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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.

We are pleased to accept consignments for this auction, please contact Sean Quinn for further information: sq@waddingtons.ca

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CITY OF TORONTO QUEEN VICTORIA DIAMOND JUBILEE ENAMELLED GOLD MEDAL, 1897

Estimate: $2,000—3,000

PROVINCE OF CANADA LAND GRANT TO SIR SANFORD FLEMING, 1856

Estimate: $300—400



LARGE SILVER CANADIAN INDIAN PEACE MEDAL, 1860

Estimate: $2,000—3,000





AFTER JOHN S.C. SCHAAK (ACTIVE WESTMINSTER 1761-1769), BRITISH MAJOR GENERAL JAMES WOLFE, COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES ON THE EXPEDITION AGAINST QUEBEC, 1759

Estimate: $3,000—5,000

JOHN MARSHALL & CO. ‘CANADIAN SPORTS’ LARGE BASIN, 1880S

Estimate: $150—250
Posted: 1/27/2017 9:00:00 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.

$1,000—1,500
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 Invaluable.com 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.

View the Auction Results

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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View the Catalogue (PDF)
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
President
Waddington’s

“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


finewine.waddingtons.ca

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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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Download the Catalogue PDF

Part VI: Fine Art at 7:00 pm
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Download the Catalogue PDF

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.

Download the Catalogue (PDF)

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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
President

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


IN MEMORY OF TOLLER CRANSTON


(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
27/01/15


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: http://decorativearts.waddingtons.ca/past-auctions-events

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


INVITATION TO CONSIGN TO OUR FALL DECORATIVE ARTS AUCTION


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

UPCOMING AUCTIONS & EVENTS



Decorative Arts Auction
Wednesay, June 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm


On View:
Friday, June 9, 2017
from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Saturday, June 10, 2017
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday, June 11, 2017
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday, June 12, 2017
from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm


Decorative Arts Online Auction
September 9 - 14, 2017


On View:
Friday, September 8, 2017
from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Saturday, September 9, 2017
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday, September 10, 2017
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday, September 11, 2017
from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm