Here are some pre-sale and post-sale reports for some star lots that have appeared in our sales
Post Sale Reports
Cooking up a treat for collectors
A rare drawing by the original ‘gonzo’ artist, Ralph Steadman, was among the stars of The Cotswold Auction Company’s October sale of Modern Art and Design, Vintage Fashion and Textiles.
Illustrator Steadman is best known for his satirical work with pioneering American journalist Hunter S Thompson, including the iconic ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, which was adapted by ex-Monty Python stalwart Terry Gilliam into a film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.
Original drawings by Steadman rarely come up for sale so it was no surprise that his picture of chefs at work in a kitchen sold for £2,400, plus buyer’s premium, well above its modest estimate of £200 to £300.
Another hot seller was a 1970s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ dress by legendary fashion designer Ossie Clarke. The flowing design and vivid colours were inspired by David Bowie’s famous alter-ego.
The dress sold for £1,200 plus premium, again well above the estimate of £500 to £700. A similar example is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Clarke, who was a close friend of artist David Hockney while still at college, produced a body of work which inspired a host of other fashion luminaries, including Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford.
Works by Irish artist Graham Nuttell also proved popular. An acrylic on canvas by Knuttel of a woman holding a cat was the top seller in the auction, hammering down at £3,200, plus premium.
The Cotswold Auction Company director Liz Poole said: “There were several stand-out sellers this time round.
“Original work by Ralph Steadman is quite rare, so there was considerable interest in the ink and wash drawing ‘Chefs in a Kitchen’.
“Classic designs by Ossie Clarke and Celia Birtwell are also highly collectable, and we were thrilled to have their iconic ‘Ziggy Stardust’ dress in our sale.”
The auction took place on Tuesday, October 31st at The Cotswold Auction Company’s Cheltenham saleroom.
Munnings painting gallops away for over £30,000 at auction
A painting by Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959), Coade stone panels and a pair of 18th century Italian commodes were among the top sellers in The Cotswold Auction Company’s recent sale of Pictures, Antiques and Interiors.
The Munnings painting, entitled ‘Barnet Fair’, sold for £32,000, plus premium, towards the lower end of its estimate. The painting depicts a boy at the well-known 19th century horse fair, hands in pockets, flanked by horses with a marquee/tent in the background.
A pair of Coade stone panels flew away at £29,500, plus premium, well above their estimate of £6,000 to £10,000. Entitled ‘Agriculture’ and ‘Navigation’, the pair – dated London 1797 – were based on designs by John Bacon (1740-1799) and believed to have been moulded by Joseph Panzetta and Thomas Dubbin.
The reliefs came from the gatehouse of the Apsley Estate, Hurstbourne Priors, Andover. They were salvaged and reclaimed in the 1970s when the gatehouse was demolished.
A pair of mid-18th century Italian red painted commodes also performed well, selling for £20,000 plus premium, again well above their estimate of £5,000 to £10,000. The successful Italian bidder was so delighted he ran up to the rostrum to let everyone know they were going back to their home country!
Director of The Cotswold Auction Company, Lindsey Braune, said: “This was a very successful sale with some exceptional pieces on offer.
“We had expected the Sir Alfred Munnings painting to attract a lot of interest, and it did. However, we were also thrilled by how well the Coade stone panels and Italian furniture performed relative to their respective estimates. This shows that the market remains strong for the very best examples across a range of categories.”
The sale took place at The Cotswold Auction Company’s Cirencester saleroom on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 17th and 18th.
Louise in the sky with diamonds
A Louise Parry 18 carat white gold and silver solitaire diamond ring was among the top performers in The Cotswold Auction Company’s September sale of Silver, Jewellery, Asian, Antiques and Interiors.
The ring sold for £2,700, plus premium, exceeding its estimate of £1,000 to £2,000.
A mid-19th century Russian ‘Popov’ figure of the artist Paul Veronese doubled its estimate of £500 to £800 to make £1,600, plus premium.
The artist was modelled wearing a striped tunic whilst leaning against a fluted column holding his palette.
And a set of four large Victorian silver candlesticks, hallmarked ‘London 1885’ and possibly by Jane Brownett, hammered down at £1,000, again above the estimate of £600 to £800.
One of the more unusual items in the sale was a 19th century skull-decorated French walnut ‘Cranologie de Docteur Gal’ snuffbox with tortoiseshell lining.
The snuffbox was made to commemorate Dr Gal (died 1828), considered to be the father of phrenology. It sold for £720, slightly below its low estimate of £800.
The Cotswold Auction Company director, Lindsey Braune, said: “There were some very strong performers in this month’s sale, including a beautiful Louise Parry diamond ring, and a wonderful 19th century figure of Paul Veronese.”
The sale took place on September 12th/13th at The Cotswold Auction Company’s Bankside saleroom in Cirencester.
The answer to our prayers
An exquisitely embroidered bible or prayer book cover dating back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I has sold for £120,000 at auction.
This rare treasure – worked in coloured silks with silver and silver gilt threads – was originally thought to be an Elizabethan cushion cover, but new evidence suggests it was more likely used as a bible or prayer book cover.
The colours are particularly vivid for an example of embroidered fabric from the period and few of this quality survive.
Estimated at £10,000 to £20,000, the cover attracted international interest. Fevered competition between several bidders in the room, online and on the phone pushed it way above estimate before finally selling to a UK-based phone bidder for £120,000, plus buyer’s premium.
Auctioneer at The Cotswold Auction Company, Elizabeth Poole, said: “We were delighted with the outcome. This was a truly exceptional example of Elizabethan embroidery.
“Fabrics usually fade over time, but the colours on this bible cover were as vibrant as when they were first stitched.”
The cover has all-over scrolling foliage decoration, with Tudor roses, cornflowers, yellow daisies, pomegranates and other fruit, and the borders are of silver and silver gilt lace.
It formed part of The Cotswold Auction Company’s August 8th sale of Modern Art and Design, Vintage Fashion and Textiles in Cheltenham.
