Vulliamy rosewood mantel clock

Vulliamy rosewood mantel clock – £15,500 at Golding Young & Mawer.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

1. Vulliamy mantel clock – £15,500

Early 19th century ‘five-glass’ mantel clocks are among the most commercial of all Georgian timekeepers. This example, above, sold by Golding Young & Mawer, Lincoln on May 18 carries the magical name of Vulliamy.

Housed in an 8in (20cm) rosewood case (with several cracks that will need attention) it has a double fusee movement striking on the hour. Signed and marked London 1017, it dates from c.1830 when the firm was run by Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (fl.1810-54).

Estimated at £2000-3000, the sort of guide that attracted multiple suitors, it sold at £15,500.

2. Eric Ravilious print – £2000

Eric Ravilious print

A wood engraving by Eric Ravilious for the Golden Cockerel Press – £2000 at Cheffins.

A private collection of 11 wood engravings by Eric Ravilious (1903-42) formed part of the Art & Design sale at Cheffins of Cambridge on May 26.

Many of these were commissioned by Robert Gibbings for the Golden Cockerel Press including this image that provided the title plate for The Hansom Cab and the Pigeons - Being Random Reflections Upon the Silver Jubilee of King George V published in 1935. It was also used that year as a Christmas card for the Golden Cockerel Press.

Signed lower right an unframed, it was the most expensive of the 11 prints selling at £2000.

3. Letter from Mary I – £19,000

Letter From Mary I

A letter from Mary I to the Keeper of the Privy Seal, Lord Paget – £19,000 at Forum Auctions.

Forum Auction’s May 26 sale of Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper included this letter from ‘Marye the Quene’ to her Keeper of the Privy Seal, Lord Paget.

Sent from St James's Palace on June 7, 1556, the queen commands Paget to send messages to a number of exiled courtiers commanding them to return “with all celeritie to repaire into this our Realme of England... And then to answer to all such matters as shall at yor coming... nat failing hereof uppon the faith and allegiance ye owe and beare unto us”.

The list of recipients includes well known protestants such as Sir William Wroth (who had proclaimed Lady Jane Grey as queen), Sir William Stafford (second husband of Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne Boleyn), Sir Henry Neville (groom of the bedchamber under Henry VIII) and Jane Wilkinson (friend of Thomas Cranmer).

These orders were delivered personally by messengers on behalf of the queen, and would have posed a grave threat to the recipients. By 1556 Mary I had executed, usually by burning at the stake, 123 people who had refused to recant their protestant opinions. It is therefore not surprisingly none of the people listed were prepared to return.

As a document that goes to the heart of the Marian doctrine of chasing down and eliminating opponents, it was guided at £8000-10,000 but sold at £19,000.

4. Battle of Britain pilot’s medal group – £25,000

Battle Of Britain Pilot's Medal Group

Medals awarded to Flight Lieutenant Maurice ‘Mark’ Mounsdon – £25,000 at Dominic Winter.

Flight Lieutenant Maurice ‘Mark’ Mounsdon was one of only four remaining members of Sir Winston Churchill's ‘The Few’ when he died in 2019 aged 101.

Mounsdon (1918-2019) started training in the RAF on August 24, 1939 and joined 56 Squadron on June 3, 1940. He flew Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain, destroying at least three enemy planes and damaging another.

Shot down over Colchester on August 31, he was badly burned and spent nine months in hospital while receiving reconstructive surgery, thus becoming a member of ‘The Guinea Pig Club’ – the airmen treated at the pioneering medical unit at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

Mounsdon’s medal group of 1939-45 Star with Battle of Britain clasp, Air Crew Europe Star with France & Germany clasp and Defence and War Medals were part of a lot offered at Gloucestershire saleroom Dominic Winter on May 18 estimated at £3000-5000.

The lot included a large collection of related items such as original documents, letters and photographs, and a rare Guinea Pig Club membership badge presented to Mounsdon after he underwent experimental plastic surgery.

It sold in South Cerney for £25,000.

5. Royal Navy captain’s silhouette portrait – £1100

silhouette portrait

A silhouette portrait of Captain George Robinson – £1100 at Lawrences.

This silhouette portrait depicts the Royal Navy Captain George Robinson in naval uniform holding a telescope in his left hand, and with a wooden ‘peg-leg’.

A note verso records he served under Lords Rodney and Hood, losing his leg in an engagement with two French men of war when in command of HM Ship Thames, and was held in a French prison for two years under Robespiere.

It came for sale at Lawrences in Crewkerne on May 19 together with a similar silhouette of Robinson’s second wife plus two letters. One was a commission dated 1795 appointing Robinson in command of His Majesty’s Sloop the Wasp, the other a letter in French (dated the third year of the Republic – 1794) requesting permission to send the captain home from incarceration in Brest.

The estimate for the lot was £300-500 but it took £1100.

6. Chinese part service – £4500

Chinese export part service

Elements of a 42-piece Chinese export part service – £4500 at Dreweatts.

Until it sold for £4500 at Dreweatts’ May 18 sale of Chinese ceramics and works of art, this 42-piece Chinese part service had been in the same family since purchase in c.1755.

The service, made for the Rev William Taswell (1708-77) and enamelled with the Taswell arms, is mentioned in his will written in 1775. He wrote: “I leave to my son George Taswell (now residing as I suppose at Madras in India) my two half pint silver cups and all such China in my possession as shall be found marked with my family’s arms.”

In 1814 George left “the whole of the China ware on which are the arms of the family” to his younger son George Morris Taswell, also employed by the East India Company.

William was the rector of Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire but a member of a family who had been merchants in the City of London from Elizabethan times. His father Dr William Taswell (1652-1731) had been page to the Dean of Westminster in 1666 when he witnessed the Great Fire of London: he later wrote a vivid account of the event.

It is rare to have specific contemporary records relating to Chinese armorial porcelain. Of some 5000 services sent back to Britain from China during the 18th century, there are perhaps only a dozen instances that can be linked to contemporary records. On the market for the first time in its history, it sold just below estimate.

7. Bovey pottery figure – £2100

Bovey Pottery ‘Our Gang’ figure

Bovey Pottery ‘Our Gang’ figure of a female RAF officer – £2100 at East Bristol Auctions.

The Our Gang range of Second World War ‘types’ were designed for the Bovey Pottery Company by architect Fenton Wyness (1903-74) and modelled by artist Gwynneth Holt (1909-95). Both were based in Aberdeen in the 1940s.

There are 16 figures in all, each around 8in (20cm) high, including an RAF pilot, an Anzac, an ARP warden, a nurse and ‘The Boss’, Winston Churchill. Most come in a matt buff glaze although others are left white and others enamelled with polychrome details.

Until quite recently most were relatively affordable (under £100 each) although to complete the set has always been tricky, requiring some of the scarcer figures. An example of Uncle Joe Stalin sold for £2600 at Lawrences of Crewkerne in 2017.

However, extraordinary bids came in for other members of the Gang offered by East Bristol Auctions at £80-£120 each in a timed online sale ending on May 17. Two weeks before the sale ended, bids for all three buff-glazed figures had already reached multiples of the top estimate.

When bidding closed the figurine of an RAF pilot with a flying helmet, goggles, flight suit and parachute harness had reached £2000 and the figure of a female officer in the RAF with her hands behind her back, a cap, uniform and shoes £2100.

The figure Sergeant Soldier with brodie helmet, moustache, army uniform and boots took £600.