1. Military issue navigation timers
Above is one of two H Golay military issue navigation timers to be offered for sale at Fellows in Birmingham on October 18. Each has an estimate of £400-600.
These watches were known as beacon watches and used only in aircraft fitted with an R1147 radio receiver. The watch was synchronised with a revolving beacon on board a carrier that continuously transmitted second pulses with a different sounding signal when it was pointing due north.
This innovation enabled slow aircraft to home in on their carrier from up to 100 miles away without sending out radio signals that may betray their position to the enemy.
View the catalogue entry for this navigation timer via thesaleroom.com.
2. Polar expedition charts
Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood of Exeter is offering a number of items from the collection of Francis Edward Charles Davies (1885-1952), who was the Royal Naval carpenter and shipwright aboard the RYS Terra Nova and a member of many later polar expeditions.
His recollections of the ship, her crew and of the expedition have been recently published in a book With Scott Before The Mast.
The October 19 auction includes many of the photographs, letters and artefacts included within the book, which highlights the monumental task of organising and preparing for the British Antarctic Expedition.
Such was Davies’ talents at keeping the Terra Nova running that despite his desires to stay with Scott and the Southern party, Lieutenant Harry Pennell insisted that Davies stay aboard in order to ensure that the vessel could continue to sail.
Among the most historically important pieces Davies kept after the expedition are charts ‘Antarctic Ocean Sheet VIII and IV’, both estimated at £5000-6000. Each shows details plotting the course for the Terra Nova from 1910-13 with dates and annotations detailing the voyages off South Victoria, McMurdo Sound and the Bay of Whales together with notes of the dates entering and leaving the pack ice.
The artefacts are consigned by direct family descent. View the catalogue entry for this expedition chart via thesaleroom.com.
3. Micromosaic pictures
On October 19 the Cotswold Auction Company in Cirencester is offering a pair of micromosaic pictures on copper by Luigi Moglia (1813-78): Cumaean Sibyl after Zampieri Domenico and The Persian Sibyl (shown here) after Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, also known as Guercino.
Moglia was active in Rome c.1850-70 and worked in the Studio Vaticano del Mosaico (Mosaic Studio of the Vatican). His expertise was copying in micro-mosaic famous artworks of Rome. Domenico’s Sibyl can be found in the Galleri Borghese and Guercino’s Persian Sibyl is listed in the Musei Capitolini, Rome
The panels have come from a local deceased estate.
Estimate for the pair is £10,000-15,000. View the catalogue entry for this micromosaic picture via thesaleroom.com.
4. Plantation owner portrait
This oil on canvas portrait of Joseph Foster Barham Jr (1759-1832) features in Mallams’ Art & Music Sale on October 20. Foster Barham, a Jamaica plantation and slave owner, was the MP for Stockbridge in Hampshire three times and once for Okehampton in Devon in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Measuring 2ft 5in x 2ft (73 x 61cm), it has an estimate of £3000-5000.
5. Whitefriars glass vase
The British Art Pottery & Design sale at Woolley & Wallis on October 20 includes items from the collection of Tom Watkins, the English pop impresario of Pet Shop Boys, Bros and East 17 fame.
He collected Modernist ceramics by Keith Murray and other Art Deco in the 1980s before focusing on the Memphis group of designers. Many of the pieces in his collection were lent to the Design Museum for the exhibition Memphis Remembered in 2001.
Watkins’ home, The Big White House, which featured on the television programme Grand Designs in 2006, also provided the perfect backdrop for a collection of Whitefriars glass designed by Geoffrey Baxter.
The Salisbury auction includes some 40 lots featuring some very rare shapes and colours such as this cylindrical vase in the Sage green style estimated at £400-600. View the catalogue entry for this Whitefriars glass vase via thesaleroom.com.
6. Silver mounted coconut cup
The silver sale on October 20 is the “largest yet” at Chiswick Auctions with key specialist areas represented as well as large sections of Indian, Burmese and Persian silver, and two private collections of Iraqi nielloware.
Among the English silver is this “extremely rare” Charles II late 17th century provincial silver mounted coconut cup, Hull, c.1670, by Edward Mangy.
The coconut section is carved with two Polynesian men holding clubs, one grappling with a snake, the other holding a fish caught on a line each next to coconut trees. The front section is carved with a coat of arms and a crest possibly for Alman of Pevensey, and Warbleton, Sussex, with a cadency mark for a second son.
The 7½in (19cm) high cup is estimated at £12,000-16,000. View the catalogue entry for this coconut cup via thesaleroom.com.