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A collection of early Royal Doulton figures are to be sold at Lawrences of Crewkerne.
The highlight is a very early figure called the "Jester", which was produced by the factory between 1917-1938. Designed by Charles Noke one of the leading designers on the day, it has the HN number 71.
Also included are the figures "Old lavender seller" HN 1492, "Spanish Lady" HN 1294, "Cythia" HN 1686, "Geisha" HN1223, and "Sweet Anne" HN 1318.
Lawrences Auctioneer Simon Jones said, "All Royal Doulton figures were given a HN number, the closer to number 1 they are, the earlier the figure was produced. To see so many early figures at one time is very unusual. The Jester is the earliest figure i have seen, and should attract a huge ammount of interest from collectors"
The Doulton figures will be sold in the January Fine Art sale. For further enquiries please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041.
A magnificent album of watercolours and text by the garden designer Lewis Kennedy, comprising his proposed alterations for Trebartha Hall near Launceston in Cornwall, will be offered for sale by Lawrences of Crewkerne in their forthcoming book sale. Consigned to auction by descendants of the hall's original owners, the album comprises eight watercolours in remarkable condition showing designs for parkland, flower gardens, an enormous conservatory and a `sheep station` in a fantastically ornate style. The album is leather bound and includes beautifully neat notes in a fine copperplate hand detailing every aspect of the project.
"It was also intended that Trebartha Hall, the family seat of Mr and Mrs Francis Hearle Rodd (1766-1836), should undergo a facelift in 1815, embellishing its rather severe facade with a more picturesque castle style with turrets and crenellations," comments Lawrences' specialist, Rose Sanguinetti. "One of the watercolours in the album has a carefully cut flap to show the transformation intended by the "before and after" scheme and it's in the most wonderful condition throughout."
Lewis Kennedy flourished as a garden designer from 1810-1868. He had been born into a horticultural family and his parents owned nurseries in Hammersmith which supplied many of the finest gardens of the day. Kennedy worked as a garden designer for Empress Josephine at Malmaison and in England his schemes were implemented at Bowood, Wiltshire; Middleton Park, Oxford; and at Drummond Castle in Perthshire.
"Despite Kennedy's ambitious plans for the house and garden, his designs for Trebartha were never carried out. After serving as a military hospital during the Second World War, the house fell into disuse and it was eventually demolished. A new house now stands on the site. It is sad that nothing remains to be seen of the old hall and this album may be our only visual clue to its past," adds Rose. The album, a glorious glimpse into a bygone age of elegance and extravagance, is expected to realise £5000-7000
Lawrences' last sale in Crewkerne included rare and collectable spoons from London and provincial makers. Amongst the more obscure regional examples were spoons made in Inverness, Stirling, Dumfries, Cupar, Jersey, Bristol, Plymouth, York and Iona. The success of the sale has prompted collectors from far and wide to consign further early spoons for the next sale in January and Alex Butcher, the specialist in charge of silver at Lawrences, is particularly pleased to have an example by the little-known John Arden.
"This spoon was made during the reign of James II and is interesting to collectors on a number of levels," comments Alex. "It has a trefid (double-split) terminal and a rat tail on the underside of the bowl, it has clear marks and is in good condition. But, in a sense, we are welcoming this spoon home as it was actually made in Crewkerne. It is remarkable to find a spoon from the town in which it will now be sold, 320 years after John Arden made it. In the late 17th Century, Crewkerne was a small town of barely 1500 inhabitants and it seems surprising that such a compact community could have supported a trade as specific as a silversmith and spoonmaker. Even more oddly, he was not the only one for six members of the Sweet family were also spoonmakers in Crewkerne and Chard at about the same time."
Spoons were an indispensable item of cutlery at the time and were used as the standard eating implement in homes large and small. Not all were made of silver, of course but forks were not used in this country until the very late 17th Century and table knives from this period are almost unknown. John Arden was born in Sherborne, worked for a while at Fordington near Dorchester and settled in Crewkerne by the mid-1680's. He did not escape the long arm of the law, though, for he was fined for selling substandard spoons in May 1688 and eleven years later he was in trouble again. He died aged 67 in April 1704 and is buried in Crewkerne. Lawrences hope that this spoon will make £600-800.
Lawrences Auctioneers' Fine Art Sale for January 2010 is now available to view on line.....
