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Lawrences’ bi-annual book sales in Crewkerne regularly attract keen collectors and the 500 lots on offer in their summer outing drew in many determined collectors. There was considerable activity from online bidders, participating `live` on the internet.
An early highlight of the day of sales was the £7640 paid for a rare copy of Beatrix Potter’s beloved `Tale of Peter Rabbit`. Many children have enjoyed the story since it was published over a century ago but this copy came from the second privately printed edition of just 200 copies, hence its high price (within the estimate).
From the descendant of the late William Rooke came a fine library of antiquarian interest. The collection had once formed part of the library at The Ivy at Chippenham in Wiltshire and many volumes reflected Rooke's interest in The Grand Tour. High prices were paid for an incomplete set of Piranesi’s engravings of classical artefacts entitled `Vasi, Candelabri etc.` (£7170) and three volumes of 60 engravings after Raphael subjects in the Vatican (£5730). A very fine album of 28 architectural drawings by Antonio Maria Visentini (1688-1782) comprised views of Rome and took £14340 [image of Pantheon, built c.80-120AD]. Travels from further afield saw £3940 paid for John Marra’s account of HMS Resolution’s voyages under Capt. Cook (published 1772-1775). This book included engravings based upon some of the very earliest recorded sightings of Antarctica. A lithographed panorama of Moscow from 1848 on ten sheets extended to over 14 feet in length and made £7400.
For lovers of good Natural History, nine volumes of birds of Europe by H. E. Dresser contained over 720 hand-coloured plates and flew to £5250. For the modern collector, fifteen volumes of `James Bond` first editions by Ian Fleming must have left the vendor `shaken and stirred` when they sold for £3340 against hopes of £500. Finally, a fascinating archive of letters, cards, notes and photographic slides relating to T. S. Eliot was exceptionally well received. It came from Morley and Jean Kennerley and the former was a fellow director with Eliot of the publishers Faber & Faber. Eliot, who died in 1965, is buried at East Coker, between Crewkerne and Yeovil. The charmingly informal notes cast a refreshingly personal light upon Eliot and many of the messages reflected the depth of friendship between the Eliot and the Kennerley families. The archive was bought for £13140.
A large selection of pictures from five centuries was offered at Lawrences in Crewkerne on July 11th and keen bidding from buyers on the internet ensured a healthy selling rate right across the sale.
Three prints, all from a single local collection, sold particularly well. A rare 1950’s monotype (unique print) by Robert Colquhoun of `Woman Holding Lobster Shell` made £3580 whilst a woodcut by Paul Nash, `Dyke by the Road` went just over its estimate at a similar price and a lithograph by Pablo Picasso from 1945 made £4540.
Four highlights in the watercolour section could hardly been more dissimilar: a blustery Edwardian watercolour of a boat off a rocky shore by Charles N. Hemy was consigned for sale from Northern Ireland and breezed to £6930 against hopes of £4000-6000; a splendid panorama by Charles Dixon showing the yacht `Margerita` off Ryde in 1913 sailed to £3100; a joyful semi-abstract by Cornish artist Roger Hilton entitled `Red Sun` (1974) made £5490; and a ghoulish but garish `spin` picture of a skull by the celebrated contemporary artist Damien Hirst made £5370.
In the selection of oil paintings on offer, it was marine subjects again that seemed to catch collectors’ eyes: a large Royal Academy exhibit by William Wyllie from 1887 entitled `The River of Gold` was bid to £10150; a dramatic scene of The Battle of The Dogger Bank by Thomas Luny (1781) was contested to £15530 and an important sketch for Horace Vernet’s tragic scene of a cholera outbreak on board the French ship `Melpomene` in 1833 was bought for £14340. This last item was spotted in a box of low value pictures and prints in the firm’s general saleroom and researched by Richard Kay for the sale. A lighter mood of perfect summer contentment was struck with the final lot of the sale when a charming little oil by Annie Rose Laing of a girl enjoying a pot of tea at a sunlit breakfast table was bought for £4780.
The old and the new caught collectors’ eyes in Lawrences’ recent ceramics auction in Crewkerne.
A selection of Decorative Arts was well received. Two Liberty Tudric jugs designed by Archibald Knox, made of green glass with pewter mounts, made £2900 and a Lalique vase in the `Saint Francois` design made £1490. Even more exotic Oriental wares performed better still: a damaged Persian Qaja pottery tile (from a house in Dorset) made £3580; and three Tibetan `tankas` painted with deities made £6450, £8600 and £9560 respectively, sold for a client in Hampshire. Tankas are painted fabric pictures used within the Buddhist tradition for teaching, contemplation or as a prayer medium.
Other Asian ceramics and works of art to sell well included a tiny Japanese netsuke of an intricately carved hornbill rat holding nuts (£1120), a pair of Chinese cloisonné enamel quails (£950) a bronze brazier/incense burner (£1790) a large Chinese painting of a deities and animals (£7400) and a famille rose hexagonal vase (£1950).
Amongst the European lots on offer, a small Derby sauce boat made £660, a Russian Gardner tea cup and saucer made £1000, a Royal Crown Derby `Imari` pattern dinner service made £1550 and a Meissen figure group of Europa and the Bull made £1020.
Lawrences’ recent Summer Auction of Jewellery and Watches in Crewkerne attracted keen bidders from far and wide and ensured a host of strong prices to support the perceived rise in the market over recent months. In addition to a near sell-out for the early lots of mixed jewellery (£1550 was paid for six pairs of gold cufflinks and half a dozen gold rings), prices were strong once again for amber (two necklaces of oval beads made £3940) and watches too. A fine 18ct gold watch by Breguet on a black leather strap was bought for £7640 and an Art Deco lady’s diamond cocktail watch exceeded expectations to make £2330. Top prices were paid good gemstones, including £2740 for a yellow sapphire and diamond cluster ring, £1670 for a Tiffany & Co diamond solitaire ring, £3340 for a sapphire and diamond cluster ring, £3460 for a clear green square-shaped emerald within a diamond cluster setting, £6090 for a 1.8ct solitaire ring set with three diamonds to each shoulder, £3820 for a Victorian diamond brooch, £3580 for a diamond and cultured pearl choker and £2390 for a single row graduated pearl necklace. The day’s top price was paid for a Victorian diamond and enamel necklace and pendant. Offered in its original box from J. Parkes of Vigo Street in London, this exceeded its £6000-8000 estimate to make £13,740.
Lawrences’ recent bumper 2500-lot Summer Fine Art auction in Crewkerne concluded with a large selection of clocks, works of art, furniture and rugs.
A white metal Le Coultre `Atmos` clock doubled expectations to make £2270 and a small pair of Newton’s `New and Improved Terrestrial and Celestial Globes` (just 3 inches across) were bought for £1430. Comfort and refinement seemed to be in demand throughout the sale as a four pillar George III dining table (extending to a mighty 18 feet) made £6930; a giltwood settee of the same era made £4660; and a slightly earlier wingback armchair made £3100. An elegantly proportioned Victorian walnut kidney-shaped pedestal desk was bought for £5130 but a different sort of sophistication was evident when a large oak hutch (comprised of old elements, 47 by 42 ins) caught the eye of a buyer with an appreciation for the quality of an animal’s comfort – this made £4780.
An early 19th Century mahogany gentleman’s press (for storage of clothing), in the manner of Gillows and formerly in the collection of the Earl of Cawdor, made £1430 and a Turcoman susani, delicately stitched with flowering plants, was also bid to £1430. To complete the mood of academic connoisseurship, an Indian red and white ivory chess set (incomplete) made £1370, a white marble bust of a youth after the antique (formerly in the Walcot Collection) made £2740 and a William IV circular giltwood looking glass was bid to £2500.
Lawrences week of Summer Auctions in Crewkerne got underway on July 8th with 820 lots of silver and vertu. As usual, the vast variety of lots on offer ensured busy viewing and considerable interest in certain lots from buyers in the room, on the telephone, on the internet and by commission bid.
An early surprise was the quadruple estimate paid for a small Edwardian caddy spoon by Liberty & Co, just under ½ an ounce in weight, but snapped up for £650. A larger selection of cutlery by celebrated Danish silversmith Georg Jensen took £3100 whilst a modern fox mask stirrup cup was hunted down at £1370. A small early 19th Century Russian silvergilt vodka cup (or `charka`) was competed to £2500; and a pair of Edwardian candlesticks in Art Nouveau style by James Dixon & Sons were bought for £2500. A more elaborate matched set of four figural candlesticks (all similar enough to be a set but ranging in date from 1770 to 1909) made £13740. Another set of four George II candlesticks by Edward Wakelin, 1751, made £6330.
A good mid-18th Century fan depicting a military encampment made £2500; a fine quality portrait miniature of Grace Francklyn ascribed to Abraham Daniell of Bath made £3580; and two ivory, silver and jewelled figures of gardeners were thought be Austrian, c.1900. They were bought for £6330.
Animals subjects were in demand and a veritable menagerie was available to those who wished to start a `silver zoo`: a modern cheetah, 15cm long (£400-500), a monkey walking stick handle (£270), squirrel-shaped pepperettes (£150-170), plated stags (£310), a milk jug or creamer in the shape of a horse (£710), a small Jack Russell terrier (£220), a cast sheep model by Garrard & Co Ltd (£620), a finely modelled grouse (£1000-1200), a pair of Shetland ponies (£660), a plated vesta case in the form of a frog (£170), a fish-shaped vesta case (£220), a cast hippopotamus (£1490) and no fewer than two unusual camels (a pincushion at £890 and one in the form of a small box and cover at £330).
Sales Results may be viewed by selecting the 'Auctions & Catalogues' tab, 'Current/Past Sales' and then by viewing the catalogue for the relevant sale. The sales results are listed next to each item.
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