One of the UK's principal Fine Art Auctioneers, with General Sales,
Fine Art Sales, Collectors Sales and Sporting Sales
The principal house of the village of Limington near Yeovil has parts dating from the seventeenth century and has been occupied by the Anderson family since 1936. At this time it was bought by Col A.L.B. Anderson and his wife following his retirement from the army in India where he had spent most of his career, including being Comptroller of the Viceregal Household. Many of the varied contents, offered as 125 lots across four days of sales (January 19th-22nd and February 5th), were inherited by Mrs Anderson (née St Barbe Sladen) including items from the Russells of Newton, Yorkshire. Elizabeth Russell became the wife of the 2nd Duke of Cleveland (1766-1842) of Raby Castle Co Durham and there is a pair of fine views of Raby painted by Joseph Miller (£3000-5000). In addition, a good gold cased watch by Josiah Emery made in c.1790 has a dial with a running fox and `Raby Hunt` written upon it (£6000-8000). In addition to ceramics, clocks, silver, furniture and books, a watercolour of Padua by William Callow is expected to make £3000-4000.
A fascinating selection of items from the family of one of Britain’s most distinguished soldiers is coming up for auction in Somerset (January 19th-22nd; and February 5th). Field Marshal Fitzroy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan and hero of the Battles at Inkerman and Alma in the Crimean War as well as military secretary to the Duke of Wellington, died in the Crimea in 1855. Cefntilla Court near Usk, Monmouthshire was acquired as a memorial to him and over 1600 of Raglan’s friends and colleagues contributedto the purchase of the estate with its 238 acres of land.
After its acquisition in the mid-19th Century, Cefntilla Court was enlarged under the direction of Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt and was home to four further generations of the family who held significant posts in diplomatic, military and government roles in Ceylon, Palestine and the Isle of Man. The 5th Lord Raglan, who died in 2010, was the last to live at the property. He farmed the estate and was an avid motorcar enthusiast. His death and the recent sale of the property has yielded an interesting mix of antiques and fine art as well as a library which embraces the passions and pursuits of each generation of the family.
There are many highlights amongst the 135 lots of silver, ceramics, works of art, pictures and furniture on offer. There is a 19th Century `campaign` washstand (£200-300), a decorative glazed display of stuffed birds (£250-300), an Old Master painting of the vision of St Dominic (£800-1200) and a good selection of smaller works of art from £50 upwards. One of the most poignant items is a `Crimean Hero` tablecloth, a fine linen damask banqueting cloth woven to commemorate victory in the Crimean War. Made c.1856-58, the edge has a band of medallions depicting Royal Heads of State, Military Commanders, Politicians and others connected with the Crimean War (£500-1000). Another lot with historical resonance is one comprising Lord Raglan’s Crimean patchwork quilts. The family believe that these quilts were used during the Crimean War and were on the bed of Field Marshal Lord Raglan when he died of cholera outside Sevastopol on 29th June, 1855. The quilts were probably made by the injured soldiers of the Crimea War and the colourful fabrics would have been taken from the uniforms of deceased officers (£1500-2000).
The library from Cefntilla (auction on February 5th) offers 95 lots embracing many fields of interest in the family of the Lords Raglan and is expected to realise over £25000. Four hundred volumes of anthropology and folklore, the personal collection of the 4th Lord, is guided at £3000-5000 but lots are priced from just £50.
A fine Scottish family portrait with unbroken provenance back to the year in which it was completed will be coming up for auction in Somerset. The large canvas (90 x 121 cm; 35 ½ x 47 ½ ins) was painted by Francis Lindo in 1761. Lindo was an English portrait painter who established a good reputation in the Scottish lowlands and in Aberdeenshire in the 1750’s and 1760’s and the picture has been kept within a family collection ever since it was painted.
“It depicts James Erskine, later Lord Alva (1722-1796) with his wife Margaret and two children,” explains auctioneer and picture specialist Richard Kay, who will be selling the portrait on January 22nd. “Erskine was the only son of Sir Charles Erskine Bt (1680-1763), Lord Tinwald, Justice Clerk of Scotland and his wife Grizel, daughter of John Grierson of Barjarg. He was appointed Lord of Sessions in Scotland (a senior judiciary role) and took the title Lord Barjarg (named for the family property on his mother's side, later sold) and subsequently changed his name to Lord Alva. Erskine married Margaret Maguire (1729-1766) in 1749. They had three children: Charles, who died aged just 10 in 1761 and whose short life is commemorated in a portrait held by his father in the picture, Isabella and John. After Margaret's death at the age of 37, Erskine married Jean Stirling in 1772 and she bore him a daughter, also called Jean.”
Lord Alva and his family also feature in a more significant group portrait by David Allan (1744-1796), an Edinburgh portraitist who worked in the tradition of artists like Romney, Batoni and Zoffany. Alva made keen efforts to establish Allan's career in the 1760's and he commissioned a portrait in 1780 to reflect his being founder-subscriber of St Cecilia's Hall, the venue for the Musical Society of Edinburgh. The work may be seen in the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh.
The picture is being offered for sale by a direct descendant of Lord Alva, now living in Southern England, and is presented in its decorative original carved wood frame with the Erskine coat of arms.
The auctioneers, Lawrences in Crewkerne (Somerset), expect it to realise £15000-20000.
A portrait of Sir Peter Halkett Bt of Pitfirrane, Fife (1660-1746) by the celebrated Scottish portrait painter Allan Ramsay will be in the same sale (estimate £7000-10000).
