One year on, we are delighted to follow up Somerset & Wood’s 2017 visit to Christie's, with the news that our drawing of an Aboriginal teenager named Toulgra by French artist Nicolas-Martin Petit has found a worthy home at the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
The drawing was described by library staff as 'unique and highly significant'. What made it so 'wonderful and special' was that it was 'loving and sympathetic', said Ronald Briggs, a curator at the State Library of NSW and an Indigenous services librarian.
The drawing is expected to help researchers study the colonial wars.
Thank you to all of our customers for your loyalty in 2018. We look forward to sharing more beautiful pictures and interesting finds with you in 2019.
Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Please note: All orders placed 20/12/18 to 1/1/19 will ship on 2/1/19.
Please note that over the busy Christmas period the post may take a little longer than usual. For our free shipping by standard service, we recommend the following final purchase dates for delivery before Christmas:
Friday 14 December Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, USA
Sunday 16 December Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland
Tuesday 18 December UK
Should you wish your parcel to be sent by a faster, guaranteed service, we would be happy to do this - please contact us for a quote for any extra charge payable.
As part of our ongoing process of improving our website navigation, we have added a new tab titled 'Recent' at the top left of our Homepage. Clicking on this will take you directly to all recently listed pictures. This new navigation makes it much easier to browse pictures that have been listed over the last month. You can then sort the pictures by price or alphabetically as you wish.
Please note: Somerset & Wood will be closed for holidays from Monday 25 December 2017 to Wednesday 3 January 2018, which may result in delays in responding to customer queries. Any orders placed during the holiday period will be shipped on our return on 4 January 2018.
Thank you for your understanding & wishing all our customers a very merry festive period!
We can finally reveal what has to be our best-kept secret of 2017!
Earlier this year, we were stunned and delighted to discover an extremely rare, Aboriginal drawing, ‘Toulgra’ by Nicolas Martin Petit. It sold today for £162,500 including auction house premium at Christie’s.
The drawing has clearly been on a remarkable journey - as have we! We were amazed to discover its identity. We could see the quality of its draughtsmanship immediately, but it was only on contacting the Australian Department at Christie’s that we realised its true importance and value.
Dating from around 1800, the drawing depicts the young Aboriginal resistance leader Toulgra, nicknamed 'Bull Dog', who went on to become the first Aboriginal convict – interned at Norfolk Island, one of the colony’s harshest penal settlements.
Why the drawing should surface unexpectedly in England, over two centuries after its creation, is in part explained by it being the work of the French artist Nicolas-Martin Petit, one of two draughtsmen on an exploratory voyage to Australia sponsored by Napoleon. Petit’s drawings, which have a directness and sensitivity unlike any previous images of Aboriginal people, were reproduced in a published account of the expedition, and are now in the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle in Le Havre. However, it is a mystery why this drawing, hitherto unknown, became separated and found its way to the West of England.
The drawing sold today in Christie's Topographical Pictures sale - an annual sale which features works by Western artists active in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australasia during the great ages of exploration, trade and empire.
For Somerset & Wood this sale is fortune-changing. It means we’ll be able to keep growing our exclusive online business, bringing you more original art that’s affordable for all. The Petit drawing might mark a new departure for the business in terms of value, but our ethos remains: to make original art accessible to all, particularly those who may be intimidated by more traditional galleries, while not compromising on quality and depth of research.
So many artworks have a fascinating and often unexpected story to tell. We feel privileged that we have been able to become part of that story for this important drawing.
Above: Christie's director Nick Lambourn | Photo: Liliana Zaharia