UNDERLINING the impact of the market for Chinese works of art on the UK auction landscape, Salisbury auctioneers Woolley & Wallis posted total hammer sales in 2010 of £23.36m.
The unprecedented January to December aggregate represents a 97 per cent increase on the £11.65m that made them the highest-grossing regional auctioneer in 2009 and is a multiple of previous years (£6.7m in 2008 and £8.15m in 2007).
Much of the landmark total was the result of two sales of Asian works of art that totalled just shy of £16m (£7.3m in May and £8.6m in November) and specifically the consignment of Chinese imperial jades from Crichel House in Dorset.
With four carvings selling for more than £1m each (Woolley & Wallis have now registered six of the nine seven-figure sums achieved outside London), these alone brought £9m.
However, the Salisbury Salerooms' chairman Paul Viney told ATG it had also been a solid year in other categories, with seven of W&W's nine specialist departments showing an improvement on 2009 and furniture, silver, jewellery and decorative arts all selling more than £1m.
In particular, the silver department, now under the aegis of Rupert Slingsby, enjoyed a prosperous 12 months, with sales of £1.74m, an increase of 68 per cent on the previous year.
Woolley & Wallis are expected to maintain their status close to the summit of the regional table, although one firm of course bettered these figures with a single lot – the record-breaking £43m Qianlong vase sold by Bainbridges of West Ruislip in November.
More 2010 sale results from the UK's regional salerooms will appear in next week's issue.
By Roland Arkell
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