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


An exceptional highlight of our forthcoming auction of militaria, coins and medals, to be held in Crewkerne on May 17th, is a silver centrepiece relating to the 9th Lancers’ Regiment.

Made in 1872 by London silversmith Stephen Smith, it depicts a 9th Lancers Officer with lance in hand, standing beside his horse beneath a palm tree. It is modelled in superb detail and the officer is as carefully finished as the sword, saddle, reins, pistol, and associated patrolling equipment of the period. Standing 28 inches (71cm) upon its plinth, the group is placed upon rocky ground and, engraved on a plain rock face, is the legend 'A 9th Lancer Indian Mutiny 1857-58'. The oval shaped lower plinth mount is adorned with a 9th Lancers badge and this has been taken from the 9th Lancers Pouch design.

It has passed by descent in the family of surgeon John James Clifford MD (1821-1889) who was born in Ireland and who was attached to the 9th Lancers around 1854. He served for many years as their Surgeon including during the Indian Mutiny. It was in this War that he was awarded the Indian Mutiny Medal with three bars: Lucknow, Relief of Lucknow and Delhi. These medals are also included in the auction with an estimate of £2000-3000

“The Regiment earned its nickname, The Delhi Spearmen, for their actions in this war,” comments Lawrences’ specialist, Jeff Day. “The Regiment was renamed the 9th Lancers in 1861 and several Victoria Crosses were awarded to those who served within it throughout various subsequent wars and campaigns. The Regiment was highly regarded - `The Beau Ideal of what a British Cavalry Regiment ought to be in oriental countries` -  and we expect that the centrepiece will make £8000-10000.”


Our 1900-lot Spring Fine Art auction series finished on April 13th and the final section comprised clocks, works of art, furniture and carpets.

A glimpse of the variety is shown by the prices achieved for four lots: a brass skeleton clock made £870; an early 19th Century Siena marble Grand Tour souvenir of the tomb of Cornelius Scipio, 24cm wide, made £1340; a German tapestry panel, possibly 17th Century, depicting King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, made £1090; and an Axminster runner, 210 x 100cm, made £1460.

More `conventional` furniture items also performed well: an Arts & Crafts embossed leather three-fold screen within a walnut frame, depicting a peacock within a fruit tree, was bid to £5000; and four Howard & Sons items – a settee, a tub chair, an armchair and a Bergere-style chair – made £6950. A Victorian Gothic oak half tester bed had the distinction of a Royal association. It was part of a suite made for Banchory House, near Aberdeen. In September 1859, Prince Albert delivered a speech in Aberdeen and spent the night in this bed at Banchory House. A brass plaque upon the bed and a copy of the page from Queen Victoria’s diary accompanied the lot and established its provenance beyond doubt. This was bid to £1700.


Pictures and prints spanning 400 years attracted much interest at our Spring sale and over 80% found buyers from around the world.

Five from a rare set of six lithographs of views in India by Jose Gonsalves, circa 1826, made £3170 and an etching by Rembrandt of his wife Saskia and others, dated 1636, also made £3170.

The rather changeable market for Victorian watercolours showed renewed strength for good artists’ works: a charming study of a seated boy by William Henry Hunt doubled hopes to make £4390 and an atmospheric twilight scene of `The Convent Ferry` by Albert Goodwin was bid to £5490, again doubling the estimate.

An auction record of £6100 was paid for a large (156 x 120cm) watercolour by contemporary artist Sarah Graham whilst a much smaller oil by Mary Fedden, just 19 x 24cm, had been bought direct from the artist’s studio in 1995. This also doubled hopes to make £7560. The day’s top price was paid for a lively, high-spirited oil on canvas by Arthur Wardle, entitled `The Chase is better than the Catch`, depicting two terriers chasing a hare around corn stooks. Full of vigour and with a delightful balance of playfulness and determination, this 37 x 52cm picture – consigned for sale from Northern Ireland -  was bid to £11220 after much interest from bidders in Britain, America and Australia.


Our auction  of ceramics, glass and Oriental items in April and bidding was brisk throughout.

An early highlight was a Delft barber’s bowl from 1758, probably made in London but with Chinoiserie decoration and with the appealing addition of the name `James Innard`. It is rare to find such items with a name and a date and this barber’s bowl was bought for a whisker over £7800.

A Sevres cabaret service from c.1793 - comprising tray, teapot, sucrier, and two cups and saucers – made £8290. Treasures from the East dominated the rest of the day’s top prices: a Junyao bowl with a subtle blue-grey glaze made £4750; a 12cm diameter yellow bowl  (Qianlong) made £5600; another similar  but with green decoration of birds amongst peach branches flew to £7070; and a blue and white vase, probably Kangxi, made £8290. A sumptuous Chinese embroidered silk gown, a detail of which adorned the catalogue’s cover, made £5000 and the sale’s top price was paid for a hardwood and marble mounted circular centre table that was bid to £17690.


Lawrences’ recent auction of jewellery and watches in Crewkerne reported consistent successes and there were plenty of strong prices to boost the day’s turnover.

A gentleman’s steel `Explorer` wristwatch by Rolex from the early 1970’s topped its estimate to make £8500 and a pair of diamond stud earrings made £6580. A host of strong bids at the end of the sale saw £4880 paid for a Victorian diamond, enamel and gold bracelet, £7300 for a diamond necklace set with 95 graduated diamonds, £9760 paid for an Art Deco ruby and diamond ring and £10000 paid for a magnificent diamond solitaire ring with a 2.2 carat stone.

“We had an excellent sale,” commented Lawrences’ jewellery specialist, Miranda Bingham. “From start to finish, there was enthusiasm right across the sale with particularly good prices paid for gold items and there were many bids for the ever-dependable strength of interest in high quality stones. Diamonds are still the most sought after but the £8000 paid for the Art Deco ruby set ring shows that interest from buyers extends across all styles and stones. We are already assembling a strong sale for July in all departments and entries are warmly invited.”  


Our week of Spring sales in Crewkerne started with over 470 lots of silver and vertu and there was enthusiasm for all that was on offer.

A small and rare wine taster from 1665 dated from the reign of Charles II and doubled expectations to make £1460 whilst a finely chased stirrup cup in the form of a fox mask from 1845 also outran its £2500-3000 estimate to make £5000.  Two other “drinkers’ lots” proved popular when an 18th Century beer jug, possibly Colonial, brought good cheer at just over £2000 and a Victorian ewer or claret jug made a corking £1220. An impressive suite of four graduated meat dishes from 1831, sold with four plated dish covers to match, soared to £9760.

Later in the sale, a finely decorated French ivory fan found a warm welcome and made £1830 whilst a miniature portrait of Captain Robert Woolf Junior, finely painted by John Smart Junior (the sitter’s own cousin) combined a dashing subject with this unusual link between artist and sitter and made £2190.