Wednesday 23rd May, 2018
One of the UK's principal Fine Art Auctioneers, with General Sales, 
Fine Art Sales, Collectors Sales and Sporting Sales


This rare Dunhill table lighter is known as an Aquarium Lighter and they were made by Dunhill from the 1950’s onwards. They have lucite panels on both sides with the interiors hand painted showing fish and underwater foliage. It measures 8cms high and 9.5cms across, and comes in very good condition.

These were expensive items to purchase at the time and continue to be highly sought after.

Auctioneer Simon Jones said, ‘We have sold a couple of these lighters in the last couple of years, and they are always very popular with collectors, so we are expecting a great deal of interest’

This lighter will be sold in Lawrences’ Winter Fine Art Sale on Thursday 18th January. It is expected to make £1000-1500 at auction.

For further enquires about this sale please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041. Entries invited until the end of the month.


Lawrences’ last major catalogued sale of the year took place in Crewkerne on December 8th and comprised books, letters, manuscripts, maps and photographs.

Highlights were many and an early success was for a unique copy of Francis Bacon’s `Of Gardens`, embellished with original watercolour illustrations by Allan Vigers in 1904. The exquisite and painstaking craftsmanship lifted the price to £3050.  An album of 73 mounted photographs of Persia and India dated from c.1880 and made £2680; Rudolf Ackermann’s `History of the University of Cambridge..` from 1815 included 79 hand-coloured aquatints and made £3050; Adam Smith’s seminal `Wealth of Nations` (1778) in two volumes, a major analysis of economic principles, had belonged to a distinguished professor at the London School of Economics and soared to £15250; and Simeon Solomon’s `A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep` (1871) was  bid to a double-estimate £3660.

Two particular surprises came towards the end of the 500-lot sale. A charming 1893 letter by Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, to a Miss Ruby Paulson expressed regret that `Sherlock has become very lazy..` but noted nonetheless that the eminent detective had judged intuitively that the girl’s father would be about 45 years of age, that the girl’s hair was brown, that she was a clever girl `with a turn for everything except mathematics`. Offered with its envelope, the informal letter with its kindly and avuncular tone attracted many bids before being bought for £9000.

Three lots related to Oskar Schindler (1908-1974) and to his wife, Emile. The Schindlers were credited with saving the lives of over 1000 Jewish holocaust victims, commemorated in Thomas Keneally’s `Schindler’s Ark` (1982) and Steven Spielberg’s film `Schindler’s List`. One lot comprised a small personal archive of correspondence, photographs and personal effects that had belonged to Emile Schindler (`thank you ..for having restored my faith in mankind`); a second lot was an Omega gold automatic wristwatch, reputedly Oskar’s own; and the final lot included a lady’s 18ct gold watch with other small items of jewellery. Against hopes of £1900, these three lots reached £20900, each bought by the same determined bidder.


On Tuesday 16th January there is the much-anticipated collection of 120 lots of snuff boxes. Although the taking of snuff is not the regular pastime it once was, there is still keen demand for these finely made and quaintly historical objects. The collection is expected to exceed £90,000 with one lot, a very rare provincial Scottish snuff mull made in Tain in c.1750, expected to make £8000-10,000. “We expect worldwide interest in this collection and Lawrences are primed and ready with full live internet bidding.


A refined portrait of a distinguished Bristolian is being offered for sale at auction this month. The portrait is believed to depict Philip John Miles MP (1773-1845), a notable Bristol figure and a very wealthy businessman and parliamentarian who was apparently Bristol’s first recorded millionaire and a partner in the Miles Bank (that later merged with Nat West).  Miles owned Leigh Court and Kings Weston estates on both banks of the River Avon in Bristol and also the Manor of Walton in Gordano, Clevedon as well as many more lands in the Bristol area.

The portrait was painted by the eminent Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830). He was a self-taught artist, born in Bristol, who went on to become a Knight of the Realm, President of the Royal Academy and one of Britain’s greatest portrait painters. He was a great friend of Richard Hart Davis (1766-1842), another Bristol-born businessman and banker who was also painted by Lawrence in 1815.  Philip John Miles was also a friend of Richard Hart Davis and in 1813 he purchased his famous Old Masters art collection which became the nucleus of the celebrated Leigh Court Collection, dispersed in 1899. The picture passed by descent in the family of the sitter until sold with other family portraits at auction in 2014, where it was purchased by the present owner.

 “Our research shows that the portrait was painted c.1815-1820,” comments the auctioneer, Richard Kay, who will be including the lot in the firm’s 2600-lot sale of Fine Art & Antiques on January 15th-19th. “The sitter would appear perhaps to be in his forties. The only other known image of Miles is believed to be a mezzotint portrait, so depictions of him are surprisingly scarce.” The estimate is £4000-6000.


Our forthcoming auction of jewellery on January 18th includes a collection of nine superb lots that had been stored in a safe deposit box in the bank for about thirty years.  “The West Country vendor is selling the jewels, which belonged to her mother and grandmother," explains Lawrences’ jewellery specialist, Miranda Bingham. “Many of the  banks are now discontinuing their safe deposit box facility for jewellery and valuables, which is one of the reasons why the collection has come to us for sale. In addition, we have had some remarkable results in our sales in 2017 and feel optimistic about the market for fine quality jewellery, especially if it has not been seen at auction before.”

Highlights include an Art Deco ruby and diamond bracelet with exceptional quality natural Burmese rubies (£3000-5000); an Art Deco sapphire and diamond bracelet with no evidence of any heat treatment, the sapphires totalling 24 carats (£6000-8000); a three stone diamond ring set with stones weighing approx 4.5 carats (£6000-8000); and a Victorian diamond riviere necklace, set with 61 brilliant-cut stones (£10,000-15,000, see illustration). The nine lots are expected to make £50,000.

The jewellery is one section of a 2600-lot sale of Fine Art that spans four days. In addition to jewels and watches, there will be 1100 lots of silver (including two notable private collections), Decorative Arts and ceramics, Oriental items, pictures, clocks, furniture, works of art and carpets with estimates from £50 to £15000.


We will be kicking off 2018 with a bumper, five day series of running from Monday 13th January to Friday 19th January.  In addition to the regular quarterly sale of 2000 lots of silver, jewellery, ceramics, paintings and furniture there will also be two extra sales featuring two private collections of silver.

On Monday 15th January, we will be offering the second half of the McKenzie collection comprising 382 lots of Vesta cases, the auctioneers having sold the first part in January 2017. The collection represents a lifetime of collecting and ranges from simple, engraved examples expected to fetch around £100 up to some very sought after and rare examples which will attract a lot of interest. One item, a saucy Continental nickel vesta case, might make as much as £1500. It is hoped that the collection might make £60,000.

On Tuesday 16th January there is the much-anticipated collection of 120 lots of snuff boxes. Although the taking of snuff is not the regular pastime it once was, there is still keen demand for these finely made and quaintly historical  objects. The collection is expected to exceed £90,000 with one lot, a very rare provincial Scottish snuff mull made in Tain in c.1750, expected to make £8000-10,000.

We expect worldwide interest in these collections and we are primed and ready with full live internet bidding available on these and all the lots in the catalogued sales series.

Christmas Opening Hours


Friday 22nd December - 9.00am – 3.00pm (Early Closing)
Monday 25th December - Closed
Tuesday 26th December - Closed
Wednesday 27th December - Closed
Thursday 28th December - Closed
Friday 29th December - Closed
Monday 1st January – Closed
Tuesday 2nd January - Re-Open – 9.00am – 5.30pm

The first General Sale in the New Year will be on 10th January 2018.