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Lawrences’ auctions of books, maps, manuscripts and photographs are popular bi-annual events in the Crewkerne firm’s hectic programme of sales and the 400 lots on offer in the most recent catalogue attracted hundreds of enquiries from across the world. A signed letter by the Duke of Wellington requesting extra medicines for the Army prior to the Battle of Waterloo was contested to just over £2000. Fifty one lots of scholarly volumes from the West Cloister Store at Wells Cathedral were bought for just over £11000. A 300-page manuscript copy of the Koran from c.1840 made £2300. A fascinating archive of Rena Gardiner’s work included finely coloured illustrations of trips to Austria, Italy and Holland in the 1960’s as well as meticulously designed books published by the Workshop Press showing subjects throughout Britain. These met with determined bidding to make a total of £18,100. Perhaps the most curious item in the whole sale was a lock of pale golden yellow hair cut from the head of King Henry VIII’s last Queen, Catherine Parr (1513-1548), when her grave was opened in 1783. Fully corroborated by supporting paperwork, this fragment of authentic `Tudor DNA` caught the eyes of antiquarian enthusiasts so the price was not exactly a `snip` at £1400.
There was variety aplenty: a view of Daphne du Maurier’s family home at Fowey, painted by Manchester-born Fred Yates, was bid to £3400; a large and decorative marine painting by American James Gale Tyler sailed to £2680; and a wintry view of stags at Glen Urquhart by popular equestrian artist Lionel Edwards was bought for £4880. An 18th Century copy of a late 16th Century portrait by Frans Pourbus of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria, made just over £7500.
However, attention focused upon three lots by two artists who were close associates. The oil paintings of L. S. Lowry are well known but his lithographs are rarer and becoming more collectable. He is quoted as saying that `I am in interested in all curious people but especially in the sordidness of down-and-outs. His 1967 lithograph of a tramp curled up asleep on a London bench was signed by Lowry and exceeded all expectations to take £8820, possibly an auction record for one of his prints and more than double prices for the same subject in recent London auctions.
Lowry nurtured the career of a young artist in Manchester called Harold Riley (b.1934), now one of the north west’s leading painters. Two pastels from a private collection attracted keen interest: `Walking the Dog` from 1979 was quintessential Lowry in all but name and made £5160. whilst a more colourful pastel of `The Fair at Flat Iron, Salford` from the late 1980’s was contested by half a dozen bidders well above its estimate to make another possible record price for Riley of just over £9250.
Amidst 300 lots of clocks, works of art and furniture, it was a fine carpet that caught the eyes of the richest bidders on Lawrences’ recent sale in Crewkerne.
The selection began promisingly with keen bids for good clocks, including a tavern clock by Robert Clidsdale of Edinburgh. The 73cm/29 in dial helped to make it a striking purchase at £8780. A George III bracket clock by Richard Day of London ticked the right boxes and made £2440. An unusual scrimshaw (whale tooth) in the form of a powder horn by William Blakley was etched with views of Montreal and Kingstown Bay. Canadian interest as the result of an advert in a specialist Canadian magazine saw it sell it £2190.
Four modern pieces of `Regency Gothic` furniture by Ray Coggins in cream and gilt made £6400, an elegant pair of Italian console tables with marble tops on putti bases made £5970, a George II walnut tallboy went above estimate at £4390 and a large Howard easy armchair sold comfortably at £3400. The top price of the afternoon session was paid for a fine quality needlework carpet of early 18th Century design, measuring 2.75m x 2.6m (108 x 102 in). The bold floral design and yellow border was immensely decorative and the coloured threads had been well preserved so bidding was keen enough to see it soar to £14,640.
Four hundred and fifty lots of jewellery went under the hammer at Lawrences in Crewkerne on July 16th and there were strong prices throughout the auction. However, a remarkable run of successes towards the end of the sale ensured that one third of the total was generated from fewer than 10 lots.
Successes early in the sale included £1700 paid for an 18ct gold pocket watch by Patek Philippe, £2440 for a steel wristwatch by Jaeger Le Coultre and £3660 for an 18ct gold wristwatch by Vacheron & Constantin. A finely carved Chinese jade brooch met keen bidding online before selling for just over £7000.
However, a selection of fine quality pieces was reserved for the latter part of the sale and a host of telephone bidders competed keenly for some eye-catching lots: a diamond ring with two triangular stones around a brilliant-cut stone made £7320; a lustrous natural pearl and diamond ring made £3780; a three stone diamond ring was bid to £5360; and a Victorian diamond and pearl tiara from c.1880 with distinguished provenance through the families of Earls and Barons was bought for £7800. The day’s three top lots all made five-figure sums: an emerald and diamond three stone ring made £12200; a cased Georgian set of pink topaz jewellery made ten times expectations at £15860; and a 1.02 carat pink diamond of asymmetrical shape was contested by eight telephones to £37800.
The variety in Lawrences’ auctions of Decorative Art and Ceramics always ensures that the auctioneers will receive numerous enquiries and a similar quantity of bids. The most recent auction offered 250 lots of objects spanning four or five centuries and there were some strong prices throughout.
A Wedgwood figure of a buffalo by John Skeaping pushed its way to £1000 and an unusual Lalique glass candleholder depicting flying birds in the `Mouettes` pattern fluttered up to £1340. Three lots of `Mouseman` furniture by Robert Thompson complemented the Decorative Arts section by making £560 for a three-legged stool, £1220 for a nest of three tables and £1400 for a scarce pair of elbow chairs. Each bore the distinctive charming carved mouse motif.
Two Vienna porcelain dishes decorated with scenes from mythology exceeded expectations to take £4630, a Masons style ironstone pot pourri dish took £1460 and there was spicy bidding for a pair of Chinese ginger jars and covers at £1640.
Top honours were saved for a rare set of four late 18th Century decanters. These had diamond cut decoration and bore the Hamilton family crest. Provenance suggests that they were owned by William Beckford at Fonthill in Witshire, whose mother’s Hamilton crest formed part of Beckford’s coat of arms. The suite was of exceptional elegance and quality and made their estimate when the bidding stopped at £13420.
It proved to be the smaller pieces that made the biggest prices at Lawrences’ auction of silver and vertu in Crewkerne. A pair of provincial apostle spoons depicting St. Peter and St. Simon Zelotes were made during the reign of James I and could be dated to c.1620-1630. These made £3050. A small (16cm/ 6 in) pair of George I candlesticks by John Bignell (1723) were also bid to £3050. whilst a 19cm/7.5 in pair of Irish candlesticks by Jonathan Pasley of Dublin dated from c.1760 and made double the low estimate at £2440. Staying across the Irish sea, a rare cream jug by William Reynolds of Cork, c.1770, stood just 10cm/4 in high but also made £2440. A rare early Victorian `castletop` vinaigrette by the most celebrated maker of such items, Nathaniel Mills, depicted Chichester Cathedral on the cover. Smaller than a matchbox, this soared to £5850. Another `castletop` case showing Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column dated from 1848: this was 10cm/ 4 in long and met keen competition before selling for £7680. A rare novelty vest case/match holder in the form of a roller skate was made by Jane Brownett in 1876 and rolled all the way to £2560. A small collection of corkscrews comprised the final nine lots and ranged in price from £80 to £400 per lot but with one notable exception. Novelty and innovation are very desirable to collectors and lot 542 contained six small examples including a `Lund’s patent` corkscrew that extracted a corking bid of £3050. The day’s top prices were paid for very dissimilar items: a 16.5cm/ 6.5 in modern Indian gold trophy bowl commemorating the `Tolly Gunge Races 1922` was made by Messrs Cooke and Kelvey of Calcutta and raced ahead of the field to make £10490 whilst an elaborate but useful lemon strainer by Joseph Johns of Limerick (1740-1760) squeezed a dozen bidders to their limit before they were pipped by a private collector who was zesty enough to pay £17000.
Harriet thought you might be interested to see the results of Kerry Taylor's fashion sale in London last week. An insight into the Clothing Auction world.....As you will see clothes from the early 19th Century up to Alexander Mcqueen are fetching huge prices in the UK and abroad. So if you have a quirky number hiding in your wardrobe bring it along to our saleroom!
With over 200 years of combined experience, our Specialist Valuers will be available to value your antiques at our Head Office and Salerooms in CREWKERNE, EVERY MONDAY - 9.30am - 12.30pm.
Simon Jones (General Valuations & Collectors Items) and one of our Jewellery Specialists, will be available to value your items EVERY FRIDAY - 9.00am - 11.30am at The Castle Hotel, Castle Green, TAUNTON.
FREE HOME VISITS - Simon Jones (General Valuations & Collectors Items) and Miranda Bingham (Jewellery) will be in LYME REGIS, CHARMOUTH & BRIDPORT on the FIRST TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH. Please call to make an appointment - Tel: 01460 73041
FREE HOME VISITS - Chris Flower will be in MINEHEAD on the LAST THURSDAY OF EACH MONTH to value your antiques. Complete house contents and attic clearances arranged. Please call to make an appointment. - Tel: 01460 73041.
Two of our specialists will be in BATH on the LAST THURSDAY OF EACH MONTH to value your antiques - 10.00am - 2.00pm at The Bath & County Club, Queens Parade, Bath BA1 2NJ. No appointment necessary.
Four of our specialists will be in WELLS at Roderick Thomas Estate Agents, 1 Priory Road, Wells, BA5 1SR EVERY QUARTER to value your antiques - 9.30am - 12.00noon. No appointment necessary.
FOR FURTHER DETAILS, PLEASE CALL US ON 01460 73041