For Asian antique enthusiasts, one name stands tall – Roger Keverne. Trading under the business name Roger Keverne Ltd, this legendary dealer has hosted and sold antiques from a storefront in the exclusive London area of Mayfair for almost three decades. Keverne and his wife/business partner Miranda Clarke are now moving on from their location in the capital, however – and all remaining stock will be auctioned at Bonhams in the coming summer.
It is anticipated that over 800 lots will be placed for sale at the auction house on two separate occasions. The first will be hosted in Bond Street on May 11th, with the second set to follow in the same location on June 7th. Both auctions are aptly monikered, “Moving On” and none of the lots will feature a reserve price.
Keverne has provided a gateway to countless Asian antique collectors and enthusiasts, and the physical presence of his collection in London will be sorely missed. While many wealthy and exclusive clients have purchased items from Roger Keverne Ltd, including David Rockefeller and Sir Peter Moores, Keverne never lost sight of his roots as the son of a coal-mining engineer from Yorkshire.
In many respects, however, the auctioning off the remnants of Keverne’s collection is fitting. The man in question began his career at the auction house Spencer’s of Retford, before his keen interest in – and eye for – Asian artefacts led to a specialist career path.
Keverne rose to the title of Head of the Asian Art department at Spink & Son, the premier art dealership, by the age of 28 before leasing his property in Mayfair and forming Roger Keverne Ltd in 1992.
These auctions of Keverne’s remaining collection promise to yield some astonishing pieces. If you plan to bid, however, ensure you have the appropriate funds. A Hong Kong Sotheby’s auction in 2016, entitled Roger Keverne: 50 Years in the Trade, raised over £200m in sales of some 90 pieces. With almost ten times as many lots available at Bonhams, expect some eye-watering sums to be discussed.