’s attractiveness and boosting one’s confidence. People were categorized as Seasons. Cool colour palettes were “Winters”, warm muted colours were “Falls”. You get the idea.

We know colour can have a powerful effect on us. Whether dramatic, sophisticated, soothing or subtle, colour impacts our mood and carries varied - even contradictory- cultural meaning. Our reaction to colour serves both a biological purpose, and an aesthetic ambition. 

Each season, one of our favourite projects leading up to the auction preview, which begins tomorrow (dates and times below), is determining the set up of our preview gallery in order to best enhance the works of art being offered that season. This involves decisions about layout, placement of lots, lighting and choice of wall colour. While I suspect I can be somewhat dictatorial about some of these decisions, the fact is they are largely predetermined by the sale itself. Once we reach our consignment deadline and begin laying out our catalogue, it becomes very apparent that we have a “blue” sale or a “coral” sale or a “violet” sale. Inevitably, one colour or two seems to dominate, and the rest falls into place accordingly.

This year, several key paintings inspired our choice of wall colour and we have developed spaces that contain families of paintings and sculpture which play off one another. They have been set in environments that have been prepared to enhance your ability to read them and enjoy them.

While Russell Foster, a neuroscientist at Oxford, maintains “The whole point of colour vision is not to inspire poets, but to allow contrast detection,” (Tom Chivers, February 2015, The Telegraph), I can’t help but take a slightly less scientific position. And while I can’t argue with an Oxford intellect, I hope the layout and design of our saleroom both pleases and inspires you. Please join us this season for a dose of chromotherapy.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, I’m a “Summer”).

Linda G. Rodeck, Senior Specialist





Canadian Fine Art Auction
Monday, November 20 at 7:00 pm

On View:

Thursday, November 16 from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Friday, November 17 from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Saturday, November 18 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday, November 19 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday November 20 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

View the Auction Gallery

Posted: 11/15/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Linda Rodeck

Pre-loved Rings in Our Dec 5th Fine Jewellery Auction

Thinking of buying a vintage engagement ring? We have several lovely examples in our Fall 2017 Fine Jewellery Auction.

You may be surprised to know there are many excellent reasons you should consider purchasing a pre-loved token of affection, in addition to their beauty. Christa Lambert explains the top four reasons and provides some advice on what to look out for when you buy antique:

  1. Hand crafted and one-of-a-kind – If your significant other loves unique pieces, you can be sure the vintage ring you propose with will never be seen on another hand. Each antique piece was handcrafted by skilled jewellers prior to the introduction of modern equipment used today to create jewellery, such as CAD and growing machines. Antique pieces were hand crafted; added details such as engraving and milgrain all required much more time, patience, and skill. The precision details of the past just cannot be duplicated to the same degree by today’s modern methods.
  2. Exceptional value, get more for your budget – Why pay retail prices, when you can purchase a piece of equal value for a fraction of the price? Retail prices are based on market value of the metal and gemstones, plus an average of 200-300% mark up (sometimes even more). Auction estimates are primarily based on the market value of materials. And bear in mind that many antique dealers actually buy their stock at auction, adding their markup when it enters their display case. Chances are you'll find a deal by participating in an auction, and perhaps even be able to buy a larger diamond than you thought your budget could afford.
  3. A historical piece makes an excellent heirloom – Each antique ring tells a story. It’s fascinating to learn about the older cut of diamonds, materials used, and the different styles that date a piece. Perhaps there is a hallmark that will provide information on a country of origin or a maker mark that gives the piece historical significance. Speaking with a Waddington’s specialist you can learn all about your ring of choice and share its romantic story with your intended.
  4. It’s a more environmentally safe and ethical choice – In today’s world we’re increasingly conscious of the footprint we leave on this earth and make choices acordingly. That includes being aware of the environmental impact of mining metals and gemstones. When purchasing a vintage piece, you’re not contributing to further damaging impact on our environment. For more information visit, a website making ripples and influencing retailers to take a stand against destructive mining.
"There is no such thing as clean gold, unless it’s recycled or vintage,” Alan Septoff, communications manager for the No Dirty Gold campaign.

What to be on the lookout for when buying an antique ring:

    1. Loose stones – A simple shake close to the ear is usually enough to tell if there are loose stones in a mount that would require tightening by a skilled jeweller.
    2. Wear on claws – Over time the claws that secure stones can wear down, leaving the gemstones susceptible to coming loose from the mount.
    3. Are the details intact? After years of wear, details can be softened. In the case where rings have been worn next to each other, some details may be worn off completely.
    4. Thickness of the shank – After years of wear, a shank may have been worn quite thin. Antique rings sometime require a shank replacement.
    5. Have there been alterations or repairs to the piece? Using a jeweller’s loop, study the piece to see if there have been changes. You may notice globs of solder that have not been removed properly. Parts may have been added or removed from a piece. Poor quality repair or alterations can detract from a piece’s beauty and value.
    6. Have old-cut diamonds been replaced with modern-cut stones?  Using a jeweller’s loop, examine the diamonds. Do the cuts match? Often, older stones have been lost and replaced with modern cuts.
    7. Is the ring the right size / can the size be adjusted? Not all rings can be sized without damaging the structural integrity of the ring, or details such as enamel inlay. Ask a Waddington’s specialist if it is possible to size the ring you're interested in.

The good news is that many of the above problems can be corrected by a skilled jeweller. Make sure you speak to one of Waddington’s jewellery specialists to find out if pieces can be restored and what are the costs associated with repairs that may be required.











Posted: 11/13/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Christa Lambert

Hey Our Vancouver Friends!

Emily Carr, Forest Clearing. Realised: $472,000

Considering selling a work of art? Need advice on estate planning or downsizing as it relates to understanding the value of an item or collection? We can help you find out what it's all really worth and what your options are.

Stephen Ranger, Vice President Waddington's, is joining me this week in Vancouver to talk about selling, buying or appraising art - and much more.

We've been invited to talk with a few groups already, but we're reserving the evening of Thursday, October 19 specifically for individual appointments. And as experts in the broadest range of art and objets d'art, this is a great opportunity for you to find out about more about your Asian, Canadian, International or Inuit Art; Decorative Arts; Fine Jewellery or Fine Wine.

Date & Time: Thursday, October 19, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Location: Sutton Place Hotel, 845 Burrard Street, Vancouver

To make an appointment to discuss selling, buying or appraising your valued possessions with Stephen, please contact me: Jacqui Dixon, Director of Client Services, Western Canada or 1.778.837.4588.

Just a reminder that I'm Vancouver-based and available at any time to provide guidance - so don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

And for the rest of the world... our appraisal specialists are always happy to provide their expertise, no matter where you are. Find out more from our Appraisals Manager Ellie Muir at or call 416.504.9100 / toll-free 1.877.504.5700.



Posted: 10/13/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Jacqui Dixon

Bright, Bold and Exceptional Quality Prints Attracts Bidders

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue/Green (EK70-336) sold for $17,500

Our September 2017 Prints and Photography Online Auction Results

Responding to market trends for bright, bold and exceptional quality of minimalist prints, the highlight of our auction was Ellsworth Kelly’s Blue/Green (EK70-336) achieving a top five price for the artist’s prints this year. Selling for over three times the high estimate for $17,500, Blue/Green (EK70-336) caught the attention of many bidders. Reflecting the transition between Kelly’s postwar abstraction towards a minimalistic point of view, this work is a poignant and important time the artist’s career. Blue/Green is also a perfect example of the exactitude of the lithographic process, the crisp delineation between the ink and white spaces.

What Attracts Collectors to Prints?

Printmaking techniques are also important factors to consider when collecting and buyers were equally drawn to Kelly’s perfectionism. Another highlight from the auction was Josef Albers who’s I-S’K (from Homage to the Square) sold for $10,625. The instant recognisability of the artist’s style has grown in popularity by collectors. Not only precise, but the colours that each square dons, has strong links to the colour field movement, while also expressing minimalistic tendencies.

This print was a rarity on the market as the colour combination selected by Albers was unique, combining deep, rich colours contrasting with an apple green centre square, which was undeniably attractive to buyers.

There is clearly excitement around the Bauhaus movement and its artists within the art community from exhibitions to collecting taste, ranging from printmaking to architecture. This modern movement will be gaining strength and one to watch on the auction block for seasons to come.

What's Popular in Photography?

Black and white photography continues to dominate the market as buyers look to build their collection with notable, groundbreaking photographers of generations gone by.

Works by André Kertész performed exceptionally well with a perfect sell-through rate, totalling over $16,500. Not only in pristine condition, these works were particularly strong due to their direct provenance from Kertész himself, by way of a private collection near Toronto.

Why Buy Prints & Photography?

Prints and Photography are an affordable way to build your art collection, while also providing access to the very best artists. Waddington’s Prints and Photography department’s expertise draws top works by consignors globally, while also attracting bidders from around the world, remaining competitive with other international auction houses.

To find out more about our auctions and how to consign, please contact Holly Mazar-Fox,


Posted: 10/2/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Holly Mazar-Fox

Ethnographic Arts & Artifacts Auction Highlight: A Yoruba Ogboni Drum


This rare Ogboni drum carving by Areogun (c.1880-1954) of Osi Ilorin, Northern Ekiti, Nigeria, is featured in our Ethnographic Arts & Artifacts Auction.

With a pre-sale estimate of $8,000—12,000, the carved wood drum, with natural pigments, hide and fibre, stands 64.8 cm, with a diameter of 53.3 cm.

Note: The Ogboni drum was used throughout Yoruba (southwestern and north-central Nigeria) in most cultural events, and their collective symbolism helps tie together elements of Yoruba society. In fact, without the music of the Ogboni drums, most funerals, festivals, and ceremonies would have been incomplete or impossible.

These drums, known as the ritual drums of Nigeria, have remained primarily remote and covert.

The Yoruba is one of the three largest ethnic groups of Nigeria concentrated in the southwestern part of the country.

Sherwin Memel, Los Angeles; Lot 102,
Sotheby’s, New York, May, 16, 2008;
Collection of Joey and Toby Tanenbaum, Toronto

Ethnographic Art and Artifacts Online Auction
September 30 - October 5

Register now to bid online:

On View:
Sunday, October 1, 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Monday, October 2, 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm

To find out more please contact Andrew Brandt at 416.847.6168 / 

Posted: 9/26/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Andrew Brandt


Lot 320 - 2000 Chateau Petrus, price realised $4,860

Our inboxes have been buzzing with happy buyers and sellers as our September Fine Wine auction closed on Tuesday with 97.7 % of lots selling.

We thought we would share some of the auction statistics with you.

Total # of Lots  44
Total Estimates  $562,690-664,700
Total Hammer (bid)  $665,625
Total Realised (bid+premium)  $798,750
Total Bids Placed  4,334
Total Lots Sold  436
Total Lots Unsold  10
Sold Percentage  97.76%
Total Lots Sold Over High Est  335
Total Lots Sold Double High Est  23

All of this to say that throughout 2017 we have maintained an average of 97% of lots finding buyers at consistently strong prices.

Highlights of the auction:

Lot 96 - 1990 Chateau Margaux 1-6 litre bottle $10,560 (including buyer’s premium)

Lot 23 - 1989 Chateau Haut Brion 4 bottles $8,160 (including buyer’s premium)

Lot 135 - 1995 Opus One 6 bottles $5,100 (including buyer’s premium)

Lot 320 - 2000 Chateau Petrus 1 bottle $4,860 (including buyer’s premium)

For a full list of prices realised please see

Upcoming auctions

We are finalizing lots now for our November auctions and are already in the planning stages for our February 2018 live and online auctions. Wine collectors considering selling are asked to submit lists for consideration at least 10 weeks prior to each auction. The dates for 2018 auctions are posted on the website.

We look forward to offering you another robust and invigorating offering online from November 20 - 28.


The Waddington’s Fine Wine and Fine Spirits Team


Posted: 9/25/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Stephen Ranger

Embracing Simplicity, Style and Workmanship

What do Eames and Miller have in common with Jensen, Hansen and Anderson?

Let’s start with they're all part of a resurgence of love for design inspired by the mid-century modern era in home furnishings, décor, art and architecture. A love for stylish, yet functional, clean-lined designs, exemplified by furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames and Herman Miller.

It’s not hard to see why people are in love with this style once again. The scale and simplicity is perfect for anyone streamlining their life; whether you’re in pursuit of a more Zen-like environment or responding to the practicality of what works best in the structure of condo living.

And with the same style aesthetic, creations by the jewellery designers of that period are equally relevant and appealing today, with their focus on simplicity, style and workmanship.

The philosophy of designers Georg Jensen, Hans Hansen and David Anderson and others was to create designs of both functionality and beauty - craftsmanship at the forefront.

Our upcoming Silver & Costume Jewellery auction features several excellent examples by Jensen, Hansen and Anderson, as well as by lesser-known designers, whose designs are equally compelling.

If you are a lover of anything mid-century modern, make sure to you take a look at the many amazing offerings in our September 30 – October 5 online auction.

Here are a few lots that might appeal to your sense of style:

Lot 22 ERLING CHRISTOPHERSEN NORWEGIAN STERLING SILVER PENDANT set with a granite specimen, and suspended on a silver chain
Estimate: $100—150
Together with:
Estimate: $120—160
Lot 24 GEORG JENSEN DANISH STERLING SILVER BRACELET, CIRCA 1960’s. Designer: Steffen Andersen, design #210
Estimate: $200—300
Together with:
Estimate: $60—80
Estimate: $80—120
Estimate: $200—300


To view all the items in the September 30 - October 5 online auction visit: Silver & Costume Jewellery Auction.













Posted: 9/22/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Christa Lambert

One of Mark's Auction Tips: Visit the Preview!

Mark inspects lot 304 in the Dec Arts auction.

With Asian Decorative Furniture, Scrolls and Sculpture, and Decorative Arts online auctions closing today, Mark will check the bidding on his favourite items to see if he is still interested. He might even look at other items if the current bids exceed his wisely set, self-imposed limits.

Following his own advice, Mark came to the preview on Monday to see everything himself. Interestingly, one of the items he loved in his original online browsing was not as compelling in person. So he's dropping back in today for a sneak peek at the Canadian Select online auction to look for something else. *While the preview officially opens this Sunday, September 17, our specialists are always happy to book personal appointments.

I think we've lost track of where he is with his original budget of $5000 - but that doesn't really matter as it's been a blast following his selection process.

Mark's Choices So Far:

From the Sept 12 Quarterly Jewellery Auction:

Lot 222 - 14 K white gold & blue topaz ring, est $250-350

I don't own much jewellery except for rings which I usually wear only on my left, pointing finger. I love white gold (or sterling silver) over yellow gold and the beautifully-cut blue topaz and diamonds add just the right amount of "bling" without being obnoxious. And since it's already a size 10-1/2, I wouldn't even have to re-size the ring!

*The ring sold in Tuesday's auction for $288. If Mark was actually bidding - it might have been his!

From the Decorative Arts Online Auction:

MJG - There are several items which have perked my interest in this auction. They include several house-ware-y and accessory items and one which is a nice bit of Canadiana.

Lot 185 - "Nemours" Lalique bowl, est $200-300

IF I'm going to own a fine example of cut glass, I may as well buy Lalique, non? Although I'd also hold-out for just the right example of Tiffany. This bowl is a nice size and if I can find a glass-insert to place inside, I would totally put this on an entry-way table for my keys and wallet. The flowers add a slight feminine fmotif while the black enamel dots are a nice graphic detail.

Lot 195 - Enrico Cammozzo Murano Glass Large Vase, est $250-350

This nicely-sized vase might be from the 1980's but it would be a perfect accessory to put on top of a small pile of art books, atop my credenza and be as good an excuse as any to buy cut flowers.

Lot 285 - Wedgwood Gilt Black Basalt Pastille Burner c.1900, est $75-150

This curious burner would be a great counter to the Murano glass vase. The black and gold in both for sure compliment each other perfectly while the antique motifs would also soften the strong, dominant forms of my credenza. Plus, I could put my topaz ring inside, when I'm not wearing it.

Lot 304 - Ormolu Mounted ‘Sèvres’ White Biscuit Group of Two Maidens late 19th century, est $75-150

This lamp would be a beautiful statement piece. I'd get this professionally re-wired (and re-restored for the oopsies) and attach a large Edison-style lamp bulb and no shade to give an updated, pseudo-contemporary look. For around the same price of a lamp found in big-box decor store, I'd have a gorgeous antique which reflects the romantic designs of the small Wedgwood burner while interplaying nicely with the strong lines and forms of the credenza.

Lot 444 - Contemporary Cherry Free Edge Log Stool, est $100-120

This little bit of Canadiana would look great beside my black leather side chair. Plus I'd have something to put my drinks on as well as my TV clicker, which I have a tendency to misplace. The natural, organic form would bring a bit of Mother Nature into my otherwise contemporary-ish home decor.

From the Asian Art Online Auction:

Lot 83 - Birds and Gourds Signed Bo Yan ??, est $100-200

This large painting, colour-wise, would work harmoniously with my credenza & leather side chair, the Murano vase and Wedgwood burner. I love birds. And gourds are representative of happiness and good luck in the Chinese culture.

Lot 126- A Small Hardstone Inkwell, est $300-400

This little fella is a curious choice. I simply like the quirkiness of the opposing, carved heads. And the thought this may have been used for generations gives it a nice history. And hey, this could be another holder for my white gold and blue topaz ring!

...And He's Still Shopping!

Being a good son, Mark is looking through the Fine Wine & Fine Spirits auctions to find something for his dad, whose birthday was September 10. Mom and dad's anniversary also requires another review. (The Wine & Spirits auctions close September 19.)

Mark is also coming by to see the items in the September 16-21 Canadian Art Select online auction, and take another look at some of the lots in the Prints and Photography auction, which closes September 21.



Posted: 9/14/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Tess McLean

The $5000 Auction Challenge

The Auction Challenge

We asked our good friend Mark Gleberzon to participate in a unique challenge. We asked him: "If you had $5000 to spend at auction - what would you choose?" With Mark's background as an artist and his own personal style and sense of design, it seemed like a challenge custom-designed for him.

Here was our original conversation with Mark:

W – What do you think will be the most difficult part of this challenge?

MJG – I am actually in the midst of looking for a new place to live. I sold and donated and actually even consigned some items to Waddington’s (!) looking for a fresh, new start. Even decor-wise. So, this challenge will be fun. And hey, I might end up bidding on one or two things to keep, for reals. The challenge will be to rein in the crazy! It's always easy to find items to "want". It's more difficult to commit to something I might actually "need". Unlike a retail store, I can't return my purchase from an auction house. My selections - even fictional - need to be thoughtful and practical.

W – How about you select a work of your own collection as a starting point, to build around. Perhaps a favourite piece of furniture or one of your own works of art?

MJG – The few furniture items I kept include a mid-century modern credenza and a cozy black-leather chair. And yes, we could certainly include one of my photos or paintings to use for further decor inspiration to draw colours and other considerations from.

W – Do you have a strategy when you’re bidding in an online auction?

MJG – budget and commitment are my two most important strategies when it comes to purchasing from an auction. It's always easy to see something and fall in like with an object. But reality must be considered. What am I really able to afford and will the object be what I need and will use and ultimately enjoy having in my home?

W – Do you have any words of advice for those new to the auction world?

MJG – I have several words of advice, starting with:

Do your research. Every auction maintains records of what has sold in previous sales. It's a fantastic resource to see market trends, realized prices and the kinds of items you’ll find in a sale.

Go to the viewing previews. If you're a stickler for perfection, look at the object you covet in person. Hold it. Feel it. See if there's a connection between you and it. Don't only go by photos. If concerned, ask if there's been any restoration. And hey, sometimes you can learn if the prior owner was a noted collector or someone famous.

When there's the opportunity to, attend a live auction, go. Perhaps first watch how people bid and even the kinds of people who are bidding. You will see seasoned buyers and collectors who love the small victory of their winning bids as well as seasoned bidders who may be dealers or designers, looking to re-sell or buying that special something for their client's home. Auctions can be somewhat slow but if you have the right auctioneer and bidding gets fierce, they can be rather entertaining.

When it comes to online bidding, watch how bids are placed and the increments at which prices go up. And if you take that leap of faith and bid yourself, be mindful of your budget!! That can't be stressed enough. Keep in mind you're not only paying the price of the winning bid but also the auction house premium (a pre-assigned percentage, usually) as well as those dreaded taxes. It's easy to get caught up in a bidding war. Unless the item is that unique or the opportunity too personally important to let the item be purchased by someone else, you may just have to show restraint and put the paddle down (in a live auction) or not press the 'bid' button (if you're bidding online)

W - Thanks Mark! That was a great primer for anyone new to the auction world.


Posted: 9/7/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Tess McLean

What Sells at a Canada 150 Auction?

What Sells at a Canada 150 Auction?

Note: We were working on a post-auction summary about our Canada 150 auction at the same time that Leah Sandals was working on a story.  After reading Leah’s story, we realized we couldn’t tell the story any better than she did, so please read and enjoy courtesy of Leah and Canadian Art.

On June 27, Waddington’s in Toronto held what it called “The Canada 150 Auction.” 

Here are 12 objects from the event, all of which found ready buyers.

June 29, 2017 by Leah Sandals, managing editor, online, at Canadian Art

From funding for major new arts events to spurring of political resistance among Indigenous artists and allies, the federal government’s Canada 150 proclamation has affected many sectors of the art world so far this year. And as of this week, the auction field is no exception. On June 27, Waddington’s auction house in Toronto held what it called “The Canada 150 Auction.” The 190 lots in this sale ranged from tiny silver snuff boxes to massive acrylic paintings, and from 400-year-old Maritime maps to 28-year-old Skydome tickets.

Here are 12 interesting lots from the auction—all of which found ready buyers.

Norval Morrisseau’s Shaman Astral Guide I and Shaman Astral Guide II (Estimated at $50,000 to $60,000, sold for $60,000)

Each of the canvases in this 1978 diptych measure three metres high, providing a prime example of work by the man credited with creating the Woodland School style. Morrisseau, who was Anishinaabe and self-taught, said that “all my painting and drawing is really a continuation of the shaman’s scrolls.” Early on, he also painted on birchbark and moose hide, among other materials.

