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The grand piano of the great Ukranian-born American film composer and conductor Dimitri Tiomkin (1894-1979) is to be offered for auction at Dreweatts in May. Classically trained in St Petersburg, Russia in the early 1900s, Tiomkin moved to Hollywood in 1929 and wrote film scores for Westerns, such as High Noon, the John Wayne films Red River, Rio Bravo and The Alamo and the theme for the television series Rawhide. He received 22 Academy Award nominations and won four Oscars during his lifetime. In 1967 he left America, following the death of his wife and moved back to Europe. In 1972 he remarried and lived between London and Paris. The piano is believed to have been purchased in the late 20th Century from St Petersburg.

The piano is from the private collection of the highly reputed antiques expert, aesthete and tastemaker, Ken Bolan, alongside works sourced for his clients during 50 years in the antiques industry.

Ken tells us: “I acquired this piano from the widow of Dimitri Tiomkin, Olivia Cynthia Patch, when I purchased my studio from her. I am in no way a pianist but the marquetry work on the case and the romance of the piano coming from St Petersburg I found inspiring.” The Russian rosewood, goncalo alves, tulipwood and marquetry grand piano, with charming decorative marquetry panels, was produced by famed piano-maker Herman Lichtenthal (1795-853) and carries an estimate of £8,000-£12,000 (lot 144).

Those that know Ken will know that the sale titled Ken Bolan the Mind’s Eye on May 14, 2024 is an opportunity to buy into a passion and unique knowledge that has developed over a lifetime. Ken’s journey and career started with an antique shop in Switzerland in the 1970s and has since led on to showrooms in the form of an old West Country brewery and a former Modernist garage in Fulham, West London, under the name of Talisman.

His extensive excursions across Scandinavia, the USA and beyond, have enabled him to source works pertaining to the changing trends and tastes of his clients. This firmly established him as a ‘go to’ for curious antiques, continental furniture, fine and decorative arts, sculpture and garden statuary. His popularity amongst his clientele – both private collectors and interior designers, is in his ability as a visionary, to combine the modern and decorative, with rare antiques, thereby creating a luxurious yet comfortable environment for any home.

Commenting on this historic sale, Head of sale, Will Turkington, said: “Dreweatts is delighted to have been chosen to sell Ken Bolan’s collection. His astute eye & ground-breaking taste, honed over half a century of collecting, can be seen throughout the sale. This auction offers a one-off chance to obtain a variety of works chosen both for Ken’s personal collection, as well as for clients. Each work demonstrates Ken’s inimitable knowledge and passion for antiques and interiors, making this a truly unique sale.”