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Major Don Plans for the first major UK exhibition of arguably the greatest sculptor of all time, Donatello (c.1386-1466) have been revealed.

London’s V&A will stage Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance from February 11 to June 11, offering a fresh vision of the artist and his impact on cultural and artistic development. It will also showcase works never seen before in the UK. Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, universally known as Donatello, was born in Florence in 1386 where he died in 1466.

Below Donatello (c.13861466) Madonna of the Clouds, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Rock star One of the largest polished diamonds in the world, weighing a colossal 303.10 carats is expected to make $15m when it goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York.

Nicknamed the Yellow Canary, the stone was found in a rubbish pile by a young girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the early 1980s after miners discarded it as being too bulky to be diamond-bearing.

The girl gave the stone – which turned out to be 890-carat rough diamond – to her uncle who sold it to local diamond dealers. It first appeared in public in 1984 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, displayed alongside the world’s most legendary diamonds. The diamond is set to tour Dubai, Taipei, Hong Kong and Geneva before going under the hammer on December 7.

Above The 303.10-carat Yellow Canary goes under the hammer in December

Below Ben will be on hand in Burton-on-Trent rton-on-Trent

GOING FOR A BURTON A Staffordshire auction house has opened its third premises – a valuation offi ce in Burton-on-Trent. Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ new unit in Burton Market Hall will offer free weekly valuations of jewellery and watches.

eers’

Would-be consignors are invited to drop in between 10am and 1pm on Mondays for a free valuation of their collectables.

Associate director, Ben Winterton, said: “The auction market is red hot right now and it’s a brilliant time to pop in and see if you have any hidden treasures tucked away in a drawer.”

The new unit is the family firm’s third Staffordshire premises, joining its headquarters at the Lichfield Auction Centre, Fradley Park and the Tamworth Auction Rooms, which opened in October 2021.

Soggy moggy A 17th-century blue-and-white Chinese jardiniere in which Horace Walpole’s (1717-1797) favourite cat drowned trying to catch a goldfish has gone on show at his former London home.

The porcelain vase was reacquired by Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, now a museum, after being sold off in the 19th century. The death of Selima was immortalised by Walpole’s friend the poet Thomas Gray in his Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes (1747).

Below The large 17th-century Chinese porcelain vase has gone on show at Horace Walpole’s former home

30 seconds with... Rosa Assennato, London auctioneers Roseberys' Asian art specialist and new face on Antiques Roadshow How did you start in the business? In a very old-fashioned way, as a porter with Bonhams, which was a great way of getting exposed to all departments and understanding the auction process at every level. As my major at university was Chinese language and culture, the Asian art department was always going to be the one for me.

What makes Asian art so exciting? Working with Asian works of art means you have to take a holistic view of the subject: you see how patterns and shapes change over time and how they are used across mediums. The drawback is that the field is so vast it is impossible to ever fully master. But, then, this is also its greatest appeal, because you’re never bored.

Have new collectors missed the boat when it comes to Chinese antiques? Early pottery (neolithic, Han Dynasty and some Tang and pre-Tang pieces) is not terribly expensive at the moment. Neither are some export wares, such as Zhangzhou (also known as Swatow) wares, or Bencharong, which is an 18th and 19th-century porcelain made for export to the Thai court. It is hard to say though whether they will see the same rise in prices that other Chinese works of art have seen.

Are any of the skills from the auction word transferable to TV?

I love working on Antiques Roadshow, it is such a welcoming environment and everybody is so passionate about their subject. Behind the scenes is very similar to an old-fashioned auction valuation day, where you sit at a table and look at what the public have brought in, without ever knowing in advance what it will be. When an interesting Asian object appears, I have to stop myself telling its owner everything and save it for the camera.

What would be your ideal find? If I really had to pick one my absolute top pick would be a 15th-century Ngor thangka – a group of paintings on cloth made for the Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Ngor Ewam, which has a specific style with gorgeous brocading and pigment.

Roseberys’ next sale is Modern British and 20th-century art on December 8.

8 ANTIQUE COLLECTING

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