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Lawrences recent auction of pictures went ahead despite a heavy fall of snow in Crewkerne on the morning of the sale. “We were inundated with commission bids, telephone bids and online bids,” said the firm’s managing director, Helen Carless. “In the event, the sale was as well-received as ever and the results were even better than we might have hoped.”
An early highlight in the selection of prints on offer was the remarkable price of £16700 paid for a scarce etching by C. R. W. Nevinson of `London Bridges` (1924). This print had strong contrasts and was an exceptionally good impression.
A small and faded watercolour of a monastery in Macao was found amongst a selection of watercolours consigned for sale by a Devon gentleman. This made £4060. A work by London-based Japanese artist Yoshio Markino, showing figures strolling in a park made £4780 and a visionary 1943 pastel by Eric Kennington of chivalrous knights made £7400. The undoubted stars were two exemplary watercolours from the 1770’s by Paul Sandby depicting scenes at Windsor and Eton. It is generally agreed that the artist's finest works were produced in Windsor and the two watercolours were in remarkable condition. These had come from the late Victorian collection formed by the late Colonel `Eddie` Balfour, formerly of Sidmouth Manor, and met with exceptional interest to make a combined total of over £230,000 for the two.
From the same collection, a fine still life in oil by an artist in the style of Gaspar Verbruggen made £14340 and a panorama of Venice ascribed to Jacopo Fabris (1689-1761) made £33,460. An interesting portrait of Lady Jean Seton, daughter of the Earl of Dunfermline, died at the age of just 19 but was painted at the age of 12 in an elegant dress. This image, which had passed down through the family of the sitter, made £14,340 despite some misgivings about its condition whilst a newly-confirmed early work by Sir John Lavery, painted when he was in his early 20’s and depicting a lady on garden steps, made £9080 for its delighted Dorset vendor. The picture sale exceeded half a million pounds with under 15% unsold.
Lawrences’ first auction of furniture and works of art in 2013 was greeted with enthusiasm by buyers, despite there being about 6” of snow throughout Crewkerne on the day of the sale. “We were inundated with commission bids, telephone bids and online bids,” said the firm’s managing director, Helen Carless. “In the event, the sale was as well-received as ever and the results were even better than we might have hoped.”
In the selection of clocks at the start of the sale, a musical skeleton clock striking on a rack of eight bells and a gong made £3700. This struck a positive note for the rest of the auction which continued with a plentiful selection of strong prices across all the lots on offer.
Highlights included a 17th Century oak court cupboard that made £7520, a Regency bog oak occasional table by the celebrated designer George Bullock that made £7880, a William III ebonised settee that made £6570 and a room-sized Ziegler-type carpet that took £4540.
Two special highlights included a fine pair of late George III sofa tables made of burr wood and amboyna. These were formerly in the collection of Lord and Lady Leigh at Stoneleigh Abbey but came to Lawrences from a Somerset deceased estate and made £27480 to a private buyer in Hampshire. Similarly keen bidding was maintained for another item from the same estate: an ornate French ormolu `triptych` toilet mirror by Ferdinand Duvinage for Maison Giroux, circa 1880-1890. This attracted no fewer than twelve telephone bidders from Britain and Northern Europe who contested it to £20,900.
The furniture sale yielded over £300,000 and contributed to the firm’s takings of just under £1.5million for the four days of sales that week.
Lawrences offered over 270 lots of pictures in their Spring Fine Art auction. The prints, watercolours and oils spanned five centuries and prices showed a reassuring strength in the market right across the board.
An etching by David Hockney of Maurice Payne (1971) was bought for £2270 and all the proceeds will go to a local charity, whilst two coloured woodcuts from a deceased estate in Dorset far exceeded recent auction prices for Charles Ginner’s work by making £2740. Highlights in the selection of watercolours could not have been more different. Six elegant and colourful gouaches by Christoph Ludwig Agricola (1667-1719) made £21,500 after some determined bidding and an expressive charcoal drawing by celebrated Cumbrian artist Sheila Fell (1931-1979) took £4780. A small charcoal study of geese by the eminent Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro was contested to £2980.
In the selection of oil paintings, two fine `Primitive` works of prize rams by Thomas Weaver offered sufficient rarity and quaint provincial charm to take a combined total of £13,100. An unusual triptych of `The Song of Solomon` in the style of Sir Edward Burne-Jones was bought for £4660; a rare bronze of `Sheila` by Sir Jacob Epstein made £4780; and a restful oil of a lady sewing by a window by Tom Gentleman took £4180. The two highest prices were reserved for very different outdoor subjects. One was an invigorating but elegant scene of the Leney family riding on a Kent beach on a bright and fresh day, painted by Heywood Hardy and offered for sale by a Somerset descendant. This made £56,100. A large, bitterly cold but beautifully atmospheric oil painting of sheep in an Aberdeenshire copse in a wintry twilight by Joseph Farquharson (1846-1935) attracted keen bidding before exceeding its £50,000-80,000 estimate to be bought for £145,700. The total for the picture sale exceeded £400,000
Lawrences’ sale of ceramics, glass and decorative arts on January 17th included items from the 13th Century right through to the 21st. A variety of items with animal themes seemed to catch most collectors’ eyes.
Highlights in the decorative arts selection included a mid-1920’s Moorcroft vase in the `Eventide` pattern that exceeded its £800-1200 estimate to make £3100; another in the `Wisteria` pattern from 1913 but with a hairline crack that made £2500; and a Lorenzl bronze and ivory figure of a dancer that took £1310. A large Wemyss pig, painted with the `Pink Clover` pattern came from the family of Henry Stocks who had worked for the factory in the early 1920’s. The cheerful floral porker made £2390.
Amongst the more traditional ceramics, a pair of Staffordshire tureens and covers in the form of nesting pigeons made £1195; two Meissen exotic parrots flapped away at £1430 whilst a similar trio of similar birds made £2150.
In the Oriental section, a Chinese famille rose jardinière made £2620; a famille vert vase was bought for £3460; and a famille rose plaque within a hardwood carved stand made £1550. An exquisite little Japanese netsuke of a dragon with two pearls, smaller than a hen’s egg but carved with astonishing detail, was bought for £6810 whilst the afternoon’s top honours went to another fine pair of birds: two polychrome hawks, each with a clipped wing but Qianlong (1735-1795) in date, attracted much interest to flutter up to £8600.
After eager swarms of dealers and private collectors had viewed the 400 lots of jewellery at Lawrences in Crewkerne on January 17th, it was no surprise that the auctioneers received some strong bids for the wide variety of lots on offer.
Early highlights in the sale included keen interest in some amber necklaces. Prices ranged from £220 upwards, with two making £1550 and £2620, and one long (148cm) necklace of uniform beads soaring to £5370. Gold sold steadily again: an 18ct watch chain weighing 52g made £1250 after competitive bidding and a 190g cigarette case in 9ct gold was bought for over £2200. Pocket watches also found eager buyers and a small Cartier travelling clock in its original box made £2030. A gold watch by Rolex more than doubled its £500-700 estimate to take £1790
Diamonds dominated the interest for the rings in the auction and a three-stone ring with 2 carats of diamonds was bought for £2500; an emerald and diamond cluster ring made £7400; a pair of sapphire and diamond drop earrings took £3700; and a sapphire and diamond ring made £5970.
Three highlights concluded the section: a pretty `Belle Epoque` diamond brooch in the form of a bow made £6450 [image 1128]; a Victorian diamond foliate brooch pendant of old brilliant-cut stones of about 7.3 carats made £11,950; and a necklace with a large uncut spinel of about 51 carats will adorn the buyer’s neck for £23,900.
Silver continues to hold its enduring appeal for collectors in these financially uncertain times and prices at Lawrences’ auction in Crewkerne on January 15th were buoyant across the whole day.
Over 730 lots went under the hammer and bids from the internet pushed up the bids of those in the room and on the telephone. Wintry weather had not deterred buyers and the room was full. Cutlery and flatware sold steadily: a mixed group of sixteen unusual three-pronged forks from 1728-1748 made £3100 whilst a single spoon made by John Arden of Crewkerne in c.1692 was scooped up for £550. A handsome Queen Anne tankard from Newcastle maker Margaret Ramsey (1702) made a mid-estimate £2980 whilst another from the same city, 1771 in date, made £3580.
Collectors seek oddities and rarities in every field and silver is no exception. A scarce wine taster, probably made by Timothy Ley in London in c.1700, had a domed centre and looked rather like a curate’s hat. Just over 4” across, it was bought for £8600. A pair of Edwardian Irish dish rings, of capstan shape and with blue glass liners, attracted bids of £4300 and an unusual Maltese sugar box and cover by Saverio Cannatacci, c.1810-1815, gave its vendor a sweet surprise when it was bought for £2620. A mid-18th Century Scottish coffee pot by James Gilsland realised £3940.
Amongst the objects of vertu, a Victorian `castle top` snuff box by the master of the craft, Nathaniel Mills (1840), was pocketed for £1250; another similar made £1670; a tiny Faberge pendant of the Virgin and Child by Henrik Wigstrom of St Petersburg was just 1.5” high but soared to £1550, despite chips around the edges; and four Chinese silk fans will help to cool the buyer who paid £2620 for them, with a fair breeze behind him from many other keen collectors. The day’s total exceeded £270,000 with little left unsold.
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