Unsigned Arts & Crafts metalwork has lately been getting the sort of high prices normally reserved for attributable material and this copper-mounted mirror, right, was no exception – the sleeper of Bonhams’ (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) sale of Decorative Arts at Glasgow School of Arts on November 28.
Although describing it as in the ‘Glasgow Style’, specialist Nick Burns said that the 2ft 3in by 22in (69 x 55cm) c.1900 mirror was “certainly not the work of any of the Glasgow Girls”, a group responsible for the majority output of West Coast metalware during this period.
However, there was talk at the viewing of it being the work of Talwin Morris – the art manager for Glasgow-based publishers Blackie and Son – because of Morris’s penchant for mirrors with similar peacock motifs. Whether this speculation informed the bidding was unclear, but the mirror was eventually sold to a Glasgow collector, underbid by the US trade, at £5400 against an estimate of £500-700.
The top prices of the Decorative Arts sale were bid by American dealers for two Donegal carpets designed by Charles Voysey for Liberty & Co. – a bid of £12,000 taking the 17ft 81/2in by 12ft 91/2in (5.40m x 3.90m) example and £10,000 sufficient for the smaller, 14ft 3in by 12ft 1in (4.32 x 3.69m) carpet.