Decorative Arts & Design Part II: 2020 in Review

By: Waddington's Staff

While we have already recapped some of our Decorative Arts & Design auctions for 2020 (if you missed it, we invite you to read about it here), what makes the department so wonderful is the sheer breadth of its offerings, more than can be squeezed into a short writeup.

We have summarized a few of the other unique decorative arts auctions of the year and some of the lots that defied categorization:


Odoardo Fantacchiotti (Italian, 1811-1877) Bust of Pandora, white marble, signed, on socle base height 19.1 in — 48.5 cm


Fine Furniture, Sculpture & Decorative Accessories from Important Collections, including the Beaverbrook Gallery

We have had the pleasure of working with several museums and institutions to deaccession works throughout our 170-year history, so we were thrilled when the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in New Brunswick asked us to auction part of their Hosmer-Pillow-Vaughan Collection.

A museum’s assets are never entirely fixed, and institutions are often in the market looking to change, update or re-focus their inventory. What makes deaccessioned pieces so great is that they have outstanding pedigree and provenance—two words we love to hear in the auction business, and words we know our collectors love as well!

Highlights from this auction included a pair of Italian Renaissance bronze armourial pricket candlesticks which soared over their estimate of $3,000-5,000 to fetch a price realised of $40,800, a Louis XIV Walnut Os-de-Mouton fauteuil, a bronze tribute group attributed to Charles-Alphonse-Achille Guméry depicting the muses Calliope and Euterpe in commemoration of operatic composer Jean Baptiste Lully and librettist Philippe Quinault, and a white marble bust of Pandora by Odoardo Fantacchiotti that shattered its estimate to sell for a final price of $31,200.

You can read more about highlights from the Beaverbrook collection here.


Harlan House (Canadian, b.1943), Oxblood and Celadon Glazed Vase, 1989
height 11.6 in — 29.5 cm



Waddington’s was honoured to have offered the first instalment of influential art critic, editor, artist and author Paul Duval’s ceramic collection in November 2019. Collectors of Canadian ceramics enjoyed the second instalment this past October.

Duval formed close bonds with the artists whose work he collected, frequently visiting their studios and maintaining long friendships that lasted throughout his lifetime. ⁠Part two of Duval’s collection was entirely devoted to the work of two important Canadian artists, Kayo O’Young and Harlan House. ⁠

We invite you to read more about these two influential ceramicists on our blog and browse the gallery.






Patrick Amiot (Canadian, b.1959)
TTC Red Rocket Streetcar 504, Dundas Street West. Polychromed clay, acrylic
36 x 16 x 66 in — 91.4 x 40.6 x 167.6 cm



A collaboration between several departments at Waddington’s, this eclectic auction was created to best features the very special collection of the late Mr. Richard LaPrairie.

Born in Timmins to a mining family in 1925, Mr. LaPrairie was described as a gentleman, raconteur and iconoclast with a strong sense of style and wit to match. Every inch of his Yorkville condo was packed with whimsical and colourful paintings, sculpture, crafts and objets d’art. Mr. LaPrairie clearly loved to be surrounded by and engage with his collection on a daily basis – nothing was squirrelled away in storage or hidden on shelves. Everything was to be enjoyed and shared.

A strong supporter of Canadian and Indigenous artists as well as fine craft and folk art, Mr. LaPrairie built an eclectic and playful collection over decades obtained from local galleries and from his travels across the globe. It was the wish of Mr. LaPrairie that the proceeds from his estate went to Camp Ooch & Camp Trillium, a privately funded, volunteer-based organization that provides children with cancer and their families with unique opportunities for growth through challenging, fun, enriching, and magical experiences. We invite you to read more about Mr. LaPrairie on our blog.

Highlights from the auction included a fiercely fought bidding war for a painting by Brian Jones which sold for over ten times its estimate, work by Jane Waterous, Lindee Climo, Terry Watkinson, and a particularly Toronto artwork, Patrick Amiot’s sculpture of the 504 streetcar which sold for $13,200.

Presentation Scale Model of the Toronto Dominion Centre, 1965. 14.5 x 10 x 11 in — 36.8 x 25.4 x 27.9 cm

Canadian Art, Culture and History

Lovers of Canadiana delighted in this eclectic auction, which included items from the NHL, the Globe and Mail, the National Film Board of Canada, the Legislative Assembly of Canada, and Grenfell Labrador Industries. The auction also included signed letters from Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfred Laurier, as well as a wide selection of historical art, early maps, weapons and flags.

Waddington’s celebrated its 170th anniversary in 2020, making this auction particularly poignant. The story of Canada has been echoed by our auctions held over these many years, as generations come and go, passing their belongings on to the next set of collectors who will delight in their new acquisition.

Highlights from this auction included an intriguing dog collar with a tale of its own, a Jacques Plante hockey mask, and a particular favourite among the staff at Waddington’s Toronto offices, a presentation scale model of the Toronto Dominion Centre–which tripled its estimate to sell for $9,600.

Should you be interested in finding out more, we dove deeper into some of the wonderful stories from this auction on our blog.



‘Stuart Crystal’ Charles I of England Diamond Mounted Silver and Gold Mourning Slide, mid 17th century. Case 3.1 x 2.8 in — 8 x 7 cm


The Cabinet of Curiosities Including World History and Culture

Spanning a wide range of cultures and historical eras, one of the highlights from this auction included an important letter by Mahatma Gandhi written by his personal secretary Mahadev Desai and addressed to the Diwan (Prime Minister) of Mysore, Sir Mirza Muhammad Ismail. The letter sold for $55,200.

The letter had never before been viewed by the public, having been in private hands since it was written. If you are interested in finding out more about Gandhi’s correspondence, we invite you to read more on our blog.

Another special lot from the auction was a Stuart Crystal, a piece of mourning jewellery created to mark Charles I’s beheading. The crystal had a lock of the monarch’s hair inset into the back, along with a crown and the king’s royal cypher. It is an extremely fine example, and came to Waddington’s by way of Amsterdam.



As we move into another year of Decorative Arts auctions, we know that we will continue to be inspired and delighted by the items that pass through our doors. Our next auction is scheduled to take place online from January 23 – 28, 2021.

We look forward to connecting with you in the New Year about our auctions and opportunities for consignments. Don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

Till then, we wish the very best for the holiday season.


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