Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

However, quantity doesn’t necessarily mean fresh quality, and perhaps it was a sign of the times that the two most highly estimated furniture lots at this auction had been entered by the trade – too highly estimated as it turned out for the early 19th century walnut drum table and the Regency mahogany secretaire press were unsold against hopes of £5000-7000.

Plenty of strong results elsewhere offset the disappointment. A late 19th century Dutch genre painting by Johan Conrad Greive Junior led proceedings on £24,000 while the highest price outside pictures was bid for a George III mahogany bracket clock.

By Thomas Wagstaff of London, the 19in (48cm) high piece incorporated a three-train repeating movement on seven bells, with the hour strike on a separate bell.

However, the verge escapement had been converted to anchor, as is often the case, and it was rather the attractive nature and fine condition of the mahogany case, with its stop fluted corners, brass finials, handles and feet, which captured the interest of the trade. A London dealer took it well over estimate at £7200.
Decorative values ensured that a William and Mary twin-fusee movement and dial, signed John Hammers, London, with its matching William and Mary-style marquetry longcase of Edwardian period, brought as much as £2400.

Mr Schooling reported an unimpressive start to a furniture section of approximately 250 lots.
“People are just not wanting the typically Victorian types of furniture, like loo tables, davenports, chaises longues and Pembroke tables,” he said.

Practical and attractive furniture, such as an Edwardian mahogany serpentine display cabinet and a Regency rosewood three tier whatnot fared better. The 4ft 2in (1.27m) wide display cabinet with five glass shelves and a mirrored back was attractively serpentined and framed by three-quarter reeded columns and featured an inlaid frieze and apron. It went to an East Anglian dealer at a triple-estimate £4200.

The 201/2in wide by 3ft 6in high (52cm x 1.07m) whatnot also combined the pretty and the functional to great effect, with its the sloping ratcheted top and slender baluster side columns on a single drawer base with lobed feet. In “good untouched condition”, it sold to a dealer in the room, against private underbidding, at a double-estimate £4000.

Four George III elm corner chairs from the same private source met with a keen response – the three upholstered examples ranging in price from £620 to £780, with the seatless chair costing £440.

Star of the ceramics was a Rookwood Red Indian vase, 101/4in (26cm) high, painted with a portrait of Shoshone tribe chief Weasaw on a brown and green glazed ground, signed by factory artist Grace Young and dated 1903.

Rarely does one encounter American Art Nouveau ceramics in the English provinces, but this vase had come from a local estate and attracted enough enquiries from English collectors to compensate the lack of American interest in the aftermath of the New York and Washington terror attacks and the vase sold above estimate at £4600.

Other ceramics included a 17-piece floral painted, blue and gilt bordered Spode part dessert service which made £2200.

Among the miscellania a late Victorian ‘Dents Improved’ liquid boat compass complete with two instruction manuals, measuring 14in (35cm) high and consigned in good working order, took a quadruple-estimate £1000 from the Marine trade.

Sworders, Stansted Mountfitchet, September 18,
Number of lots offered: 900
Number of lots sold: n/a
Sale total: £310,000
Buyer’s premium:
15 per cent inc.Vat