Monday 18th Silver & Vertu
Tuesday 19th Books & Manuscripts
Wednesday 20th Decorative Antiques
Thursday 21st Jewellery, Watches & Ceramics
Friday 22nd Paintings & Furniture
Keen interest right across the board at the salerooms in Crewkerne on Monday (18th) established an encouraging start to the firm's week of sales, set to come to a close today with an auction of pictures, clocks, works of art and furniture.
Amongst a host of four-figure hammer prices, highlights included £3220 paid for an East Anglian seal top spoon of about 1660; £1790 for a cake basket from 1747; a remarkable £8360 for a George I teapot dating from 1718, purchased at Aspreys in 1968; £2740 for an Indian/Burmese ewer of the 19th Century; £2150 for a fine and decorative salver of 1778; £3100 for a suite of three George III wine coasters by William Plummer; £3700 for a tapering octagonal coffee pot from 1711; £2980 for a bowl by the celebrated silversmiths Omar Ramsden and Alwyn Carr; £2270 for a tortoiseshell snuff box; £2740 for a slim and skilfully made cigarette case by Anders Nevalainnen working for Karl Faberge; £2150 for a well-fitted Victorain walnut dressing box of 1853, with all its glass-topped bottles intact; and £2620 for a small Victorian musical box with a tiny singing bird under a hinged enamelled cover.
A distinguished collection of West Country spoons ranging in date from about 1590-1730 covered examples made in such towns such as Exeter, Plymouth, Sherborne, Salisbury, Taunton, Tiverton, Barnstaple and even Crewkerne itself. Top price within the collection was £3340 for a spoon of about 1620 by John Quick of Barnstaple. A four-pronged fork by Martin (or Marlin) Gale dated from about 1669 and is believed to be the earliest English four-prong fork in existence but it is unlikely to end up on the buyer's dinner table. "Routine silver forks from the Victorian era can sometimes make just a few pounds each," observes Lawrences' specialist Alex Butcher. "But the chance to own the earliest known fork in a style we all recognise today attracted bids from many keen collectors. It exceeded its estimate of £800-1200 to take £1790 and the collection made £33,900 in total. Quality and rarity are in demand at the moment and we had plenty on offer to satisfy collectors' tastes in all fields." This collection contributed to the day's total of £178,800 with very little unsold.
The second day of Lawrences' recent auction of books and manuscripts in Crewkerne featured the usual wide variety of items, ranging in date from two French manuscript leaves written in the mid-15th Century through to modern editions by Mervyn Peake and Cecil Day Lewis. It was 90% sold.
There was strength throughout the auction, with bids from all over the world (including notable interest from America) and scores of commission bids. Amongst the strongest prices, £2500 was paid for a folio of Italian etchings by Edgar Chahine; £1490 for a John Speed map of the Turkish Empire amongst many other maps of subjects closer to home in the £300-600 range; "A volume of Experiments" by Robert Boyle of the Royal Society made £1730; and £2500 was paid for a collection of Almanacks by the popular children's illustrator and author Kate Greenaway.
A well-received selection of works relating to Bristol comprised volumes describing the maps, potteries, sonnets and architecture of the city (£3600). Other books of West Country interest also did well. A collection of items relating to Admiral Jervoise of Herriard Park in Hampshire attracted interest: the lot contained a ship's log 1876-1880, watercolours of the ships in which he served in Canada and the West Indies and his medals. It was bought for £8600. The diaries of, Harry Whistler, a merchant in Hankow, China from 1883-1911 included the poignant observation that, upon proposing to his wife in 1897, she replied by saying that "she thought she could make herself like me" as well as details about the approaching Revolution of 1911 that forced Whistler's escape back to London. This lot made £2090.