Other highlights included an artist’s proof print by Edward Bawden, one of the best-loved English artists of the 20th century. His ‘The Road to Thaxted’ sold for £7,000, plus premium.
A bronze bust of ‘Mademoiselle Pogany’ by Romanian-born sculptor Constantin Brancusi went under the hammer for £3,800 (plus premium).
And an early Victorian cream satin wedding dress – worn in 1847 – sold for £2,600, plus premium, on an estimate of £100 to £200.
Shake your funky stuff!
Art Deco proved its enduring popularity with the sale of two of the coolest lots in The Cotswold Auction Company’s July sale of Toys, Antiques and Interiors.
A 1930s silver-plated Art Deco cocktail shaker – designed by Keith Murray and branded Mappin and Webb – sold for £380 plus buyer’s premium.
But the undoubted star of the sale was a French Art Deco walnut veneered chest of drawers, which hammered down at £2,200.
Toys were also popular, with a large group of Britains toy soldiers selling for £1,550 plus premium.
A Victorian papier-mache bulldog automaton – complete with nodding head and original growling mechanism – sold for over its estimate of £300 to £500, going under the hammer at £850.
It is thought to have been made between 1890 and 1910 by the French automaton company Roullet and Decamps.
Auctioneer Lindsey Braune said: “Art Deco is always popular at auction. The chest of drawers was a fabulously chic example of home furnishings from the period.
“Vintage cocktail shakers are also in fashion at the moment and this Art Deco example was particularly stylish.”
The sale was held at the company’s Bankside saleroom in Cirencester over July 25th and 26th.
Martin Brothers are among the most collectable names in antiques and the appearance of their works at auction always gets collectors in a flap!
Three fine examples of Martin-ware flew out of The Cotswold Auction Company’s Cirencester saleroom this week (June 20th).
The top seller was a stoneware aquatic vase with grotesque scaly fish, dated 1905 and incised ‘Martin Bros, London & Southall’, which brought £600.
A stoneware jug with anthropomorphic birds – birds with human expressions – by Edwin and Walter Martin, dated 1898, went under the hammer at £380. This eye-catching jug had previously been sold from the George Twyman collection of Martin Ware at Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury in November 2019.
A pair of lustred vases by Clement Martin, made circa 1920, also sold for £150.
The Martin Brothers lots formed part of a Silver, Jewellery, Asian, Antiques and Interiors sale at our Bankside saleroom in Cirencester.
Director Lindsey Braune commented: “We were thrilled to be able to offer these three examples of Martin-ware for sale.
“The Martin Brothers are among the best-loved and most collectable of all British potters. Antiques aficionados will all be familiar with their ‘Wally birds’.”
Most famous for their anthropomorphic birds and bizarre sea creatures, the four brothers – Wallace, Walter, Charles and Edwin – produced a remarkable body of work at their London pottery through the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
They were best known for their sculptures of birds with human-like expressions, which doubled as tobacco jars and storage containers.
The business was founded in 1873 in Fulham by sculptor Robert Wallace Martin (1843–1923). The brothers moved to Havelock Road, Southall in 1877, and opened a shop in Brownlow Street, High Holborn the following year. The shop closed after a fire in 1903.
Walter Fraser Martin (1857-1912) was the firm’s technical expert, Edwin Bruce Martin (1860-1915) performed the role of thrower and decorator and his work included most of the brothers’ fish designs, while Charles Douglas Martin (1846 – 1910) managed the shop.
The brothers worked mainly with salt glaze stoneware, and were noted for their ‘Wally birds’ – birds with human-like facial expressions and mannerisms – as well as strange aquatic and other creatures.
Other top sellers in the June 20th sale included a copy of the ‘Alfred jewel’, which sold for £1,250, well above its estimate of £300 to £500.
The original, inscribed with the words ‘aelfred mec heht gewyrcan’ – which means ‘Alfred ordered me made’ – was discovered in Somerset in 1693.
Dating back to the ninth century, during the reign of Alfred the Great, King of England, the jewel is now amongst the most popular exhibits at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
A 19th century micro-mosaic brooch depicting two doves on a fruiting vine – believed to be from the Vatican Workshops – sold for £420, above its estimate of £200 to £300.
Caught in a (mouse) trap
Ok, we admit it, it was us, The Cotswold Auction Company.
A 1954 edition of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ – together with assorted signed memorabilia relating to the longest-running show in the West End – sold in Cheltenham for £1,900 as part of our Books, Medals, Militaria, Stamps, Coins and Collectables auction on Tuesday, June 6th.
The volume – signed by Agatha Christie ‘For James Grout on our 6th birthday, Agatha Christie’ – formed part of the collection of actor James Grout, from Malmesbury, Wiltshire, who was best known for playing Inspector Morse’s boss, Chief Inspector Strange, in the television adaptation of Colin Dexter’s novels.
The much-loved actor passed away in 2012 and ‘The Mousetrap’, in which he appeared, was part of a large collection of books from his estate which recently came up for sale at auction.
“There’s great interest in memorabilia connected with the hugely popular Inspector Morse series, and I think that was probably a factor in the £1,900 hammer price,” said auctioneer Lindsey Braune.
Among the memorabilia included with the volume was a programme for the 25th anniversary performance of ‘The Mousetrap’ at St Martin’s Theatre, London on 25th November, 1977, signed by the Prime Minister at the time, Jim Callaghan, former James Bond star Roger Moore and BBC newsreader Angela Rippon.
Also of interest to enthusiasts was a signed copy of the Morse novel ‘The Daughters of Cain’, inscribed by the author for James Grout.
The dedication reads ‘For James – with every best wish to you in life always, Super Strange! Colin Dexter’. Colin Dexter was well known for his love of wordplay and ‘Super Strange’ refers to the character of Chief Inspector Strange.
A biography of playwright Tennessee Williams – ‘The Kindness of Strangers, the Life of Tennessee Williams’ – featured the signatures of the cast of his play ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’, including those of Lauren Bacall, star of the golden era of cinema, and playwright Harold Pinter. The lot it formed a part of sold for £650.
