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A fine quality commode with a fascinating history is set to be the star lot in Lawrences’ furniture auction in Crewkerne on January 16th.
The mahogany chest has passed by descent in the family of Lawrence Dundas (1710-1782) and his descendants, the Marquesses of Zetland.
“Sir Lawrence came from an old Scottish family and began selling stockings and cloths but with `judicious treating` was able to make good money, “ says Lawrences’s specialist, Richard Gold. “During the Seven Years War (1754-1763) he had the contracts to supply bread and forage for the allies in Germany. He made a further fortune by speculating in Government and East India stock. Sir Lawrence used his wealth to improve his social status and was a great patron of the Arts. He employed leading designers to decorate and furnish his fine houses across the country: Dundas House, Edinburgh; Aske, Richmond, Yorkshire; Moor Park, Hertfordshire; and 19 Arlington Street, London. He enlisted Gobelins for tapestries, Francois Boucher for paintings, Capability Brown for the gardens and Robert Adam for other furniture. Thomas Chippendale supplied not only the grandest furniture but also bedroom furniture in the `plain General Taste`.”
The link to Thomas Chippendale becomes intriguing as a chest of drawers of similar design and construction is to be found in the collection of the Earls of Pembroke at Wilton. An old label on the commode links it beyond doubt to the Dundas collection at Aske in Yorkshire. “Although this item is not recorded as a commissioned piece by Chippendale, it is almost certainly by him,” says Mr. Gold. “The likelihood is further enhanced by the distinct similarity to chests at Dumfries House. These were once thought to be unattributable but are now ascribed to Chippendale when he was being sponsored and supported by James Rannie, a wealthy Scottish merchant.”
The chest, 36 inches high and 41 inches wide, is now appearing at auction for the first time and is expected to make £30,000-40,000. Further details from the auctioneers at www.lawrences.co.uk (01460 -73041)
***Christmas & New Year Opening Times***
Tuesday 23rd December - 9.00 am - 3.00pm
Wednesday 24th December - Closed
Thursday 25th December - Closed
Friday 26th December - Closed
Monday 29th December - Closed
Tuesday 30th December - Closed
Wednesday 31st December - Closed
Thursday 1st January - Closed
Friday 2nd January - Closed
Monday 5th January - Re-Open – 9.00am – 5.30pm
The first General Sale in the New Year will be on Wednesday 7th January 2015
Lawrences held a large auction on November 20-21st comprising an important election of medals. In the year of the centenary of the Great War, there was plenty of material for collectors including military badges and sweetheart badges.
A group of six medals awarded to an Australian officer, Lt Col A H K Jopp, included a `Pip, Squeak and Wilfred` set (the trio of Great War campaign medals) and medals for service in South Africa in the Second World War. Jopp was a native of Sydney and served in Egypt and at Gallipoli before joining a fledgling Flying Corps. Twice mentioned in despatches, described as a `gallant and brave officer` and with notable connections in Australia government, the group included photographs and even schoolday sports medals awarded to Jopp. An Australian bidder on the telephone secured the lot for £13,140.
Another group of five medals included an Albert medal and Royal Humane Society Lifesaving medal (a success) awarded to Commodore L. A. De Sausmarez who, as a young Naval officer, leapt into shark- and crocodile infested waters to save an Able Seaman who was in distress. The lot included a sketch of the rescue by the ship’s doctor, a presentation clock, a portrait, a family tree and other items and was bought against keen competition for £14,930.
A Distinguished Service Order group to a Brigadier in the Coldstream Guards included a Military Cross and bar and other items such as photographs, a diary and certificates. This made £6690. The recipient also received Coronation medals for 1911, 1937 and 1953 as well as a 1935 Jubilee medal.
Other highlights included a Hong Kong Police medal awarded in 1905 (£2210); a Great War Military medal with an accompanying trio (£830); a Boer War group awarded to a surgeon in the 4th Somerset Light Infantry (£860); a World War II Military Cross group (£1730); and a Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry officer’s crossbelt and pouch made £1250. The young man died of Spanish flu in 1918 after surviving the horrors of war.
After the 1100 lots had been offered on the first day of the sale, auctioneer Jeff Day commented “how strange it is to remember that young men were joining up in 1914 in haste, afraid that they would miss a war that many of them believed would be over within a few months. These medals tell us something about the bravery, heroism and determination of those men who fought for four long years.”