Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury will sell the Anne Shannon collection of more than 350 pieces in a stand-alone sale on October 31.
Shannon, a retired doctor and member of the Society of Jewellery Historians, began collecting Georg Jensen silver jewellery while a GP in London in the 1960s. She was later advised and guided in her quarry by Michael von Essen, the long-time head of Jensen’s antiques department and museum in Copenhagen.
More than 100 pieces of Jensen jewellery, typically early designs from the first quarter of the 20th century (although many made later), are included in the sale.
However, Shannon came to embrace a range of designers and makers from the period whose work formed sub-sections within an increasingly important collection. While volunteering a day a week at Goldsmiths Hall to help in the archiving of Omar Ramsden design drawings, Shannon began to collect Ramsden and Carr jewellery, ultimately owning an unprecedented 35 pieces.
Frequent visits to London antique jewellery dealers and auctions widened her subject knowledge and sphere of interest to include works by celebrated European revivalist goldsmiths such as Giuliano, Castellani, Mellilo, Falize, Froment Meurice and a range of British jewellers working in the Arts and Crafts or Art Nouveau idiom from Murrle Bennett and the Gaskins to Dorrie Nossiter. There are, for example 26 pieces for sale by the South Kensington-based firm Child & Child including an example of its well-known peacock jewel. Many come with purchase receipts.
Ahead of the sale, jewellery historian John Benjamin commented: “Dr Shannon started to buy jewellery in the 1960s, when rare and desirable antique and later jewels were far more easily available than they are today. Her collection incorporates many totemic pieces by celebrated 19th century revivalist goldsmiths as well as a truly outstanding range of Arts and Crafts designer jewels.”
It all promises to be the perfect litmus test of the market and - importantly given the volume of material - much of it is offered with estimates that both collectors and dealers should find attractive.
A multi-vendor sale of fine jewellery follows at the Salisbury saleroom on November 1.