Famous signatures in other books from the James Grout collection included those of actress Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O’Hara in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Gone With The Wind’, and actor Leonard Rossiter, whose most famous roles included Reggie Perrin in the iconic BBC TV series of the 1970s and cynical landlord Rigsby in ITV’s comedy ‘Rising Damp’.
That’s the way to do it if you buy Punch and Judy
Punch and Judy shows in Britain date back to as early as 1662 – recorded by Pepys – with origins in the charismatic 16th century Italian puppet Pulcinella. However, they really came into their own in seaside resorts in the 19th century as railways delivered the holidaying masses. Cirencester saleroom Cotswold Auction Company offered a collection of related memorabilia on November 29.Such was the demand, a bidding battle between a phone bidder and a room bidder that was fought over a lot of seven painted and carved wood Punch and Judy puppets estimated at £150-300 took the hammer price to £4600 (plus 22% buyer’s premium).The lot contained a few classic pieces, including a sausage machine and a crocodile. However, according to the saleroom, the most important pieces in the lot were Punch and Judy themselves, thought to have been made c.1890 by ‘Professor’ Albert Rose, a scenery painter for the English National Opera based in Great Yarmouth.At the weekends his passion was putting on Punch and Judy shows on Gorleston-on-Sea and other Norfolk beaches. An extensive set of Frank Edmonds Weymouth pattern papier-mâché Punch and Judy puppets brought £1100 (guide £150-250). The lot included a ghost, clown and policeman, and a copy of the Harlequin Press Weymouth & Mr Punch book. Edmonds worked Weymouth beach for 50 years. An individual highlight was an early 20th century, possibly Lehmann, German tinplate acrobatic Punch, about (24.5cm) long, which took £1050 (estimate £40-60).
Small is Definitely Beautiful at £100,000!
Cirencester auctioneers Elizabeth Poole and Lindsey Braune of The Cotswold Auction Company were delighted with an outstanding result at their Tuesday 19th October auction in Bankside Saleroom. A house pictures record was achieved, but this was not for an oil or a watercolour – but for a very unusual pair of 19th century Italian micro-mosaic pictures. Micro-mosaics are usually found in small tablets or even as jewellery and it is extremely rare to come across not one, but a pair of full-sized classical portraits. These were the Cumaean Sybil and the Persian Sybil, ancient priestesses, worked in unbelievable detail in fine glass mosaic by Luigi Moglia (1813-1878). Auctioneer Elizabeth Poole, who catalogued them at a property near Cheltenham, where they had happily sat on the wall for several decades, commented “My initial impression from across the room was that this was a fine pair of oil paintings, however on closer examination the minute mosaic workmanship could be seen. They were quite breathtaking!”. Similar pieces come to the market so rarely, the auctioneers placed a conservative estimate of £10,000 to £20,000 on them. Interest prior to the sale came from all over the world.
“We had seven phone bidders, ranging from American and Italian collectors, London galleries and local trade interest, bidders in the room and online. It was finally an Asian buyer who triumphed over the online under-bidder to take the pair at £100,000 to the delight of the owners”.
These pictures came from a local deceased estate near Cheltenham, where a family member had built up a sizeable art collection in the mid-20th century and quite possibly purchased the pair of mosaics at that time.
Also in the sale was a rare and important pastel portrait of George Washington, first US President, by British artist James Sharples (1751-1811) in profile, 23cm x 18cm. This picture was formerly at Bowden Hall in Upton St Leonards, near Gloucester and has also remained in a family collection. It was believed to have once been owned by 19th century British collector Jeffery Whitehead and exhibited in London twice in the late 19th century, before being sold as part of Whitehead’s collection by Christies in London in 1915. This portrait sold to a London telephone buyer at £25,000.
Other stand-out pieces in this Cotswold Auction Company Autumn sale were a tall and imposing polished white stone garden statue, female nude, attributed to Paul Vanstone (b.1967) and this raced away from its estimate of £1,500 to £2,000 to realise £5,500, selling to a buyer in the room.
Channel Islands buyers are always on the lookout for artwork of these beautiful islands and an oil by Henry King Taylor (shipping off Mount Orgueil, Jersey), ex-Omell Gallery stock, again exceeded estimate at £3,400. An Antoine Blanchard oil, Paris street scene with Notre Dame, brought £2,100, a Jacques Emile Blanche half-length portrait of a young man came in at £1,750, while a charming 18th century portrait of a lady in pearls sold at £1,400.
An unusual Globe Wernicke sectional bookcase including two corner sections sold online at £2,300 while a pair of Howard & Sons-style armchairs came under the hammer at £2,000.
Entries for the November/December sales at the Cirencester and Cheltenham salerooms are now being accepted. Please contact the auctioneers on 01285 642420/01242 256363 or email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Rare Faberge Miniature Sedan Chair Sells for £380,000 at The Cotswold Auction Company’s Bankside Saleroom
We were delighted to be instructed in the sale of a tiny Russian treasure which had been sitting peacefully in a box in the Cotswolds for the last 20 years, having been passed down to a family member who was instructed to “look after it”! This was a Fabergé nephrite jade, rock crystal, mother-of-pearl and varicolour chased gold miniature model of a sedan chair, marked with the workmaster’s initials M.N for Mikhail Perchin, one of his most illustrious workmasters, circa 1899-1903. It even boasted a hinged door with functioning handle, revealing a mother-of-pearl seat to the interior, each side mounted with a reeded gold and nephrite pole, in a fitted Wartski wooden case, just 7.8 cm. high.
It was acquired by Mr. K.W. Woollcombe-Boyce in 1929 from Wartski in London for £75 and remained in the family, passed down to the present owner. Recorded in the family inventory: ‘Objects in the Possession of Mr. K.W. Woollcombe-Boyce (and Daughter), made in the Workshop of Peter Carl Fabergé, in St. Petersburg, Moscow Or Odessa between 1841-1918’: ‘Item 1: A Sedan chair with moveable poles, made of Jadeite, mother-of-pearl (seat), crystal (windows) & gold, height 3’’…’
This little treasure achieved a house record for The Cotswold Auction Company and Liz Poole was on the rostrum at the time. Six phone bidders from Russia, America and London vied with bidders in the room – bidding started at £50,000 and rose rapidly from one phone bidder to the next and despite a strong showing from the bidders in the room, the lot was finally won by a phone bid from Russia – spontaneous applause broke out!
