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'Blue and white' proved to be the order of the day at Lawrences’ recent auction of ceramics in Crewkerne but the most notable prices were paid for items made hundreds of years – and thousands of miles – apart.
The sale began with a selection of Decorative Arts. A rare jug by Clarice Cliff in the `Crocus` design from the Bizarre range exceeded hopes to take £1220 whilst a bronze vase by Gustav Gurschner decorated in a `Byzantine` style reached £2560. In keeping with many recent successes for Mouseman furniture at Lawrences, an oak wardrobe was bid to £3290.
A slipware bowl, probably 18th Century, decorated with a sinuous design that was at once traditional and modern, made £3780. However, more elaborately decorated pottery occupied the lion’s share of the auction: 900 pieces of English blue and white pottery from the collection of Somerset gentleman Anthony Pugh-Thomas were sorted into 300 lots. Top prices were paid for large platters in good condition: from the Spode `Indian Sporting Series`, two shaped octagonal platters took £3050; a John Ridgway `Giraffe` pattern platter reached appropriately high and took £1460; and `Deer in a Country Setting` from the `Domestic Cattle` series made £1580. All manner of domestic wares were represented: jugs, cheese stands, toilet boxes, coffee cans, tea bowls, pickle sets, baby feeders, mugs, comports and asparagus servers. The broad selection reflected the huge popularity of such items over a long period of production and prices started at as little as £35. In total, the collection realised just over £58000
Five lots of Chinese ceramics deserve special mention: a terracotta horse, probably Tang dynasty (618-907), leapt to £1220; a famille verte vase from the 18th Century made £3530; a pair of pale blue Hu vases with deer mask handles, made £3290. Appropriately enough, the two top prices in this section were both blue and white: a Ming style shallow bowl, painted with maidens gardening against a mountainous background, made £9760; whilst the sale’s best result was the triple estimate paid for a fine Ming vase from the reign of the 13th Emperor Wanli (1572-1620). Keenly contested by European and Chinese bidders, a prolonged tussle between those online and on the telephones resulted in a remarkable price of £80000.
Lawrences’ recent jewellery auction in Crewkerne showed predictable strength for the enduring appeal of superb diamonds but a host of strong prices elsewhere reflected a solid consistency across the market. A striking Arts and Crafts silver openwork pendant by the husband and wife team of Arthur and Georgie Gaskin attracted many bids. The foliate design included a pearl, rock crystals and luminous green paste stones. Even the case was designed by the makers and this sense of completeness appeals to collectors in this market. It made £6580. Another pendant, set with a pale blue aquamarine of approximately 45 carats was set within a diamond border. It was supplied with its original screwdriver in the case enabling the pendant to be converted to a brooch. This was bought for £4880. A Victorian diamond brooch pendant was set with old brilliant-cut stones and just exceeded its estimate to make £6340. Although dependable favourites such as a three-stone diamond ring (2.5 carats approx) made £3530, it was a superb 2.04 carat solitaire with VS1 clarity that led the day: it was bought for £14640.
An encouraging eagerness amongst collectors to buy at Lawrences’ recent sale of silver and vertu ensured a string of high prices, in many cases confounding all reasonable expectations.
A massive iron bound oak chest, specially strengthened to withstand the rigours of a sea voyage to Australia in the 1860’s, contained over 360 ounces of silver. This comprised a full complement of additional tableware such as entree dishes and covers, salvers, a cake basket, decanter stand, candelabra and candlesticks. In addition, there were place settings for as many as two dozen diners in the attractive Queen’s Pattern design. Estimated at £3000-4000, this made £10730. A single ladle almost exceeded even this remarkable price: a 38cm (15in) soup ladle by George Moore of Limerick with a large fluted bowl and a hooked end to stop it slipping into the tureen dated from c.1770 and was chased by Irish collectors to £10000.
Elsewhere, Irish interest showed its strength again when a small (16cm/6in) pair of cast candlesticks by Joseph Walker of Dublin, made in 1696, met a blaze of bids to take £14640. It is possible that the strength of the Euro against Sterling encouraged more determined bidding. A small portrait miniature of Francis Skeete by the esteemed John Smart dated from 1778 and made £3900 whilst Australian interest helped once again to conclude the sale as eight gold sovereigns from Sydney, dated 1858-1865 in consecutive years, rolled to £9580 against hopes of £3000
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.
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