1. William Shakespeare’s Third Folio – £70,000
William Shakespeare’s Third Folio was published in two versions: the first impression in 1663 and the second the following year adding for first time Pericles and the six plays now known as Shakespeare’s Apocrypha.
It is a deemed a rarer book than the Second (1632) or Fourth (1685) folios, perhaps because the Great Fire in 1666 destroyed the many copies that would have been held in booksellers’ stock.
The copy offered for sale at Cheffins on October 21 came from the estate of a Cambridge academic and was believed to have been bought from a London dealer in the late 1990s or early 2000s. It was a fair to good copy with the famous portrait frontispiece, title page and two other leaves missing and supplied as facsimiles. Bound in 20th century panelled calf by Bernard Middleton, it was estimated at £12,000-18,000 but sold at £70,000.
2. Charles II silver coconut cup – £12,000
This Charles II silver mounted coconut cup, sold by Chiswick Auctions on October 20, is particularly rare on account of its marks for the Hull silversmith Edward Mangie (1634-85).
Mangie (or Mangy) was probably the son of Henry Mangie, a locksmith of York, whose uncle was a goldsmith. Made a freeman of Hull at the age of 25, he ran a successful enterprise, producing good quality wares, predominantly tankards, tumbler cups and trefid spoons, for local church, civic and domestic use.
When in 1951, as part of the Festival of Britain, Kingston-upon-Hull Museum held an exhibition which displayed most of the 101 known pieces of extant Hull silver at that time, almost one third were by Mangie or his widow Katherine who continued to operate the business, using journeymen and apprentices into the 18th century. Edward Mangie Junior joined the firm in 1695 – the year before the provincial marking of silver was formally abolished to be replaced with a formal structure of assay offices. Thereafter silver made in Hull was sent to either York or Newcastle for assay.
All Hull hollowware is rare. This 7.5in (19cm) high cup (an exotic form fashionable in London in the previous century) incorporates a coconut carved to one side 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. To the other side is a coat of arms, possibly for Alman of Pevensey, and Warbleton, Sussex.
A recent auction precedent would be hard to find but the auctioneer could point to a provincial silver gilt mounted coconut cup of comparable form (but Elizabethan period) by Peter Quick of Barnstaple sold Christie’s in May 2019 for £22,000.
This Hull cup, estimated at £12,000-18,000, sold to an international trade buyer at £12,000.
3. De Morgan pedestal bowl – £26,000
William De Morgan considered pieces from the so-called ‘Moonlight and Sunset Suite’ series made in the early 1890s to be his very best work. It took almost two decades of experimentation before he mastered the three-colour lustre technique, each colour requiring its own firing with the light blue tone finally achieved via acid etching.
The complexity of the process made these pieces particularly expensive even by the standards of the Arts & Crafts movement and relatively few were sold. De Morgan later said: “All my life I have been trying to make beautiful things, and now that I can make them nobody wants them.”
Today it’s fair to say that many people want them. Pictured here is a Moonlight and Sunset Suite 11.5in (36cm) pedestal bowl that topped the Design since 1860 sale held by Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh on October 20. A bowl of this form is pictured in Martin Greenwood’s The Designs of William De Morgan (2007) while the central design of an owl and a mouse and a cat is known from tiles.
It is signed with the initials FP for Fred Passenger.
Back in April L&T sold a similar dish by Passenger decorated with a heron amid bullrushes for £13,000. This piece, estimated at £4000-6000, took a significant step forward selling for £26,000,
4. Edward Webb lantern clock – £15,500
A clock making industry thrived in the Chew Valley of Somerset in the second half of the 17th century. It was thanks to makers such as Thomas Veale, Edward Webb and Edward Bilbie, whose distinctive style of lantern clock were made alongside more general metal casting and bell-founding work.
Estimated at £2000-3000, this hook and spike verge lantern clock sold for £15,500 at Gardiner Houlgate in Corsham on October 21. It is signed to the corners above and below the chapter ring Edward Webb Chew Stocke [sic] and to the centre with ownership initials and the date 1662.
As recorded in The Clock Makers of Somerset (1650-1900) by AJ Moore,
Edward Webb Snr (active 1663-94) is thought to be the son of Charles Webb who owned a foundry in Chew Stoke.
Around a dozen clocks by Edward Webb are recorded variously dated 1676-93, so either the date 1662 is a later addition or this is much the earliest known. Certainly the clock shares the same distinctive frame castings that were favoured by the Bristol and Chew Valley school of clockmakers and a distinctive dial engraving centred by a winged female mask that appears to have its roots in the work of Thomas Brown, a Bristol clockmaker active during the 1650s.
5. Gilbert Ledward bronze – £5500
Among Gilbert Ledward's (1880-1960) most admired works is the sensuous nude Awakening or The Awakening that today stands in Ropers Garden on the Chelsea Embankment. The original bronze, cast in 1913 – the year Ledward won the British Prix de Rome for sculpture – was modelled on the artist’s wife Margery, and would remain in his studio until he died.
It was only in 1960 that it was exhibited at Battersea Park before being installed in the centre of Roper’s Gardens in Ledward’s native Chelsea. The representational work (Ledward was part of a generation who occupy a transitory position between the New Sculpture of the late 19th century and 20th centre modernists) provides a welcome contrast to Jacob Epstein's primitivist female figure sited nearby.
This rare bronze reduction of The Awakening, standing 43cm high on a marble turned socle plinth, came for sale at Bonhams Knightsbridge as part of the Homes & Interiors sale on October 19.
It is inscribed and dated G. Ledward 1915. At the time he was serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery, acquiring the experience and memory that would make him greatly in demand as a sculptor of war memorials.
Bonhams said the sculpture came for sale from a Northamptonshire family who had probably owned it since before the Second World War. The buyer at £5500 was a UK private collector.