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The Question of Provenance

The question of provenance has become increasingly important to the consumer, whether you are buying steak in a restaurant, exotic antiquities or even a chest of drawers. Rogers Jones & Co recognise that there is a shift in perception - when it comes to provenance.

Provenance is the ownership record of an object and in the world of fine art it has been used as a guide to the authenticity of a work. It includes details of title, information about auction houses, dealers or galleries that have sold the item, exhibitions it has been part of and other details surrounding an object’s history.

Traditionally the reason for stating provenance was to leave no room for doubt that a work of art is genuine and is by the credited artist and belongs to its owner. Documentation is often present as provenance, such as auction catalogues, receipts, appraisals by experts, exhibition labels and so forth.

Provenance can sometimes be as important as the item itself when it comes to value, for instance a rugby jersey from an important player and in an important match with details of the ownership has a far greater value than a jersey without any information on its source.

Letters of provenance can be very interesting too, for example it is always a joy to read letters by Sir Kyffin Williams regarding a particular painting. The letters support the value of the painting and they should always be kept together.

But at Rogers Jones & Co we acknowledge that there is a change afoot when it comes to the perception of 'provenance'. As auction houses have become a more mainstream method for purchasing for the consumer (rather than dealers), and as images trump descriptive text, then increasingly the public want to know additional information such as where their potential purchases are sourced from. So at Rogers Jones we pledge to tell you just that! Simply, because many of you are interested to know.

Even if the provenance is as straightforward as ''private collection in Cardiff'', we will let you know. There may not be documentation previous to that catalogue entry, but the provenance trail starts with our catalogue description and you will always have an idea of where your object was located, before being enjoyed in your home.

Happy Bidding!

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