1. Philip Larkin postcard
Handwritten personal correspondence from Philip Larkin to his cousin in Lichfield is coming up for auction in the city, estimated at £300-500.
The archive goes under the hammer at Richard Winterton’s Fine Art Sale on February 15 at The Lichfield Auction Centre. It includes one of the final Christmas cards Larkin would have sent, postmarked December 17, 1984 – he died the following year on December 2 aged 63.
The correspondence to his cousin Vera Thorpe (née Larkin) came to light after being discovered in an attic in Sutton Coldfield. It begins with a letter from 1977 to an address in Beacon Street, Lichfield, signed ‘Philip (Larkin)’.
The others were all sent in the early 1980s to a home in Longstaff Croft, Lichfield, and are simply signed ‘Philip’.
Although he was born in Coventry, Larkin’s father Sydney’s family had lived in Lichfield since the 18th century, trading as tailors, coach-builders and shoe-makers, and the poet continued an association with the city until his death.
As well as the letters and cards, the lot includes a first edition of the book Required Writing – Miscellaneous Pieces 1955-1982 signed by another Larkin cousin, Edgar; a photograph of Thorpe holding said book; an order of service for Larkin’s memorial at Westminster Abbey on February 14, 1986; and a ticket stub from the Lichfield Festival celebration of Larkin in July that year.
2. Hat collection
A lifetime’s collection of hats, bought by a UK collector since he was a teen, is coming for sale at Duke’s Sporting and Natural History auction on February 15.
It ranges from silk top, hard top bowler, dressage and straw boater hats to carriage, coaching early polo hats as well as hat boxes. Many of the 100 or so examples come with their own cardboard boxes.
Hat brands include Locks of London and Herbert Johnson.
Among the group is a collection of miniature top hats made by a hatmaker from Scott & Co, Piccadilly, which had been purchased at Christie’s in March 2003 (see ATG story from the time pictured below). The estimate is £3000-5000.
The sale features two other collections: more than 150 lots of taxidermy from collector Richard Pratley and The Christopher Bent Cockfighting collection.
3. Troika face mask
The Troika face mask shown above is from an ongoing private collection consignment being dispersed by Devon saleroom Rendells.
One side depicts a stylised Aztec face, the other a similarly stylised African face with textured and muted paint finish. The mask has a painted Troika mark to the base and painter’s monogram. With a re-glued chip to a corner, it is estimated at £400-600 in the February 16-17 auction in Ashburton.
Other items include a large 1960s Troika St Ives double bass vase guided at £200-400 and a ‘Nicholson’ pottery plaque estimated at £400-600.
The At Home sale conducted by Adam’s in Dublin on February 14 includes, estimated at €1500-2500, this pair of French Egyptian revival bronze and gilt busts after models by Pierre-Eugene Emile Herbert (1828-93).
Each stand 15in (37cm) high on stepped square plinth bases.
5. John Nash watercolour
Tayler & Fletcher’s Fine Art & Antiques Sale on February 16 will include A Lake, Dunwich, by John Nash (1893-1977). The watercolour, signed and dated 1948, measures 16½ x 22½in (42.5 x 57.5cm) and is estimated at £6000-8000.
The work was painted when Nash and his artist friend, Edward Bawden, visited Dunwich (the former port capital of the East Angles and one-time rotten borough in Suffolk) in 1948.
The vendor’s grandfather, who was also a good friend of Nash, bought the painting at a Hamet Gallery exhibition in London in 1970 and it is one of several from his collection. This is the first time the painting has been on the market since 1970.