Treasures from across the globe star in auction of British collector

From rare and beautiful tapestries to bronze sculptures to richly decorated tiles, the George Farrow Collection auction offers a rich assortment of art and antiques from China, the Middle East and Europe.

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The staircase of George Farrow's home. 

Offered at Roseberys, London, on June 4, the collection comprises more than 550 lots with estimates ranging from £50-200,000.

Farrow (1916-2001) was born in Greenwich. He left school at 16 to start a career in the building industry and became one of Britain’s most powerful private landlords, allowing him to build up the impressive collection that adorned his home.

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The collection includes fine examples of antiques and art from across the globe. 

“Art for some unknown reason even from the age of 10 fascinated me beyond belief – the skills, the dedication and ‘labour’ input that went into the creation of a masterpiece was to me a miracle,” he said once.

The sale is expected to bring international interest as pieces come from across the globe, with a particular focus on Europe, the Middle East and China.

Anna Evans of Roseberys says: “The collection is remarkable, not only in its scholarly and historical breadth, but also because of its quality and exceptional state of preservation.”

Here, in the first of two previews of the sale, we look at five highlights going under the hammer.

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This pair of octagonal Chinese jardinières in coral ground and blue and white enamel paint bear Shendetang Zhi marks and come from the Daoguang period. They are estimated at £20,000-30,000.

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Attributed to Giacomo Raffaelli, this early 19th century Italian specimen marble and micromosaic table is estimated at £25,000-35,000. the central circular micromosaic depicts a chaffinch guarding a nest of eggs from a mouse. Around it are 160 radiating specimens arranged in concentric bands. Samples include Egyptian alabaster, porphyry, malachite and agate.

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Among the lower estimated lots is this Japanese bronze figure of a crane from the Japanese Meiji period. The plumage still bears traces of gilt and it is estimated at £200-400.

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Estimated at £10,000-15,000 is this large 15th century French carved limestone group of George and the dragon. The saint is depicted on horseback with the dragon below.

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This Ilkhanid style lustre painted cobalt and turquoise moulded pottery tile with a phoenix is estimated at £3000-4000. It was made in Qajar, Iran in the early 19th century. Alice Bailey of Roseberys says: “This is one of a pair of tiles in the Farrow collection which were probably intended as replacement tiles for the architectural complex of Takht-i-Sulaiman, constructed c.1270. The sole surviving domestic building of the period, it was the royal summer palace of the Ilkhanid ruler Abaqa (r.1265-82).”

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