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

Original Picasso Drawing at Lawrences

Original Picasso Drawing at Lawrences

Lawrences in Crewkerne are offering their usual broad variety in their Spring Auction next month and, in the Paintings section, there are items as varied as a collection of 1940's children's book illustrations (estimates from £200, including original Tufty drawings), an impressive landscape by the Constable imitator Frederick W. Watts (£8000-12000) and some religious pictures formerly in a convent in Louvain. However, the auctioneers expect to achieve international attention for a drawing by the world's most valuable artist at auction: Pablo Picasso.

"The ink drawing, entitled "Personnages et Deux Chiens" depicts two groups of figures with a couple of dogs," explains Lawrences' specialist, Richard Kay. "It was drawn by Picasso when he was still a teenager living in Madrid, seeking his own style, and comes from a sketchbook known as Carnet 96. In this drawing he is clearly demonstrating his admiration for the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec whose pictures he would have seen during his stay in Paris from October to December 1900. The drawing is not signed but collectors need have no fear of its genuineness as it is stamped on the back to show that it was once in the collection of Picasso's granddaughter, Marina. Furthermore, the drawing has been exhibited in Geneva, Venice, Munich, Tokyo, Melbourne and Paris. Its appeal lies in the spontaneous manner in which the artist observed these people on a street, interacting with each other as tentatively as the two dogs in the foreground. Amongst these few strangers, Picasso depicts the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the sociable and the reserved. His understanding of human personality was acute, even at the age of nineteen. In this lightning study, we get a glimpse of how Picasso was soon to develop into such a major figure in 20th Century art." The drawing, which measures five inches by nine inches, has been consigned for sale from a private West Country collection and is expected to realise £30,000-40,000.

For further information on this and other items included in our April Fine Art Sale, please contact Richard Kay on 01460 73041.

Another Linocut at Lawrences....

Lawrences in Crewkerne had a remarkable success with a group of seven Grosvenor School linocuts last July that sold for a total of over £145,000 so they are optimistic about the prospects for a similar linocut in their sale later this month. "Steeplechasing USA" is the title of a gracefully energetic print by Sybil Andrews, the leading printmaker of the Grosvenor School in London who eventually settled in Canada. The print, which measures just 17 by 27cm, was conceived in 1930 and fifty six images were made in this country. By popular demand, she made a second edition for the American market in the summer of 1932 and planned a further edition for Australia in 1936. By that time, unfortunately, the linoblocks were too worn to yield more than twenty of the intended sixty prints. Andrews' skill lay in reducing a subject to harshly geometrical outlines without detail or shadow. The three leaping horses in this print are almost unrecognizable and yet the subject is immediately comprehensible. "Following a massively popular exhibition of similar linocuts in America last spring, the market is now truly international for these prints," says Lawrences' Richard Kay. "We shall target all those collectors who tried to buy one from our last group and hope that we shall get a good price for our vendor who was lucky enough to spot the print in a box of other pictures in another auction room a few months ago." The estimate is £5000-7000 and the auction of over 2200 lots is on view from Friday 17th April.

For further details on this Lot or any other Lots in our April Fine Art Sale, please view the full catalogue on-line or contact

April Fine Art Jewellery Sale

There is a good selection of jewellery in Lawrences' forthcoming sale and, as specialist Miranda Bingham observes, "in times of financial uncertainty, there is often comfort in something as timeless and durable as a diamond." There are jewels for every budget, too: a pretty emerald and diamond two row ring in 18ct gold (£250-350) and a solitaire pendant at a similar price will catch many eyes. For modern tastes, an Art Deco aquamarine, ruby and diamond dress ring is guided at £1000-1500, an Art Deco diamond solitaire weighing 1.75 carats and set with three baguette-cut diamonds to the shoulder is expected to make £4000-6000 and an impressive diamond pendant with a green-yellow stone of 1.34 carats is estimated at £7500-9500. A pair of diamond dress clips in a fitted box should appeal at £5000-7000 and a pair of diamond drop earrings with rose-cut diamonds in silver and gold are tipped to make £7000-9000. A pair of diamond earrings of flowerhead form will cost £2000-3000 and a diamond-set full eternity ring is likely to make £600-800. Some fine quality Indian rubies adorn a gold and gem set heraldic pendant (the central ruby is in the shape of a coat of arms) and a lion and unicorn heraldic pendant set with a peridot, tourmalines and rubies is from the same source. These are estimated at £1500-2000 and £1000-1500 respectively. Highlights in the 270-lot selection are a sapphire and diamond cluster ring with an untreated Sri Lankan 5.67 carat sapphire at its centre (£10,000-15,000) and a 2.3 carat brilliant-cut diamond solitaire with six graduated diamonds on each shoulder which is expected to make £16,000-18,000

A Bronzed Adonis & Friend....

A full sized bronzed adonis will go under the hammer in Lawrences General Sale on Wednesday 22nd April. 

Saleroom Manager Tony Lacey, shown here with the warrier, said "Our General Sales always have a real mixture of items.  Antique & modern furniture, ceramics, pictures, house hold items, the list is long and varied.  This figure certainly shows that we must always be prepared for the unexpected." 

Viewing for the General Sale is on both Monday 20th April, 9.00am - 4.30pm and Tuesday 21st April, 9.00am - 7.00pm.  The sale starts at 9.30am on Wednesday 22nd April. 

The general sale is part of a 4 day sales fest at Lawrences Crewkerne Salerooms, with the Spring Fine Art Sale on 21st, 23rd & 24th April.

For further details on all sales, please contact 01460 73041.


Militaria and Collectors Sales

Bakelite Clipper Ship ClockLawrences are inviting entries for our Spring 2009 Militaria and Collectors Sales.

Already to be included is this very unusual Bakelite Clipper Ship Clock. Originally patented in 1941, this example was made in the Isle of Man by The Vitascope Industries Company.

The clock is powered by mains electricity which operates the clock movement and automaton above, the ship moves from side to side and lights up.

It is expected to realise £200-300 in auction on Tuesday 21st April.

For further details regarding this item or items for this sale, please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041.


The Big Bad Wolf

To be included in our Collectors Sale on Tuesday 21st April 2009.....


A ' Bon Bonier' ,the bisque head doll by Hermann Steiner, with fixed eyes, open mouth, and wooden limbs. The doll secured by a rod to a model of a Wolf, with mohair body and removable head. Comes with a photograph taken in 1924, in which the original owner is seen next to the item. Impressed mark, Made in Germany, HS, 1. 13ins (33cms) high
* This item was originally owned by Miss Ethel Baker (1921-2000), who was given the item in 1924. Originally it contained Chocolates inside the wolf (no longer there), and was probably made around 1910. The photograph in this lot is a copy of the original which has been kept by the family.

Edwardian Bicycle rides in to Lawrences

A bizarre Edwardian bicycle of distinctive design and with a peculiar woven string saddle will be "peddled" by Lawrences in their Spring Collectors Auction.

The 19lb bicycle (remarkably light for its time) was designed by Mikael Pedersen in 1893 and manufactured from 1900-1914. The enterprising Dane had settled in Dursley in Gloucestershire and applied his engineering training to all sorts of devices to aid farmers and mechanics. This model was built in 1905 and was once owned by an elderly Archdeacon who rode it around Chard. After he fell ill, the bicycle ended up in a workshop where it was purchased by the current owner's father. The strong but light design, based upon the geometric strength of a Whipple-Murphy bridge, gave the rider a more upright posture that eased strain on the back and also enabled him (or her) to pedal with greater efficiency and speed. Pedersen was so confident of the design's robust construction that he even made a prototype entirely out of wood to prove that a 14-stone man could ride it with ease.

The innovative three-speed gears were a major step forward in 1905 and the bicycle was popular amongst those who could afford them but production was too low-key to guarantee widespread success. Although some believed that Pedersen had made as many as 30,000 machines, there is only evidence for the building of approximately 7800. In its day, a Dursley Pedersen bicycle was the Rolls-Royce of the cycling world. The "hammock" seat, which (like the rest of the vehicle) is still in remarkably good condition, is woven from 45 yards (40 metres) of whipped cord and weighs just four ounces. It is joined to the frame with a thick adjustable leather strap at the front and is supported on seven sturdy springs at the rear. Henry Carless of Lawrences is shown with the bicycle in the firm's saleroom and found it to be an awkward but surprisingly comfortable ride. Pedersen himself, who sometimes rode over 5000 miles a year, had rigorously tested his invention on a steep hill called Whiteway in Gloucestershire but Henry settled for a quick level dash across the carpark!

Despite having a brilliant eye for design, Pedersen was hopeless with his finances and died in poverty. His most famous legacy now has a website dedicated to its promotion and there are many keen collectors worldwide, especially in Denmark. Lawrences' example is estimated at £400-600 and would make an eye-catching form of transport.

A taster of the April Fine Art Sale.....

In Lawrences' forthcoming sale of Militaria, Arms and Armour Medals etc to be held in Crewkerne on April 21st, the firm will be offering two rather superb examples of the gunsmith's art.

A pair of silver inlaid pistols, consigned for the sale by the widow of a local collector and retrieved from a dusty old case in a garage, are expected to attract keen attention from collectors. "Beautifully inlaid with details of trophies, foliage and even a basket of flowers, the guns are by W. H. Wilson who worked in the Minories in London from 1727-1780," says Lawrences' consultant, Jeff Day. "These have a hallmark for 1754 and come from his best period when he was producing guns for the educated and discerning patron who admired quality of craftsmanship as much as an elaborately decorative finish. Wilson specialised in flintlock pistols (both single and double barrel), Queen Anne-type coach pistols with elegant silver butt-caps and rare and unusual items such as repeating pistols with magazines. It is particularly desirable to have a pair of pistols by a recorded maker in original condition, and they are all the more appealing for being so well made. The pair is expected to realise £2000-3000."

"From the same collection (and unseen for forty years) is a fine cased flintlock sporting gun by James Wilkinson of Pall Mall in London. Wilkinson was well known for for his guns and edged weapons and his skill in producing a fine sharp blade resulted in the firm later specialising famously in razor blades before giving up weaponry altogether. This finely made gun is composed of parts that can be dismantled with ease allowing it to be fitted into a case but also quickly reassembled without the need for complicated tools. It dates from about 1810 and is expected to realise £1500-2000. Guns of this nature have been collectable for two hundred years and buyers are keener on them now than ever before. It's always a thrill to find an unusual weapon and this discovery in an old box adds some fascinating items to our sale."


A veritable armada of ducks is swimming towards Lawrences' Spring auction later this month: not the real, feathered kind but a flock of eighteen wooden and aluminium decoys, some of which have American origins. "Carved wood decoy ducks were made originally for gunners and sportsmen who would use the models to lure other ducks to water and a great "folk" tradition emerged in America in the 19th Century as various makers used techniques and styles to distinguish their work," comments Lawrences' Richard Gold. "Nowadays, the market is plagued with cheap modern imitations but these examples are early 20th Century in date and are all hand painted. Each shows some signs of wear that suggests that they were actually used rather than shown merely as ornaments and this increases their appeal. The work of some of the most notable decoy carvers, such as Lothrop Holmes, has made over £600,000 but these quaint little birds are divided into half a dozen lots and are estimated from just £50 upwards."

One notable exception is a carved wood model of a mallard by the celebrated modern British sculptor Guy Taplin. Taplin, who was a postman, a lifeguard and a hairdresser before settling on sculpture whilst working as a gardener in Regent's Park in the 1960's, is now highly sought after for his driftwood models that owe much to the American influence of decoy carving. A current successful exhibition of his work is on show in London but this littler bird is expected to fly away at £300-500.


April Fine Art Sale Results

Tuesday 21st - Militaria & Collectors Sale


Collectors filled the room and phone lines were busy at Lawrences on the first day of their Spring Fine Art Auction last week. With all manner of items on offer, ranging from dolls and daggers to stamps and steam engines, specialists Jeff Day and Simon Jones had handled enquiries from across the world. "The huge variety is certainly part of the appeal," said Jeff after the auction. "Buyers love to see the range of what we sell and we were lucky to have something for everyone. There was a real momentum in the saleroom from start to finish."

The fact that the true highlights came early in the day did not dampen enthusiasm for the latter stages. Within the first dozen lots of militaria, Jeff sold a Malayan bronze lantaka cannon for £2500, a pair of brass signal cannons for £3300, a cased James Wilkinson flintlock sporting gun for £6600 and a pair of Wilson flintlock pistols from the mid 1750's for £9000. A silver mounted presentation sword of 1827 pattern, presented to Captain R. Comyn, doubled expectations to make £2100.

A good and varied selection of postage stamps was led by an album containing examples from Antigua, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Australia New Zealand and a rare postal order to Captain Scott from the Victoria Land Antarctic Expedition of 1913. This took £1900. A scale model steam roller made £1800 and a scale model 3.5 gauge LMS locomotive puffed its way to £1400. A rare German bisque group of a Red Riding Hood doll seated with implausible equanimity upon the back of a ravening wolf, the beast's jaws open and displaying sharp teeth, soared above its estimate to make £1600. The rare and collectable Dursley Pederson bicycle with its unusual string seat, featured previously upon these pages, made £1650. To the delight of the Taunton vendor who was on the verge of throwing them away, two photograph albums containing a variety of views in Hong Kong and the Far East as well as pictures of thec SS Adriatic (winner of the Blue Riband) and HMS Good Hope made £1300. A Nicole Freres Swiss musical box in a finely inlaid case made £1950.

However, the biggest surprise of the day was a superbly complete Noah's Ark of German origin with its apparently full complement of scores of pairs of hand-painted wooden animals. Consigned for sale by a client near Taunton, detail was less important than effect: the dove was painted on the ark's roof and was as large as a turkey, the ladybirds were as large as chickens and the cats were the same size as the goats but its sheer decorative appeal brought the eventual buyer down from the Cotswolds to ensure that he did not miss out on securing the lot. After a rapid escalation of bidding, the traveller took home his trophy for £6400.

A selection of over 160 rugs and carpets finished off the day and there were very few left unsold: a Kazak cloudburst rug made £780, a Hereke-type silk rug with a wonderful central panel of exotic birds in a tree made £950 and a large Afghan carpet was bought for £925.


Thursday 23rd - Silver, Jewellery & Ceramics


In the silver section, a pair of George III beakers from 1799 sold for £1300, the George I Scottish snuffers' tray (featured previously on these pages) sold above expectations for £3400 and an unusually fine and flawless fox mask stirrup cup from 1817 was hunted down at £6800. From a selection of nearly 200 lots that included miniatures, cutlery and small objects of vertu, only 4 lots were unsold. A good quality tortoiseshell and silver inlaid inkstand from 1905 made £1100 and a collection of 35 vinaigrettes sold for £3470. A late 17th Century miniature in oil on copper sold with another for £780.

Highlights in the jewellery section of over 250 lots were the £4200 paid for an Art Deco diamond solitaire ring, £7700 paid for a sapphire and diamond cluster ring and £3200 paid for a large white sapphire dress ring. An especially stylish ruby and diamond ring made well above expectations at £2700 and an Art Deco aquamarine and diamond ring made £3400. A diamond ring set with a ruby that weighed nearly three carats took £5200.

In the ceramics section, attention focused upon a Royal Worcester cabinet plate decorated by Charles Baldwyn. Against hopes of £500-700, it was sold for £1800 after the specialists had received numerous requests for a detailed condition report. A Derby rabbit tureen and cover made £1500 but it was dogs rather than rabbits that delighted most buyers: two lots containing an unruly hoard of ceramic pugs totalled £2840 (see illustration of one of these lots), two other sets made £540 and £460 respectively, a pair of Meissen-style pug dogs were bought for £880, and a single figure of a pug (15 inches long, so not far off life size) was led away for £780. The total for the lucky Exmoor lady vendor was £4860. A pair of Meissen figures of Bolognese terriers made £1250 and two pairs of plates with delicately pierced rims from the same factory made £3800. Among the Oriental ceramics, a suite of eleven armorial plates from c.1768 and decorated with the arms of Louthian or Douglas realised a total of £3160. The hammer price total for the day was just over £220,000.

Barely pausing for breath, the auctioneers' bi-annual sporting sale goes on view at their Crewkerne saleroom today (Friday) and features the usual vast assortment of items associated with country sports. Estimates start at about £30 and collectors can choose from hunting attire, jewellery, taxidermy, books, fishing rods and scores of sporting pictures. There are prints by Lionel Edwards, Snaffles, Cecil Aldin and Archibald Thorburn as well as a fine original watercolour by Edwards of The Wilton Hunt on Gallows Hill, estimated at £6000-6500 (see illustration). "There are more than half a dozen hunts within an hour's drive of Crewkerne," observes former hunt master and Lawrences' specialist for the sale, Keith Amor. "We look forward to welcoming hundreds of keen buyers from the West Country and also from further afield. In our last sale in the autumn we had buyers from Continental Europe and America bidding for mementos of a quintessentially English way of life. In addition, we are pleased to be offering the collection of heavy horse harness and brasses from the collection of Ralph Gilbey. There really will be something for every enthusiast of field sports and the country life, whatever their budget."


Friday 24th - Paintings & Furniture


The final day of Lawrences' Spring Fine Art auction saw pictures, clocks, works of art and furniture go under the hammer. "There were solid prices in every section and an enthusiasm to buy that suggested that there is plenty of money out there," reported Richard Gold after the sale. "We are fortunate to have received so many instructions from local private vendors who are realistic about the market. This undoubtedly contributed to an appealing and large variety of goods."

Four watercolours by Devon-born artist Conrad Martens, who sailed with Charles Darwin to Australia in 1833, attracted considerable interest from Australia and realised a total of £9700 with all but one going to Australian collectors. More modern watercolours fared well, too, with a fine nude study by Frank Dobson (consigned for sale by the executors of one of his students) making £2600 and a small study of a tiger by Mary Fedden RA taking £2800. A vast collection of 1950's children's book illustrations, all in glorious colour having not seen daylight for half a century, made a total of £8600 and three Irish watercolours by Percy French from a Wiltshire vendor made £1100, £2100 and £2800. Highlights in the oil paintings included £13000 for a Heywood Hardy scene of a handsome Regency huntsman taking leave of his lady. This had come from a client in mid-Wales. A fine landscape by F. W. Watts came from a Taunton couple and sold for £8000 whilst an oil of a hearty Italian peasant girl by Pasquale Gelommi had been in a Dorset family since about 1900 and returned to Italy for £3600. A big surprise was a stylised alabaster and beaten copper female head by the little known artist, Joseph Morcom. Consigned for sale by his son, it soared above expectations to make £4600.

In the clocks section, a gilt metal table clock by Gerhart Geghaff of Haffnegen took £3500. A selection of stoneware garden statuary items from a North Somerset pensioner's garden totalled £18,290 and included £1550 for a 13-foot long wooden garden bench. A fine pair of Regency ebonised and gilt painted bergeres realised £8600, a William and Mary olive wood chest of drawers with oyster-cut veneers sold for £14,500, a George III mahogany chest of drawers with a serpentine front made £3600 and a Pugin-inspired Gothick oak centre table, 64 inches wide, surprised many by making £10,000 (see illustration). Total for the day was just over £520,000 and brought the total for the week of auctions to £930,000.

A Sale to Rock the Saleroom

An amazing quantity of collectors plates and ornaments are coming up for sale at Lawrences Auctioneers of Crewkerne. Assembled by a lady in Dorset, it includes several hundred items from many major manufacturers. Factories include, Royal Doulton, Royal Worcester, Wedgwood, Hawthorne Village, Bradford Exchange, Heirloom Classic, Royal Albert and many others.

Amongst the collectable items, are a number of Elvis Presley related items, such as a Train set, model guitars, and even a model of Graceland! Other areas included are Royalty, Aeroplanes, birds, and many others.

These items are included in the monthly Collectors Sale on Wednesday 1st April.

For further enquiries please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041