Long-held Sir Thomas Lawrence portrait to star at Vallot June 30 auction

Sir Thomas Lawrence, ‘Mary Anne Lady Beaumont,’ estimated at $18,000-$24,000


Sir Thomas Lawrence, ‘Mary Anne Lady Beaumont,’ estimated at $18,000-$24,000

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Vallot Auctioneers’ Artwork, Important Design and Rare Objects sale, scheduled for June 30 and starting at 2 pm Eastern time, showcases a Sir Thomas Lawrence portrait last offered at auction and acquired by the present family in 1961. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Mary Anne Lady Beaumont, the first lot in the auction, has a long-storied history with an extensive publication and museum exhibition history. “The painting had me entranced the moment I saw it,” said Vallot’s principal, Michael Dym. “I started compiling the provenance of the painting. It’s fun to find so much well-documented material on one painting, the consignor had many of the records, but I wanted to do it myself.”

The captivating portrait was painted by Lawrence circa 1825. It sold privately in 1913, with a published sales price in the American Art Association, for $20,500. In 1961, the heirs to the original purchaser consigned the painting to Parke-Bernet, where it was acquired by the present consignor’s family, who are descendants of the then-consignor’s estate, and it has remained in this private Rhode Island collection ever since.

“Lady Beaumont’s story is like something out of Bridgerton, a mix of great fortune and bad luck. After she married, her husband came into an enormous inheritance through a twist of fate. Then there was a letter to the artist John Constable that Lady Beaumont was ill from the pandemic and asking to delay a planned visit. It is believed that this was a reference to the influenza pandemic that came out of China. Not long after, and not long after Lawrence painted her, Lady Beaumont died at the age of 28,” Dym explained.

In the National Portrait Gallery, London 2010 retrospective of Lawrence’s work, the artist was described in the Guardian as a “one of the great painters of the last 250 years.”  A self-taught artist, Lawrence was also called “one of the great stars of portraiture.” Dym added his own accolade: “Over the years, artworks Vallot has auctioned have ended in permanent museum collections. I believe this should be Lady Beaumont’s destiny, too.”

From the same Rhode Island collection is a white jade Chinese cup with Chilong, or young dragon, handles on a circular carved base. “The intricately carved piece has been in this family for over 100 years, and I’m excited to auction it,” noted Dym.

White jade Chinese cup, estimated at $800-$1,200

White jade Chinese cup, estimated at $800-$1,200

The June 30 Vallot auction also includes a partial collection from the former New England Center for Contemporary Art (NECCA), which was in Brooklyn, Connecticut. A large part of this collection was purchased and placed in storage by the present consignor more than a decade ago. NECCA was committed to promoting contemporary art, and during its decade-long history, amassed a diverse international collection. There are some extraordinary contemporary works that the collector had the foresight to store away.

Lester O. Schwartz untitled pastel on paper, estimated at $500-$1,000

Lester O. Schwartz untitled pastel on paper, estimated at $500-$1,000

“One of the things I love most about what I do is getting to look at so much art every day, but even more exciting is that every so often, I get to discover a work of art that magically anticipates a subsequent art movement – a work years before its time. This is the case with the last lot of the sale,” Dym explained, referencing a 1965 pastel by the American artist Lester O. Schwartz from the NECCA consignment. “In it, I can see the expected influences of Matisse, Milton Avery, and Picasso, but what I never expected to see were elements of Neo-expressionism, and, in particular, Basquiat.”

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