1. Eric Ravilious print – £6400
This wood engraving of a crowing rooster in a landscape was produced by Eric Ravilious in 1930 for a prospectus published by the Golden Cockerel Press. Chanticleer was one of two prints on the subject that Ravilious produced for the project: it was Chanticleer I depicting a rooster within a border of foliage and book pages that was ultimately used for the 1931 Golden Cockerel Press Spring List.
The latter was reproduced by John Randle at the Whittington Press in 1988. However, the earlier version is evidently scarcer. This example, offered for sale at Sworders in Stanstead Mountfitchet on October 20 was estimated at £150-250 but sold at £6400.
Ravilious was one of many artists involved in the Golden Cockerel Press during the tenure of owner-artist Robert Gibbings. The 1932 publication Twelfth Night containing 29 wood engravings by Eric Ravilious is considered one of the finest works of the private press movement.
2. 18th century clock – £2800
Not all early 18th century oak clocks were restricted to a simple style. There were provincial customers who requested more grandeur and country casemakers who could accommodate such requests.
This wall-mounted clock is signed to the brass dial for Benjamin Holroyd – part of the dynasty of Wakefield horologists who include the respected maker John Holroyd. It has a weight-driven 30-hour movement with a single hand. The most striking aspect of the case is a carved bust that apes the silver or ormolu mounts found on deluxe London clocks of the William and Mary period.
Although in outwardly rough condition, most of the missing mouldings from the case had been retained. Estimated to bring just £50-100 by Mander Auctions in Newton Green, Sudbury on October 17, it sold at £2800.
3. Topographical sketches – £3700
The elder brother of the portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence was the Rev Andrew Lawrence (1755-1821), a naval chaplain with the family talent for draughtsmanship.
The 150-page manuscript journal including watercolours and drawings he kept during 1793-97 while chaplain on board HMS Blenheim and HMS Britannia was offered for sale at Keys in Aylsham on October 15.
In addition to topographical sketches of Mediterranean sights such as ‘The tomb of Virgil near Naples’ were pen, ink and watercolours of naval interest such as a retrospective plan titled The attack of Gibraltar by the Spanish gunboats and sketches of The Relief of Gibraltar in April 1781 and The attack of the French upon our watering party...San Fiorenzo, Corsica, 1796.
Bound in old stout green cloth it was guided at £300-350 but sold for £3700.
4. William and Mary lacquered cabinet – £23,000
This William and Mary period lacquered cabinet on a carved and silvered stand was acquired at the 2001 BADA Fair in London.
It reappeared on the market at Stowmarket auctioneers Bishop & Miller on October 15 with an estimate of £4000-6000 but did rather better selling via thesaleroom.com at £23,000.
5. Bears Grease potlid – £4200
The sale at Kingham & Orme in Evesham on October 9 included this rare pot lid inscribed 'Genuine Bears Grease’. This lid is known in the collecting literature as The Two Bears and it has featured in many of the big collections sold by specialist Andrew Hilton in recent years.
The example in the Cashmere collection (1999) sold at £950 and reappeared for sale as part of the Hart collection in 2005 when it took £4000. Another in the Mortimer collection (2011) made £3600.
All of which made the most recently offered piece, in good condition in a period frame, appear extremely good value at its estimate of £100-100. In fact it outsold the previous examples to bring £4200.