By Kate Hunt
WHILE large dispersals of clocks have always been rarities outside of the major London rooms, the West Country is becoming a new spot on the dial. Like Bath-based Gardiner Houlgate (see last week’s ATG), the auctioneers formerly known as The Bristol Auction Galleries, who now operate under the Dreweatt Neate banner, have built a good private as well as a trade following for the triannual specialist clock sections included in their antique sales.
The 112-lot clock section at the November 2 sale was – along with a group of privately entered miniatures – responsible for the lion’s share of highlights.
A mixture of collectors and dealers contested the most sought after mid-Georgian timepieces, including the small c.1750 figured mahogany bracket clock that headlined proceedings.
This elegant clock was signed by Arlander Dobson, recorded as working in London from 1740-65. At 16in (41cm) high, the size, along with original condition, helped the privately entered clock to a winning £4900 bid from a dealer.
Also selling well was a George III, brass-mounted figured mahogany bracket clock dating to c.1790 and signed Thomas Wagstaff, Gracechurch Street, London.
Together with a number of other clocks and clock movements offered in additional lots, this was entered from the personal collection of a clock restorer.
As expected, given the vendor’s occupation, it was in good working order. For the same reason, it may have hit a little trade resistance but it topped its upper estimate selling to a private buyer at £4600.
Other notable clocks included a brass-wing lantern clock dating to c.1710 and signed by the London maker John Crucefix. Examples of his work can be seen in Stirling Castle.
Such lantern clocks are not common and Dreweatt Neate specialist David Rees said speculation continues as to whether or not they were originally made with wings.
This example fetched £3000.
Turning to the miniatures, interest among collectors focused on a market-fresh group by Henry Pierce Bone (1779-1855) which demolished their here-to-sell estimates.
Top seller at £3800 was a signed and dated 1842 enamel-on-copper portrait of a lady, Nino de l’Encloc, after the original by Nicholas Mignard from the Earl of Spencer’s collection.
The enduring popularity of children as subjects was underlined by the performance of a small Bone work. Measuring a diminutive 23/4in x 2in (7cm x 6cm), it showed one Charles Robert Webber as a young child. Signed and dated 1831, it sold at £1650.
By contrast, portraits of middle-aged men of the cloth tend not to be as coveted by collectors.
An exception at Bristol was a finely executed, signed and dated 1838, three-quarter-length portrait of the Archbishop of Canterbury by Henry Pierce Bone after Sir Thomas Lawrence’s original in Winchester College.
Estimated at just £400-600, it was judged to be of such quality that it sold at £2900 against modest pre-sale hopes.
There was also an example of a miniature by Henry Pierce Bone’s illustrious father Henry Bone RA (1755-1834). The half-length portait of Montmorency, Constable of Bourbon after Titian was signed and dated 1824 and sold at £1900.
BACK on September 28 there were no such miniatures or clocks to swell the £94,000 hammer total at Dreweatt Neate’s 425-lot Bristol sale.
However, unlike the November 2 outing, the sale did benefit from healthy private interest in its furniture section.
Much of this interest was down to one private buyer looking to furnish his house. He secured around 20 of the 115 furniture lots including an Edwardian inlaid mahogany three-piece bedroom suite by Phillips of Bristol for which he bid £1600.
The most expensive purchase was made by a dealer – a William IV mahogany, triple-pillar dining table which fetched £4000.
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