1. Vienna porcelain tea bowl and saucer – £19,000
This Vienna porcelain tea bowl and saucer from the 1720s is painted en camaieu by Ignaz Preissler (1676-1741), the Polish decorator considered a master of the hausmaler schwarzlot technique.
Working in a workshop in Breslau he decorated porcelain blanks from both the Vienna Du Paquier and the Meissen factories, typically adapting printed sources for inspiration.
Here the tea bowl decorated with a stag hunt follows an engraving by Aegidius Sadeler II (1570-1629) while the scene to the saucer Diana discovering the pregnancy of Callisto copies an engraving by Pieter Jansz Saenredam from 1599.
It came for salet at Lempertz in Cologne on May 20 as part of the collection of hausmaler porcelain formed by the art historian Dr Annedore Müller-Hofstede who died in 2017. It was previously owned by the porcelain collector Paquita Kowalski-Tannert (1890 -1970).
Estimated at €8000-10,000, it took €21,000 (£19,000) from a German private collector.
2. Earliest printed book on chocolate in English – £7500
Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s online book auction that closed on May 24 included a copy of Henry Stubbe’s The Indian Nectar, or a Discourse Concerning Chocolata...
Bound in 18th century calf with the device of the Signet Library to the cover, it was estimated at £2000-3000 and sold at £7500.
Published in 1662, The Indian Nectar is the earliest printed book on chocolate in the English language. Its contents include: ‘the ways of compounding and preparing chocolate’; an analysis of ‘its effects, as it is alimental and veneral quality, as well as medicinal (especially in hypochondriacal melancholy)’ and ‘a spagyrical analysis of the cacao-nut, performed by that excellent chymist, Monsieur le Febure, chymist to His Majesty.’ The author criticises those who refuse chocolate on puritanical grounds.
Henry Stubbes (1632-76) was a remarkable character with diverse interests. A talented physician who had fought for Cromwell during the Civil War, he continued his polemic against clerical and monarchical powers after the restoration. His 1671 book An Account of the Rise and Progress of Mahometanism, and a Vindication of him and his Religion from the Calumnies of the Christians is considered the first work in English sympathetic to Islamic theology.
3. Cased passenger pigeon – £7000
James Maurice Harrison (1892-1971) was one of the last great bird collectors who gathered large numbers of specimens for ornithological study. Building on the 19th century collections that laid the foundations for the modern study of bird behaviour and ecology, he documented moult patterns, geographical distribution and the colour variation between individuals and species.
The James Harrison collection, on offer at North Yorkshire auction house Tennants on May 20, comprised over 150 lots of cased and free-mount birds dating from the 19th to the middle of the 20th century.
Highlights include this rare late Victorian mount of the now extinct passenger pigeon. The bird was once endemic to North America, migrating in vast flocks across the continent, but fell victim to deforestation and hunting. The last wild bird was thought to have been shot in 1901 with the last captive bird, Martha, dying at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.
Harrison’s case had been supplied to him by the St Leonards-on-Sea taxidermist George Bristow (1863-1947). It was estimated at £7000-10,000 and got away at the lower end of expectations.
4. Stuart crystal slide – £750
The sale at jewellery auction house Elmwoods in London on May 19 included a remarkable family archive of antique jewellery. The Crompton-Stansfield family collection featured a series of sentimental jewels from the late 17th to the 19th century, many of them marking anniversaries, wedding, births and deaths from a well-to-do Midlands-Yorkshire family that included mayors and members of parliament among their number.
Well-preserved and offered without reserved, many went above estimate.
This yellow gold and silver slide, garnet and enamel slide is set with a Stuart crystal over woven hair and interlocking initials. It is inscribed to the fittings MC Obt 23 June 97 and AF Obt 27 October 97 and accompanied by an old handwritten note stating the slide was owned by ‘Mrs Stansfield of Esholt Hall widow of Robert Stansfield’. Jane Stanfield (nee Busfield Ferrand) of Harden Hall, Stockport married Robert Stansfield (1727-72) of Esholt Hall in Bradford. It is thought the slide, that dates to c.1700, originally belonged to a member of the Busfield Ferrand family.
Estimated at £300-500 (a garnet is missing), it sold for £750.
5. Wall-hanging by Peter Collingwood – £20,000
Sworders’ Design sale on May 18 included a new record for a wall-hanging by the weaver Peter Collingwood (1922-2008).
The trademark ‘microgauze’ hanging of woven linen and steel had been recently given to a fund-raising event in Suffolk but was consigned to auction after specialist advice. Sworders has sold several similar pieces in recent years.
Based in Colchester for much of his career, Collingwood was at the forefront of weaving for 50 years. His wall hangings, many of them sold at the time through Liberty’s and Heals, use the traditional craft to create very modern visual abstraction. Today they are admired and collected worldwide.
Measuring 63cm wide by 150cm high, the hanging titled M.74 No.12, was bought directly from Collingwood in the early 1980’s by the vendor’s mother. She was an enthusiastic weaver and had joined a craft cruise for which Collingwood provided lectures and tutoring.
Donated to a fete in Wenhaston, near Southwold, the proceeds will benefit the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. Underbid by the UK trade, the buyer at £20,000 (estimate £5000-8000) was a private buyer also based in the UK.
The previous high for a Collingwood weaving was the £18,000 bid for a similar example at Phillips in 2015.