ENTERED for sale by a descendent of the family for whom it was made, this carved wood and painted plaster model of an East End butcher’s shop sold for £22,000 at Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury.
It is believed to be the top
price achieved at auction for a Victorian butcher's shop
Used to advertise Fernley Family
Butchers of Limehouse, London, the 3ft (91cm) wide model would have
been displayed in the shop window once the produce had been put
away in cold-storage for the night.
Typically for such models, it depicts
a smartly-dressed butcher standing amid his wares, but more
unusually, it shows the premises complete with cutting room, where
another butcher works in a bloodstained apron.
It was made by the butcher's son, who
was the great-great grandfather of the vendor, and was well-known
to folk art enthusiasts as the example displayed in the V&A
Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green for 30 years.
The model's fine detail, from numerous
meat cuts and animal carcasses in the shop to the lace curtains
hanging in the windows above, had generated great pre-sale
Appearing at the sale on April 3, on
the day a battle developed between a phone bidder and a buyer in
the room, with the hammer finally coming down in favour of the room
bidder at £22,000 (estimate £4000-6000). The purchaser was the
ancient London livery company The Worshipful Company of
Will Hobbs, furniture and works of art
specialist at Woolley & Wallis, told ATG: "We are delighted for
the vendor. We knew it was a particularly fine example but we're
not aware of this type of model fetching such a price before. We're
thrilled that it's going to such a fitting home."
An equally sophisticated example in
the Thomas Gray collection sold by Noel Barrett of New Hope,
Pennsylvania, in November 2010 brought $29,000 (£19,350). Contained
within two Georgian-style buildings, it measured just under 4ft
(1.2m) across and included three butchers and nearly 200 cuts of
meat and poultry.
The buyer's premium was 22%
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.