David Bowie’s self-portrait and a £400,000 pop art Bentley among ‘Cool Britannia’ items for sale

A David Bowie self-portrait, a Vivienne Westwood tweed crown and a £400,000 pop art Bentley are among items representing Britain’s diverse cultural spirit to be auctioned in London next month.

The merchandise collection, reminiscent of the Cool Britannia movement of the 1990s and other periods of national pride, also includes a portrait of the Queen, a hyper-realistic drawing of fashion icon Kate Moss and the Olympic torch carried by David Beckham.

Bowie’s signed self-portrait is set to fetch up to £15,000 at Britain’s Bonhams. Costs. sale, was made in 1997 and was part of a series of paintings titled DHeads, created between 1995 and 1997.

Only a few were self-portraits of Bowie. Although painting and art were an important part of Bowie’s life, his work is extremely rare on the market.

The artwork called DHead XLV was originally donated by Bowie to the ‘ARTAID ’98’ fundraising exhibition in Edinburgh that year.

The world’s first and only British Pop Art Bentley is a colorful version of the classic car. The unique Continental GT V8 S Convertible which is the result of a collaboration between Bentley Motors and the godfather of British Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake was created in 2016 and is estimated between £300,000-400,000.

Bowie’s signed self-portrait is set to fetch up to £15,000 at Britain’s Bonhams. Costs. sale, was made in 1997 and was part of a series of paintings titled DHeads, created between 1995 and 1997

The world's first and only British Pop Art Bentley is a colorful version of the classic car.  The unique Continental GT V8 S Convertible which is the result of a collaboration between Bentley Motors and the godfather of British Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake was created in 2016 and is estimated between £300,000-400,000.

The world’s first and only British Pop Art Bentley is a colorful version of the classic car. The unique Continental GT V8 S Convertible which is the result of a collaboration between Bentley Motors and the godfather of British Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake was created in 2016 and is estimated between £300,000-400,000.

The London 2012 Olympic torch carried by David Beckham to start the torch relay is priced between £20,000 and £30,000

The London 2012 Olympic torch carried by David Beckham to start the torch relay is priced between £20,000 and £30,000

Anonymous street artist Banksy has auctioned two prints, Girl with Balloon, 2004, which is on offer between £80.00 and £120,000

Anonymous street artist Banksy has auctioned two prints, Girl with Balloon, 2004, which is on offer between £80.00 and £120,000

His other piece Jack & Jill (Police Kids), 2005, estimated at £40,000-60,000, depicts the nursery rhyme children in police stab vests.

His other piece Jack & Jill (Police Kids), 2005, estimated at £40,000-60,000, depicts the nursery rhyme children in police stab vests.

Chris Levine's portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Lightness of Being (Crystal Edition), has an estimate of £8,000-12,000

Chris Levine’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Lightness of Being (Crystal Edition), has an estimate of £8,000-12,000

And a hyper-realistic drawing of Kate Moss, created exclusively for sale by pencil portrait specialist Kelvin Okafor, is valued between £10,000 and £15,000.

And a hyper-realistic drawing of Kate Moss, created exclusively for sale by pencil portrait specialist Kelvin Okafor, is valued between £10,000 and £15,000.

A glazed terracotta figurine resembling a lion with 'Vote Labour' on the side, made by Grayson Perry, is estimated at £15,000-25,000.

A glazed terracotta figurine resembling a lion with ‘Vote Labour’ on the side, made by Grayson Perry, is estimated at £15,000-25,000.

Tony Blair, Union Jack dresses and Football’s Coming Home: The rise and fall of Cool Britannia

From Union Jack dresses to Britpop chart battles to late night news, the 90s was a time when everything that seemed important was shiny, brash and British, and London was once again the cultural capital of the world.

Cool Britannia – a pun on the anthem Rule Britannia – was the phrase coined to represent a heightened sense of pride and optimism in the UK, after the tumultuous times of the 70s and 80s.

The soundtrack to life in 90s Britain was provided by Oasis, Blur and, of course, the Spice Girls, while primetime television was reinvented by Chris Evans.

Football came home – in name, if not actual glory – when England hosted the 1996 European Championships, while Tracey Emin’s unmade bed shook the art world.

Politically, the landslide victory for Tony Blair and New Labor represented a change in attitude and the increasingly familiar view of guest rockstars at No 10.

Even Americans noticed something was happening on these shores, with Vanity Fair magazine devoting an issue to the Cool Britannia phenomenon, declaring ‘London Swings Again’ – with Liam Gallagher and his future wife, Patsy Kensit, lying on a bed made with Union Jack plastered its front page, while model Kate Moss became a global image of glamour.

But as the decade progressed, Britpop froze, Evans quit and the creative world’s love affair with Blair grew cold. By the end of the summer of 1997, the death of Princess Diana in Paris had changed the mood of the nation and there was quickly a feeling that the Cool Britannia movement was relegated to the past.

The London 2012 Olympic torch carried by David Beckham to start the torch relay is priced between £20,000 and £30,000.

Anonymous street artist Banksy has five prints at auction, Girl with Balloon, 2004, which is on offer between £80,000 and £120,000.

Numbered 133/600 in black and red silkscreen pencil, it represents a little girl releasing a heart-shaped balloon.

Another of his plays, Jack & Jill (Police Kids), 2005, estimated at £40,000-60,000, depicts the children in the nursery rhyme in police stab vests.

Chris Levine’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Lightness of Being (Crystal Edition), is estimated at £8,000-12,000.

And a hyper-realistic drawing of Kate Moss, created exclusively for sale by pencil portrait specialist Kelvin Okafor, is valued between £10,000 and £15,000.

A glazed terracotta figurine resembling a lion with ‘Vote Labour’ on the side, made by Grayson Perry, is estimated at £15,000-25,000.

This work was created by the artist for the Labor Election Gala Dinner in July 2014, where it was acquired by the current owner.

Punk queen and fashion icon Vivienne Westwood’s Harris tweed crown from her Autumn/Winter 1987-88 runway could fetch up to £1,200.

The sale is due to take place at Bonhams in New Bond Street on Thursday March 3, with head of sales Janiet Hardie saying: “We are delighted to bring the Brits back. Costs. this year, and to offer such a wonderful array of items that truly capture the nation’s diverse cultural spirit.

“It is particularly exciting to collaborate with the incredibly talented Kelvin Okafor and to be able to feature his striking pencil drawing of Kate Moss alongside Chris Levine’s captivating portrait of Queen Elizabeth II – arguably two of the most iconic cultural faces of Great Britain.”

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the largest and most renowned auctioneers in the world, offering fine art and antiques, automobiles and luxury goods.

The main auction houses are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney.

Dora W. Clawson