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One American commission bidder in particular seems to be helping to keep the market buoyant and was behind a number of successes when all but a handful of the 122 Tunbridgeware pieces in this 550-lot sale found buyers, which helped offset the predictable lack of interest in a poor selection of furniture.

In addition to American interest, sales of Tunbridgeware and decorative woodware also received a boost from the Internet. One in ten such lots sold online and accounted for £5000 of sales, including the £1200 bid that took a rosewood and Tunbridgeware desk stand. It was the first time Bracketts had included live online bidding during the sale, and is an experiment they plan to repeat.

The top price, however, came in the room, bid on an early 19th century Tunbridgeware rosewood teapoy. With a sarcophagus-shaped top above the original pair of glass mixing bowls, the teapoy had a rectangular base with marbled and Vandyke bands. Although in need of restoration, it fetched £6000.

Moving from teapoys to currently fashionable tea caddies, the sale also included a sarcophagus shaped Regency blonde tortoiseshell example. Although some of the caddy’s silver stringing was damaged, the interior had the added attraction of two caddies with the retailer’s labels Dunnetts, Toy and Tunbridge Ware repository, No3 Cheapside, London. It brought £3300.

A couple of textiles consigned from the same private house furnished the sale with two of the biggest surprises. James Braxton was at a loss to explain the punchy £1700 bid for a 19th century woolwork picture. Estimated at £100-150, it depicted a square rigged man o’war, flying British and American flags. The second textile was a George III needlework sampler worked by a Sarah Goodwin, June 23, 1798. Decorated with a seated lady within an arbour above a gentleman standing in the doorway of a house, it was taken to £1300 by a London dealer.

Bracketts, Tunbridge Wells, October 13
Buyer’s premium: 10 per cent