This was a really exciting sale for the company and our whole team has been closely involved in the cataloguing, photography, research, safeguarding and publicity which all contributed to a successful sale.
Voysey victorious in Cirencester!
A pair of Art and Crafts bedroom chairs removed for auction from a house in Cheltenham stunned bidders at The Cotswold Auction Company 4th March sale in Cirencester. Dating from the turn-of-the-century, c. 1900, and in oak with rush seats, they were slender and with simple lines. The heart shaped “cut-out” in the splatback was the giveaway that these were made to a design by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941), well-known architect and Arts and Crafts designer.
Because of their rarity and the fact that none have come up at auction for over 10 years the auctioneers placed a low estimate on the pair, expecting them to fetch something in the low £100’s. So no one was more surprised than auctioneer Piers Critchlow, who was on the rostrum at the time, when they started to head for stratospheric heights. A local Arts and Crafts specialist collector and dealer had rushed to the saleroom, but was the unsuccessful underbidder. Two other phone bidders did not get a look in and the hammer came down at £16,500, selling to an Internet bid.
Director Lindsey Braune said “There were only a very few items of value in this particular Cheltenham house, overrun with ivy and mice, and we’re delighted that these chairs sold so successfully. The family tell us they were acquired many years ago and had been in the house for decades.”
It is believed that the chairs may have been produced by the London cabinetmaker FC Nielsen, who worked for Voysey. They boast the tell-tale large, visible dovetails in the back splat and also another trademark of this designer – the tapering uprights to the back, which protrude above the functionally necessary height, adding a simple elegance.
The next sale at the Cirencester Bankside saleroom will take place on Tuesday 7th/Wednesday 8th April and will include a specialist section of Silver and Jewellery. For further information please contact the auctioneers on email@example.com or 01285-642420.
MARIA EDGEWORTH COLLECTION FLIES ABOVE ESTIMATE
It is a rare event when a significant author’s original source material surfaces after two centuries. But this is just what happened at The Cotswold Auction Company’s Books sale held in Cheltenham on Tuesday 11 th February. Anglo-Irish author Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) was a prolific novelist whose literary career started with Castle Rackrent (1800), a satire on Anglo-Irish landlords, of which her father was one! Born in Oxfordshire Maria Edgeworth spent most of her childhood in England, however her life in Ireland had a profound impact on both her thinking and views surrounding her Irish culture. She was well educated and corresponded with members of the Lunar Society and also developed strong views on politics. As she wrote in her work ‘Helen’ “Women are now so highly cultivated and political subjects are at present of so much importance … Helen … you cannot, I conceive, satisfy yourself with the common namby-pamby little Missy phrase “Ladies have nothing to do with politics””.
A contemporary of Jane Austen and more famous in her time, Maria Edgeworth is now very highly regarded and in particular attracts admirers in the UK, Ireland and America. “It was from here that most of the seven or eight telephone lines were booked” said auctioneer Lindsey Braune “We were absolutely inundated with interest prior to the auction, with private viewings arranged for potential buyers, each lasting several hours at a time”. The collection comprised much illuminating personal material including letters to and from her publishers, letters to friends and acquaintances and, principally, a hugely important collection of handwritten notebooks outlining plots, character sketches and notes for many of her well-known works including Hints for Harry and Lucy – Professional Education, Absentee, 1812, The Snow Woman, Ennui, Sketches for Popular Tales and Unfashionable Tales amongst many others. Jenny Low, book cataloguer, was amazed and delighted to find these amongst various paperwork on a visit to a Cotswold cottage. The owner had inherited these from her godfather, a member of the Beaufort family and a direct descendant of Maria Edgeworth. Two years earlier Jenny had catalogued and sold several Maria Edgeworth volumes with inscriptions for The Cotswold Auction Company and she was delighted to be asked back to inspect more of the collection. It was divided into several lots, all with conservative estimates. Lindsey Braune said “For such an unprecedented sale we were expecting the estimates to be exceeded, but in the event the whole collection realised a staggering £147,000”. The top price went to the star lot, the collection of notes and sketchbooks for Maria’s novels, bearing various labels such as ‘Sketch of the Freeman family’, or ‘Notes on Emilie De Coulanges’, “There is a lifetime of study in this little leather case of around 30 notebooks” said Lindsey “and we are very pleased that it was bought on behalf of Princeton University and will provide research material for generations of students to come”. This lot realised £70,000 after a
steady rise from the £4,000-£6,000 estimate. Lot 40 comprised a wealth of material to and from Maria’s publishers Baldwin Cradock and many signed by Rowland Hunter, with correspondence from 1814 to 1841. Again this illuminating lot flew
past its estimate and after a lengthy tussle between phone bidders found a buyer at £40,000. This time the happy purchaser was another institution, The National Library of Ireland, who were strong bidders throughout and obviously very keen to acquire material from this prolific Anglo-Irish author. Letters were particularly popular and the American buyer was successful in acquiring a letter from Edgeworth Town (where Maria eventually died) amongst others at £6,000, another lot of letters dating from 1821 to 1835 at £6,800 and a third including a letter from the eminent early 19 th century publisher Richard Bentley amongst others at £10,000.
In another lot of correspondence there were references to Maria Edgeworth’s last novel ‘Helen’ (1834), of which Maria wrote to her publisher that she had taken much trouble to avoid moralising
(!). This lot came under the hammer at £12,000. “We are delighted that the Maria Edgeworth collection is destined for academic institutions and will be in the public domain – providing invaluable source material for scholars and historians” commented the auctioneers “This body of material is a direct line to the author’s creative process.” The next Books and Collectables Sale to be held at Cheltenham Chapel Walk saleroom will take place on Tuesday 2nd June and entries are now being accepted. For a pre-auction valuation please contact the auctioneers on 01242-256363 and speak to books cataloguer Jenny Low , firstname.lastname@example.org
NAPOLEON’S TRIUMPH TAKES TOP BID
It was a vibrant history picture which won out at The Cotswold Auction Company’s recent specialist pictures sale at the Bankside Saleroom in Cirencester. Robert Hillingford (1826-1904) is well-known for both historical subjects including The Duke of Wellington and Napoleon as well as scenes taken from Shakespearian plays. This particular oil “Triumphant Reception” showed Napoleon arriving on horseback in a fortified courtyard, greeted by a military band and soldiers. In the event it soared past its modest estimate in the mid hundreds to realise the top price in the sale at £1,750. From the same estate came a handsome half-length portrait of a Georgian gentleman in striking red jacket, who also sparked strong competition, realising £1,350 against a pre-sale estimate of £500-£800. Also amongst the oils, another very traditional picture by Charles Jones (1836-1892), a study of sheep on a hillside sold well at £900, while a pair of oils by James Meadow Senior, seascapes with sailing vessels, found a ready buyer at £750.
The top price amongst the watercolours was a typical work by John Varley, which had been given a conservative estimate because of its rather foxed condition, but which nevertheless raced past it to reach £1,150. The popular artist John Linnell (1792-1882) sold just on estimate at £550 (rural landscape with herdsmen, cattle, dog and sheep), while an oil on board, still life of a bird’s nest with honeysuckle and blossom branches by Anne Cotterill left the room at £450. Also from the 20th century was a striking oil on board by Anthony R Cooke “Houseboats at Shoreham” dated 1958 and which realised above estimate at £420.
The top price in the furniture section went to a Victorian burr walnut serpentine-fronted credenza with satinwood crossbanding, reaching a respectable £1,000, while a delightful antique Chinese two-door lacquered wood marriage chest, profusely decorated, was contested to £600. 20th century furniture continues to sail out of the saleroom and in this auction there was much competition for an early 1970’s Heals rosewood bedroom suite of four variously sized chests of drawers, which came under the hammer at £550, while a Bruno Mathsson “Jetson” chair for DUX in button upholstered black leather made £380.
One unexpected high-flyer in the ceramics section was a most attractive Grainger & Co Worcester porcelain early morning tea service for two persons, fruit and flower decorated on a turquoise ground, which raced away over its estimate to finally sell at £680. A Baccarat cut glass and gilt metal wine cooler, still bearing its paper label and with an etched mark to the base, realised £580.
For free auction valuations please contact Lindsey or Elizabeth on 01285 642420 or 01242 256363 or email email@example.com
Pre Sale Reports
Two emperors, three exquisite treasures
Three exquisite treasures from the reigns of two of China’s greatest emperors – Kangxi and Qianlong – will grace The Cotswold Auction Company’s Christmas sale in December.
The highlight is a pair of Qianlong period (1735 – 1796) cloisonne enamel and gilt-bronze tripod censers (incense burners), estimated at £6,000 to £8,000.
Decorated with ruyi-shaped turquoise panels, the censers are enamelled with lotus, scrolling foliage and Chinese ‘Shou’ emblems, and are supported on gilt bronze mythical beast-headed legs.
The sale also features a blue and white oviform porcelain vase, bearing a Kangxi emperor mark, but believed to date from the 19th century. Chinese porcelain often carried the mark of earlier emperors as a tribute to their forebears or as an indication of quality.
The vase, at 45cm high, is painted with dragons among scrolling flowers and is estimated at £1000 to £1500.
The Cotswold Auction Company’s Christmas sale will be held on Tuesday, December 12th from 10am at its Chapel Walk saleroom in Cheltenham.
Director Lindsey Braune said: “These are amongst the finest Chinese antiques we have sold in recent years.
“The censers are truly exceptional examples, dating from the Qianlong period, while the vase is also of a very high quality.”
In addition, we are offering a pair of Chinese cloisonné enamel candlestick stands, also from the Qianlong period, each with a four character seal mark and estimated at £1000 to £2000.
The three greatest emperors of the Qing dynasty – Kangxi (1661 – 1722), Yongzheng (1722 – 1735) and Qianlong (1735 – 1796) – reigned in succession from 1661 to 1796, as father, son and grandson.
Medieval washbowls set to clean up at auction
An extremely rare group of medieval hand washing bowls will go under the hammer in The Cotswold Auction Company’s annual Christmas sale.
The group of four Limoges gilt, copper and polychrome champleve enamel gemellions – which have come down by descent to the present owner – date to the first half of the 13th century (circa 1200 – 1250).
Gemellions are shallow bowls that were used for hand washing during the Middle Ages, both by priests at the church altar and by wealthy households in a domestic setting at meal times.
They usually came in pairs, hence their Latin name ‘Gemellus’, which means ‘twin’. Often decorated with colourful enamels and gilding, gemellions are characterised by their jewel-like appearance and are adorned with Gothic figures, animals and heraldic devices.
Similar examples to those on sale can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Each of the four examples in the sale is estimated at £7000 to £10,000.
The Cotswold Auction Company’s special Christmas sale will be held at its Chapel Walk saleroom in Cheltenham on Tuesday, December 12th, starting at 10am.
Director of The Cotswold Auction Company Lindsey Braune said: “These are truly exceptional artefacts which rarely come onto the market.
“We feel so privileged to have not just one, but four surviving examples for sale in our Christmas auction.
“It is very unusual to find objects of this age in such wonderful condition coming up for sale.
“It would be fair to say that we expect considerable interest from both private collectors and institutions.”
For further information or a private viewing, please contact The Cotswold Auction Company on 01242 256363 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Come to the fair – Sir Alfred Munnings invites!
New work by the much-loved equestrian artist Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) is always welcome on market. The Cotswold Auction Company is very pleased to offer a painting, which has been in the same family collection since 1947, in their next specialist pictures sale to be held at the Cirencester Bankside Saleroom on Tuesday 17th October, entitled ‘Barnet Fair’. This small, but very evocative, oil on canvas shows a scene from the leading 19th century horse fair, regularly held at Barnet in North London.
Certain characters and indeed animals appear regularly in Munnings’ work, and this picture is no exception – it shows the grey pony which often features in his work, together with a donkey and a boy in cap and red scarf, identified as Jimmy Betts. The same three are the focus of ‘The Last of the Fair’ (an oil on canvas showing a slightly different group from the same fair and which at present hangs in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, Lancashire).
In this work the boy stands within the shafts of a cart, minding his charges at the end of the day, hands stuffed in his pockets against the damp chill. Tents and buildings are just visible in the background, but our interest is all on this group, which fills the canvas, and the grey pony is almost luminous in the earthy rural setting.
The work is signed and dated 1903, measuring 10” x 14” (25.5cm x 36cm), and bears an estimate of £30,000 to £50,000.
Privately owned for over 70 years
“This lovely little painting will appeal both to Munnings collectors and to lovers of the countryside and the world of horses alike,” said auctioneer Lindsey Braune. “We are delighted to be handling the sale of a picture which has been tucked away in a collection for over 70 years, and expect that bidders will be very keen to see it.”
For more information or extra photos, please contact the auctioneers on 01285 642420 or email email@example.com. The sale will be on view at the Bankside Saleroom on Friday, Saturday morning and Monday preceding the auction.
Macavity and Friends Come to Cheltenham
The Cotswold Auction Company in Cheltenham is delighted to be offering a rare inscribed and signed copy of T. S. Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ ( New Edition , 11th impression 1953) in their specialist books sale on 7th February . The book was an engagement gift to Susan MacEwan, Eliot’s secretary at Faber and Faber, and the inscription reads ‘…For Susan McEwan ( sic) with warm good wishes to herself and her future husband – T S Eliot 16.X.58’.
And this book is accompanied by some fascinating paperwork – including a handwritten letter to MacEwan from New York dated 28.IV.58 asking her to check Eliot’s income tax position with the accountants! The envelope is present, with a postscript on the back. There is also a typed letter relating to the writing process of his last play ‘The Elder Statesman’, and a signed playbill for the first performance at the Cambridge Theatre on 25th September 1958. Other ephemera relating to Eliot accompanies the lot, adding to its huge interest for collectors.
Eliot was American born, but lived the greater part of his life in England, and took British citizenship in 1927. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1948. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was an immensely popular children’s poetry collection and the inspiration for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical ‘Cats’.
Jenny Low, Cotswold Auction Company books cataloguer, said “We couldn’t ask for better provenance – all this material comes directly from Susan MacEwan, who has consigned it for auction via her daughter”. She anticipates a strong following for this lot and has given it an estimate of £3000-£5000.
Private viewing can be arranged by contacting Jenny Low at The Cotswold Auction Company firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone 01242 256363. Public viewing days are Saturday 4th February 10-1pm and Monday 6th February 10-5pm at the Chapel Walk Saleroom, Cheltenham GL50 3DS
The Cotswold Auction Company are delighted to announce the sale of an exceptional collection of ….. lots of Belgian stamps, postal history and wide-ranging exposition, fair, cross-channel maritime & other postcards in our forthcoming collectables Auction on the 7th February. This collection was amassed over many years by the late Tom Pring, a highly respected member of the Belgium Study Circle specialist philatelic society, and consists of:
Þ Postage stamps from the earliest issues, postmarks and postal history of Belgium and its regions both internally and with other countries worldwide, including Tom Pring’s two specialist books on the Belgium stamp issues, and postal covers to officials in Napoleonic armies in Europe.
Þ Belgian Expositions/Exhibitions & Fairs 1840s to 1930s particularly those of Liege in 1905, 1930 and 1939 – their commemorative and promotional stamps (including vignettes & cinderellas), letters/covers, postcards, medals, badges, brochures, guides, maps and other ephemera such as tickets, award labels and trade cards.
Þ Cross-channel mail and postal history with focus on the Dover-Ostend route including a wide range of letters, postcards, brochures, guides, tickets, and other items from Corsini letter of 1575 onwards, with 1700s ‘Bishop-marked’ covers seen.
The son of the proprietor of City Brewery in Exeter, Tom Pring was born in 1937. His uncle Geoffrey Pring initiated his interest in stamp collecting. Geoffrey had an extensive collection of British stamps, and Tom also began his collection with an interest in British issues. Having studied accountancy in the family tradition and despite his dreams of being an architect, Tom was not particularly stimulated by his career and spent his spare time collecting, soon starting a collection of Belgian issues. In 1966 he, his wife Christine and their two young daughters Alison and Susan purchased a small 16th Century hotel in Hartford, Cheshire. As a result of the career change, his stamp collecting was put largely on hold. The hotel was later sold, and as he began work as an auditor in Manchester, he picked up his passion once more, collecting Belgian postmarks and items from the Belgian postal service.
During his retirement in Gloucestershire, he sold his British stamps in order to concentrate on all things Belgian, joining the Belgian Study Circle, and amassing an exceptional collection of not only stamps but postmarks, posters, catalogues, and anything to do with the Belgian postal service and Belgium expositions, exhibitions & fairs from the 1840s onward. He wrote detailed books on Belgian stamp issues, the ‘Fine Barbe Varieties’ (2009) and ‘1893 Armoires du Royaume’ (2015). He was part-way through writing a book on the Dover-Ostend postal route when he suffered a stroke in March 2021 and, unable to complete this work, passed away in August 2022.
Viewing for the sale is at our Chapel Walk saleroom, Cheltenham on Saturday 4th February, 10am to 1pm, and Monday 6th of February, 10am to 6pm. Although we have included many photographs in the listings, we strongly recommend viewing in person to fully appreciate the quality & scope of the lots on offer.
Rare George Washington portrait comes up for auction in Cirencester
Directors Lindsey Braune and Elizabeth Poole of The Cotswold Auction Company are delighted to bring a highly desirable small portrait of the first American president to auction in their 19th October Pictures sale at the Cirencester, Bankside saleroom. “This will be extremely interesting for both British and US buyers” said Lindsey, “Because we believe it was executed by James Sharples, a well-known eighteenth century British pastellist, who worked in the UK and then in 1794 travelled to the United States with his family. It is thought that Sharples secured a sitting from America’s first president, George Washington, not long after his arrival in the USA, c. 1795-7.” Once the sitting had been obtained both James Sharples and his wife Ellen produced multiple versions for a ready local market in Philadelphia, then the American Capitol.
A few of these have survived and come to the market at rare intervals, always met with a great deal of interest by collectors of eighteenth century American pictures and history.
This picture comes from a local house and was formerly at Bowden Hall in Upton St Leonards near Gloucester. From this same family collection, and also with an American theme, earlier this year The Cotswold Auction Company sold the first African-American published book of poetry by a slave girl, Phyllis Wheatley, 1773 for £16,500.
It is believed that the portrait was once part of the collection of nineteenth century British collector Jeffery Whitehead and was exhibited in London twice – in 1899, incorrectly attributed to Russell, and in 1891 as ‘Sharpless’ (as James Sharples was known at the time). It then sold at Christie’s in 1915, when Whitehead’s whole collection was consigned for auction. It was bought by a picture dealer by the name of Schroeder and found its way to this local Cotswold collection near Gloucester.
This rare portrait bears an estimate of £30,000 to £50,000 and the auctioneers welcome enquiries at email@example.com or 01285 642420.
Small is beautiful – mosaic pictures in Cirencester auction!
The Cotswold Auction Company are extremely excited to offer a rare pair of micro-mosaic pictures on copper by Luigi Moglia (1813-1878) “Cumaean Sibyl” after Zampieri Domenico and “The Persian Sibyl” after Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino (Domenico’s Sibyl can be found in the Galleria Borghese and Guercino’s Persian Sibyl is listed in the Musei Capitolini, Rome). Luigi Moglia was active in Rome circa 1850-1870 and worked in the Studio Vaticano del Mosaico (Mosaic Studio of the Vatican). His expertise was copying in micro-mosaic the famous artworks of Rome. He was one of the most highly sought after mosaic artists of all time and in 1851 won a gold medal at the Great Exhibition of London for his micro-mosaic “The Ruins of Paestum”. His work features in the V&A including a mosaic of the Pantheon, Rome from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert collection, one of the world’s greatest decorative art collections. The V&A also house a Moglia micro-mosaic “Lavinia as Flora” which measures 37cm x 30cm, the same size as the pair of plaques coming up for sale in Cirencester on the 19th October. Lavinia as Flora is also a copy of an important painting, this being Titian’s Girl with a Bowl of Fruit.
Micro-mosaics are made of small glass tesserae and at first glance these works can easily be confused with paintings, as was the case with Arthur Gilbert himself. The British Museum has a small micro-mosaic plaque by Luigi Moglia of a spaniel and very few works come up for auction. Other pieces by the artist can be seen in the Royal Collection, Cincinnati Museum of Art and several Italian museums. The most recent Moglia works to have appeared at auction include a small oval plaque, 3.8cm x 9.6cm of a spaniel, which sold on 5th December 2019 at Christies for £5,000. In October 2017 another small micro-mosaic plaque by Moglia measuring 6.5cm x 4.3cm, also of a spaniel, realised £6,200.
This spectacular pair of panels is expected to realise £10,000-£15,000 at The Cotswold Auction Company’s Pictures sale in October. They have come from a local deceased estate and were hanging by the side of the fireplace for many years, having been passed down to the last lady owner by her great-uncle.
Also offered for sale in this auction is an oil by Jacques Emile Blanche (1861-1942), head and shoulders portrait of gentleman smoking. Blanche was a French artist, largely self-taught, and became a successful portrait painter working in London and Paris. He exhibited in Paris at The Salon and The Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts. One of his closest friends was Marcel Proust and he is also mentioned in Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas. Blanche was influenced by contemporaries such as James Tissot and John Singer Sargent. His style of colouring and loose brushwork is also reminiscent of Manet. He visited London for a year from 1884 and had many British patrons including the Duchess of Rutland. This oil on board showing a gentleman smoking and with slightly rosy cheeks – he may well be a fellow artist. It carries an estimate of £1,000-£2,000.
Auction preview photos can be seen on www.cotswoldauction.co.uk and the sale will take place at the Bankside Cirencester saleroom on 19 October.
20th Century Design, Textiles and Costume are two great areas of collecting at the moment and The Cotswold Auction Company’s specialist sale on 24th March in Cheltenham is sure to attract huge interest. The catalogue online is already attracting huge interest for an Arts & Crafts Norman Bucknell, after Norman Jewson, brass Fritillary candle sconce with an estimate of £200-£300. This item was made for the current owners in the 1980’s by Norman Bucknell who lived in Bisley, Gloucestershire. One of the other most watched furniture items is a very stylish Martin Hall for Gordon Russell ‘Marlow’ Brazilian rosewood sideboard, circa 1970 which has a wonderful maple interior and would surely fit into any modern home and has an estimate of £600-£900. This sideboard has a matching extending dining table which has wonderful Brazilian rosewood figuring and would surely be great for a party.
The costume is dominated by designer items from Prada, Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga and others. A Chanel black and diamante cuff with original box has an estimate of £200-£300 and a vintage Chanel quilted bag with dust bag will come in at £600-£800. Also in the costume Biba, Issy Miyaki, Yves Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood and other desirable names feature. A strong selection of antique embroideries include a 19th century woolwork embroidered picture ‘Freedom’ with two sailors, a 19th century woolwork embroidered picture of 12 masted sailing vessels and a 17th century needlework picture with an estimate of £2,000-£3,000 all coming from one private collection. Other textiles include Chinese silk embroidered skirt panels which have beautiful vibrant colours, butterfly, dragonfly and exotic bird decoration. Handbags and shoes include Coach, Dior, Vivienne Westwood and Philip Treacy. Other stylish top-end items which would fit into any contemporary home are Robert Welch stainless steel cutlery, Bang & Olufsen Beocentre and speakers, stylish lights and screens. Further designer names include Celine, Chloe, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Dries van Noten and Orla Kiely. Stylish and modern furniture included on the day will feature Robin Day, Schonbuch, Eero Saarinen and Herman Miller.
ANGLO-IRISH AUTHOR MARIA EDGEWORTH – STUNNING COLLECTION UNEARTHED
It is a rare event when a significant author’s original source material surfaces after two centuries. But this is just what The Cotswold Auction Company books cataloguer, Jenny Low, found on a visit to a client in a Cotswold village. In February 2018 the Auctioneers were delighted to offer a small collection of works by Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849), the prolific late 18th/early 19th century Anglo-Irish writer. The vendor of these works was a member of the family of Frances Anne Beaufort, who became the stepmother of Maria Edgeworth upon marriage to Richard Lovell Edgeworth as his fourth wife. She was actually a year younger than Maria (1769-1865), one of his twenty-two children, and they became firm friends.
The books offered in 2018 realised a total of just over £4000, many signed and inscribed by Maria, her father, Frances, and other family members. The vendor is still sorting through family belongings and invited Jenny Low to view further works by this author, together with an exciting wealth of source material, including letters to and from her publishers, and a quantity of notebooks with preliminary sketches of Maria Edgeworth’s novels such as “Orlandino”, “Harry and Lucy”, “Popular Tales” and “Parent’s Assistance”.
There is, for example, a fair copy of the poem “Jacob” in Maria’s hand and signed. There is an intriguing letter to “Mr Rogers” – “This is not the first time that you have been called upon by me to act as arbiter elegantorum to decide our family disputes on the rights and wrongs of the English language…” amongst many others.
In her notebooks she sketches character outlines and possible plot development with crossings out, question marks and insertions, which will fascinate the scholar of her work! For example, she muses on “Harry and Lucy”, on the “difference between emulation and envy – grief felt by Edward when he finds that he cannot write as well as Harry – briefly anger – envy and mixture of grief and anger, Harry’s father interferes – shows Edward that his envy gives him pain…”.
There is correspondence from Richard Bentley, her publisher at Bentley and Colburn, relating to “Helen”, her final novel, published in 1834, and even rent slips to Mrs Edgeworth (probably Frances, her stepmother) dated 1850.
The collection will be sold in various lots and the Auctioneers anticipate a great deal of interest on Tuesday, 11th February, in the original collection of this popular novelist. For further information please contact the Auctioneers on firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 01242 256363. Viewing will take place at the Chapel Walk Saleroom in Cheltenham on Saturday, 8th February and Monday 10th February. Please see the website for details www.cotswoldauction.co.uk
Two book rarities coming up in Cheltenham auction
The Cotswold Auction Company is delighted to be able to offer for sale one of best documented early printed books – and the first to successfully combine illustration and text – The Nuremberg Chronicle published in 1493, from a private collection, formerly residing at Bowden Hall, Upton St Leonards, Gloucestershire.
The author was Hartmann Schedel (13 February 1440 – 28 November 1514), a German historian, physician, humanist and one of the first cartographers to use the printing press – and the book was produced by printer Anton Koberger (c 1440 -1513) in Nuremberg. The Chronicle depicts the Seven Stages of Biblical History and is lavishly illustrated with more than 1800 woodcuts, overseen by two Nuremberg artists Michael Wolgemut and Hans Pleydenwurff – it is possible that Albrecht Durer, who was an apprentice to Wolgemut, may even have contributed, though none of the illustrations is signed. The work also features extensive geographical information of the world as known at the time, showing many European cities never before illustrated, as well as biblical scenes. The book is a massive tome. This copy has been rebound in superb pale blind stamped pigskin by Bayntun in 1977.
It bears an estimate of £40,000- £60,000 and can be viewed online from Friday 21 May or by appointment with the auctioneers.
From the same collection comes an incredibly rare book – an 18th century volume of poetry by a young enslaved woman, the first African American woman to be published, Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) – ‘ Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral – Negro Servant to Mr John Wheatley of Boston, in New England”, published ‘according to Act of Parliament, Sept, 1st 1773 by Archibald Bell’.
This slender book has an engraved portrait of Phillis as the frontispiece. Phillis herself was a woman who has left an indelible mark on American and world slave history. She was taken as a child from the Gambia in 1761 at seven years old and bought as a companion for the ageing Mrs Wheatley – named for the ship ‘The Phillis’, which brought her, and the for family which purchased her. The Wheatley family realised her intelligence and in addition to teaching her reading and writing, she learned biblical studies, Greek, Latin, British literature, geography and astronomy. She began writing poetry in her early teens, taking inspiration from her African culture and her new-found faith. She was the first African American woman to be published.
Her most renowned poem was written at the age of 15, condemning the evils of racism from a Christian perspective ‘ On Being Brought from Africa to America’ contains the poignant line
“ Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain/ Maybe refined, and join th’ angelic train…”
She visited London in 1773 for the publication of her poems with the financial support of the Countess of Huntingdon, where she was a social and literary success, returning back to America due to the illness of Mrs Wheatley.
After the publication of her poems in 1773, at the age of twenty, she was given her freedom and married John Peters, a free grocer, in 1778. Despite gaining her liberty life was hard, notwithstanding Phillis’s fame in literary and abolitionist circles and the couple lived in poverty, John Peters being imprisoned for debt in 1784, and Phillis died in December of the same year, aged 31, followed by her infant child, possibly the third to succumb.
Jenny Low, book cataloguer at The Cotswold Auction Company, said ‘This book just doesn’t come up at auction – this is such a rare opportunity –and we have placed a wide estimate of £5000 to £10,000 on it. Phillis made history and we anticipate interest from libraries, African American historians and many collectors’.