Given the critiques that many Indigenous artists and allies have made of Canada 150 in recent months, it is worth remembering that Morrisseau, in his day, also confronted issues of erasure and censorship. He was asked to be part of the Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo 67—and ended up leaving the project when government officials, as Carmen Robertson puts it, “deemed his mural design of bear cubs nursing from Mother Earth to be too controversial.”  The pavilion itself still took a critical slant after Morrisseau’s mural was finished (in altered form, by another artist) with visitors being greeted by the phrase “You have stolen our native land, our culture, our soul…” and other truths.

Convention of London, Canada-United States Cast Iron Obelisk Form Border Marker, 19th Century (Estimated at $5,000 to $7,000, sold for $18,000)

A great many historical, somewhat utilitarian, items were available in this auction, and this is the one that went for the highest price: a marker that was erected along the border between the US and Canada in 1861.

Made of granite, cast iron, bronze and stainless steel, and reaching some two-and-a-half metres high, the marker/obelisk was one of 8,600 placed along the border that year. The Convention of London—whose signing date, October 20, 1818, is printed in raised letters on the obelisk—was, as the Canadian Encyclopedia puts it, “a treaty between the United States and Britain that set the 49th parallel of latitude as the boundary between British North America and the US across the West. This remains the boundary today between the two nations.”

Woolly Mammoth Tusk from Yukon Territory (Estimated at $3,000 to $4,000, sold for $9,000)

Some fossils are found in museums, others stumbled upon by hikers at trailside or by engineers on a mine site. Though it is uncertain exactly where this tusk came from, and who initially found it—it is now heavily polished, and comes with its own presentation stand—it is said to be from the Yukon and the Devensian Period, roughly 110,000 to 12,000 years ago. As the Yukon’s Beringia Interpretive Centre notes, “These large, furry elephants were perfectly adapted to living on the Mammoth Steppe of ice age Yukon.…The long, curved tusks of woolly mammoths are probably the most immediately recognized ice age fossil from Yukon. A single tusk from an adult male can stretch over 3.5 metres long and weigh more than 100 kilograms. These tusks may have been used for display, defense, or possibly to sweep away snow to get at grass in the winter.”

E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) Signed Portrait Cabinet Card (Estimated at $200 to $300 and sold for $960) “

This was taken in 1894, just after I returned from my first London season. The frock is my first English dinner dress. It was made at Barkers, High St., Kensington S.W.” So reads the handwritten note on the back of this portrait of E. Pauline Johnson (1861–1913), the daughter of a Mohawk father and an English mother, who some say was Canada’s first spoken-word star. She was also known as a writer, artist and performer, penning such famous poems as “The Song My Paddle Sings,” and the 1903 book Canadian Born, which reportedly sold out within a year.

Born the youngest of four children on the Six Nations reserve near Brantford, Johnson took early to “reading and writing of rhymes,” the 1916 book Canadian Poets states. Her breakthrough performance came in Toronto in 1892 of her own poem titled “A Cry From an Indian Wife,” which told the story of the North-West rebellion from a First Nations point of view. As this cabinet card indicates, once she became established, Johnson travelled to the UK to perform as well as across Canada.

Arthur James Donahue’s Winnipeg Chair (Estimated at $500 to $700, sold at $3,840)

Originally crafted in the basement of Arthur James Donahue’s Winnipeg home with the help of his architectural design students at the University of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Chair was originally sold for $35 at the Hudson’s Bay Company. The mid-century piece was also then available in colours including orange, mustard and lime green. This one is leather-upholstered on laminated wood and an iron frame—now, a collectors’ item.

Born in 1917 in Regina to a family oriented towards farming and business, Donahue went on to, as the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation puts it, become the “the first Canadian to complete a degree at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.” There, he was influenced by Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius. His 1940s designs for fibreglass stacking chairs, which never went into production, were similar to those introduced a few years later by Charles Eames. Donohue’s larger-scale projects include the Confederation Building in Charlottetown, the Monarch Life building in Winnipeg and the Nova Scotia Archives in Halifax.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Campaign Dress (Estimated at $1,000 to $1,500, sold for $2,880)

If one needed any more evidence for the frenzy that was Trudeaumania 1.0, here it is: a sleeveless A-line dress of printed cellulose fabric. Not only fashionable (to some), it also served as a wearable campaign poster for Trudeau’s 1968 Liberal leadership bid and the related party convention that year. Following his win at that leadership convention in April, Trudeaumania continued to build, and the Liberals won the federal election later that year as well. Trudeau would go on to become the longest-serving prime minister of anyone before him, holding that post from 1968 to 1979 and 1980 to 1984.

Collection of 13 World War II Propaganda Posters (Estimated at $300 to $400, sold for $3,120)

It seems that history buffs and design buffs alike love a good wartime propaganda poster. This lot of posters from 1943 fetched 10 times its low estimate at auction. Each poster measures roughly 33 inches by 22 inches, and each seems to emphasize strengthening a connection between Canadians’ efforts at home with those of Allied soldiers in Europe. Slogans include “He’s doing his part are you doing yours?” “It’s Our War” and “To Victory! With Our Help” as well as French versions, like “Allons-y… Canadiens!” for a bilingual populace.

As exhibitions at the Canadian War Museum have noted, “The creators of [propaganda] exploit the power of words and images to construct persuasive visual messages that evoke feelings of fear and anger, pride and patriotism. In proposing or privileging one point of view to the exclusion of others, propagandists during the two world wars were neither the first nor the last to manage information in this fashion. It is as much a part of our contemporary world, in commercial advertising or political campaigning, for example, as it was a part of the Roman Empire over 2,000 years ago, when emperors and generals manipulated their images and accomplishments in order to secure or attain power.”

Terkarihogen (Joseph Brant) Lease to Ahdohwahgeseon (Catherine Brant) (Estimated at $300 to $400, sold for $3,600)

Mohawk military and political leader Thayendanegea (1742–1807), also known as Joseph Brant, fought throughout the American Revolution with an Aboriginal-Loyalist band, the Canadian Encyclopedia notes. Then, when American independence displaced him from his Mohawk Valley homeland, he moved to a territory provided as compensation by the British on the banks of the Grand River in Ontario. There, he spent several years working “to form a united confederation of Iroquois and western Aboriginal peoples in order to block American expansion westward.” When Thayendanegea died in 1807, he willed his farm to his son Terkarihogen (Joseph “John” Brant). In 1811, this son leased it back to his mother Ahdohwahgeseon (Catherine Brant), who returned to live there for the rest of her life. The lease is created in quill on laid paper, and is signed by the younger Joseph Brant, as well as Catherine Brant, and witnesses.

Thayendanegea is the namesake for present-day city of Brantford, where both his and his son’s remains are interred at the burial grounds around the Chapel of the Mohawks.

The Beatles First Concert at Maple Leaf Gardens Ticket and Programme (Estimated at $100 to $150, sold for $2,460)

From Trudeaumania to Beatlemania, this auction spanned it all. This souvenir is from the Beatles’ September 7, 1964 concert at Maple Leaf Gardens. It is claimed that Toronto was actually home to the largest organized Beatles fan club in North America at one point, and perhaps that is true; on this particular visit, the Beatles played two shows (one at 2:30 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m.) selling 35,522 tickets, says the Beatles Bible. (The ticket in this auction lot was for the afternoon show, originally priced at $5.00).

When the band arrived at the King Edward Hotel from the airport, they reportedly found a 14-year-old girl hiding in a linen closet. At the Gardens, 4,000 police officers and Mounties were on duty, and a five-block surrounding area was sectioned off for 12 hours before the group’s arrival. The Beatles returned to Maple Leaf Gardens on only two other occasions: 17 August 1965 and 17 August 1966.


Kenojuak Ashevak Owl’s Bouquet (Estimated at $2,000 to $3,000, sold for $6,600)

This 2007 stonecut and stencil on paper contains an image that Canadians will be seeing a lot more of this year, as a 10-dollar bill featuring a replication of Owl’s Bouquet was recently unveiled by the Bank of Canada for general currency circulation during Canada 150.

Kenojuak Ashevak (1927–2013) is the first Inuit artist to have work on a Canadian banknote. It’s just the latest nod to this artist’s influence and legacy; in 1970, her print for the Enchanted Owl was featured on a postage stamp, and last year, she was honoured with a Heritage Minute. Ashevak was one of the first women involved with the Cape Dorset Co-op. During her lifetime, she also received the Order of Canada and the Order of Nunavut, and was exhibited at many international locations.

Vincent Massey’s Top Hat (Estimated at $300 to $400, sold for $1,680)

Among his other achievements—like initiating the tradition that all Governor Generals be Canadian citizens—Vincent Massey (1887–1967) is perhaps best known in the arts for major initiatives of his that continue to have impact, such as the annual Massey Lectures and the 1951 Massey Report, which led to the establishment of the Canada Council. These initiatives came in his seven years as Governor General from 1952 to 1959. Massey’s legacy is not without controversy and documented bias, however. The award-winning 2012 book None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948 states that in the late 1930s, Massey tried to use his influence as scion of a wealthy family to keep Jewish refugees out of Canada, advocating to the Prime Minister that Canada boost refugee status for non-Jewish Eastern European migrants instead. Wikipedia also notes that “His donation of Hart House to the University of Toronto stipulated that the building be restricted to men only, and it was not until after his death that the deed of gift was altered to allow for women becoming full members in 1972.”

This circa-1940 top hat, along with leather case and travel pillow, came from Lock & Co. Hatters on St. James Street in London, and perhaps can be read as representative of the colonizer costumes and morays woven together in Massey’s history, and his impact.

Emily Carr’s Klee Wyck Book and Note (Estimated at $100 to $150, sold for $1,800)

Old books were a prominent feature of this auction, with volumes including a first edition of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, a 1925 edition of Wilfred Thomason Grenfell’s A Labrador Doctor, and a 1869 edition of Catherine Parr Traill and Agnes Fitz Gibbon’s folio Canadian Wild Flowers.

This first edition of Emily Carr’s Klee Wyck, published in 1941 and winner of the Governor General’s Award that year, describes, through her settler eyes, some experiences among First Nations people in BC. Carr’s books, like her Klee Wyck persona, is not without its problems, contemporary critics have noted. In the Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, Misao Dean notes of Carr’s earlier memoir Growing Pains: “Aggressively colonial, resentful of British condescension, the narrator retreats into her identity as Klee Wyck, ‘the laughing one,’ in order to defend herself against negative pronouncements on her appearance and manners.” Dean also writes that Carr’s books contain “habitual distortion of the facts of her life,” often departing “from strict fact to heighten the sense of her protagonist’s victimization.”

The signed note accompanying this book was sent to a Mrs. Mackie in Toronto in thanks for a yearly association membership card. “Mounting years and poor health make seeing to [art] shipping details burdensome,” Carr writes, “but I have had a one man show in the Vancouver Art Gallery for the last four successive years so you see I still work in spite of war and indifferent health.”

