Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Lock: £22.4m

Yesterday Christie's in London sold John Constable's The Lock (1824) for £22.4m (£20m plus buyer's premium), putting it neck and neck with George Stubbs's Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath with a Trainer, a Stable Lad, and a Jockey at joint fourth place in the Most Expensive Old Masters Stakes. Sir Peter Paul Rubens leads the field with The Massacre of the Innocents (£49.5m), followed by JMW Turner with Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino (£29.7m) and Francesco Guardi in third place with Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta del Carbon (£26.7m). The Lock was sold by former Miss Spain Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, known as Tita, who needs the money, poor cow. The painting has been on loan to Madrid's Bornemisza Museum, which is furious with Tita for having sold it (CLICK). More to the point, can we now collar this English masterpiece for Britain? The buyer is anonymous, but guaranteed to be foreign or to live abroad in a tax haven. Jeremy, it's your call.


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