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


A 300-year old silver tankard has been brought home to Bruton after the town's museum bought it at our recent Fine Art auction. The museum learnt that a rare piece of silver made in Bruton by Gabriel Felling was to be sold and, with the help of Lottery Funds and thanks to the promises of support from a few local individuals, it was able to raise the money required to secure it.

Items of silver by Felling often command high prices and Felling silver rarely comes on the market. He trained in London at one of King Charles 11's Royal goldsmiths and was first recorded as working in Bruton in 1678. He may have come to Bruton because of the wealthy Berkeley family who had acquired Bruton Abbey after the dissolution of the monasteries. Felling died in Bruton in 1714 and his work is now highly valued by silver collectors. The Museum of Somerset and the Victoria and Albert Museum both have some of his best pieces and, not surprisingly, the collection of silver at Longleat also contains Felling silver. The acquisition of the tankard will help to illustrate the wealth around Bruton in the 16th to 18th century period. The final display of the tankard at the museum will offer further information and the museum intends to display more local church silver beside the Felling tankard. Bruton Museum was able to buy the tankard for £3400 (including the buyer’s premium) against the auctioneers’ estimate of £2000-2500.


Our Summer auction of Pictures offered nearly 300 lots spanning seven centuries and a selection of high prices across the board reflected the steady demand for quality and rarity.

Some of the highlights included £4270 paid for a small portrait of a seated gentleman by Austrian artist Ludwig Guttenbrunn; £4800 for a fine pencil drawing of Croyland Abbey by John Sell Cotman; and £5600 for a fresh and skilful pastel by Leon L’Hermitte. Strong results were achieved for a watercolour by Mary Fedden showing her husband Julian Trevelyan by the sea with a shrimping net, drawn in 1994 six years after his death, which made £5000; and a total of £12200 for six signed limited editions prints of Manchester subjects by L. S. Lowry, consigned for sale by a gentleman who had bought them for £45-90 each in the late 1970’s (image 1820 shows `The Football Match` that made £3290). A record price for a work on paper by Albert Henry Collings’ work was achieved when his sensuous `The Blue Cloak` made £3780 and the same price was paid for a very rare colour woodcut of tigers by Norbertine Bresslern Roth. This is also one of the highest prices ever paid for a single print by the artist. A small sketch of  a still life study by celebrated German Expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner attracted bids from the Continent to make £6830 for its delighted vendor who was in the room to watch it make five time expectations.

The two highest prices of the day were paid for consecutive lots. A fine pair of oils of Italianate landscapes by John Glover exceeded hopes of £16000 to make £26800. Glover was born in England but moved to Australia in 1831 and his work has a keen following in Australasia. Another surprise was the record price paid for an oil ascribed to Samuel Drummond showing the famous death of Horatio Nelson in 1805. The canvas, painted in about 1806, is one of a number of variants of the famous theme and depicts the hero falling on the deck of HMS Victory after being shot by a French sniper at Trafalgar. Against keen competition, the lot was bought by a Nelson devotee for £26200.


A successful sale of furniture and works of art rounded off a busy week of auctions at Lawrences in July. The firm offered almost 3000 lots across four days of sales and the wide variety on offer met with keen bids.

The sale began well with a Jaeger Le Coultre Atmos clock exceeding hopes to make £2800. A Venetian papier mache Blackamoor stand stood 48 inches (122cm) high and was bid to £2560 and a massive pair of stoneware sphinxes by Emile Muller retained their serene expressions as bidding topped £1090. A William and Mary walnut oyster-veneered chest on stand made just over £2500. An elegant Sheraton-style painted satinwood Carlton House desk was contested beyond its estimate to £3290 and a set of five tapestry curtains with a William Morris design yielded £3530. The day’s top price was paid for a George III mahogany and walnut demi-lune commode that exceeded expectations to take £9500.


Lawrences’ recent sale of Decorative Arts and Ceramics offered a vast variety of lots: traditional and modern, East and West, minimalist and ornamental all found eager buyers and there were plenty of strong prices.

In the section of Decorative Arts, a finely cast cold-painted bronze of an Indian elephant by Franz Bergmann, 17cm high, plodded purposefully to £4390, a suite of dining table and four chairs by Robert `Mouseman` Thompson made £3660 and 16 figures from the Bovey Pottery attracted many bids. These small (19-21cm high) figures, designed by Fenton Wemyss and modelled by Gwynneth Holt,  included Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Stalin and figures of a Land Girl, a Sergeant Major, a Sailor and others. The group made £5970.

Good results from European Ceramics included £1760 paid for Meissen mantel clock adorned with flowers and cherubs, and two saltglazed stoneware tankards that were bid above estimate to £790. A star lot in the section of glassware was the £1830 paid for a suite of Webb table glasses. Four notable prices from the selection of Oriental works of art included £3170 for a 4m long Chinese scroll painting, £5490 for a Tibetan bronze Buddha just 12.5cm high and £3400 for a pair of Chinese `Thousand Flower` vases. A Chinese porcelain plaque, probably decorated by Wang Qi, made £7320. A good group of Japanese carvings included a trio of three okimono/netsuke depicting a skull, a tortoise group and a tortoise with snakes. These made £1280.


Despite a huge display of elegant gemstones in Lawrences’ recent jewellery sale in Crewkerne, the day’s top price was paid for a man’s watch.

Highlights included a pair of Georgian diamond and gemset earrings at £3050; a Victorian turquoise, diamond and gold snake necklace in its fitted case that made £4390; a fine ruby and diamond cluster ring, the clear red stone of Burmese origin, that made £6100; and another ruby and diamond combination with a 1.17 carat Burmese ruby that made £7320. A row of amber beads made £2680; a diamond and enamel horse and jockey brooch leapt to £700; and a group  of silver pocket watches from the collection of the late Norman Brodie made £4860.

However, top honours went to a gentleman’s stainless steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller wristwatch that saw bids tick up to £13,400.