Art market

Collector pays £1 million for oil sketches of British Royal Family

14 preparatory sketches of members of the royal family

An unidentified UK collector has bought 14 oil sketches of the British royal family from Agnew’s, spending close to £1 million. The works, plus another 14 pencil sketches, by the British painter John Wonnacott, were on show at the London dealers in September, priced at up to £100,000. They were part of a series in preparation for a larger family portrait for the late Queen Mother’s 100th birthday in 2000, commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, and included a study for the first-ever portrait of Prince William. The anonymous collector had expressed interest in the oils before the show opened and Wonnacott agreed to sell the group because they would be kept together. The pencil studies, as a result, will not be sold and have gone back to the painter’s family.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 163 November 2005