1. Regency gilt sofas – £15,500
The Fine & Decorative Interiors sale at The Pedestal in Henley-on-Thames on November 28 included this pair of Regency white painted and gilt sofas with a rich provenance.
In the manner of the London maker Morrel & Hughes, they were originally in situ at Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire at the time Ronald Tree (1897-1976) and his wife the interior decorator Nancy Tree (1897-1994) were residents.
Sold at Sotheby’s house sale in 1947, they were later part of the décor in the Crush Room at the Royal Opera House, a donation from the architect Dennis Lennon, architect (1918-1991).
They were deaccessioned in 2019 and subsequently sold to the current owner in a charity event at the Royal Opera House.
Estimated at £4000-6000, they sold as a pair for £15,500.
2. Silver model of aircraft – £4800
This sterling silver scale model of the Lockheed TriStar aircraft was the top lot at Kingham's November 24 Silver and Objects of Vertu sale in the Cotswolds. The estimate was £600-800 but it hammered at £4800.
Measuring over 14½in (37cm) in length, and with a wingspan of 12½in (32cm), the model aircraft was made in 1/72 scale and is complete with a wooden stand. The detail is such that the plane’s wings depict the stabilisers, ailerons, rudders and elevators. The cargo and passenger doors, radar nose cone, cabin and cockpit windows are also represented in fine detail.
The piece is fully hallmarked to the underside of the fuselage, confirming that it was made by the Nayler Brothers in London in 1976.
It was commissioned by a British Airways pilot, the vendor here. In 1973, he travelled to Lockheed in Palmdale, California, as part of a team of six experts tasked to ensure the TriStar’s smooth introduction into British Airways’ routes.
3. Jerusalem devotional panel – £19,500
Mother of pearl and olivewood devotional objects were made in Jerusalem in large quantities as tourism to the Holy Land took off in the late 19th and early 20th century. Some of the best examples display a high level of craftsmanship.
The panel offered by Hawley’s in Beverely, East Yorkshire on November 25 measured and impressive 3ft (90cm) high and depicts a range of subjects form the Passion Cycle including the Last Supper, the Resurrection and the Ascension. They follow well-worn compositions, but it is unusual to find them together in a single icon.
It had been a gift to an Anglican order by the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem to mark a visit to the Holy City in the 1920s and until 2007 had been displayed in the chapel at Laleham House, the Surrey Palladian style manor that became a convent.
Although a niche and international market, pieces of this calibre can command five-figure sums.
With some areas of damage, it was guided at £5000-8000 and sold at £19,500.
4. Belle Epoque brooch – £55,000
The sale at Young’s Auctions in Farnham, Surrey on November 25 included jewels and objects of vertu with royal provenances. They came by descent from the Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood (1897-1965), the only daughter of George V and Queen Mary.
The Countess is believed to have received this Belle Epoque brooch as a gift from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Made by the Paris jeweller Marzo, and in its original blue tooled leather case, it comprises three natural pearls set in platinum and diamonds. According to the report from the Gem and Pearl Laboratory, the central pink gem, is a 14mm natural conch pearl, flanked by a natural iridescent grey pearl and a natural cream-white pearl.
Estimated at £8000-12,000, it took £55,000.
Lorenzo Marzo, the nephew of Spanish court jeweller Francisco Marzo, set up his own business in Paris in 1901, trading from 207 rue St. Honoré and then 22 rue de la Paix, under the banner Laillet et Marzo.
5. David Bowie handwritten lyrics – £72,000
The music memorabilia sale at Omega Auctions in Newton-Le-Willows on Merseyside on November 29 included the handwritten lyrics to two tracks on David Bowie’s 1972 classic The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
One side of the single sheet bears the title and lyrics for Rock N' Roll Suicide. To the other side are the title and lyrics for Suffragette City plus a note to the foot of the page mentioning two songs Bowie intended as late additions to the album – It Ain't Easy and Round and Round. The former (recorded during the sessions for Bowie’s fourth album Hunky Dory) did make it on to Ziggy but Round and Round was replaced and eventually used as a B-side.
A detailed letter of provenance from the vendor (who bought them in the early 80s) dated the manuscript to the final Ziggy Stardust recording sessions at Trident Studio. Apparently used to prepare the lyrics sheet printed on the album's inner record bag, they were loaned to the V&A in 2013 as part of its Bowie retrospective and toured with exhibition for five years between 2013-18.
Omega Auctions have a good track record with Bowie memorabilia and had previously sold the artist-written lyrics for Jean Genie (£46,000 in February 2023) and Starman (£165,000 in September 2022). This Rock N' Roll Suicide- Suffragette City sheet sold somewhere in the middle of these two results at £72,000. The estimate was £50,000-100,000.