Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Even if a large offering such as this, held once every eight weeks in a selective marketplace, necessarily means a greater proportion of lots remain unsold, this is no great bother for furniture auctioneer Jeremy Ovenden and his silver, jewellery and ceramics colleague Andrew Davis; the important matter is to retain those clients and their unsuccessful furnishings for the next sale.

Unusually for a provincial sale, this affair began with furniture, and unusually the highest prices came not from the furniture, but from the following sections of jewellery, silver and clocks.

Leading the field at £9200 was an Art Deco Van Cleef and Arples bracelet, 7in (18cm) long, consisting of a collet set row of brilliant cut diamonds within an open-work millegrain border. This was one of eight jewellery lots consigned by a local woman and fiercely contested by the London trade and Home Counties private buyers.

A three-stone diamond ring with an approximate collective weight of 4.6cts, went to a Sussex private buyer above-estimate at £6900 and an Art Deco rectangular brooch of three brilliant cut stones set in a scrolling design of diamonds, emeralds and synthetic sapphires within a synthetic ruby frame and a millegrain diamond border attracted a triple-estimate £6000 from the London.

Other jewellery from Surrey’s stockbroker belt included a pair of ear pendants each headed by a brilliant cut diamond on a flexible strand of three baguette cut and three brilliant cut stones supporting a further, pear shaped stone, which attracted a double-estimate £4500 from a local private buyer.

Of paramount trade interest among a 15-lot Georgian and Earlier Silver section was an armorial punchbowl marked Thomas Cooke II and Richard Gurney, London 1727. Readers may recall Hamptons’ previous fine art sale on January 13 where a punchbowl of Chinese Export porcelain and decorated with a Masonic (rather than armorial) device, attracted a “knockout” bid of £8200.

Naturally, the auctioneers were justifiably intoxicated by the prospect of this earlier, silver example. The armorial on this plain 22oz, 8in (21cm) diameter punchbowl, represented Sir Edward Littleton of Pellaton Hall, Staffordshire with the motto Ung Dieu et Ung Roy. Modestly estimated at £2500-3500, the flawless punchbowl sold to the London trade at £7200. The other armorial piece of silver was a Queen Anne tazza marked for Richard Green, London 1708, and bearing the insignia of the Sidley family from South Fleet, Kent. Distinguished by the marriage mark J.T.S. engraved to the underside, the 17oz, 9in (22cm) diameter tazza sold to a London bidder at a double-estimate £3400.

Two giant repeating carriage clocks by Alfred Drocourt, consigned by the same vendor, dominated the horology section. Both were in excellent condition and housed in gilt gorge cases each measuring 7in (17.5cm) high.

The first Droucourt, numbered 22933, attracted £5600 from a London private and the second, earlier and finer engraved example numbered 16561, sold to another London private buyer at £6100.

Two Continental plaques, consigned by a Richmond vendor, distinguished the ceramics section and went to London dealers.

The first was an c.1870 KPM Berlin example made in Dresden and decorated in the Meissen style with an 18th century harbour scene and inscribed on the reverse Ancien Port de Genes. Monogrammed E.F., the 121/2in wide by 10in wide (31.5 x 25.5cm) plaque doubled hopes at £3400.

The second plaque was a slightly later Viennese example decorated with a Rubens-like allegory of bronzed river gods courting pale female beauties with a crocodile and tiger in attendance. Signed Jos Zasche Wien Zasche this 12in wide by 81/2in high (30 x 21.5cm) plaque brought a triple-estimate £4400.

As with the jewellery and the plaques, the furniture section was distinguished by a small group of single-owner consignments – period walnut to be precise.

An early George II burr walnut crossbanded chest on chest with oak sides, fluted canted corners, later brass drop handles, escutcheons and lockplates and a marquetry sunburst to the bottom drawer.) “was not the most amazing piece of walnut,” said auctioneer Jeremy Ovenden, and had arrived in “fairly rakish” condition. Nevertheless the 5ft 10 high 3ft 6in wide (1.77 x 1.06m piece still took £5800 from a Kent dealer.

From the same estate, a Queen Anne walnut herringbone banded chest of three short and three long drawers on a period stand of one shallow and two deep drawers, 4ft 4in high by 3ft 6in wide (1.30 x 1.05m) sold to the trade at £3800.

A George III Hepplewhite maho-gany serpentine chest of four long cockbeaded and boxwood strung drawers, 3ft 5in wide by 21in deep (1.04m x 54cm) with canted corners but no fretting and a rather faded top, was underbid by the trade before selling privately at £5600.

Scope for comparison was provided by two 19th century mahogany partners' desks.

The first, 4ft 4in wide by 3ft deep (1.31m x 91.5cm) had been stripped down and badly repolished but had an unusual frieze arrangement of three drawers to either side and two dummy drawers to either end on the normal pedestal bases. It sold above-estimate to the trade at £4800.

The other, 5ft 51/2in wide by 3ft 7in deep (1.66 x 1.09m) was in good original condition but was a fairly standard example with cupboard doors rather than drawers to the opposing side and went to the trade at £2200.

Hamptons, Godalming, March 10-11
Number of lots offered: 800
Number of lots sold: 651
Sale total: £280,000
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent