Rembrandt causes a flap at Cotswold auction house

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Rembrandt the robin is causing a flap at a Cotswold auction house.

The robin has been living in the converted barn for a fortnight, and staff have christened him Rembrandt after the Dutch painter who catapulted the auctioneers to fame.

In October 2007 Moore Allen & Innocent broke provincial auction house records when they sold a previously undiscovered self portrait by the Old Master for over £2 million.

And like his namesake, Rembrandt the robin seems to like looking at images of himself.

“He heads straight to the furniture section and looks at his reflection in the mirrors,” said Philip Allwood, the auctioneer who brought down the gavel on the antique painting five years ago.

“Rembrandt van Rijn is known to have painted more than 50 portraits of himself between the 1620s and his death in 1669. And it seems Rembrandt the Robin is equally fond of his own image.”

Coincidentally, the robin arrived at the saleroom on the same day as a collection of Victorian-style wirework birdcages, which will be sold at the firm’s next sale on Friday, November 23.

Vintage birdcages have recently become fashionable with interior designers inspired by Victoriana. The four ornate cages should achieve between £40 and £60.

Besides perches for birds, the auctioneers are also offering humans somewhere to perch, in the form of a set of five funky Lyra breakfast barstools in beech and chrome.

Created by the Milan-based studio Design Group Italia for Italian furniture makers Magis, the Lyra stool was considered the height of cool in the 1990s, and remains popular to this day.

With new imports retailing at nearly £300 a pop, bidders might be attracted by the auctioneer’s estimate of £100 to £150 for the set of five.

Finally, anyone lucky enough to snap a photo of Rembrandt the robin – who despite his vanity is not so keen on posing for pictures – a pair of Victorian photo enlargers could come in handy.

Manufactured by J Lancaster & Sons, which was founded in Birmingham in 1835, the mahogany cased enlargers move up and down a brass support – the further away from the original image, the larger the final image will be.

With the advent of digital photography and scanners, the photo enlarger has been rendered redundant, but they are still popular with collectors and photographic shops looking for interesting window display props. A bid of £150 to £250 should secure both examples.

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