One of the world’s oldest and largest auction houses has set their sights on the Western Isles, with a visit planned for the week commencing November 18th.
London-based auctioneers and valuers Bonhams were founded in 1793 and have sale-rooms in New York, Paris and Sydney, as well as a sale-room in Edinburgh and offices in Glasgow.
It’s from the Glasgow office that director Gordon McFarlan, a specialist in silver, glass, furniture and works of art, is setting out for the islands, on his first ever valuation and consignment visit.
Mr McFarlan told welovestornoway.com: “We go once a year to Orkney and to Shetland and these are very productive trips for us.
“We often find in remote locations that people have retired there, taking their households with them, and the most unlikely things end up in remote parts of the UK.
“As far as I am aware there is no special brand or type of heritage item, although there was a rough-and ready type of pottery known as Barvas-ware. I am a general valuer, but we are a large company and have 500 specialists among our staff, so if I don’t recognise it I will have a colleague who will.”
Examples of items which would interest Bonhams include works of art and items from world travels, including to exotic locations.
Mr McFarlan said: “Throughout Scotland we find people whose parents and grandparents have served far afield, out in the Far East, in New Zealand or South Africa. Items which they may have brought back, including of jade and porcelain, are of great interest at sales.”
But he stresses that Bonhams applies no pressure on anyone to sell precious family treasures – as befits a company with an international reputation.
He said: “We meet someone at their home, see an item, suggest what it might be worth at sale and it is then entirely up to them whether they wish to consign it to us for sale at a future sale in Edinburgh.
“Whatever I find, I am looking forward to seeing the place itself and hope to be getting out and about in the islands while I am there.”
Picture shows one of an album of 39 views of Orkney by George Washington Wilson, [c.1890] sold for £357 in Edinburgh in May this year (Bonhams).