1. Etruscan Revival micro-mosaic brooch
This mid-19th century Etruscan Revival micro-mosaic brooch in the manner of Castellani is estimated at £400-600 in Eldreds’ December 5 auction in Plymouth.
The brooch measures 2 x 2in (5 x 5cm), not including hook, and comes in a fitted case marked Edmond Johnson, Jeweller to the Irish Court, Grafton St, Dublin.
Johnsons was the oldest established jewellers in Ireland, begun in 1760 and continued throughout the 19th century by descendants of the same family. However, Eldreds notes: “We don’t know for sure if this piece was made by Johnsons, or designed and made probably in Italy and retailed by the company.”
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2. Playing cards collection
A collection of rare playing cards dating from 1675-1898 is on offer at Special Auction Services in Newbury on December 6.
The cards were often designed for satirical amusement and provided a social commentary frequently highlighting key moments in history.
Shown here is the top lot, a set of very rare Thomas Bowles South Sea Bubble Stock-jobbing cards c.1720. The South Sea Bubble is said to have been the world’s first financial collapse and each card tells a different story about how money was lost and its link to the slave trade.
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3. Portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte
Allan Ramsay (1713-84) befriended a young Prince of Wales in 1757 with a portrait deemed so accurate that a life-long association developed. The prince-turned-king George III appointed Ramsay Principal Painter to the King in 1767.
This pair of half-length portraits was commissioned c.1761 (the year of George III’s coronation) for use in designing coinage for the British Empire.
Only three versions are known, with this pair estimated at £25,000-35,000 as part of Lyon & Turnbull’s Scottish Paintings & Sculpture sale on December 7.
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4. Ancient Egyptian shabti
This ancient Egyptian shabti from the from the tomb of the 21st Dynasty princess Nesitanebisheru was part of the famous Deir el-Bahari cache. It comes for sale at Timeline Auctions in Harwich, Essex, on December 5-9 and is estimated at £25,000-35,000.
The so-called Deir el- Bahari hoard was discovered in a settlement near Thebes in 1870. Found together in this single chamber were the mummies and funerary equipment of dozens of ancient Egyptian elites, seemingly reburied by priests to hide them from tomb robbers. DNA analysis has subsequently shown that the bodies of the great pharaohs Thutmose III and Ramesses II were among them.
This is one of the many faience ‘worker’ shabtis (burial figures) that was interred with the princess Nesitanebisheru. The daughter of Pinudjem II, a high priest of Amun, and his principal wife Neskhons, she lived c.980-935BC during the 21st Dynasty and the tumultuous era known to Egyptologists as the Third Intermediate Period.
The shabtis that accompanied her to the afterlife were each inscribed in black with columns of hieroglyphic text outlining the duties they would need to perform ‘for the Osiris Nesitanebisheru’. In this case, the spell tasks the shabti with the moving of soil and the cultivating and irrigating of fields.
The shabti was acquired by the European vendor at the Zurich Antiquities Fair from the Geneva dealership R Liechti.
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5. Portrait by Ramsay Richard Reinagle
A selection of paintings, ceramics, furniture and collectables from Heydon Grange will go under the hammer at Cheffins in Cambridge as part of the Fine Sale on December 6-8.
Situated close to Aylsham in north Norfolk, Heydon Grange dates back to the 17th century, with parts from as early as 1690. The house has been in ownership of the Buwler-Long family for the past 350 years, and is now being offered to rent by the family, as the latest generation looks to downsize. Heydon Grange is part of the Heydon Estate, which is home to the Grade-I listed Heydon Hall.
The 85 lots to be sold at Cheffins have been collected by the Buwler-Long family over the decades. Highlights include this portrait of John Turlough Dering of nearby Crow Hall in Denver, Norfolk, by Ramsay Richard Reinagle (1775- 1862) which is dated 1828. It is estimated at £7000-10,000.
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