The two major focal points, however, were somewhat different. A fine album of watercolours by Lewis Kennedy, proposing detailed alterations to the architecture and gardens of the estate of Trebartha in Cornwall in 1815, encapsulated the blend of extravagance and elegance that characterised Regency England. A determined American bidder fought off interest from eight other telephones to pay £16,100 for this fascinating album. The highest price of the day was for Jeremy Bentham's "Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation", published in 1789. Bentham (1748-1832) was a philosopher and campaigner for social reform whose carefully preserved body still sits, fully clothed, in a glazed cabinet at University College London (an institution which he helped to establish) so that he may still attend all the college's meetings. This rare and historically fascinating volume was found on a bookshelf in a house in North Somerset and singlehandedly contributed £29,875 to the day's total of £132,000
Lawrences Book Specialist, Rose Sanguinetti, is shown with the album by Lewis Kennedy that was bought for £16,100
In a very well-received selection of jewellery, specialist Miranda Bingham saw keen interest from private and trade buyers alike and there were strong prices throughout. Attractive mixed lots of costume jewellery performed particularly well, with two lots realising £4900 and £6210 respectively and even a small group of mourning items in jet taking £590. Attention often focuses upon the rings in these sales and diamonds proved to be in demand yet again: a 2.2 carat solitaire on a white gold band doubled expectations to take £8120 whilst an impressive sapphire and diamond cluster also exceeded its £1500-2000 estimate to make £5730. An elegant diamond jabot pin set with cushion-shaped and circular-cut diamonds was modest in size at 9cm long but determined bidding pushed it beyond its £800-900 estimate to take £7880 whilst the top price of the day was the £10,150 paid for a 1.3 carat brilliant-cut diamond ring with seven smaller diamonds on the shoulders (estimate was £10,000-12,000, see illustration). "Many private buyers, who are encouraged by the stability of gold in these tentative times, also appreciate the enjoyment and the value for money when buying at auction," said Miranda Bingham. "The wide range of items of offer, from cufflinks and cameos to brooches and bracelets, ensured a very healthy demand right across the sale."
Similar breadth of scope characterised the ceramics section with items as diverse as a Persian arborello from the 12th Century (£470) through to modern decorative arts by Moorcroft, Royal Doulton and Ruskin. A scarce Royal Doulton figure of a jester made £1310 and two small Chinese porcelain pieces justified their half-page illustrations when interest from abroad resulted in bids of £1670 for a saltglazed figure of a squatting Chinaman (11cm high) and £2500 for a polychrome saltglazed tea caddy just 13cm high. A single tiny Continental porcelain egg cup in the Kakiemon palette would grace any breakfast table at £230, twenty assorted Delftware tiles (far too good for any bathroom) made £570; an impressive Chinese vase and cover in the famille rose palette exceeded its £800-1200 estimate to make £1550 whilst a bowl in a similar palette on a lime ground made £1310. Total for the day, including buyer's premium, was over £230,000
The weeks' sales drew to a close with a day's worth of pictures and furniture under the hammer. "Dealers and collectors are particularly eager to buy in January," observed the firm's picture specialist, Richard Kay. "We were not competing with many other auctions of such size and variety in January and crowds of people turned up in Crewkerne to view and to bid. News that Britain was coming out of the recession emboldened bidders and, of course, we had numerous lots of quality and distinction in every department. It was a very full room all week and the prices reflected keen buying right across the board."
Highlights in a 250-lot picture section included £5000 for a delightful little watercolour by Rose Maynard Barton of a young girl at an open door; £3340 for a sketch by Sir Stanley Spencer for his major work at Tate Britain entitled "Zacharias and Elizabeth"; and truly trans-Atlantic interest in a fine selection of 140 drawings by William Heath Robinson with bids from British and American collectors, offered as twenty lots. These realised a total of £85,200 and the top price was the £20,300 paid for his absurd and amusing "Correspondence Course for Mountain Climbing in the Home" of 1928. In the oil paintings section, £17,900 was paid for a portrait by Irishman Nathaniel Hone of his son Camillus with a hound, c.1776 (see illustration); £10,700 for a large and decorative figure group by Maria Spilsbury (c.1804); £8360 for a scene of Venice by Antoine Bouvard; £7100 for a tempera study of poppies by Eliot Hodgkin; and the sell out of the studio sale of Cornish artist Bernard Ninnes - 35 lots had been retrieved from an attic in North Somerset and sold for a total of £14,300, much to the delight of the artist's family (some of whom were in the room to watch their ancestors' pictures sell to new collectors). Less than 9% remained unsold in this section of the sale.
Amongst the works of art and furniture, £4060 was paid for twenty silk-woven Stevengraphs in superb condition; £4420 for a 16th Century Flemish carving of the Virgin and Child; and a host of high prices included £3940 for a George III oak dresser; £13,740 for an impressive serpentine commode of the same era; £6200 for a French marquetry side cabinet inlaid with a profusion of flowers in an urn ; £10,750 for a George I walnut tallboy; and £15,290 for an Arts and Crafts table made by Philip Webb for William Morris. The days' total exceeded £500,000 and the firm's total for the week of auctions attained over £1.1m