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Moroccan bridal traditions are complex and very different to our own.
She would have bathed in milk with her family and attendants before her wedding day, worn a silken kaftan, darkened her eyes, painted elaborate henna on her hands and been adorned in heavy jewellery.
Born in 1894, she had very little formal training, she first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of 18 when its president Edward Poynter admired her work so much he asked to meet her, and she’s widely recognised as the finest female impressionist painter in England.
‘The Moroccan Bride’ was painted during her trip to the country in the 1920s, at the same time as this portrait of ‘The Reverend Charles Francis Benthall on Holiday in Morocco’.
After scrutinising our databases, in my opinion it is the most important of her works ever to be sold at auction, and to miss a chance to own it would be criminal.
I admit, the work differs from her usual offerings, which could be described as quaint (farm houses and tea cups and bowling greens), but in comparison it’s nothing short of iconic.But my vertically challenged friends reassure me on a regular basis that all good things come in small packages, and as far as our last antiques sale was concerned, I’d have to agree with them.These ‘good things’ came in the form of a fairly ordinary looking cardboard box filled with scrumpled tissue and newspaper, part of a large consignment.You can view on Saturday morning or until on Wednesday.
We’ve re-upholstered and painted our display tables, and it looks fabulous, so do come along. The words “It’s a lovely piece, but I’m afraid it’s out of fashion in the current market” are never far from my lips when clients bring in items for valuation.The newspaper was yellowing, and it looked to have been packed a number of years ago, and left mouldering in a loft through lack of usefulness, or perhaps for safekeeping.As I began to unwrap, the first thing that struck me was how very tiny its contents were: miniature tea sets with cups the size of thimbles, pocket sized porcelain boxes decorated with bumblebees and curling leaves, an exceptionally petite, brass, Clanny type miner’s lamp – items which would not have looked out of place in an expensively furnished Doll’s House.We have cases from 2001, 1999, and 1997, the first year when the Tete de Cuvee was released, and as such a very desirable wine, described as “bitter cherry and damson fruit laced with violet and rounded off with cedar and tar – complex, alluring and without doubt one of the best wines in a long time and certainly one of the best from South Africa.” It’s really very special.