Posted: 6/30/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Tess McLean

Waddington’s Canada 150 Auction

The Canada 150 auction is a special Waddington's event celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary featuring art and objects of historical and cultural significance. Some may be whimsical, others more important, all drawn together to celebrate and tell the stories of 150 years of Canadian art and culture. Waddington's is proud to be Canada's oldest auction house, founded pre-Confederation. Our deep well of expertise crosses multiple collecting categories, showcasing our rich passion and capacity for scholarship and linking our heritage to Canada's. This specialized auction will share in the excitement of Canada’s sesquicentennial. Please contact Sean Quinn for further information: View the Auction Gallery










Posted: 6/3/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Tess McLean

Pre-Columbian Art and Artefacts Online Auction

NAYARIT POTTERY FIGURE OF A DISEASED MALE, PROTO-CLASSIC PERIOD, 100 B.C. - 250 A.D. the emaciated body modelled seated, cross legged, blowing into fan, with hole to top of head and black linear paint decoration, condition noted, height 10" — 25.4 cm.

Comprising Pre-Columbian and modern Central and South American ceramics, sculpture and textile work, this collection showcases art and artefacts from a broad range of ancient and contemporary cultures. Many of the objects are from the well-known collections of Alan Lapiner, Nathan Cummings, Bruno J. Wasserman-San Blas and Nelson A. Rockefeller, and have been included in exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and related publications.

The auction includes three excellent Mochica stirrup spout vessels, products of a culture which flourished in northern Peru between 100 B.C. and 800 A.D.. These ceremonial vessels, painted with scenes from nature and stylized figures, provide fascinating insight into the religious and social lives of the Mochica people. Centuries later, the Chimu culture developed in the same region of Peru and continued to produce similar vessels. Included in this sale are examples of their black and grey wares, produced in large quantities between 1000 A.D. and 1400 A.D., that demonstrate how technological developments in ceramic production and artistic ideas were passed from one culture to another.

One of the most impressive pieces in this online auction is the Mayan Polychromed Cylinder Pot, late Classic Period, 600-800 A.D.. The painted surface demonstrates the high level of skill that Mayan artists possessed, and its elaborate detail suggests that it may have been a funerary offering for an elite member of Mayan society. The relationship between life and death was of ongoing importance in the visual arts of ancient Mesoamerica. The Nayarit figures from Mexico depicting a diseased male and a female in birthing position likewise illustrate an interest in the cycle of life. Like the Mayan Cylinder Pot, these objects were recovered from burial sites, and thus belong to a long tradition of funerary art in Central and South America.

The collection also contains many stone pieces, an essential material used for both utilitarian objects such as axe heads and grinding stones, but also in fine art, exemplified in the Standing Male Figure and Jaguar Form Metate from the Guanacaste Nicoya Peninsula, 800-1200 A.D.. Other tools such as whorls and loom posts reveal less about the complexities of social life, but nonetheless broaden our understanding of everyday activities in the ancient world such as textile production.

Moreover, the 20th-century objects in this collection are unique, essentially blurring the boundaries between past and present. Modern indigenous Peruvians have recreated the decorative arts of their ancestors, creating Chancay type fabric dolls with textile fragments recovered from ancient tombs while modern Shipibo potters draw artistic inspiration from Pre-Columbian vessels. The collection as a whole represents the diversity of Pre-Columbian art, and includes both typical and unusual works from a range of cultures, time periods and geographical areas. Waddington's is pleased to offer these objects in a timed online auction through ending February 4, 2016.

Posted: 1/11/2016 12:00:00 AM
By: Sarah Carter

New Record Price for Canadian Silver

The Decorative Arts and International Art auction concluded our fall season on a high note with a well attended preview, much excitement and a new record price for a piece of Canadian silver sold at auction. The sale brought together a superb collection of decorative art, rugs and paintings, lending the showroom an air of elegance and warmth that welcomed those who attended the preview over the weekend. The opening segment of International Art witnessed Montague Dawson's spectacular painting, Dawn and a West Wind, bring its high estimate at $48,000. Decorative Arts began with a collection of chess sets, ranging in age from the ninth to the twentieth century, including two elaborately carved sets in ivory, which brought $25,200 each. The collection, shown together, represented various aesthetic traditions from around the world, with examples of nonrepresentational Islamic pieces, a set of Netsuke and some charming carvings of sea creatures.

Some unusual snuff boxes, Georgian silver and eighteenth-century examples of French silver followed an impressive assemblage of bronze sculptures, but the absolute highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Laurent Amiot's covered soup tureen bearing the arms of the Hertel de Rouville family. The tureen, which was estimated at $25,000 - $35,000, brought more than double its estimate after intense bidding on the phone, online and in the room, finally selling for a record $83,000. We were delighted to see the object purchased by The National Gallery of Canada, and we look forward to seeing this important piece of Canadian cultural heritage on public display in their upcoming exhibition of Amiot's work in 2017.

Other highlights included some excellent Russian silver: a finely engraved silver parcel-gilt beaker which brought well over its estimate of $1000 - $1,500 selling for $7,200 and a Fabergé silver mounted glass claret jug which sold for $6,600. The sale demonstrates once again that the decorative arts, with its diversity of objects and styles, continues to appeal to a broad audience. Waddington's is pleased to conclude yet another successful season.

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Posted: 12/10/2015 9:00:00 AM
By: Bill Kime

A Canadian Treasure: Laurent Amiot's Soup Tureen with the Arms of the Hertel de Rouville Family, c.1790

Laurent Amiot (1764-1839) was a prominent figure in Canadian silversmithing in the late 1700s, a period that witnessed the convergence of diverse aesthetic programs. As a young and talented silversmith, he was awarded the opportunity to apprentice in Paris by the Roman Catholic Church. During the five years that Amiot spent in France, he was strongly influenced by the Louis XVI style, a branch of French Neoclassicism that was popular in Paris at that time. In 1787, Amiot returned to Quebec with exceptional technical skills and a high degree of respect for silversmithing, considering himself foremost an artist. Silversmiths were traditionally classed as craftsman, and among Amiot's contributions to Canadian decorative art was his progressive view of silversmithing as a serious artistic practice.

Throughout his career, he insisted on being referred to as Maître ès Art Orfèvre (master of the silversmithing art), and set himself apart from other Canadian silversmiths by drafting preliminary sketches. These preparatory drawings supported the idea that Amiot's work was intellectual and should be appreciated as fine art. Moreover, the sketches now provide a unique perspective on both Amiot as a creative individual and his silver in a historical context. Amiot led the industry in both quality and quantity, and was undoubtedly the most influential silversmith working in Quebec between 1790 and 1840.

Although Amiot's impact is most visible in the stylistic and decorative developments that he initiated in church silver, he also responded to the emerging market for domestic silver that was fuelled by the rising middle class and their desire for household objects. His domestic silver, including the present tureen, often borrowed motifs from English Neoclassicism or skillfully incorporated elements of both a Louis XVI style and designs derived from British imports. These stylistic choices reflected the broader cultural atmosphere of Quebec in the last decades of the eighteenth century. The Roman Catholic Church preferred traditional, French designs while the political and social spheres were predominately English and yielded English tastes for table silver. Amiot is most celebrated for his ability to incorporate and harmonize these different European styles in his original work.

Soup tureens are the largest and in many ways the most impressive of Amiot's domestic silverware. The Soup Tureen with the Arms of the Hertel de Rouville Family is one of only two that Amiot is known to have made during his career. It is significant both as an eighteenth-century example of Canadian colonial silver and for its importance in the context of Amiot's oeuvre. Both of Amiot's tureens incorporate a convex and elongated body supported on spherical clawed feet, a reference to the English Rococo movement, while the covers and ornamentation, specifically the chased laurel garlands on the girth and acanthus motifs on the covers draw inspiration from Neoclassicism. The Hertel de Rouville tureen, with its reeded serpentine silver handles, appears more complete and arguably more sophisticated than the example with wooden handles found in the Royal Ontario Museum's permanent collection.

Amiot encouraged the public to appreciate his fine work in silver for its artistic merits, and in elevating decorative silver above craft, he advanced the art of silversmithing in Canada. His innovative use of hybrid styles rippled in the waters of the silver industry throughout his career, and his artistic legacy now forms an integral part of our cultural heritage. The present soup tureen, a Canadian treasure, tells its part of the story of life in Lower Canada, reflecting the broad range of styles and high level of sophistication that characterized silversmithing in Canada at the end of the eighteenth century. Likewise, with its strong ties to both English and French stylistic traditions, it occupies a significant place in early Canadian history.

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Posted: 12/1/2015 12:00:00 AM
By: Bill Kime

James and Jonny’s Great Adventure

“Where Antique and Unique Meet” is the motto of the village of Shakespeare. It could also be the motto for Jonny Kalisch and James Bisback, owners of Jonnys Antiques.

The partnership of Jonny Kalisch and James Bisback, and their eponymously named antiques store in the storybook town of Shakespeare Ontario, were legendary. Loyal attendees of our auction previews for decades, it was always a pleasure to see them at Waddington’s. Jonny – flamboyant and colourful, often bedecked in Navajo turquoise jewellery, or dressed in lederhosen, and the slightly reserved, more refined James – both immensely liked by all.

The partners came from distinctly different backgrounds: Bisback was from the small, quintessentially Ontario town of Seaforth, and Kalisch immigrated to Canada from Poland, via Germany, Switzerland and England. Their passion for antiques bringing them together in Toronto in 1964. Jonny opened his first shop on Wellesley Street in downtown Toronto; “actually, a bit of junk shop” one former client recalled. But even in the early days Jonny understood how to attract attention, and business. A signature sleigh that would later grace the Shakespeare shop was first placed on the roof of the bay window of his shop on Wellesley. Spotted from a distance, shoppers knew “they had to come in to investigate,” Jonny said. Perhaps that sleigh is what drew James in that day he first walked into Jonny’s shop. The rest, of course, is antiques history.

In 1969 Jonny and James moved to Shakespeare, Ontario, where they would create Canada’s most popular and well-regarded antiques business. In fact Jonny and James would transform Shakespeare itself into the “antiques mecca” of Ontario, drawing customers from across North America and Europe. At one point, Jonny and James owned shops in Shakespeare, Bayfield and Toronto. But it would be Jonnys in the village of Shakespeare, with a population of less than 1,000 people, that would become known as Canada’s great antiques destination.

Described as “a bit like salt and pepper”, Jonny was the entertainer and James was the quiet one who handled the business of buying and researching. Recognized as a connoisseur of 18th and 19th century ceramics, James possessed an astonishing range of interests, and his breadth of knowledge was extraordinary. An inquisitive, passionate and scholarly dealer, he was always generous with his knowledge, as noted by Rosalie Sharp in her 2007 autobiography: “We started collecting (ceramics) in earnest about 1986. It was then I met china maven James Bisback. We share affection for ceramics and for each other. He’s a sweetheart. In February of 1987, Issy and I went out to James’ antique shop in Shakespeare – Jonnys Antiques, named for his partner, Jonny Kalisch. We bought a pile of Spode tulips and James suggested that we might enjoy the Ceramics Fair and Seminar held in England every June. Since then, except for one year, the three of us have attended that fair… James and I prompt each other to buy selected items either for his shop or my collection.”

Avid collector and a Jonnys client since 1970, Clayton Shields recalls that Jonnys was not just a store, but also a place to hang out, perhaps even be treated to some of Jonny’s homemade tomato soup. Friends and collectors gathered when James would come back from a buying trip, everyone eager to see the new acquisitions, knowing there would be something for everyone, and always of the best of quality. (Clayton noted that items he purchased from Jonnys over the years have since been donated to the Winnipeg Art Gallery.) James’ keen eye later extended beyond antiques to discover Inuit art, honing in on the exquisite lines of Kavik, TikTak and others. Soon, Jonnys was also selling Inuit art; stone sculpture displayed in beautiful juxtaposition with the antiques.

A great example of James exacting nature was his quest and acquisition of pieces from two porcelain dessert services bearing views of the journey of Viscount Milton and Dr. Walter Cheadle across British territory in Canada in 1862-1863. Commemorated by the Minton china factory of England, the plates were based on drawings made and photographs taken en route, capturing their adventures of buffalo hunting and crossing the Rockies, the gold rush and Indian guides. It was the historical importance that fuelled James’ search for the plates, “It’s so important to Canada,” James said. “A private commission of the highest quality, this porcelain is probably the most significant ‘Canadian historical china’ in existence.” Following years of research, in 2004 Jonnys cordially invited collectors to an exhibition and sale of “Milton and Cheadle’s Great Adventure”. We have the privilege of offering five plates from the service in this auction.

We are honoured to say a public and very fond farewell to Jonny and James as we present an auction of some of their extraordinary collections.

Jonny Kalisch passed away in April of 2015, just over a year after James Bisback’s passing in 2014, leaving behind legions of fans, friends and clients, and many fond memories of a great Canadian adventure.

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Posted: 11/4/2015 12:00:00 AM
By: Tess McLean

Launching Waddington's Fine Wine & Spirits Division!

Waddington’s is made up of several departments, each specializing in a particular genre of fine art and luxury goods.  Although there is a certain amount of cross over, the departments are for the most part distinct serving their particular clientele, be that Asian, Canadian or International Fine Art, Decorative Arts or Jewellery.

This fall that all changes. We are very pleased to announce the addition of a new department at Waddington’s, one that crosses all our departmental borders and complements everything we do: Waddington’s Fine Wines and Spirits. More importantly, Waddington’s will now be able to provide access to the enormous international wine-collecting market through live and online auctions, under the authority of the LCBO.

We are excited about this new venture – a first for an Ontario auction company – and we’re looking forward to providing all the services a wine collector might need to properly manage their cellars.

Waddington’s Vice President Stephen Ranger, Canada’s pre-eminent wine auctioneer, leads the new division, joined by the accomplished Ryan Corrigan, former Associate Winemaker with Pearl Morissette Estate Winery, Niagara and Sonoma California. “The popularity of collecting wine as an investment grows every year” notes Ranger. “Many wines offered at auction will appreciate in value, especially rare and acclaimed vintages, making auctions an excellent way to build a fine wine portfolio. It also gives Ontario collectors access to the world market when offering their wines as part of their cellar management.”

Our inaugural online fine wine auction will be held November 23 - 26 with the first live auction to be offered December 12. We’ll be hosting seminars, tastings and events throughout our auction season where you’ll have the opportunity to meet our wine specialists, and discover how we can help build, maintain or downsize your collection. 

Duncan McLean

“If you go back to the Greeks and Romans, they talk about all three - wine, food, and art - as a way of enhancing life.”
Robert Mondavi

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Posted: 9/18/2015 9:00:00 AM
By: Duncan McLean

Past Imperfect: The Collections of Helen Mary Cavalier Quinn

“I love rust. Perfect imperfection is what I seek.” The Collections of Helen Mary Cavalier Quinn were built following her heart and sense of artistry. If something appealed to her, she didn’t mind chips and cracks. In fact she loved old repairs. Arriving in post-war Canada, Helen was a passionate collector of objects that had sustained the people who had come before to make this country habitable. Each object had a story.  Hearing about the importance of a blanket box and what it held, was moving to Helen. She had an appreciation of the value of the utilitarian, the meaning of making things work again, even when they seemed not be useful anymore.  

Managing estates is a large part of the work Waddington’s does. Estates of the wealthy, famous, sometimes even notorious. Every estate has its own story to tell. The Collections of Helen Mary Cavalier Quinn come from the estate of a woman who was clearly much loved and admired, a woman whose passion for collecting inspired and brought pleasure to many. She was also a woman who found a new kind of beauty in things that might not be considered useful anymore, giving life to something that might be tossed away as broken.   

Helen explained during a talk she gave for the opening of a quilt exhibit held at the Northumberland Art Gallery how women put their artistry into the utilitarian objects they made that kept their families alive during Canada's harsh winters. That their work was essential to survival in an unforgiving climate, yet they made these things beautiful. Preservation was essential, yet with every thing they did to achieve that crucial goal, there was beauty. There was beauty in the things they stitched together or put back together in some creative way. There was beauty in their toil and beauty in the objects with the chips and cracks that happen in lives lived.

A graduate of the Cleveland School of Art who worked in advertising in the 1940s, Helen was a creative woman of many talents who possessed a great sense of style and intricate knowledge of antiques. It was the character and history of the objects that she collected that mattered the most. “I don’t collect a period” she said in an interview with The Upper Canadian in 1998. “I collect colour and form. Pure form, form that is perfect in its simplicity.”
Larry Thompson (The Upper Canadian) described stepping into her home was “like walking into the pages of a glossy interior design magazine.” Everything meticulously placed to create the right effect. Different styles shoulder to shoulder with the valuable and perhaps not so valuable. As she said, “I don't have a lot of the best. I have things that I enjoy.”

A family member shares a story that seems to sum up Helen Mary Cavalier Quinn’s appreciation for beauty: “When living in New York, I took her through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had only so much time and wanted her to see this Cezanne that I knew she would know but had not seen in the flesh. I got her there and she stood there looking at it (it is amazing) and finally she turned to look at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I guess you get to see this whenever you want ". I loved her at that moment like crazy, even if there was some kind of jealousy in her response. I wish she could have stayed for a year and I could have tons more stories like that.”

Past Imperfect: The Collections of Helen Mary Cavalier Quinn will be offered as an online auction September 14 – 17, with a public preview September 15. The auction includes: Iroquois Beadwork Pin Cushions and Whimseys, Reverse Painted Glass, Tinsel Backed Pictures, Make-Dos, Ceramics, Canadian and American Glass, 19th Century Sewing Accessories and Cow and Sheep Bells.

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Our sincere thanks to all who contributed their memories.
Posted: 9/10/2015 9:00:00 AM
By: Sean Quinn

Spring Decorative Arts Auction - Catalogue Available

We are anticipating great results for our sale of Decorative Arts this season. You will find in this catalogue the fine quality that you have come to expect from Waddington's, including silver spanning the early Georgian period through the 20th century. A very large setting of 'Cactus' pattern flatware by Gundorph Albertus for Georg Jensen (lot 64) and an exceptional vase by Carl Poul Petersen from his early days in Denmark (lot 65) are just a couple of stand-outs. A carefully selected section of glass includes the large and luminous Amalric Walter pheasant vide-poche (lot 76). The porcelain selection spans the eighteenth to twentieth centuries with many makers represented. A Derby Mansion House Dwarf (lot 117) will bring a smile to your face, as will the little Staffordshire figures of cats (lots 88 - 91) and a pair of Dresden nodding jugglers (lot 154). We are pleased to offer as well a rare Meissen pug's head snuff box (lot 148) in excellent condition - what a face!

Night two starts off with more good chess sets from the private collection we have been offering over the course of the last few sales. Particularly interesting is a Soviet propaganda porcelain set (lot 217) with Death, Fortuna, Industry and Agriculture as monarchs ruling over prospering farmers and slave labourers as the pawns. Another of the highlights of our second night is a silver-gilt ‘Queen’s Messenger Badge’ (lot 219) issued to William Chalmers in 1844 by the Lord Chamberlain’s office identifying him as one Queen Victoria’s personal couriers. Remarkably, this medal is accompanied by the original and attractive signed, sealed and dated document of appointment. Lot 265 is an outstanding Greek ‘pelike’ - a vessel very similar to an amphora. This 4th century example is notable for its large size, excellent condition and fine decoration including cable fluting and a band of painted swans around the body. From the ancient to the contemporary: the variety that our Decorative Arts department encompasses could not be made clearer than by the juxtaposition of this Greek pot to a Frank Gehry ‘Fish Lamp’ (lot 289) and the quirky Meret Oppenheim ‘Traccia’ side table (lot 290) with its bird legs!

Of course, in addition to these lots there are many traditionally beautiful things too, but this season it seems the unusual finds have really captured our collective imaginations.

View the Auction Gallery (June 15th)

View the Auction Gallery (June 16th)

View the PDF Catalogue

View the Virtual Catalogue

Posted: 5/29/2015 2:00:00 PM
By: Bill Kime

My Year One: Decorative Arts

It’s been nearly a year since I joined the Decorative Arts department. I can’t think of a better way to learn about silver, glass and ceramics (amongst many other things) than to dig in to these shelves of treasures and catalogue them for auctions. The stories that can be told by these objects are innumerable and so much fun to investigate. Beyond answering the question, ‘What is this?’ I can now piece together more parts of the story that the object has to tell, like; How old is it? Where was it made and by whom? Who sold it? Who bought it and why?

One of the most fascinating stories to tell was about Alexander III, his wife Marie and son Nicholas II of the Romanov Dynasty. Although just a small part of their epic story, the set of twelve dinner plates in the Raphael Service that were sold in the auction in December 2014 revealed small details about the family that I hadn’t known before. Such as the friction between Nicholas’ wife Alexandra and his mother. Upon researching where the plates were used this became apparent as the styles of Marie and Alexandra’s homes were very different. Royalty…just like us!

I am also fascinated by the many accoutrements related to activities of bygone eras; such as the multitude of instruments that were required for writing correspondence. Pounce pots, wax-jacks, inkwells, letter openers and writing slants are all sold in our auctions on a regular basis. It’s that intimate connection to the past that adds so much appeal to the items we sell.

I’m learning that there are eras of design that I enjoy more than others, and the Arts and Crafts movement of the later 19th century is one. The simple and refined designs on the Newcomb College vases in our last auction were some favourites of mine, and in June’s live auction there is a Rookwood vase. The finest Arts and Crafts example in our next live auction though, is the set of Minton plaques depicting the seven ages of man. Designed by Henry Stacy Marks and hand-painted with fondness and emotion at the Minton Art-Pottery Studio in 1873-74, they are truly exemplary of the uncomplicated rustic style of the era.

Whether it’s the stories that compel you to collect, the design of the objects, or the perfect intersection of both elements, we hope you’ll continue to explore what we have as our catalogue is just about ready for printing. See you at the previews!
Posted: 5/27/2015 12:00:00 AM
By: Ellie Muir

Charles Bronfman's Claridge Collection Auction - April 21 2015

Probably the most distinctive corporate collection of Canadian art and design, the Claridge Collection was the passion of Charles Bronfman and his late wife Andrea, whose vision was to fill the office space of Claridge Inc. in Montreal with new Canadian art and crafts. The collection was an eclectic mixture of fun and colourful, the best and the brightest; but not always the best known. For every work by a 'name' – which included paintings by Toni Onley, Allen Sapp, David Bolduc and Denyse Thomasos; photographs from Edward Burtynsky and George Zimbel; ceramics by Vic Cicansky, Robin Hopper, Greg Payce and Walter Ostrom - the collection included works by artists with little or no wide recognition in Canada. Visionary and almost egalitarian, the collection was a true representation of what was being produced by artists and craftsmen from across the country at that time. We can only imagine how much fun the approval process was, as the Bronfmans gave every piece presented to them by curator Franklin Silverstone for their consideration their personal yay or nay.

