The final 51 lots of Woolley & Wallis’s sale on October 19 comprised the Fauconberg & Conyers Heirlooms.
Fauconberg and Conyers were two baronies resurrected in 1903 and the contents were inventoried at that time.
The collection was last examined in the late 1920s and the provenance and fresh-to-market status brought keen competition. The lots yielded a total of £187,430, of which £90,000 came for The Richmond Cup, diva of the show, which featured on page 3 of last week's ATG. In addition, two other pieces deserve a mention.
A George III knife tray of rounded oblong form, 15.75in (40cm) long, 51oz, marked for London 1799, with gadrooned rim border and engraved with the coat of arms of the 6th Duke of Leeds, was the epitome of restrained elegance. "Knife trays were usually made in Old Sheffield plate and when silver ones appear they are pretty sought after," said the Salisbury auction house silver expert Alexis Butcher.
This example proved irresistible to dealers and it took a bid of £4300 to secure it, well over the enticing estimate of £500-700.
A dealer fought off competition to secure a George III soup tureen and cover, marked for J. Parker and Edward Wakelin, London, dated by the auctioneers to 1760-1770, the scratchweight 116-19, for £19,500.
It was modelled naturalistically in the manner of the French Rococo maker Thomas Germain (1673-1748) with a turnip finial and engraved with the coat of arms of Robert D'Arcy, 8th Baron Conyers and 4th Earl of Holdernesse (1718-1778).
This tureen was one of a pair, or perhaps a set of four, the other of which sold in 1984 for £12,000 at Spencers in Retford, Nottinghamshire.
While £19,500 does not seem a great increase in the space of 20-odd years, the tureen had obviously been well used and polished whereas the Spencers' example was in immaculate condition and rarely, if ever, used. Better investment, probably less enjoyment.