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“It’s always nice to have fresh pieces with good strong provenance,” said auctioneer Alicia Boorne, adding that the consignment had significantly boosted the sale’s attendance, attracting a strong mix of trade and private buyers.

It was Cowdray’s carpets which found the most success and the day’s top seller was a 11ft 3in by 8ft 8in (3.44 x 2.70m) Serap carpet.

The carpet had a blue ground with a central stepped red ground medallion which had camel ground spandrels and medallions within a triple red ground main border. The carpet was in generally good condition, although a little worn, and it mainly attracted the specialist trade.

It was estimated at up to £600 but the trade clearly believed it was of sufficient quality and rarity of pattern to contest it to £7800, where it fell to a telephone bidder.

It was not the quality of a hand-knotted carpet which secured its success but rather its large size.
Measuring an immense 19ft 8in by 14ft 4in (6m x 4.37m), the carpet had a central deep blue mottled field within a wide bank of mixed stylised fruit and foliage of European design.
It is unusual to find such a large carpet which hasn’t been cut and, although this one was quite worn in places, a London dealer snapped it up at an over-estimate £2800.

Cowdray yielded a further large piece in the form of an ornate heavily-carved oak fireplace. Offered unassembled and in pieces, the 8ft 10in by 9ft 41/2in (2.70 x 2.86m) surround was too large for the private bidders but saw lots of trade interest.

The uprights of the partly 17th century fireplace, which had once been housed in the billiard room, were carved with a figure and a winged cherub mask and ribbon tied fruit. The overmantel had a central royal crest flanked by other carved panels with grotesque figures. In generally good condition, it brought an above-estimate £2000 from a UK dealer.

Aside from the Cowdray pieces, the best of the rest of the high-value lots was a William and Mary oyster-veneered laburnum chest of drawers. The 3ft 2in (97cm) high piece had come from a private source in a nearby village and according to Ms. Boorne was in “excellent” condition.

The chest, with a rectangular top inlaid with three interlocking circles, sycamore stringing and banding had seen some alterations – a later moulded frieze, replacement handles to two short and three long drawers and replacement bun feet.
However, bidders were undeterred and the chest eventually went to a regular buyer at these rooms against a Northern specialist dealer, for a mid-estimate £7200.

There were no major high points in the ceramics bar a Moorcroft vase which sold over estimate. The baluster vase was decorated in the relatively rare Claremont pattern, with mushrooms in bright pinks, blues and greens. At only 31/2in (9cm) high the piece was only expected to sell for between £250-250 but the rarity of the pattern and the lack of any damage saw it bring £950 from a West Country buyer.

The Cowdray estate yielded the sort of miscellanea local private bidders like such as a Jacques croquet set which took £160 and a 19th century brass spark guard £75.

Most interesting was an 18th century painted armorial plaque painted on canvas with a black-painted frame.
When Alicia Boorne first spotted the plaque it was in the corner of a store hanging out of its frame but when cleaned up and put back in the frame it attracted lots of interest.

“It was partly the Cowdray provenance which attracted people and partly the fact that it was a nice 18th century thing which you don’t see that often,” said Ms Boorne of the plaque which was a trade buy at an over-estimate £1650.

Jacobs & Hunt, Petersfield,
February 15,
Number of lots: 423
Number of lots sold: n/a
Sale total: £65,783
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent