Roman marble torso top lot at ground-breaking Male Form sale at Bonhams

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Roman marble torso top lot at ground-breaking Male Form sale at Bonhams
Roman Marble male torso. Sold for £60,250. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- A Roman marble male torso circa 1st-2nd Century A.D. was the top selling lot at Bonhams innovative The Male Form sale in London yesterday (16 June). The statue sold for £60,250.

Held during Pride Month, The Male Form was the first-ever sale by an international auction house dedicated exclusively to a celebration of the male form in art and spanned centuries and genres, from Antiquities and Old Master Painting to Sculpture and Decorative Arts, from Contemporary Art to Photography. It made a total of £615,438 with 80% sold by lot and 64% sold by value. More than a third of the buyers were new to Bonhams.

The sale was curated by Bonhams Greek Art Specialist Anastasia Orfanidou and Bonhams Head of Books and Manuscripts, Matthew Haley, who said: “We are very pleased the Male Form sale attracted so much attention and so many bidders and new buyers on the day. We set out to challenge a market that has traditionally been centred around the western concept of the male gaze. The success of the sale demonstrates there is a strong appetite for taking this different approach and we hope to make it a regular feature of the Bonhams' calendar.”

Other highlights included:

• Body LXIV by Antony Gormley. Signed, titled, dated '2016' and inscribed 'for the Terrence Higgins Trust' (on the reverse). Sold for £34,000 (estimate: £15,000-20,000).

• By the Water’s Edge by Henry Scott Tuke (British 1858-1929). Sold for £31,500 (estimate: £6,000-9,000).

• An archive of homoerotic photographs, 1950s-1960s by Basil Clavering. Clavering was a successful businessman who owned the Gala-Royale cinema chain. More as a hobby than anything else, he established a photographic studio in the basement of his Pimlico home, with his friend John Charles Parkhurst (1927-2000). Both men had served in the Navy, and they were drawn to the military men around the Hyde Park and Chelsea barracks, whom they paid to model for them. Sold for £27,500 (estimate: £4,000-6,000).

• Depictions by Duncan Grant of his lover and muse Paul Roche made a total of £28,962.

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