Lyon & Turnbull

Edinburgh auction house Lyon & Turnbull has been operating since 1826 in Scotland. The company specialises in fine art, jewellery and antiques.

They hold about 30 auctions a year including dedicated sales such as Scottish paintings, European and British paintings, furniture, silver, books and furniture.

In 2000 the business formed a marketing alliance with US auctioneers Freeman's of Philadelphia.


A Stuart allegory translated at £9000

23 March 2004

Lyon & Turnbull’s 110-lot private collection did not just comprise Scottish silver, but also silver of Scottish interest. Among the more idiosyncratic elements in the catalogue was this allegorical Jacobite snuffbox, right.

Dram cup sells for £22,000

25 February 2004

The highlight of a 110-lot private collection of Scottish and Scottish-interest silver sold by Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull on February 19 was this tiny dram cup made by Hugh Ross c.1720.

Drinking with the Beggar’s Benison

08 January 2004

One of the unforeseen consequences of the arrival of Enlightenment philosophy in Puritan Scotland was the creation of clubs and societies that encouraged exuberant and outrageous behaviour in their members. The best known is the Beggar’s Benison.

Big provincial auction houses do well in 2003

05 January 2004

Despite a year that saw substantial declines in brown furniture prices and a tailing off in the demand for general silver, most of the UK’s top provincial auctioneers held steady in a difficult market.

Lyon & Turnbull to target business south of the border

22 September 2003

Edinburgh-based auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull are set to expand out of Scotland, having made appointments in London, Devon and Newcastle. The bold move – claimed as a first for a Scottish auction house – comes close to the fifth birthday of an ambitious vision that has grown into a £5m business.

The course gets tougher

19 August 2003

CLUBS: A ROCKY ride perhaps, but Lyon & Turnbull certainly had the best selection of clubs this year and the one real ace to give the market a fillip – a long-nose baffing spoon by George Daniel Brown of Blackheath and St Andrews, c.1850-60.

Hunter goes to London at record price

19 June 2003

AS AT London auctioneers’ themed events, nationalist bidding also underpins demand at sales in Ireland and Scotland. The Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) report having “lots of private buyers and underbidders” at their May 23 Fine Paintings sale, despite the quantity of material being down on the equivalent sale last year owing to the gathering period conciding with the war in Iraq.

£6500 says Rob Roy’s large kinsman sat here...

08 April 2003

For a Scottish antique, no provenance is more guaranteed to stir the blood than a connection, however tenuous, with a romantic outlaw. At Lyon & Turnbull’s sale on 26 March the link was Rob Roy McGregor, or at least the cattle rustler’s loyal kinsman and Glasgow magistrate Baillie Nicol Jarvie.

Seeking enlightenment on lamp

09 January 2003

One of the more mysterious objects at Lyon and Turnbull’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) decorative arts sale in Edinburgh on November 6 was this Art Nouveau pewter table lamp. Auctioneer John Mackie could not comment on why the futuristic design, measuring 2ft (60.5cm) high and apparantly unmarked, should have eclipsed a forecast of £300-500 and reached £6500.

Value leap is par for the course

27 August 2002

Golf has always been a subject that can have a dramatic effect on the price levels of artists who normally make little impact in the salerooms. Take the case of Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953), a Berwick-on-Tweed watercolourist who specialised in landscapes and marines, the best examples of which fetch around £1500 at auction.

Gems for Lyon & Turnbull

12 July 2002

UK: Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull are expanding their business with the creation of three new jobs, two of them in silver and jewellery.“We are bucking the trend by continuing with our expansion plans as other auction rooms in Scotland reduce their workforce and close offices,” said vice-chairman Paul Roberts.

London wins international battle for £75,000 China trade pair

14 June 2002

Nanking means to most people the rape of that city by the Japanese; to ceramics collectors it conjures up memories of the Nanking Cargo, but in the specialist picture market it is the place where the 1842 treaty was signed opening up five ports to British merchants “without (molestation or restraint”.

Pilkington pilgrimage to Edinburgh

05 December 2001

Collectors from Lancashire arrived at the Edinburgh sale of Decorative Arts held by Lyon and Turnbull (15/10% buyer’s premium) on November 7, excited by this silhouette, right, of their favourite ceramic factory.

Sewing table makes £6400 in Tunbridgeware surprise

19 July 2001

While Lyon & Turnbull enjoyed the lion’s share of the audience for the two sales in Edinburgh at the end of June, Phillips (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium) at least had the most surprising result in the form of this Tunbridgeware sewing/writing table by Fenner and Co., estimated at £300-500.

City Streets-North and South

05 March 2001

UK: ILLUSTRATED here is a plan of Aberdeen, one of 47 double-page engraved or litho plans (some folding) from a copy of John Wood’s Town Atlas of Scotland of 1818-26, rebound in modern boards, which sold for £2800 in the Lyon & Turnbull sale of February 17.

No amount of cooking rendered the Dodo palatable, just extinct...

05 March 2001

UK: THERE is a distinctly nervous look about the Dodo pictured here, as befits a creature staring extinction in the beak. This “Facsimile of [Roelandt] Savery’s picture of the Dodo in the Royal Gallery at Berlin” is a plate from H.E. Strickland & A.G. Melville’s The Dodo and its Kindred; or the History, Affinities and Osteology of the Dodo, Solitaire and other Extinct Birds of the islands Mauritius, Rodriguez and Bourbon.

Broadcast bid for Seven Pillars…

26 February 2001

UK: THE copy of T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom offered by Lyon & Turnbull of Edinburgh on February 17 was one of the 170 or so signed, “complete” copies of the privately printed, subscribers’ edition of 1926 and in the original brown morocco binding, illustrated here.

Gentili does it

24 October 2000

In these days of raging prices for anything remotely decorative in the world of antiques, it is not often that you find something early, unusual and pleasing to the eye for little more than £500.

Chinese blue and white ewer

17 October 2000

UK: The unexpected crowd puller at Lyon & Turnbull’s 509-lot sale on October 8 was this Wanli period (1573-1619) Chinese blue and white ewer estimated at £400-500

Charles Rennie Mackintosh stained birch day bed

01 May 2000

UK: THE designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh are normally associated with stellar prices in the salerooms, but this stained birch day bed struggled to get away at Lyon and Turnbull’s Glasgow sale of Decorative Arts on April 18 and indeed had experienced a fair degree of ignorance or neglect in the course of its history.

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