Pandora to be auctioned

Rossetti’s magnificent 51in by 31in painting Pandora (1871), which was last seen at auction 50 years ago, is to be sold by Sotheby’s London in the British & Irish Art sale on May 22 with an estimate of £5 million-£7 million.

At the time Rossetti painted Pandora-who, in Greek mythology, succumbed to curiosity and released a collection of evils into the world from the eponymous Pandora’s Box-he was in thrall to the soulful beauty Jane Morris, the wife of William Morris, who was his regular muse. A couple of years previously, Rossetti had indulged in a Pandora-like moment of his own when he opened his wife’s grave to remove a manuscript of her poems and was subsequently tormented by them.

On May 20, Sotheby’s will sell the only surviving autographed manuscript of Rachmaninov’s great Second Symphony in E Minor. The manuscript was presumed lost, following the piece’s premiere in St Petersburg in 1908, but turned up in 2004 in the hands of a European collector. It’s estimated at £1 million- £1.5 million (020-7293 5000;

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