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The final day of Lawrences’ Summer Fine Art auction included a host of strong prices to lift the total for the sales that week to over £1 million. Highlights in the picture section included £5000 for a small linocut by Claude Flight (bought for £600 just ten years ago); £4180 for three small watercolours of beavers, bears and pelicans at London Zoo dating from about 1850; £49000 for an early 17th Century oil of the Holy Family by a Roman or Bolognese artist in the style of Carlo Saraceni [see image 1450]; £8600 for a Victorian otter hunting scene by John Sargent Noble; £15650 for six works by the modern Welsh artist Donald McIntyre; £13140 for a pretty portrait of Ruth Ezra by Sir Oswald Birley; and £34650 for an ink drawing by Edward Burra of figures queuing at a hot dog stall at a funfair [image 1559]. "There were strong prices in all sections of the picture sale with particular strengths for traditional modern British works from the 20th Century and good decorative Old Master pictures," observes specialist Richard Kay. "Modern prints, in particular, seem to be doing well at present and a lithograph of a horse by Dame Elisabeth Frink made £2500, higher than recent prices for this print in London."
In the clock section later in the day, an ebony bracket clock by William Allan doubled expectations to make £7280. The furniture selection yielded many high bids with £10500 paid for a pair of George III Irish mahogany peat buckets; £11000 for a George III satinwood table of elegant proportions; £8120 for a fine mahogany library bookcase, also of Irish origins; £5000 for a William and Mary laburnum and floral marquetry chest of drawers; £10750 for a Louis XV style kingwood bureau plat; and £8600 for a small French Empire mahogany and parcel gilt footstool [see image 1903]. A good Heriz carpet with some wear attracted bids up to £5600 but the top price in the furniture section was £41,820 paid for a George III mahogany commode of graceful serpentine outline. This was from the estate of the late Mr and Mrs Raymond Sawyer of Surrey – the total value of chattels from this estate contributed nearly £300,000 to the week’s total.
The second day of Lawrences’ massive 2500-lot Summer Auction was devoted to jewellery and ceramics. Miranda Bingham, the Crewkerne firm’s jewellery specialist observed, “Overall, the jewellery market still seems to be strong, with the first 100 lots of the sale all selling over estimate. The price of gold is still fairly high and everyone seems to get carried away with the mixed jewellery lots. In addition, old wristwatches with a `name` generated a lot of interest before the sale, especially Rolex, and lots of people requested images of the movements and the watches from all angles.”
Period jewellery is still selling well: a Georgian pink topaz brooch with earrings and another lot of a similar bangle both attracted a lot of interest. These were bought for £1850 and £3460, well over estimate. Indian jewellery seems to fascinate people and the two lots of antique diamond and enamel plaques sold well over estimate at £1490 and £2210. The Art Nouveau period has always been popular. Although a French plique-a-jour enamel brooch was not signed by a famous maker it did bear French marks and attracted much interest selling at £4060. Unusual and pretty jewellery always attracts special eagerness. A diamond marquise cluster ring set with diamonds was striking enough to soar to £3820.
In the ceramics and glass section, highlights included an Art Deco bronze figure by Ferdinand Preiss made £1190 despite missing its ivory right hand. An elegant Galle vase tripled its low estimate to make £1910. A pair of Russian glasses, enamelled with the cipher of Tsar Nicholas and the Tsarina Alexandra, were part of the furnishings on the Imperial Russian yacht `Standart`. These met stiff competition before being bought for £8360.
Oriental wares again dominated the higher prices: an ivory and shibayama inro (a small case, the size of a playing card) made £2620; a six-feet high Japanese lacquer cupboard made £3820; a similar ten-inch tray made £1670; and a bronze Chinese censer cast with lizards made £1790. Towards the end of the sale, a Cantonese famille rose punch bowl leap to £2390; a similar tankard made £1550; a monteith (punch bowl with a scalloped rim) made £4780; and a pair of Qianlong famille rose vases were bid to £6450. Top price of the day was an uncracked `Kraak` blue and white Chinese plate, dating from c.1600. The curious term is believed to derive from the Portuguese trading ships (`carracks`) that brought the delicately painted wares to Europe in the reign of King Charles I. The nine-inch plate was painted with a scene of Shou Lao fishing and it was contested well beyond its £300-400 estimate by bidders across Europe and China to make £11950.
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The following lots will be subject to Artist's Resale Right's if the hammer price exceeds 1000 Euros (approx. £800):
1326, 1327, 1329, 1334-1338, 1340-1346, 1383, 1394-1395, 1403, 1407 (2000 Euros), 1409, 1412 1426, 1428, 1429, 1431, 1432, 1516, 1518, 1520, 1521, 1522, 1524, 1525, 1526, 1527 (2000 Euros), 1528, 1529, 1532-1553, 1556-1559
An auction of nearly 650 lots of silver and small objects of vertu commenced Lawrences’ Summer Fine Art auction in Crewkerne last week. The vast variety on offer ensured a keen response from collectors and dealers alike. There was demand for the earliest items, such as a silvergilt spoon from the reign of Elizabeth I or James I (c.1590-1610) that made £1075. There was demand for good Georgian pieces from the 18th Century: a pear-shaped teapot by Richard Bayley dated from 1719 and made £3820. There was demand for quality Victorian pieces: a fine canteen of Grecian pattern cutlery by Francis Higgins, 1894, made £10510. And there was demand for the work of 20th Century masters: a handmade tea caddy by Omar Ramsden and Alwyn Carr from 1913 exceeded its estimate of £2500 to make £5850.
Whilst routine fare from all eras (such as salvers, candlesticks, tea services and mugs) all sold well, the highest prices were paid for unusual, novelty pierces that looked refreshingly different. A medal for the Zoological Society of London was impressively decorated with exotic birds and made £1075; a pair of miniature condiments, arranged as salt, pepper and mustard dishes upon small oak butler’s trays measured just five inches across and took £160; a silver desk clip commemorating a day’s hunting on Exmoor with Edward, Prince of Wales in 1879, made £270; a Charles I bodkin, sold with a Tudor ring and reputedly found in the ground made £770; a small silver model of the Sphinx made £400; a tiny 1862 caddy spoon swathed in silver leaves made £950; a chess set of silver and silvergilt pieces made £810; and two pepper pots in the shape of young chicks made £470.
In the vertu section, an oval tobacco box dated from 1729 and made £1550; a cut silhouette of the Apsley sisters, made by Lady Letitia Louisa Kerr in 1850, made £1730; an unusual desk tidy in the shape of a lifeboat made £650; and a telescopic pencil in the form of a miniature longcase clock, just under two inches long, made £570. The top price of the day was almost the last lot. A fine amber and silver gilt tankard, probably dating from the early 17th Century and made in Konigsberg, had suffered from inevitable damages down the centuries but the quality of the piece was evident. The body was carved with birds, fruit and scrolling decoration. The frieze around the base was carved with a leopard, a unicorn, a stag, a bull and a bear. Even the base was set with a medallion of an eagle eating fruit and the cover was a finial in the form of a boy with a sword. Estimated at £8000-12000, this rarity made £11350 [see image]. The day’s total comfortably exceeded £250,000.
Lawrences’ forthcoming book auction in Crewkerne comprises the usual wide variety of printed and manuscript works. There are many charming lots of children’s books, including an unusual mid-19th Century card game based on the signs of the horoscope (£150-250) [see illustration 2067] and a delightful book of careful, colourful cut-outs including a beautiful farm scene and a tiny handwritten transcript of the Lord’s Prayer from 1803 (£200-300). There are some exquisite volumes of natural history showing flora and fauna from across the world: James Bolton’s `Harmonia Ruralis` contains 80 hand coloured plates and dates from 1794-1796 (estimate £3000-4000).
Interest from across the globe is expected for the archive of Sir Arthur Hodgson (1818-1902), consigned for sale by a direct descendant. Hodgson travelled from Hertfordshire to Sydney in 1839 and established a sheep farm on the Darling Downs. His wife, Eliza, studied art under Charles Darwin’s artist Conrad Martens and fine drawings by both artists, showing fascinatingly early views of Brisbane and elsewhere, capture life in Australia when the population of the entire country was only 400,000. Sir Arthur’s photographs of sheep stations date from as early as 1857 and eleven photographs of a desolate Sydney harbour hint at the underdeveloped nature of the vast country at that time. Further lots detail Sir Arthur’s accounts for his busy and prosperous trade in sheep: a cheque of just over £16,000 made out to him for 485 bales of wool in 1870 equates to about £5million today. His medallions awarded for services to the sheep trade in Australia are included too. Estimates for the seven lots range from £200-4000
(2067) Unusual Victorian star sign game (£150-250)