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Aristocrat’s Impressionist collection to be sold

Paintings by Monet, Sisley, Pissarro and Gauguin, estimated at more than £8m and assembled by ninth Earl of Jersey, to be auctioned at Sotheby’s next month

Monet's Le Givre à Giverny, 1885, (est £4m-£6m)

Impressionist pictures owned by the Earl of Jersey are to be sold in London on 5-6 February. “They represent the best collection of Impressionism assembled by a British aristocrat,” according to Philip Hook, a senior specialist at Sotheby’s.

The ninth Earl of Jersey (1910-98) began to collect before the Second World War, initially under the influence of his second wife, the Hollywood actress Virginia Cherrill (she had been earlier married to actor Cary Grant). Most pictures were bought in the 1940s, initially for their house in Mayfair, in central London.

The two most important paintings coming up for sale are Monet’s snowscape Le Givre à Giverny, 1885, (est £4m-£6m) and Sisley’s La Tamise avec Hampton Church, 1874, (est £900,000-£1.2m). The Sisley, which has been recently cleaned, was done during one of the Paris-born artist’s visits to England.

Other works in the evening sale are Pissarro’s La Seine à Port-Marly, 1872, Monet’s Un moulin à Zaandam, 1871, Boudin’s Scène de plage à Trouville, 1868, and Gauguin’s La maison blanche, 1885, (est £800,000-£1.2m). The Gauguin appears to have been exhibited in the final Impressionist exhibition as “The Château of the English Lady”, which raises the intriguing question of who was owner of the house near Varengeville.

Sotheby’s day sale will have 15 more Jersey pictures, with works by Boudin, Corot, Dufy, Dyf, Jongkind, Lépine, Pissarro and Utrillo. The Pissarro, Usine à Saint-Ouen, is being sold under a settlement agreement with the heirs of the 1930s owner, Tilla Durieux, the actress and widow of the dealer Paul Cassirer. The total estimate for the Jersey pictures is £8m-£11.8m.

The collection, which was moved to Radier Manor on the island of Jersey, has never been shown together, although a small group of works was exhibited at the Jersey Art Gallery in 1952. The ninth Earl’s third wife, Bianca, died in 2005 and the paintings are now owned by several heirs. William Villiers, the grandson of the ninth Earl and a film producer, is the tenth and current earl.


Gauguin’s La maison blanche, 1885, (est £800,000-£1.2m)
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