Sotheby’s is selling a work by Titian once owned by King Charles I just as the Royal Academy is opening a reconstruction of executed monarch’s art collection. The religious picture, one of two versions with the other hanging in the Prado, is estimated at $2-3m and will sell in New York on February 1st:
Cromwell’s government wanted to both raise money for the state and pay off Charles’s debts as quickly as possible, selling an estimated 1,500 paintings and 500 sculptures.
One person owed money – £903 for various palace repairs – was John Embry, the royal plumber. A deal was offered whereby the state would give him £403 in cash and the rest could be made up with pictures. He chose 24, including the Titian, then called Margrett Afraid of a Monster, and valued at £100.
Bendor Grosvenor points out that the £100 valuation made the Titian more valuable than Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi from the same collection that had a £30 price tag at the time.