We applaud Mr. Bronfman's decision to direct the proceeds of the sale of the Collection to benefit Historica Canada (formerly the Historica Dominion Institute), for which Mr. Bronfman has been a long-time patron. And we admire that Mr. Bronfman's son Stephen, current executive chair of Claridge, is creating a new Claridge Collection, representing today's Canadian artists, both stars and emerging stars.

Stephen Ranger was quoted in the Globe and Mail in November 2013 just prior to the first auction saying, "The outgoing Claridge Collection is distinguished by 'superb taste and respect for artists.' " Just prior to these final auctions in April 2015, we are proud to say that it has been an honour and privilege to conduct the Claridge Collection auctions on behalf of the Bronfman family.

Part V: Decorative Arts at 1:00 pm
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Part VI: Fine Art at 7:00 pm
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Artist Biographies
View the Artist Biographies Catalogue (PDF)

Posted: 4/14/2015 9:00:00 AM
By: Duncan McLean

The FXSMITH Studio Collection Auction

An auction that really takes you behind the scenes at the movies – The FXSMITH Studio Collection Auction is an exploration of the magic and the imagination of some of Hollywood’s most popular and provocative movies.

Another unusual auction for Waddington’s (the collection is part of the William (Billy) Jamieson Estate, which we sold last year), the artistry of the work is extraordinary. The FXSMITH team, led by Canadian Gordon Smith, was comprised of 13 hand-selected Canadian artists, including one of Canada’s best sculptors, Evan Penny. Many of you will have seen Penny’s work in the Art Gallery of Ontario and featured in our contemporary art auctions.

FXSMITH was perhaps best known for bringing the mutants from X-Men to life. Mystique, Wolverine, Sabretooth, Toad, Nightcrawler, Senator Kelly and Lady Deathstrike all appear in one shape or another: Mystique’s silicone costume on a life sized figure; the bust, prosthetic hands and arms of Wolverine played by Hugh Jackman; as well as various prosthetic tails, feet, ears, clawed hands and retracting blades of the other main characters.

The special effects for movies like X-Men and Jacob’s Ladder were based on sci-fi and fantasy and drew on the creative ability of the artists. In fact, ‘Meat, Francis Bacon and chaos’ were the only three requirements dictated by Jacob’s Ladder director Adrian Lyne. With those parameters in mind, the crew set out to sculpt and create effects never before seen in movies. According to Smith, his art department “Created a variety of possibilities with abandon.”

On the other side of the artistic coin, movies like Oliver Stone’s Nixon, and Edward Zwick’s Legends of the Fall involved the exacting skill of creating life-like effects. Life-size models of eviscerated zebra and antelopes and charred, skeletal battlefield corpses from Legends of Fall are both jarring and a testament to the talent of the artists. The cast plaster life masks of characters from Oliver Stone’s Nixon, including Anthony Hopkins as Nixon, Paul Sorvino as Kissinger; and John F. Kennedy from Stone’s 1991 JFK are museum quality.

We are an auction house renown for our broad range and depth. Like the macabre yet beautiful items from the Jamieson Estate Collection, it’s been fascinating to see the mutant bat heads and cockroach wings, the busts of Hugh Jackman, Brad Pitt and Genna Davis, and the exquisite Mystique find their niche amidst the fine and decorative arts of our gallery.

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Posted: 3/11/2015 12:00:00 AM
By: Sean Quinn

As one auction season ends, another is soon underway…

Upcoming Auction Highlights
2014 was extremely busy at Waddington’s with 21 live auctions, 43 online auctions, several selling exhibitions and numerous fundraising events. Across our various departments we brought together 4,219 successful bidders with over 12,000 lots consigned by 3,039 vendors. And our Canadian art department set 12 new artist’s auction records this year!

Our success in 2014 was in great part due to our diversity of knowledge and experience, and our broad market networks. Waddington’s is well equipped to handle your items not only through our traditional departments, but anything you can challenge us with no matter how unique.

For me, the stand-out items are not always the most valuable ones. In 2014, what I found the most intriguing was The Billy Jamieson Collection of everything macabre, magical and outrageous – including a wooden New Guinea cannibal fork, a 19th c human tooth necklace, a pair of Houdini’s handcuffs and a commemorative slice of Jumbo the Elephant’s tusk originally presented to Mrs. P.T. Barnum.

Other 2014 auction highlights were a 16th c gilt bronze Buddha, a stone sculpture by Inuit artist Davidialuk depicting the story of Katyutayuuq, a rare set of 12 Imperial Russian dinner plates, a 19th c Napoleonic chess set depicting the Battle of Algiers, Sir Isaac Brock's Knighthood Commission document, an Elizabethan (1580) silver-mounted Tigerware jug, an Andy Warhol portrait of Karen Kain, and an important J.E.H MacDonald oil sketch for a major AGO collection canvas.  Now how’s that for diversity!

Spring 2015 will see Waddington’s offer yet another unique collection to complement our traditional department offerings: 250 pieces from the ‘FXSMITH Studio Collection’ including movie costumes and props from films like The X Men series and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. 

We invite you to be part of our Spring 2015 season and to consider a consignment opportunity with us. Whether live, online or through private sale, we can provide the best forum to buy or sell.

Winter 2015 Newsletter (PDF)

Spring 2015 Auction and Consignment Schedule (PDF)

— Duncan McLean

Posted: 1/26/2015 12:00:00 AM
By: Duncan McLean


(1949 – 2015)

Toller Cranston lived in a grand Victorian home on Pembroke Street in downtown Toronto in the 1980s. Waddington’s was on Queen Street East at that time – on the other side of Moss Park, a short walk away. Toller was a regular at all our auctions, which in those days included twice-weekly estate auctions offering anything and everything to be found in a home. Toller was always on the hunt for the wild, the colourful, the outrageous, the beautiful and anything over the top. His favourite expression when he saw something he had to have was: “It’s beyond the beyond!” Pieces Toller had to have included an Italian Murano green glass indoor fountain that was destined for his bay window (where it actually worked once installed); a huge black metal sculpture of a flying raven; as well as every antique, carved wood cherub he could find.

One evening, I was hanging out with Toller and Bill Kime, another friend from Waddington’s, at his home. In our conversation Toller declared that it was time for him to start selling a few pieces to help spark a change in his life. This was during a difficult period for Toller, in the twilight of his skating career, and feeling unappreciated by the art world. (I remember a large canvas he had recently painted of classically Victorian dressed skaters on a frozen outdoor pond. On a hill next to the pond, a sinister-looking tree with another skater hanging by the neck from a branch over the frozen pond. That was Toller – dramatic and dark-humoured.)

Bill suggested that the best way to sell his pieces was not a few at a time, but all at once as a big event that would generate excitement; create a buzz in Toller’s world of art and entertainment. Toller loved the theatre of big events – and he was immediately excited by the prospect. In June 1991, after many days of working closely with Toller to catalogue the collection and produce a catalogue, Waddington’s offered the contents of his three-story house over a three-session auction. Invitations to the preview party were highly sought. Fans, collectors, voyeurs and media spilled out our front doors the evening of the first auction. And as predicted, the sale of his home and its contents allowed him to “reinvent himself”. Toller bought a magnificent estate in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico’s artist colony, where many ex-pat Canadians including Leonard Brooks and Toller’s good friend Gary Slipper were already settled. A new chapter of his life.

The reality is, Toller had already reinvented himself several times – from virtuoso world-champion skater, to caustic commentator to devoted coach – Toller had pushed the limits of a restrictive sport at every leap and turn. As a painter, Toller’s work was like his artistry on ice. Graceful, sensual, provocative, at times dark, or exploding with colour and energy. Defying tradition and eschewing conformity.

Toller lived large. He craved attention and appreciation, but he also spoke the truth as he saw it – which often landed him on the wrong side of the establishment. He had a wicked sense of humour and could slay his critics with a mere word or two. Toller was brilliant. He should be honoured as one of Canada’s most remarkable creative forces for changing the Canadian landscape in so many ways. Toller was a friend. He was generous, he was fun, he was both a social animal and a solitary man, a mercurial temperament who would disappear for months and then return with bravado.

Toller will be missed. By me, by those who had the chance to enter his magical life, and everyone else who will be touched by his creative legacy.

Duncan McLean

This photograph of Toller’s main floor living room was taken by Joy von Tiedemann and used as the auction catalogue cover. It’s a wonderfully mad room that is all Toller.

These images of Toller and his home were simply taken down off his wall to be used in the auction catalogue.

These images are of the auction preview displaying Toller’s immense and diverse collection. Waddington’s gallery had never looked so vibrant, so colourful or so fantastic!

Posted: 1/26/2015 12:00:00 AM
By: Duncan McLean

“Our best-ever Decorative Arts Auction”

French Carved Ivory Battle of Algiers Chess Set, Dieppe, 1st half, 19th century finely detailed with Louis-Philippe and Maria Amalia de Bourbon as white King and Queen, Abdelkader El Djezairi as red King, fous as bishops, Napoleon’s columns and Obelisks as rooks and infantrymen as pawns, height 5.1" — 13.0cm
Est. $8000/12000

Realised: $24000
Our final Decorative Art auctions of 2014 spanned two evenings, and like the ‘Grand Tour’ adventurers of the 18th and 19th century, collectors were presented with an array of exquisite works to return home with.

The first session of Decorative Arts on December 9th was described as “superb”, by Bill Kime, Senior Specialist. Solid performances for Georgian and Victorian silver included works by Royal silversmiths Robert Garrard and Paul Storr, as well as a charming George II silver coffee pot by Elizabeth Godfrey. Determined bidding resulted in an astonishing price for a rare Sèvres bleu celeste box. Kime acknowledged that the piece almost didn’t make it into the auction due to its damaged condition and missing cover. However, the decision to include the 4.3” porcelain boîte was validated by its $18,000 selling price.

Having generated much buzz before the auction (including a visit by members of the American Ceramic Circle) the rare set of 12 Russian Imperial porcelain dinner plates from the famed Raphael Service did not disappoint. Inspiring interest from overseas, online and in the auction room, the exquisite plates sold for $163,500.

The second session of Decorative Arts also generated heated competition for several key lots, including a carved ivory chess set, ‘Battle of Algiers’. Finely detailed, the set features Louis-Philippe and Maria Amalia de Bourbon as white King and Queen, Abdelkader El Djezairi as red King, and Napoleon’s columns and obelisks as rooks. Final sale price was $24,000. Indeed, emperors ruled the evening, as Napoleonic and Grand Tour items were also popular, as was the bust of a handsome Roman Emperor sculpted in marble and bronze, which fetched $18,000. Italian elegance was highly sought and found in the handsome 19th century, Italian Parcel Gilt Ebony and Ebonized Pietra Dura and Ormolu Mounted Cabinet. Estimated at $5,000 – 7,000, enthusiastic bidding drove the price up to $25,200. For more information about auction results, please visit:

As we close out our 2014 auction season, we’re delighted to wrap up our year with such a beautiful bow and look forward to discovering more treasures for you in the new year.

