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Lawrences's saleroom in Crewkerne was filled to capacity on August 5th when the auctioneers moved their usual Wednesday sale to a Friday in order to accommodate the BBC's "Antiques Road Trip". Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden, stars of BBC's Dragons' Den, were in town to be filmed at the auction in which their ten lots were to be sold for the benefit of Children in Need.
"Theo and Deborah had spent a few days scouring antique shops and fairs in the West Country and had bought items as varied as a George V Officer's sword, a painted ostrich egg of South African interest, an Art Deco glass bowl, a painted cast iron horse's head from a fairground ride, a beautifully illustrated book of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and an ivory book rest," said Lawrences's Managing Director, Helen Carless. Viewers will be able to see the success of their local adventures in the autumn when the search for the items and their eventual sale is televised. Some made a small profit and some made a small loss but Helen felt obliged to remain tight-lipped about which Dragon had had the greater success. "Theo and Deborah really got involved in the atmosphere of the sale and were thrilled to see how their lots performed under the hammer," she said. "They were just as excited about the outcome of the sale of an ostrich egg or a sword as they would be about the successes of one of their business ventures on `Dragons' Den`. It was a pleasure to welcome them to Crewkerne."
Lawrences' bi-annual book sales in Crewkerne are a well-established feature in bibliophiles' calendars and the firm's summer offering attracted numerous enquiries from all around the world. "The variety that we offer is part of the appeal and we had items in this sale from as far afield as Syria and Northern Canada," says Lawrences' specialist, Rose Sanguinetti.
There were predictably `British` favourites such as Lewis Carroll's `The Hunting of the Snark`: a rare first edition with a dedication to the author's friend Beatrice Muller was bought for £1910. H. Avray Tipping's nine volume selection of `English Homes` published between 1921 and 1937 went just over its top estimate to make £1490. Ninety six volumes of the `New Naturalist` series were just 20-25 years old but exceeded their estimate of £2500-3000 to make £6690.
A large (153 x 82cm) manuscript map of Glapthorne in Northamptonshire was drawn by John Hawsted in 1614 and it would have been commissioned by the Brudenell family. It was bought for £5730. Some correspondence from The Duke of Wellington in 1827 made £860 whilst a rare signed photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at a fete in Paris in November 1937 made £290. John and Emanuel Bowen's `Britannia Depicta` dated from 1751 and contained 273 road maps; it made £1850.
Scarcer volumes of international or historical appeal caught the eyes of collectors, such as John Leyden's `On the Languages and Literature of the Indo-Chinese Nations` from 1807. It came from the esteemed Sotheby library at Ecton Hall, Northants and made £1970. Two late 19th Century photograph albums comprising 84 images of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Jerusalem and elsewhere by Felix Bonfils drew bids from foreign collectors to make £1310. These gave a hint of warmer climes but, ironically, it was a book printed within the Arctic Circle in 1853 that drew the hottest bids on a warm July day. No fewer than eight collectors booked telephone lines to bid for the slim 24-page pamphlet detailing events aboard Admiral Collinson's HMS Enterprise during its search for Sir John Franklin's tragic lost 1850 expedition to find the elusive North West Passage (see illustration). Printed on board the Enterprise by the ship's coxswain Henry Hester on thin sheets of green Chinese paper, the booklet was tucked inside another book printed in 1889. "It is not only a very rare book but it was in exceptional condition," said Rose. "It might not have been touched for 120 years." After some spirited bidding and some determined perseverance above £10,000, the lot was bought for £17,920 to yield the day's highest price.
The Sale Results for our Fine Art Sale on the 5th, 7th and 8th July 2011, may be viewed by selecting the 'Auctions' tab above, 'Past Sales' and then by viewing the catalogue.
The final day of Lawrences' Fine Art auction attracted a room full of bidders and collectors for the 500 lots on offer and there were dozens of strong prices to dispel any fears about a weak market in these straitened times.
A collection of charming etchings and drawings by the celebrated artist Eileen Soper made £6800 and a good impression of C. R. W. Nevinson's 1918 etching of "Ebb Tide, Rye" made £1790.
A very rare scrap of a drawing by the acclaimed architect Sir Charles Barry, showing his plans for the extensions at Chatsworth House in the late 1820's, made £1120 and two drawings by Norman Cornish attracted keen interest from the North East of England to make £4300 whilst a beautifully atmospheric watercolour view of Paris by Edward Seago was bid to £4540.
Highlights in the oil paintings included an extremely elegant portrait from the studio of Sir Peter Lely, possibly depicting the Duchess of Portsmouth or the Countess of Nottingham. This was secured for £43000 whilst the front cover illustration of a fine view on the Grand Canal in Venice by a follower of Canaletto was bought for £78,800 against an estimate of £30,000-50,000. Four 16th- and 17th Century portraits from Conishead Priory totalled £23,780 whilst a more informal 1880's portrait of a winsome young lady in a coral dress by Gustave Jean Jacquet was bought for £8360 after keen interest from private collectors. A superb trompe l'oeil depiction of delftware on a shelf by Clifford John Harrison made £3580.
Amongst the furniture and works of art, two lots of pewter made a total of £8000 and a superb quality Indian ivory chess set, retrieved from a humble battered shoebox in a cupboard, made a remarkable £17,200 (see illustration). An elegantly proportioned George III mahogany serving table made £4780, a giltwood looking glass with pierced foliate scrolls adorned with putti made £2620, a Regency rosewood side cabinet made £3940 and a room-size Donegal carpet with some badly worn patches and signs of having been cut nonetheless made £8960. The day's total was a little over £430,000.
Lawrences' recent auction of jewellery and ceramics in Crewkerne got off to a flying start with keen bidding that ensured that there were just 16 unsold lots amongst the first 120 on offer. Prices for gold and diamonds remain buoyant in these testing economic times and similar strengths were maintained throughout the sale. Cartier was in conspicuous demand: a pair of gold stirrup cufflinks made £1790; a small brooch modelled as a dog with sapphire eyes was snapped up for £1850; a gem set gold brooch in the form of a golfer found a `hole in one` at £1070; and an elegant ruby and diamond dress clip more than doubled expectations to make £3220.
Diamonds all sparkled appealingly and a cluster ring made £3220; a pair of 2-carat stud earrings made £3340; and a Victorian brooch pendant made £1790. A single row natural pearl necklace made £5010 and an exquisitely stylish Art Deco diamond ring was set with an emerald-cut sapphire of glorious colour: it made £5250.
In the Ceramics section, a Macintyre Moorcroft Florian vase from 1900-1902 was bought for £950. The exceptional vigour of the Oriental market was reflected in the £12180 paid for a pair of famille rose dishes of the Qianlong period (1736-1796) in a rare 10-inch square shape (see image). A Chinese vase moulded in low relief and painted with the Eight Horses of Mu Wang took £7400; a blue and white vase with a flared neck and a waisted baluster body made £3460; and a rare blue and white `kendi` (spouted vessel for holy water) of the Wanli period (c.1563-1620) made £5010. A grey jade box and cover modelled as a peach amongst foliage made £3820 and a suite of twelve famille rose custard cups took £1190.
Glass was also a clear winner on the day: a Lalique glass car mascot in the form of a cockerel head made £1130; four Jacobite glasses were bought for £1910 and another lot of three glasses; containing a 17th Century goblet with a funnel bowl upon a bold baluster stem, was bought for £4780.
Over 620 lots of silver and vertu went under the hammer at Lawrences in Crewkerne last week and the buoyancy of the market ensured keen competition for many lots with some remarkable prices for items of quality and, in particular, rarity.
The sale began with 175 lots of spoons, flatware and cutlery that totalled £138,000. Interest was focused upon good early spoons (a particular speciality for the firm's director of silver, Alex Butcher): £3700 was paid for a spoon made by John Edes of Exeter in 1580-1600, £2860 for a London spoon from 1577 and £3100 for a spoon made by William Cawdell of London in 1588. A hoof-end spoon from 1625-1630 was made by Robert Jigges and its rare design lifted its price to £1610. Spoons by Edward Sweet of Exeter (£3700), Francis Glanville of Launceston (£3940) and a Winchester/Southampton spoon of c.1675 made £4060. Top price was the £15500 paid for a very rare James I silvergilt decorated spoon by John Quick of Barnstaple from about 1610-1620.
Highlights elsewhere included £3340 for an unusual Queen Anne tea bowl by William Fleming (1707), the bowl of a Commonwealth period wine goblet dated from 1656 and made £3220 despite lacking its stem and foot, a beaker of the same period made £5970, a small circular cup from 1654 made £5500, a good quality Chinese rose bowl by Luen Wo of Shanghai made £3580, a Charles II porringer from 1682 made £3460 and a rare Elizabeth I silver mounted tigerware jug by John Jones of Exeter (1575) made £5970. A very rare German spice box and cover in the form of a bud upon a stem and a leafy base was made in Augsburg in c.1680 and was bought for £3340. A delightful little silver figure of a penguin dressed for a fishing, wearing a hat and bag and holding a fishing rod had green glass eyes and made £830.
A fine quality portrait miniature of August, Viscount Keppel was based upon a design by Sir Joshua Reynolds and made £2740 whilst a rare George IV silver pocket perpetual calendar and gaming counter made £1790. Maintaining the theme for novelty pocket instruments, a Butterfield dial (similar to a miniature sundial and measuring just 6cm across) dated from c.1700 and made £1970. The day's total exceeded £300,000
The collection was formed during the 1960's. Royal Worcester introduced the Prize Cattle Series which were all designed by legendary potter Doris Lindner, and in total she designed nine bulls and one cow in the series. Only the Highland bull is missing from this collection which includes a Hereford, Friesian, Santa Gertrudis, Brahman, Jersey, Daisy Shorthorn, Aberdeen Angus, Charolais, and a Jersey Cow. These models were all limited editions, and each comes with it's original stand and certificate.
Doris Lindner began producing models for Worcester in the 1930's, starting with models of dogs and other small animals such as birds. She moved on to equestrian figures, cattle and many other subjects during her long career at the factory.
Lawrences Auctioneer Simon Jones said, "This is a wonderful collection of Royal Worcester Cattle, and vey unusual to see so many at one time. Figures designed by Doris Lindner are always highly sought after and they are highly prized by Royal Worcester collectors and animal enthusiasts. Animal figures in this area are always very popular and we are expecting alot of interest"
The cattle will be sold in Lawrences October Fine Art Sale, for further details please contact Simon Jones on 01460 73041.