Guided at £1500-2500 in a Prints and Multiples sale at Bonhams (13.9/20/25/27.5% buyer’s premium) on December 11, the c.1570 engraving is a rare first-state impression from a total of two published by the Antwerp publisher Hieronymus Cock.
Monsters and strange figures are a recurrent theme in Bosch’s oeuvre. In London in 2015, Christie’s sold a similar first state print, titled Cripples, Fools, Musicians and Beggars, for a premium-inclusive £11,250.
Bidders at Bonhams also chased six lots containing Flemish etchings after Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-69) to the tune of £124,000. Offered with conservative estimates, these were well-preserved 16th century impressions made in states that have become rare today.
Among the top-sellers was The Festival of Fools, a c.1570 engraving by Pieter van der Heyden (1530-72) who reproduced many of Bruegel’s works. It was catalogued as a fine impression from the second state of three, with a plate size of 13 x 17in (33 x 43cm) and bearing the engraver’s monogram and address of Hieronymous Cock. It was pursued to £32,000 against a £5000-7000 estimate.