Among the messages the sale threw up was the continuing widening of interest in Cornish works of art, with Newlyn becoming a town known beyond collectors of the artists who congregated there.
Wider interest has also prompted local pride. Lays have already profited from the rise of the Cornish Troika wares (Gazettes passim) and at Christie’s South Kensington on March 31 Poole Borough Council had to spend big money to win some of the Dorset town’s distinctive ceramics. Here at Penzance the local Penlee Art Gallery and Museum was ready to take on all comers for a Newlyn silver and enamelled Arts and Crafts pendant. Despite determined bidding from an American collector, the museum won the piece at a punchy £2400.
Enamelled in turquoise, mid-blue and silver with a central shell motif and stamped to the reverse Newlyn Enamel, it was, said auctioneer Barbara Kirk (herself a collector), “the best quality Newlyn pendant I have ever seen”.
She added: “This price has set a new benchmark for good quality pieces. Newlyn pendants usually make £600-700 although we sold a fairly average example to a private buyer last November for £1050.”
Appealing to different specialists, the undisputed star of the sale was a pair of early 18th century blue and white Delft candlesticks by the highly respected Lamb-ertus van Eenhorn.
Illustrated right, the 8in (20cm) candlesticks, with spiral fluted bodies, everted rims, low drip rings and mound bases, were decorated with flowers and arabesques, and bore an LVE and EDK monogram. Consigned by a local antiques dealer, they had some riveted repair but were in reasonable condition and two London specialist dealers took bidding on the telephone to a winning £8800.
Other notable ceramics included a sumptuous stoneware tile by William de Morgan painted in vivid blue with a dodo against a lustre ground. Impressed with an 1898 seal mark, an old ink inscription read painted (probably) by Halsey Recardo. It leapfrogged its £300-400 guideline, selling at £2300.
A large 50-lot jewellery consignment furnished proceedings with many of the best-quality jewellery entries.
All bar one sold to a mixture of private and trade buyers, with the foremost lot an early 19th century amethyst-set gold necklace knocked down to a dealer at £2600.
Also in the running and from a different consignment was a Russian yellow and green gold lozenge-shaped pin set with an Imperial crown and two diamonds and entered in a fitted leather box stamped with the twin-headed eagle.
It may not have been an immediately eye-catching piece of jewellery, but current Russian interest in buying back their national heritage may well have encouraged a London dealer on the telephone to bid the requisite £1350 for ownership.
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