Monday 18th June, 2018
One of the UK's principal Fine Art Auctioneers, with General Sales, 
Fine Art Sales, Collectors Sales and Sporting Sales

Anyone for Venice?

Lawrences in Crewkerne are offering two fine oil paintings of Venice in their forthcoming Spring Fine Art sale on April 20th. “They are both painted by a Spaniard,” explains the firm’s specialist, Richard Kay. “His name was Rafael Senet y Perez and he was born in Seville in 1856. After studying in his hometown, he moved to Madrid and copied major works in the Prado in order to gain a better of understanding of the techniques of the masters. He then visited Italy for a 10-year spell and painted in Rome, Florence and Naples but he fell in love with Venice. He found that there was a keen market amongst the new generation of tourists in late 19th Century Europe and his bright, sunlit views in Venice found eager and wealthy collectors. Senet competed with his compatriot Federico del Campo to produce atmospheric Venetian scenes and also encountered competition from Rubens Santoro but he flourished in exhibitions in Seville, Cadiz and Madrid. He died in 1926. His pictures are collectable for their good understanding of architectural detail as well as the strong sense of atmosphere. In particular, his skills at capturing reflections in the water and the brilliant sunshine of a hot summer’s day are remarkable.” The two works in Lawrences’ sale represent a view on the Grand Canal looking towards Santa Maria della Salute (£8000-12000, see illustration) and another of the Campanile of the Frari with the Church of San Geremia and the Palazzo Labia (£7000-10000). Each has come from a family collection in Wales. Further entries for the sale are invited until early March 10th.

The Wierd and Wonderful in One Little Lot...

Unusual souvenirs and mementos were often gathered into `cabinets of curiosities` by 18th and 19th Century collectors. There will be an opportunity to start your own collection at Lawrences’ auction in Crewkerne next month when a ready-made horde of archaeological and natural history oddities comes under the hammer. Included in the lot will be a booklet of exotic feathers from humming birds; an emu feather from Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania); a bizarre little group of perfectly annotated  wishbones of game birds, such as wood pigeon, pheasant, wild duck, woodcock, ptarmigan, capercaillie and turkey; a dried carnivorous pitcher plant; trapdoor spiders; the delicate spores of a truffle held between glass slides; a segment of wood from a Californian giant redwood tree; a box of lustrous, opalescent emerald green beetles `from Tropical Countries`; strangely spherical pebbles from beaches in Brittany and Cornwall; mineral fragments, ammonites and amber, some worked into delicate bowls and dishes; intaglio seals; a small piece of ivory, carved to resemble an acorn; a tablet of variegated Californian marble in rich shades of ochre and brown; a smooth little lilac/blue egg made of bluejohn, a rare Derbyshire mineral; the decorated leather wallet of Henry Hope from Constantinople, 1765; unusually large flakes of mica silicate; a small sheathed Norwegian dagger; terracotta figures and poetry shards from Ancient Egypt; and an Oriental fan within a finely painted metal canister.


“The appeal of these items lies not just in their variety,” comments Lawrences’ Richard Gold. “It would be impossible to assemble such a diverse collection from scratch today for there are items from all five continents here. Each has been meticulously labelled by a 19th Century antiquarian so we know the origins of each piece. My two favourite pieces are the fragile, gauzy, lace-like skeleton (or sclerietes) of a sea cucumber from some distant ocean floor and, by contrast, a tiny but exquisitely carved figure of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet which dates from the 12th Dynasty so is 4000 years old. Sekhmet was regarded as the protector of the Pharaohs and her breath was believed to have created the deserts of Egypt. This little item would have been intended to act as a servant to a deceased Egyptian in the afterlife and would have been interred with him. The estimate is £300-400.”


The collection was formed by the family of the Rev. Dr. Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811) who was appointed Astronomer Royal at the age of 33, a post he held for the rest of his life. A crater on the moon was named for him and the Apollo 11 mission landed close to it in 1969. Numerous other fascinating items from the collection include a fine Japanese netsuke (ivory carving); a Napoleonic-era boat, made by a prisoner of war and containing a handmade dominoes set; and intriguing documents and ephemera currently being researched by the Book department.


Image attached to show variety of items in this lot. Take your pick!





A wonderful collection of Steuben Glass is to be sold by Lawrences Auctioneers of Crewkerne.


Entered for sale by a local client, it includes over 30 pieces by this famous factory.


Steuben had been based in New York for over 100 years, making the very highest quality art glass and sculptures until it's final closure in 2011. The glass works began in 1903, making art glass and competing with companies such as Tiffany.


After WW2 the company began to produce clear glass sculptures and functional items, with their stylish and fluid designs being extremally popular.


This collection includes famous designs such The Balloon Rally, Peacock, Cathedral, Castle of Dreams, Star Stream, and also includes a variety of vases and bowls, and animal figures.


Lawrences Auctioneer Simon Jones said, "This is a remarkable collection, it is very unusual to see such a large collection of Steuben glass and it should attract a huge amount of interest."


These items will be sold in Lawrences April Fine Art Sale, for further details please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041, or visit the website on







The work of a skilled but little-known wood engraver will be featured in Lawrences’ spring sale next month.


Claughton Pellew was born in Cornwall in 1890, the son of a mining engineer and an artist. He studied under Henry Tonks and P. W. Steer at the Slade (1907-1911) and rubbed shoulders there with fellow students Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash and Stanley Spencer. After turning wholeheartedly to Roman Catholicism, Pellew became a conscientious objector in the Great War and was incarcerated on Dartmoor.


“The desperate hardship of this experience invested all his art with a sense of isolation and detachment,” comments Lawrences’ specialist, Richard Kay. “He married Emma Tennent in 1919 and they built a house together in Norfolk. They led a primitively simple life and Pellew began wood engraving in 1923 although he rarely exhibited his works. Undoubtedly, his geographical remoteness and his self-deprecating manner were contributory factors. As a Neo-Romantic, Pellew's works celebrate vanishing rural lifestyles that align him with Eric Ravilious, John Piper and Graham Sutherland. Paul Nash admired his friend's "devotional approach" when observing his beloved natural world. Only a scant handful of exhibitions since Pellew's death in 1966 have attempted to demonstrate his remarkable talents as a fine engraver and we hope that the six prints on offer will alert collectors to Pellew’s remarkable skills. Subjects include “The Return”, “Marsh Marigolds” and “Sunrise” whilst “The Smithy” [illustrated] from 1930 depicts Pellew’s natural ability with the difficult medium of wood engraving as it involves cutting across the grain, his eye for a nostalgic subject, his skill with a strong composition divided by strong lines and the impressiveness neatness of his technique.” Estimates range from £250-400 each.






A wonderful Louis Vuitton Steamer Trunk is to be sold by Lawrences Auctioneers of Crewkerne.


Entered for sale by a Somerset client this wonderful item provides a personal travelling wardrobe in the upmost style. The trunk opens to reveal six internal drawers, adjustable hanging space, and even a detachable suitcase. Easily transportable it comes complete with leather carrying handles and a brass lock to keep your items secure.


Lawrences Auctioneer Simon Jones said, "This is a fantastic trunk which is of the highest quality as you would expect from Louis Vuitton. Their vintage trunks are highly prized and we are expecting a huge amount of interest"


The Trunk will be sold in Lawrences Sporting Sale on Friday 11th of May, for further enquiries please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041.


Lawrences in Crewkerne have had great successes in recent years with the sale of chess sets - an example in Indian ivory made £17,200 last July - but the firm's specialist, Anthony Kilroy, has high expectations for a rather unusual single piece.


Made of gilt bronze and standing just three inches high, the piece is modelled as a rook and it bears a fascinating engraved inscription that reveals its history.  It reads "Chess match by cable between House of Commons, London and House of Representatives, Washington played over the lines of the Anglo American Telegraph Co. London and Western Union Telegraph Co, New York, 1897". One was awarded to each player as a memento. The top is inset with a section of the Trans-Atlantic telegraph wire itself and the extraordinary match, co-arranged by John Henniker Heaton (an MP in London) and US politician Richmond Pearson, lasted two days. It ended in an amicable draw so the `special relationship` was not soured by the contest.


The discreet stamp of `C&AG` denotes the makers of the piece, Carlo and Arthur Giuliano. In 1860, Carlo Giuliano Senior (1832-1895), one of the most distinctive jewellers of the Victorian era, came to London and established a thriving business through many of the city's leading retailers. He set up his own workshop in 1861 and, in 1874, took on his own retail premises. Queen Victoria was a regular visitor. Giuliano's sons, born in the 1860's, took over the business in later years and oversaw the manufacture of these souvenir items in 1897. This curious little piece, consigned for sale by a titled Somerset gentleman, is expected to realise £2000-3000 on April 17th.



Lawrences’ forthcoming sale of silver and vertu in Crewkerne comprises nearly 800 lots and the auctioneers expect some of the biggest prices to come from the smallest items. Of course, a few of the larger pieces are expected to do well, too: a George II kettle on stand made by George Wickes in 1737 is guided at £3000-4000. An impressively large (20cm high, 35oz) tankard by Francis Garthorne was made in 1691 and is touchingly engraved with an inscription indicating that it was a gift from Lady Edith Phelpps to her goddaughter Hester Santell. This is also expected to make £3000-4000


Highlights amongst the smaller items include a rare seal box and cover made in Exeter in 1824. It measures 12cm across and bears the arms of the Earl of Exeter (estimate £2500-3000). From the same owner, a gold and enamelled medallion was probably made to celebrate King George III’s return to good health after a bout of insanity brought on by an attack of the disease porphyria. Such was the public’s concern for their monarch’s wellbeing that the king’s physicians issued a bulletin announcing his improvement on February 26th 1789. This item, just 3.5cm wide, is offered with its original turned wooden box and is expected to make £1500-1800 [see illustration]. A vendor in South East England has consigned a little Victorian caddy spoon with a bowl fluted to resemble a shell. This is unusual for being cast in silver and having a swan’s mask terminal. It was made by John Williams in 1848 and could make £2500.


Finally, two beautiful quality miniatures will be sold in the vertu section. One is by Nathaniel Plimer (1757-1822) and is expected to make up to £1500. The other is by one of the finest miniaturists of his generation, John Smart (1742-1811), and is signed with his initials. It dates from 1766 and is expected to realise £2000-3000. Each of these little gems would fit easily in the palm of a child’s hand.



A fine mahogany bed in Lawrences’ forthcoming sale in Crewkerne will give the buyer a chance to sleep like a queen because it was once at Buckingham Palace. “How it came to leave the Royal family’s collection we do not know,” comments Lawrences’ specialist, Richard Gold. “However, it is incised with the letters VR and BP to indicate that it was at Buckingham Palace during Queen Victoria’s reign. It would certainly have accommodated Her Majesty with ease; she was only 4 feet 11 inches tall and this bed is a full 6 feet 8 inches long. In this Jubilee year, we hope that it will catch someone’s eye as an interesting glimpse into a Palace bedroom from a century ago.” The estimate is £300-500



Lawrences in Crewkerne is pleased to be offering 150 lots of selected pictures and works of art from Barford Park near Bridgwater in their forthcoming auction in April. The sale has arisen following the death in August 2011 of Michael Stancomb who lived with his family at Barford Park for over 50 years. In addition to landscaping a long-neglected garden (and opening it for charity events), Mr Stancomb carried out sensitive and extensive renovations to the Queen Anne house and took great pleasure in furnishing it with an interesting variety of antiques.


In Lawrences' silver sale, there is a pair of 18th Century Dutch tea caddies, made in Haarlem in 1736, sold with an English sugar bowl from London, all contained within a lined and fitted box (£2000-2500); and other items such as a pocket barometer (£80-120), an Art Deco cigarette box from 1935 (£80-120) and an Edwardian silver and tortoiseshell inkstand (£150-250)


In the selection of ceramics and glass, there is a large majolica lidded urn, probably by Minton (£400-600), a Chinese famille rose vase and cover (£300-400) and a Meissen tureen and cover (£200-300) amongst many similar items.


In the final day’s selection on April 20th, highlights include a pair of scenes of figures amongst Classical ruins by an Italian artist working in the style of Giovanni Ghisolfi (1632-1683),  estimated at £3000-5000; many decorative copies after Dutch, Italian and Spanish Old Masters including David Teniers, Correggio and Velasquez (from £150-900); and a substantial amount of furniture, works of art and garden ornaments.


Of particular merit is a set of four Corinthian pilasters, together with two panelled doors decorated with trompe l’oeil designs of flower and china. These were originally installed at Farleigh House in Somerset and then at Blount’s Court at Potterne near Devizes in Wiltshire before going to Barford Park (estimate £3500-4000). There is a George IV yew wood teapoy by Robert James of Bristol (1784-1831) who held a Royal Warrant for his cabinet making (£800-1000) and a George III mahogany cellarette containing caddies and decanters (£600-800).  Two centre tables are reputed to have come from the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851 and are guided at up to £1500 each. A good pair of bronzes, depicting Wellington and Napoleon on horseback stand 25 inches high. They could make £3000 and adorn the front cover of the catalogue.


For the collector, there are items such as a tortoiseshell tea caddy (£500-600), a pair of George III mahogany plate buckets for servants to carry dishes back to the kitchen (£1500-1750), and a dozen lots of garden statuary ranging from a reconstituted stoneware urn (£100-150) to a handsome, imposing pair of reconstituted stone crouching lions (£1000-1500). Every lot in the sale can be viewed with images online at




An upmarket version of the traditional games box is on offer at Lawrences in Crewkerne later this month. This set is made of bone and measures just over eight inches in length. It was probably made by a Prisoner of War during the Napoleonic wars in the early 19th Century. The prisoners were often skilled with their hands and, during long periods of inactivity in captivity, they kept the mutton bones from their meals. These they soaked in clay to soften them and then the sailors would cut and shape them into the dominoes and tiny playing cards. “This box is in the form of a funerary bier and has a sliding lid, just like an old pencil box, decorated with the funeral procession for a soldier named Malborough,” explains Lawrences’ director, Richard Gold. “It was evidently made with great care and resourcefulness and the cover is even punched with holes for a game of cribbage. It has been delicately decorated with watercolours but shows signs of use. Not only did the making of an item like this help to break up long hours of boredom but, when finished, it afforded many hours of recreation. The identity of poor Malborough is unclear – but we are not suggesting that this box was made from his bones!” This intriguing glimpse into the pastimes of 200 years ago is expected to make £200-300 on April 20th.



A small collection of signed Royal Worcester porcelain is to be sold by Lawrences Auctioneers of Crewkerne.


Entered for sale by two local clients, are a number of signed Royal Worcester items. During the late 19th and early 20thc Worcester produced some of the finest handpainted porcelain ever to be produced, and the items signed by the artists themselves are particularly sought after.


Items include a vase painted with Sheep by Ernest Barker, a pair of plates and a bowl painted by renowned fruit painter Richard Sebright, and a vase painted with Roses by James Hadley.


Lawrences Auctioneer Simon Jones said, "The quality of items produced by Royal Worcester at this time were quite extraordinary, and they are extremely sought after both in the UK and overseas."


The items will be sold in Lawrences April Fine Art Sale, for further details about this sale please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041.



A wonderful collection of 'N' gauge Railway items are to be sold by Lawrences Auctioneers of Crewkerne.


Compiled by a gentleman in the Wedmore area over the last 30-40 years, it includes a huge variety of items which are being offered for sale by his family.


All the items are made in 'N' gauge which is much smaller than 'OO' and 'O' gauge, with the vast majority made by Graham Farish. The collection includes a huge number of boxed locomotives, wagons and coaches, and even includes items used to make a layout for these items.


Lawrences Auctioneer Simon Jones said, "It is very unusual to see such a large variety of items in this gauge, and there are many collectors for these items. Our collectors sale in May includes a huge variety of railway items including Hornby 00 and 0 gauge, and there should be something for every Railway collector"


These items will be sold in Lawrences May Collectors Sale, for further details please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041.