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Early on in the sale, a Royal Worcester vase and cover, c.1960s, staked its claim as the star lot. Hand-painted and signed H. Davis, with a castle in a landscape on a green ground, the 141/2in (36cm) high vase raised on a pedestal plinth base featured lion ring handles heightened in gilt.

Consigned from a local private source, it was in excellent condition and sold well above the £1000-1500 estimate at £6200 to a London dealer on the telephone – illustrating the desirability of even quite modern Royal Worcester pieces and the enduring appeal of a signature from the great Davis clan.

The same consignment provided another of the higher value ceramics – a group of nine Meissen figures of musicians. Again, these were relatively modern being 20th century productions of a Meissen line going back to the 18th century and so had rated a £500-800 estimate which seemed to take into account their good quality and condition. However, as a a group, they formed a highly decorative and commercial lot. Certainly the trade thought so for a dealer had to go to £2400 to secure them.

The ceramics section concluded on a high note when a Japanese Satsuma rectangular koro (incense burner) and cover, 13in (33cm) high, c. 1850s/1860s, sold multiple estimate £4000 to a dealer. Underbid by the London trade, it was slightly earlier in date than the majority of Japanese satsuma ware produced in the Meiji period, 1868-1912. It also bore an enamel blue Shimazu mon to the base above a five-character signature, was in good condition and, having been consigned from a local private source, was fresh on the market.

There were few surprises in the silver and silver-plated section. Lawrences’ specialist Robin Lawrence said the lower-range plated items suffered from a lack of Italian trade buyers, but perennial saleroom favourites such as silver canteen sets had no trouble finding homes.

A 106-piece 12-place setting by Garrard and Company, 166 ozs, went at a mid-estimate £2700 and a boxed 70-piece 12-place setting, London 1904, 105ozs, brought a lower-estimate £1800.

Among the jewellery, the approach of Christmas seemed the spur for two private buyers to contest a Victorian oval amethyst and rose-cut diamond set openwork pendant to a quadruple estimate £1750 against a £300-500 guideline.

In light of demand for decorative antiques, it is not surprising the top entry in the furniture section was a flamboyant 19th century French gilt bronze and white marble three-piece clock garniture. With an enamel clock dial, the clock case was in the form of a debauched bacchanal with six putti sprawled around a central wine vat above a shaped plinth with ormolu feet. The clock was flanked by a pair of matching candelabra supported by seated putti on fluted columns. It was secured by a decorative 19th century London furniture and works of art dealer at £3700.

Among the furniture proper, an Edwardian Edwards and Roberts mahogany marquetry inlaid breakfront wardrobe and a matching pedestal dressing table were offered separately but sold to the same private buyer at £2900 and £1040 respectively.

A heavily restored George III-style mahogany four-shelf open bookcase in George III style reflected the strength of the market for even half interesting pieces when it sold at £1800 to a local period furniture dealer. According to Robin Lawrence, it was more 19th century than George III with its legs out of keeping with the rest of the design and the top section altered.
The auction room worked its magic when two private bidders refused to back down over what was a decent but ordinary late Victorian walnut and burr walnut wardrobe.

Mr Lawrence said: “It came as something as a surprise to us as it is a type we have sold endless models of.”

Estimated at just £200-400, it sold at £1050.

Lawrences, Bletchingly,
December 5-7
Number of lots: 2261
Lots sold: approx 80 per cent
Sale total: £255,000
Buyer’s premium: 10 per cent