Further details available on (01460) 73041
A rare old spoon, thought by its Somerset owner to be worth under £100 could serve up a big surprise when it is sold at Lawrences in Crewkerne in January.
“It is a rare spoon dating from the reign of King Charles II,” says Lawrences’ specialist, Alex Butcher. “It was made in London in 1683 and is engraved with the legend `This Spoon was bought upon the Frozen Thames* January:28:1683/4` which makes all the difference to collectors.”
Alex explains why: “Eight frost fairs were held on the Thames between 1607 and 1814; the first recorded frost fair was in the winter of 1607/08. The frost commenced in mid December, and by mid-January the ice between Lambeth and Westminster was firm and thick enough to allow a large number of people to walk on it in perfect safety. Booths were set up for the sale of fruit, food, beer and wine and shoemakers and barbers plied their trade on the ice, such as bowling, shooting and dancing. During the winter of 1683/84 the frost lasted from December to early February but the fair was confined to the second half of January. The ice was thick and firm, and the number of shops, booths and people on the frozen river made it appear like another city. The booths, which sold all sorts of goods and merchandise and covered a variety of trades, were arranged in formal streets from the Temple to Southwark. A printing press was set up on the ice and the practice of having their names printed with the date and the phrase "printed on the Thames" became so popular with the people that the printer made a small fortune. People indulged in practically every sport including dancing, skating, sledging, bull-baiting, bear baiting, fox-hunting, football and skittles. Even King Charles II and his family visited the frost fair and had their names printed on a sheet of paper by G Groom on January 31st 1684, just three days after the date on this spoon.”
Novelty spoons with a history that links them to such a specific time and place in such unusual weather conditions are very appealing and this 7.75” (19.5cm) spoon could scoop up bids of £1200-1500.
For further details, please contact our Silver Specialist, Alex Butcher on 01460 73041 or [email protected]
A fine quality collection of furniture made by the renowned furniture maker Oliver Morel, is to be sold by Lawrences Auctioneers in Somerset.
Oliver Morel (1916-2003) was a furniture maker, teacher and farmer, who made his furniture in the Arts and Crafts tradition. In 1934 he became an apprentice at the famous Edward Barnsley Furniture Workshop in Hampshire. Edward had inherited the Arts and Crafts mantle from his father Sidney who had established the Cotswold tradition of making furniture with his colleague Ernest Gimson. Morel moved to Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds in the 1960’s, where he established a workshop making high quality furniture.
Lawrences’ lots were collected by a gentleman who purchased them from the 1970’s until Morel’s retirement. Each piece of furniture was commissioned by the vendor with Morel’s advice and input and the sale will include the original drawings and receipts.
Included in the sale are ten pieces made by Morel, most notably a superb secretaire cabinet made when he was an apprentice at the Barnsley workshop and an incredible large collectors cabinet (his last large commission) inlaid with panels of birds in a variety of woods. Also included is a sideboard, dining table, gun cabinet, pair of wall cabinets, dome top trunk and wall shelves.
Lawrences Auctioneer Simon Jones said, “Items by Morel come up rarely in auction. To have so many quality items and with the fantastic provenance as well, is really exciting. The large cabinet inlaid with birds is a wonder to behold, and we expect a huge amount of interest in this sale.”
The items will be included in Lawrences January Fine Art Sale, with estimates ranging from £500 to £5000. For information about this sale please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041 or [email protected]
Five lots in Lawrences’ forthcoming auction of books, maps and manuscripts in Crewkerne on February 5th reflect the wide-ranging content of the 480-lot sale and are expected to appeal equally connoisseurs and more casual collectors of rare and unusual works .
A scarce set of James Smith and James Sowerby’s `English Botany` comprises 36 volumes with a remarkable total of 2592 hand-coloured engraved plates. Each volume is signed by Smith on the title page and extensively annotated by him. “`English Botany` was Smith’s first major serial publication,” comments Lawrences’ book specialist, Robert Ansell. “Most of Smith’s material is owned by the Linnaean Society which he co-founded in 1788 so this impressive lot offers a rare opportunity to buy a finely illustrated botanical work that has actually passed through the author’s own hands.” It is expected to make £2500-3500.
Three lots from the library of Dr Joseph Bell should offer a clue to any fan of Sherlock Holmes for it was Bell who inspired Conan Doyle’s most famous literary creation. `The Captain of the Polestar and other Tales`, a third edition published in 1892, is personally inscribed by Doyle to Bell in sepia ink (£2000-3000); an 1813 text awarded as a prize for coming a lowly 11th in a class of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh in 1854 suggests that Bell still needed to refine the skills that defined Sherlock Holmes’ most impressive deductions (£200-300); whilst half a dozen further volumes in two lots are guided at £100-250. All the lots come direct to auction from Bell’s descendants.
Coinciding neatly with the recent film, `Suffragette`, a manuscript of a speech delivered by Rosalind Howard, Countess Carlisle in June 1894, makes a steely plea for her wishes for women’s suffrage to be heard: `with all insistence that in us lies..our deeply revered Govt should listen to the prayer which we make to them.` The Countess’s determination took a further 24 years to find its reward but this seven page speech, complete with scribbled corrections, is an unusual chance to acquire an artefact from a highly emotive period of British political history. The estimate is £200-300. In addition, a manuscript volume of minutes recording the formation of the Women’s Freedom League is a curious item. The WFL was a peaceful movement petitioning for women’s suffrage, formed following the accusation of some Suffragettes that the Women’s Social and Political Union was proposing to conducts its affairs in an undemocratic and unconstitutional manner. The 112-page volume from 1907-1908 is signed by a number of notable members of this new protest group and is expected to make £400-600.