RIGHT: offered as the final lot of the day, this 21oz Guild of Handicrafts silver and enamel comport proved to be one of the stars of Clarke Gammon Wellers’ sale on September 7.


Standing 7 1/4in (18cm) high and weighing 21oz, the silver and enamel Arts and Crafts piece dates from the turn of the last century and was very probably made to a Charles Robert Ashbee design.

It was entered for sale by a long-standing client of the Guildford auctioneers, a retired lady from Ewell, with a modest £1000-1500 estimate, but with all the phone lines booked well before the viewing days and interest from major decorative arts dealers, the auctioneers were thinking more in terms of £4000-5000 by the time of the auction.

In the event none of the phones got a look-in, with competition centred on three bidders in the room as the price soared to £19,000 (plus 15 per cent premium).

The buyer was specialist decorative arts dealer John Jesse of Kensington Church Street.