OF the 830 lots offered in Fieldings (12.5% buyer's premium) February 28 sale, a painting provided the highest price but a chair the biggest surprise.
The picture, a watercolour by Walter Langley sold at £12,000. The chair was a locally-consigned, Regency mahogany library chair which left behind a £200-300 estimate to sell at £5000.
A bidder on the phone and two in the room pushed the price up but there could be more mileage in this very stylish chair, with its complex decorative scheme incorporating acanthus and flowerhead friezes, scroll arms with lotus leaf mouldings and dolphin terminals and reeded forelegs with scroll feet. Although, even given the need for some repair, such a good-looker did not require such a tag to merit its price; the Egyptian Revival elements brought up the name Thomas Hope.
There was also considerable interest in a violin – a house-clearance find which the auctioneers valued at just £30-40. They missed the significance of the name Buthod, Paris to the label, suggesting the instrument might be by the well-respected Frenchman Charles Buthod (1810-1889). His instruments can command high four-figure sums and this violin, needing some restoration, soared past its nominal estimate to bring £750 from a local dealer.
A sextant, signed to the divided silver scale Heath & Co., of Crayford, London and housed, together with accessories, in a fitted mahogany case with a Kew Observatory examination certificate dated 1905 to the lid, was a handsome scientific instrument. However, it also carried the name J.F.B. Carslake R.N. who, the auctioneers discovered, was an explosives and torpedo expert who sat in on the enquiry into the sinking of HMS Hood. It sold to a local militaria collector at £700 (estimate £600-800).
There were three good ceramic lots from the 1930s. Despite some damage, there was predictable interest in a Goldscheider figure of a young lady with a blonde bob, black beret and black and white checked dress. From the factory’s most desirable period, the 11in (28cm) figure sold to a local collector against a phone bid at £800.
The austere monochromes designed by Keith Murray and produced for Wedgwood in the 1930s are again very much in vogue.
Here, a conical bowl, of the typical form with stepped bands and a matt green glaze, 10in (25cm) diameter by 7 1/4in (18cm) high, sold at £500 against a £150-200 estimate.
A large Clarice Cliff Fantasque fruit bowl, 12in (30cm) diameter, raised on three orange cluster feet and decorated with a Red Alpine design of cottages and trees, with red and black borders, sold to local collector at a mid-estimate £540.
A 1920s, 6in (15cm) high William Moorcroft vase (shape number 103) decorated in the Eventide design of a tree filled landscape in a deep rust, red and orange palette with green details, sold at the lower end of £1000-1200 expectations, while at £900 was a Pansy pattern, shouldered tapering ovoid vase with a deep collar of flowers in red and purple on a dark blue ground, 8 1/2in (20cm) high.
Victorian material included a George Jones majolica biscuit barrel and cover and a Staffordshire figure of Garibaldi. The biscuit barrel, 7 1/2in (18cm) high to the top of the branch-effect handle, and moulded with strawberry leaves, cornflowers and ears of corn, more than doubled expectations when it took £560. The 14 1/2in (37cm) Garibaldi, leaning on his horse on a grassy base, overcame some condition problems to sell to a Northern dealer at £360 against an estimate of £80-120.
Back among the furniture was a 19th century satin beech dwarf linen press, which sold just above expectations to a private commission bidder at £2500. Measuring 5ft 7in high by 2ft 11in wide (1.70m x 84cm), it featured an upper cabinet with a double panelled door below a stepped pediment and was flanked by classical scroll-pillared sides and a chest base of five drawers with further scroll details.
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