1. Maiolica dish – £4400
Although catalogued as 19th century, this 10.5in (27cm) maiolica dish is more probably 16th century. The Castel Durante or Venetian istoriato dish with fluted edge and raised foot – a form popular c.1550 known as a crespina – came for sale at Amersham Auction Rooms in Buckinghamshire on August 5.
To the base is an inscription Abisag puella pulehra seni David’s frigido datur que eum dormiente calefaciat that identifies the unusual scene as the Old Testament tale of Abishag, a beautiful young woman of Shunem chosen to be a ‘servant’ to King David in his old age.
The dish, in generally good condition save some rim chipping, was estimated as a revivalist piece at just £100-200 but sold at £4400.
2. ‘Gout-cure’ water bottle – £4400
This 16in (39cm) mid-18th century saltglazed stoneware bottle has two relief moulded medallions to the shoulder.
One depicts a man on crutches declaring ‘Oh the Gout’. The other shows the same man standing without support and stating ‘Drink and be well’, with ‘Iron Peartree Water near Godstone Surry’ inscribed below to the body.
Similar examples are to be found in a number of British and American museum collections and a few have appeared at auction. Another is discussed by Jonathan Horne in A catalogue of English Brown Stoneware from the 17th and 18th Centuries (1985) which mentions the story of this miraculous cure-all.
A Mr Bonwick, the landlord of a Surrey inn, had a pear tree in the garden which habitually grew inedible hard small pears. Troubled with gout, Bonwick sank a new well near the tree to avoid having to fetch water from further afield. The ale he brewed using this water cured him of the gout and was subsequently sold in London in large quantities.
This example, dated to c.1755, was offered for sale at Batemans in Stamford on August 4 with a guide of £300-500 but did rather better selling at £4400.
3. Derby chocolate cups – £5200
Although apparently unmarked, this pair of twin handled porcelain covered chocolate cups, covers and saucers are a Derby model from c.1790-95.
Both are decorated to a canary yellow ground with gilt enriched borders and (untitled) vignettes of English landscapes to one side and bouquets of garden flowers to the other.
With a little connoisseurship it may be possible to put a name to the artist. The multi-talented William Billingsley is an obvious candidate for the floral decoration, while the landscapes are very much in the style of factory decorators Thomas 'Jockey' Hill, Zachariah Boreman or John Brewer.
Part of a collection of late 18th and early 19th century English porcelain offered for sale at Stroud Auctions on August 4, the pair went way over a £200-400 estimate to bring £5200.
4. Set of intaglios – £7100
The sale at Wotton Auction Rooms in Wotton-Under-Edge on August 2 included this set of three yellow metal fobs set with carnelian intaglios. According to a slip cover to the morocco leather presentation case the subjects are Viscountess Curzon, Lord Frederick Campbell and Lady Frederick Campbell with each initialled ‘WB' for the gem cutter.
Scottish nobleman and politician Lord Frederick Campbell (1729-1816) was the second husband of Mary Shirley, Countess Ferrers (c.1730-1807), the youngest daughter of Amos Meredith and Joanna Cholmondeley. Her sister Anna-Margaretta became Viscountess Curzon when Tory politician Assheton Curzon, 1st Viscount Curzon took her as his third wife.
These fine examples of glyphic art from around the turn of the 19th century were perhaps made as a keepsake for one of the three subjects or by a close family member. Guided at £400-600, they sold at £7100.