Note: All prices are in Canadian funds and include buyer’s premium.

Posted: 12/15/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Bill Kime

Napoleon and the ‘Grand Tour’ Highlight our December 10th Decorative Arts Auction

The Infamous Napoleon

Anne Savary, Napoleon Bonaparte’s commander of personal security, once asked him, “Do you want to be God?” To which, after some consideration Napoleon replied, “No, it is a dead end job.”

The appeal of Napoleon endures to this day and whether you consider him good or evil, he was definitely interesting. His drive for success was constant and strong. Starting as a young man in the army, it took only a few years to become the First Consul of France at the age of 31. He pushed his armies for more and became the Emperor of Europe, delving deep into the heart of Russia and fending off armies from all sides of France. A political and military genius, he led a part of the world at a time of great change and glory. Today he is a symbol of strong, unwavering leadership and confidence in the face of adversity.

Grand Tour Memorabilia

In the 17th Century, it was customary for young men of the Britain ruling class to take an extended trip through Europe in order to improve their knowledge of the arts, architecture, language, and politics. Generally they crossed the English Channel and began their trips in Paris before venturing on to the Mediterranean and the cities of Florence, Venice and Rome. These trips would last anywhere from one to four years. It was expected that these young gentlemen would arrive home with refined tastes and trunks full of souvenirs, such as paintings, sculptures, and literature. Many commissioned Italian portrait artists to paint them during this period of their enlightenment.

Some of the wealthiest travellers would also bring home the desire to build life-sized replicas of Roman architecture for their English properties. In so doing, the rise of Neo-Classical architecture began. Most travellers though, were happy with just the experience and would bring back mementos created by local artists, such as etchings of Roman views, or marble replicas of the ruins they had toured. With the advent of railway travel in the 1840’s travel became more affordable and accessible. The Grand Tour lost its aura of exclusivity, and the custom began to wane.

Posted: 12/5/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Sean Quinn

A Bear in a China Shop…

The Raphael Service was the most exquisite and expensive set ever produced by the Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory, made at a time when Tsar Alexander III had taken a strong interest in their creations. Production began in 1884, just as the factory had been furnished with new equipment and extensively trained painters. The head of the Imperial Art Workshops, Leonard Schaufelberger, worked closely with the Tsar, who felt that “the propagation of art is a matter of state importance”. He personally approved the design of the Raphael service in which he took great pride and interest.

Alexander enjoyed simple pursuits like hunting and fishing; he was religious, and very proud of his Russian heritage. He would wake in the morning to a simple breakfast and don regular working-class clothing while he performed his daily duties. He truly was a bear of a man, standing 6’4” tall. Perhaps his most heroic feat was in October 1888 when the Imperial family was targeted in an attack while travelling by train in the Ukraine, now known as the Borki Disaster. The family was in the dining car when the explosion derailed the train. Alexander was able to hold up the collapsed roof of the car for long enough to let his family escape unharmed.

Alexander’s wife Maria, was born Princess Dagmar of Denmark. They were very fond of each other. As Tsarina, Maria was popular and relished the opportunities to attend balls and galas. She loved her role of Tsarina. It is likely that Alexander had Maria in mind when the service was created. The design was based on the Raphael Loggia in the Vatican, also recreated in the Winter Palace Hermitage for Catherine the Great. Only fifty place settings in total were completed, which would actually make this quite a small setting, probably used for more intimate gatherings of the highest society of Russia and Europe.

When the set was not in use, it was stored at the Winter Palace. The family requested it when needed and it would have been transported by rail between the various residences of the Imperial family. It was most likely used quite often at Gatchina, where Alexander and Maria made their permanent home, or at The Anichkov Palace when they were in the city of St. Petersburg. Other residences, such as the Catherine Palace in Tsarkoye Selo had dining rooms that complemented the striking neo-classical design of the Raphael service. Perhaps the family used it for Christmas dinners, as they were presented with newly completed pieces every Christmas during the twenty-year production of the service.

After Alexander died of liver failure in 1894, his son Nicholas II, the last Tsar of All the Russias was crowned. Maria kept a very public presence alongside her son, as the Dowager Empress. It is probable that Maria continued to enjoy the service, as the new Tsar’s family resided at the Alexander Palace where they had redecorated in a much more modern Art Nouveau style. Upon completion of the Raphael service in 1903, it was permanently transported to Maria’s home, The Anichkov Palace, indicating that perhaps the service had always been intended for her.

A very rare set of twelve dinner plates from the Raphael service in their original mahogany box will be offered at auction on Tuesday, December 9th at 7pm.

Posted: 11/26/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Bill Kime


A record-breaking season ahead!

It’s amazing to think of the amount of beauty that will be pouring out our front doors onto King Street East in the next few months. While we’re really looking forward to our live auction in December, there are seven online auctions in October that will keep us all busy. SEVEN – the highest number of online auctions offered in one month by one department at Waddington’s. October is going to be rich with opportunity to acquire something for your collection – or to start one. We’ve been carefully selecting and building these auctions for some time and are now ready to unleash a tidal wave of interesting and beautiful decorative art!

For the first set of online auctions, October 13 – 16, Decorative Arts Specialist Sean Quinn has been working on a Maps, Militaria and Arms and a Science, Technology, and Medical Equipment auction which both contain many intriguing conversation pieces for the curiosity collector – from a Victorian replica suit of armor, to an écorché anatomical model for medical study. There is also a wonderful collection of Toronto-specific books and pamphlets. Great source material for anyone interested in first-hand accounts of our hometown.

Charles Bronfman’s Claridge Collection will also be on offer as Waddington’s continues to sell the collection in benefit of Historica Canada. This collection has many wonderful whimsical items from Canadian craftspeople; it’s a great auction to find something unique from both up-and-coming and established artists.

And then there’s our traditional Decorative Arts online auction – where you’ll find the pieces you’re most accustomed to seeing from our department. Bronzes, clocks, sculptures, glass, silver (so much silver!), and porcelain. The items that really stand out for me are the small bronze sculpture ‘Rhinocéros Habillé en Dentelles’, after Salvador Dali, and a set of six Russian silver vodka goblets and matching carafe that each depict a dancing man as the stem and finial. A very playful figure, which I think is a good indication of what the set is used for!

The second series of October online auctions, October 27 – 30, includes the ever-popular Vintage Wine Accessories. Interest in this auction in years past will only increase with the addition of the Kevin Shanahan Collection of Wine Labels, the best collection to ever be offered at auction in Canada. Shanahan was a lifelong collector and a very active member of the Wine Label Circle.

From an entirely different medium and era comes the Modern Studio Glass auction. Decorative Arts Specialist Bill Kime has assembled a range of colourful, sculptural glass from Canadian and American makers as well as Venini and other Murano artists.

In a joint effort with the International Art department, we are pleased to offer a selection of Russian artworks in ceramics, silver, and paintings, as well as lacquer boxes and icons. A colourful history inspires colourful art, and this sale proves just that.

A great time to join Waddington’s Decorative Arts department? I’ll say! With more auctions than ever it’s been the best way to become acquainted with the department – by jumping in with both feet at full speed. I’m looking forward to meeting you at the previews for our October online auctions, please plan to visit and say hello!

Interested in consigning to our December 9, 2014 Decorative Arts auction? Don’t hesitate to contact us by our October 17 deadline.

View the Preview Gallery of our Live Decorative Arts Auction.

Ellie Muir
Decorative Arts Department Assistant
Posted: 10/3/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Ellie Muir

Spring Decorative Arts Auction

Decorative Arts Auction – Spring 2014

By definition, decorative art is art that is meant to be useful as well as beautiful. Throughout the ages skilled artists have turned the most common objects into things of beauty – to be prized for both their utility and aesthetic quality.

Waddington’s Spring Auction of Decorative Arts is filled with such wondrous items. From Frank Gehry’s architectural ‘fish lamp’ to stylish Russian Imperial vodka cups and regal George II silver candlesticks, this auction includes decorative arts from across Europe, Russia, Canada and the United States from the 16th to the 20th century.

Certainly a highlight of the auction, Gehry’s ‘fish lamp’ has a fascinating backstory. Gehry was commissioned by the Formica Group to design something to promote a new product. The story goes that while working with the product in his studio, Gehry dropped a piece and the resulting scale-like shards spawned his series of 'fish lamps'. Another highlight, at the other end of the design spectrum, is the exquisitely ornate George III silver-gilt tea kettle by Edward Farrell, adorned with putti harvesting grapes, exotic birds and beasts, a tiger pursued by hounds, and much, much more, all resting upon three perched eagle and prey feet.

We are also pleased to offer 12 extraordinary chess sets from the same Montreal collection that was featured in our December 2013 auction. Primarily from the 19th century, the Anglo-Indian, Swiss, Russian, French and Chinese highly-carved chess sets depict everything from the English/Chinese opium wars to the Turks fighting the Romans.

This auction is filled with much to admire, as we found during the months of our consignment and cataloguing process, but the gorgeous “Stella” by Maurice Guiraud-Rivière has been one of everyone’s favourites, particularly during our Spring Auction Highlight preview. A graceful, silvered-bronze nude, Stella will join several other bronze figures on the auction podium.

Decorative Arts enthusiasts are cut from the same cloth. We love the artistry, design and style, and attention to detail is our hallmark. This catalogue has been created with as much care as we handle the finest porcelain and most fragile glass. We trust we will find within its pages something to inspire you.

View the Auction Online Catalogue

Download the Catalogue (PDF)

— Bill Kime
Senior Specialist, Decorative Arts

— Sean Quinn
Specialist, Decorative Arts

Posted: 6/10/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Bill Kime

Charles Bronfman's Claridge Collection Auction: Part III

In the fall of 2013 Waddington’s presented the first part of Charles Bronfman’s Claridge Collection of Canadian Fine and Decorative Art. The sale was groundbreaking. Never before had an auction house offered an entire session of Canadian contemporary Decorative Art. The response was uniformly positive, and connected with a community of collectors, who were not generally traditional auction buyers, but had a passion for this important and expansive area of our material culture.

Like that offering, Part II of the collection is rich in its breadth, featuring artists from across Canada, working in diverse media and at an unsurpassed level of quality. Many of these artists have won significant awards for their work including the Governor General’s Award and the Saidye Bronfman Award. While few of these artists are household names, their work speaks to the richness and diversity of our decorative art heritage. The catalogue and website features full biographical information on each artist, an important aid in creating a secondary market for this significant artistic production.

We wish to thank Bronfman family curator, Franklin Silverstone, for his guidance and enthusiasm, as well as Linda Durham for her scholarly and prescient biographies of the artists represented in the collection. The proceeds of this auction will benefit Historica Canada. We look forward to seeing you at the previews and auction.

View the Auction Online Catalogue

Download the Catalogue (PDF)

Download the Biography Catalogue (PDF)

— Stephen Ranger
Specialist, Vice President Business Development

Posted: 6/10/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Stephen Ranger

Policy Statement: Rhinoceros Horn & Elephant Ivory

In support of the worldwide concern for the increasing illegal sale of poached rhinoceros horn and elephant ivory, Waddington’s brings new strict guidelines into place. Effective July 1, 2014, Waddington’s will not accept consignments of any items made of or containing rhinoceros horn for auction. Further, we will not accept any items of elephant ivory made after 1940.

Waddington’s wholeheartedly supports and is governed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as set out in 1973. We work diligently to ensure that we are always in full compliance with the Convention and all Canadian and international laws as they effect us designed to protect against the fostering of the illegal rhinoceros horn and elephant ivory trades. We also provide full disclosure to all our clients – both vendors and buyers – that they are required to abide by CITES restrictions and any restrictions or laws as specified by their own countries.
Posted: 6/8/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Tess McLean

William (Billy) Jamieson Collection Auction – Tuesday 29 April, 2014

“It’s never boring!” That’s what I tell people about working at Waddington’s. Our next auction is the Jamieson Collection. How do I describe it? How about, it’s the collection of a “long-haired, leather-clad, macabre-obsessed, anthropological rock star.”

I haven’t had as much fun since we sold the estate of another iconic Canadian – Toller Cranston. When Toller moved into a new phase of life (which included an estate in Mexico) he declared “I am reinventing myself!” and decided to sell the entire contents of his stuffed to the rafters downtown Victorian manse. We sold everything -- ornate furniture, artwork, Day of the Dead Mexican puppets and everything in between. It was a spectacle with fevered buyers and curious onlookers poured out onto the street on the night of the auction.

Working with Billy’s collection has been a similar adventure – both Billy and Toller were ultimate collectors: passionate about finding treasures and then living amongst them. Both their magnificent homes were legendary for the parties thrown in them. Through the process, our staff have been intrigued, challenged and sometimes quite literally taken back by some of the items in the Jamieson Collection. And I haven’t yet tired of asking “Guess what’s behind this door?” as I motion toward the Mark Prent freezer. Indeed, it’s been highly entertaining and educational experience for all.

Billy was known for many things, like his collection of the bizarre and macabre, including instruments of torture, old execution photographs, ceremonial cups made from human skulls and shrunken heads. His purchase of The Niagara Falls Museum, included nine Egyptian mummies and examples of ‘sideshow taxidermy’ like two-headed calves. One of the mummies was later to be identified as the missing Pharaoh, Ramses I – a priceless artifact later repatriated back to Egypt. (Jamieson later named his pet dachshund Ramses.)

Billy was also well-known in the international ethnographic antiquities field for his frequent expeditions to the South Pacific and South America where he travelled among head-hunters and cannibals, collecting rare artifacts, oddities and curiosities – most notably real human shrunken heads. (Note: there are no shrunken heads in Waddington’s auction.) Part Indiana Jones, part P.T. Barnum, the eight-episode series Treasure Trader, on History Television, was created around his exploits with fiancée and business partner Jessica.

Billy was colourful and eccentric. Guests to his home/gallery included Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler, members of the Hells Angels – as well as the Metro Toronto Police (on social visits!) and he hosted events in support of organizations like the Canadian Wildlife Federation. He had serious credibility – he worked as a consultant for the National Geographic Society on their educational series about headhunting, human sacrifice and cannibalism. In 2003 he helped revive the Explorers Club of Canada, an academic group that works to preserve the exploration industry. And he sold artifacts to the art world's biggest names including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the ROM.

I truly enjoyed Billy’s eye for art and design. His three-storey, 6,000 sq. ft. downtown Toronto loft included a Cornelius Krieghoff painting hung alongside equatorial war gear, a rendering by Queen Victoria under disco ball lighting, art deco bronzes and 19th century American lithographs next to a South Pacific war shield decorated with a portrait of the superhero the Phantom – and a full size ostrich sculpture next to his big screen television – amongst much more.
Billy was also the consummate social animal. He threw the best parties – his Halloween party was a coveted invite. He was a great storyteller; he was passionate, visionary, undaunted. He was a great friend to many. He was the great Billy J.

Billy – your legacy and spirit will live on.

Note: Toller Cranston is alive, well and living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Duncan McLean
A friend and admirer of Billy's

Posted: 4/15/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Duncan McLean

Specialists' Preview - Spring 2014 Auction Highlights
April 3 – 8, 2014

Sometimes what’s old is truly new again. Traditionally, Waddington’s held our much anticipated Fine Art Auctions bi-annually, a dedicated week of previewing and selling the best we had to offer for that season from all our departments. Previewed as an enormous mix of wonderful and eclectic, rare and beautiful, classically traditional and wildly eccentric, there was something for everyone and for every taste. As all our departments grew, it became unwieldy to organize all our auctions and previews into the same time period. Spreading the auctions throughout the spring was more manageable, and the departments began to conduct business more autonomously, focused on their core proven markets and clients.

Fast forward ten years and we see an evolution in market tastes and buying trends. Today, fewer people collect as a hobby in pursuit of objects from a narrow, focused area of interest. Nowadays people are more likely to collect to decorate their home or business – and they’re much more willing to mix cultures, textures and periods to create an individualized environment. In reflection, our traditional preview settings more suited to the current more diversified market. They made it easy to imagine how things would look in situ – how an English highland painting might look beside the Sorel Etrog sculpture already in your home, how the clean and powerful lines of an Inuit sculpture could complement your Group of Seven canvas. How a delicate Chinese vase is flattered by art deco bronze figures and English silver candle sticks. It was almost like looking at the pages of a décor magazine.

So we’re borrowing from the past. We’re bringing back the multi-department preview to demonstrate how great but different art can blend together. Our specialists (some of the best in the world in their various categories of expertise) have handpicked their favourite items from their spring season auctions. The most interesting, most eclectic, and in some cases the most valuable, to be previewed together in our gallery in one glorious display. And to further enhance the experience, we’ve also invited Farrow & Ball to be part of the display, weaving in the colour palette and wallpaper highlights from their spring season.

We look forward to sharing some of our favourite things with you.

Please be sure to visit April 3 – 8.

Posted: 3/31/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Duncan McLean

James Bisback of Jonny's Antiques

Waddington's notes with sadness the passing of James Bisback of Jonny's Antiques in Shakespeare, Ontario. Noted as a connoisseur of 18th and 19th century ceramics, James showed an astonishing range of interests, and his breadth of knowledge was extraordinary, highlighted most recently in his admiration for Canadian abstract painting. An inquisitive, passionate and scholarly dealer, and always generous with his knowledge, he will be greatly missed by all in the fine and decorative art community.

Posted: 3/19/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Stephen Ranger

Fall Decorative Arts Auction Results

The tremendously satisfying results of our December Decorative Arts & Design sale were just the tonic we need to stave off the 'January blahs'. The notable Leslie collection of Brooklin Pottery far exceeded expectations, with prices for figural pieces in the $4,000 and $5,000 range. The French clock from the collection of King Farouk made $72,000 and the cover lot, a 'John Company' ivory chess set, flew above the high estimate to $38,400. We look forward to offering more fine chess sets from this private collection in the spring.

On another note, Waddington's is pleased to announce that we will be offering the bizarre and macabre collection of the late William 'Billy' Jamieson. The collection defies description – you will have to see for yourself! Two sales will take place (one online, one live) at the end of April and the beginning of May. A preview gallery will soon provide more details on some of the very unusual and interesting pieces we have uncovered for this exciting and unusual sale.

Finally, the spring sale will also include a 20th century design component and we are looking for good things to include in this session. If you have something which might be an appropriate fit, please contact Sean Quinn or Bill Kime.
Posted: 1/13/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Sean Quinn

Waddington's Fall 2013 Decorative Arts Auction

We've had a busy fall - Waddington's is pleased to present the fruits of our labour. Every sale seems to develop its own character and this one is no exception, shaped by the various collections entrusted to us and individual consignments of interesting and exceptional objects.

Last year, we lost an old friend and fixture around the salerooms in Kenneth McGowan. Ken was a discerning collector with a keen eye for quality, not to mention quantity, and a number of objects from his estate are included in this sale.

Margaret and Murray Leslie received a Brooklin Pottery plate as a wedding present in 1960, thus beginning their passion and great affection for the work of Theo and Susan Harlander, German immigrants who were producing extraordinary and distinctive pottery at an old farmhouse at Brooklin, Ontario. The resulting landmark collection, spanning nearly thirty years at Brooklin, is included in this sale. With the assistance of Linda Paulocik, former Curator at the Station Gallery in Whitby, we were able to produce a documentary catalogue of the collection and rotating highlights have been exhibited here along with Charles Bronfman's Claridge Collection and at our previews of Inuit Art, Canadian Fine Art and Asian Art this fall, to enthusiastic reviews.

We have some very interesting silver in the sale: an impressive Victorian Scottish cattle breeders' trophy, "The Ayrshire Herd Book Cup", which though a challenge cup, was won outright in 1898 and has been passed down in the family since then; on a smaller scale, from the Meech Collection, there's a charming George III articulated fish form vinaigrette in fine condition, along with several other unusual objects and some early spoons; complimenting these, a good and scarce copy of Commander and Mrs. How's three volumes on early spoons; there are some one hundred lots of silver in all.

The exceptional Anglo-Indian John Company carved ivory chess set detailed on the cover of the catalogue is one of a number of sets consigned to us recently from a private Montreal collection.

Also included in the sale are good selections of French cameo glass, early Coalport and other English porcelain, an outstanding ormolu mounted 'Sèvres' large covered vase on stand, a monumental Wilhelm Schiller vase on stand, bronze and marble sculptures, works of art, decorations and clocks including a large French temple clock, formerly in the collection of King Farouk.
We hope that you will be able to come and see us at the previews or visit us online - we're certain that you'll find something of interest!

View the Auction Catalogue

— Bill Kime
Decorative Arts & Design Specialist

— Sean Quinn
Decorative Arts & Design Specialist
Posted: 11/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
By: Bill Kime

All is silver

Presently, I'm up to my neck in silver – the metal markets and changing lifestyles have conspired to fill the shelves – I must have more tea sets now for sale than there can possibly be tea drinkers! Some of the material we're handling is Prosaic period and perhaps of limited interest to anyone other than the precious metals bugs, but real gems have turned up for the fall sales too: a fantastic Georgian silver mounted table snuff mull is perhaps the most eye-catching – that and another woolly sheep's head mull should have all the Scots out with dirks drawn several pieces of Fabergé have come out of the woodwork as well, to take advantage of the very solid market for good Russian objects - among them, a cigarette case with gold cypher of King George V and a fine cloisonné enameled paper knife in its original case. Online Silver Nov. 14-17 Decorative Arts & Design (including silver) Dec. 14.
Posted: 10/22/2011 3:45:00 PM
By: Jamie Long


African Arts & Artifacts Online Auction
August 18 - 23, 2018

On View:
Sunday, August 19
from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Monday, August 20
from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm

View the Auction Gallery

Decorative Arts Online Auction
September 8 - 13, 2018

On View:
Sunday, September 9
from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Monday, September 10
from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm

The Cabinet of Curiosities Online Auction
October 27 - November 1, 2018

On View:
Sunday, October 28
from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Monday, October 29
from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm

The Tudor Sale: The Private Collection of Harry Makepeace
October 27 - November 1, 2018

On View:
Sunday, October 28
from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Monday, October 29
from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm