AMONG the London salerooms offering a good selection of antique glasswares in the last fortnight, Christie’s South Kensington had a mixed-owner 280-lot selection of British and Continental glass to offer as part of their monthly ‘At Home’ series.
Offered on October 9, just a week after the Harvey's dispersal
at Bonhams, this was a well-balanced sale which had plenty of
18th century English drinking glasses; a particularly attractive
selection of cut glass and, unusually for a London sale, a large
selection of early wine bottles. (Harvey's sale excepted, glass
sales in the capital more usually feature only one or two bottles.
Here there were no fewer than 31 divided between 19 lots).
The high point of this auction, however, was not produced by any
of these areas but by two pieces of Victorian cameo glass of
c.1885. This is a sector of the market that has been on the up
recently, with demand fuelled by strong collecting from the US and
Witness the very fierce competition seen at Sotheby's in London
last December for the pieces from the Hida Takayama Museum to cite
just one illustration.
Christie's two pieces were by Thomas Webb, the best-known
British manufacturer, although the workmanship could not be
ascribed to their most sought-after cameo artist, George
The 12.75in (31cm) high vases, which were of an unusual smoky
amber tint, both came from the same source and had probably been
intended to be displayed together, for they had complementary
decoration of horsedrawn classical chariots, rising above the
clouds. One, however, was driven by a helmeted god, the other a
classically-draped goddess and there were differences to the formal
bands of decoration to the necks and bases.
Christie's hadn't pitched the estimates as high as the best
Takayama Museum examples. They guided the goddess-powered vase,at
£8000-12,000 and the male charioteer vessel, right, which had a
bruise to the rim, at £5000-8000. In the event both these margins
were left behind as the same buyer fought off American trade
competition on the phone to secure them both paying £24,000 and
Overall the sale saw a good competitive turnout of trade and
private purchasers and generated £164,460, with selling rates of 76
per cent by lot and, boosted by the cameo results, 90 per cent by
The buyer's premium was 17.5/10% per cent