South-west England


Smoke signals a new Zulu dawn for auctioneer

05 February 2003

Wiltshire auctioneers Finan & Co., have carved out a niche for themselves by steering clear of brown furniture and 19th century porcelain and offering slightly more exotic fare.

Old auctioneer pulls in the trade

05 February 2003

A number of auctioneers have reported their best sales of the year in December and the North Cornish firm of Kivells (10% buyer’s premium) were in that happy position following their sale at Bude, on December 12. It was not merely the best of the year but their best sale ever.

Specialist choice of settee underlines selective bidding

28 January 2003

“SELECTIVE” can mean “poor” when auctioneers apply the word to bidding and the downward spiral of brown furniture prices has emphasised this. But it was an accurate enough description of bidding on furniture offered among the 1200 lots at the Clifton rooms, for when there was a piece of unusual quality it sold well.

Crime didn’t pay

21 January 2003

BUSINESS was not bad but security was even better at the North Cotswolds Antiques Fair held in a maarquee at Stanway House on January 11 and 12.

Return to the nursery with Attwell’s easel

21 January 2003

The easel that was used to create some of the most celebrated nursery images of the 20th century will be going under the hammer later on this month.

The value of royalty in a £3100 box

20 January 2003

Despite the recent media interest in the routine sale of Royal gifts through household staff and approved dealers, the practice of flogging Crown chattels is nothing new. More official and intimate material of royal provenance has buoyed the market for decades, if not centuries.

Small but beautifully packaged at Stanway

10 January 2003

JOSTLING for space on the January fairs calendar, Cooper Antiques Fairs get their year under way with The North Cotswolds Antiques Fair at Stanway House on January 11 and 12.

Tea and sympathisers

06 December 2002

Historians have spent many enjoyable hours attempting to decipher the symbolism of pictures on the back of Georgian teaspoons such as those illustrated right. Like the club tie or the secret society handshake, the picture back teaspoon was an English gentleman’s discreet method of signalling loyalties to potential sympathisers when serving afternoon tea.

£12,500 chairs justify ‘realistic’ furniture market

28 November 2002

While many provincial auctioneers berate the slowing down of the brown furniture market, Phillip Taubenheim of Gloucestershire auctioneers Wotton Auction Rooms (10% buyer’s premium) is finding it pretty healthy. “As long as we are realistic with our vendors and they are realistic with us, everything seems to be OK,” he said.

Blowing its own trumpet at last

28 November 2002

In the warm dirge of the Victorian brass band, this serpentine instrument was king of the pumping bassline. But the sad journey of the ophicleide from fame to obscurity in a little under 50 years illustrated the pace of musical change in the 19th century.

Wood yew believe it? Burr cabinet rates a £5200 bid

21 November 2002

Robert Finan has been holding these specialist sales at the Ship Hotel for six years and next year intends to go quarterly. With the major UK auctioneers having shipped their tribal art departments to Continental Europe and America, the valuer’s biannual outings are just about the only chance for the serious connoisseur to root out African totems and Maori weapons from the colonial timecapsules of the British countryside.

Tuai and Titere – Maoris from the Marsden Missionary School

30 October 2002

Seen here are two black ink silhouettes of Teeterree and Thomas Tooi that sold for £2500 as part of the book and ephemera section of an antiques sale held on October 5 by Finan & Co. of Mere.

Oh what a beautiful mourning

30 October 2002

The fastest growing area of the jewellery market, mourning apparel has become “hot property in the past 12 months”, says Jethro Marles of Bearne’s. Pointedly excepting the sort of heavy black jewellery produced in large quantities during the post-Albert period, he says that the material that has doubled in value over the past year is the earlier, more delicate mourning jewellery of the sort shown right.

Trade alerted over spate of church brass thefts

28 October 2002

Thieves plagued West Country churches over the summer, stealing monumental brasses and, in one case, a misericord. Experts suspect the thefts are the work of one gang, targeting villages close to the M4 and M40. It is thought the thief must have at least one accomplice to act as lookout as several of the churches are popular with summer visitors.

New business fires ceramics duo’s ambitions

23 October 2002

AMONG a number of more positive signs for the trade this autumn, fewer are more enouraging than news of an auction house expanding to accommodate extra consigments. Such is the case at these Devon auctioneers, S.J.Hales, who, since they opened in May 2000, have held monthly auctions at the local Edgemoor Hotel where space has meant sales have not exceeded more than 800/900 almost all aimed at ceramics collectors.

Adam Revival occasional tables sell for £22,000 each

22 October 2002

The firm of Wright & Mansfield (1860-86) are often cited as the instigators of the Georgian Revival and, unlike many of their contemporaries who produced Victorian pastiches of earlier styles, are renowned for their craftsmanship, using high quality materials for accurate recreations of the Adam and Sheraton style – often difficult to distinguish from the 18th century originals.

Duke’s uniform success

22 October 2002

This full dress uniform of an officer from the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding regiment, right, was an important diversion from the main proceedings at Duke’s auction in Dorchester. Under normal circumstances this would have been a standard lot of textile militaria for the trade, but this uniform actually belonged to the sixth Duke of Wellington and had passed by descent to the vendor.

Sitting pretty on the old front line

08 October 2002

FANS of television’s Sharpe will be well acquainted with the tough life of the trooper during the Peninsula War, and also with the grander life of the officers who managed to dine elegantly in their tents on the eve of battle.

Too much to swallow – the fish, not the story

03 October 2002

Fishermen’s tales are usually too tall to swallow, and the following account of a frenzied struggle on a Dorset riverbank in May 1912 would be scarcely credible were it not for the stuffed and cased evidence, right.

£10,000 Goldscheider goes clubbing

01 October 2002

The 1440 lots of 20th century decorative arts offered on the first day of the September 3,4 sale at the Bristol Auction Rooms (buyer’s premium 12.77%) included a range of ceramics, plus a dozen items of metalware and furniture, but the lot that really made the decorator trade sit up was this 4ft 1in (1.25m) terracotta creation, right, by Goldscheider.

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