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Kings of the castle-tops

13 December 2008

SO-CALLED castle-top boxes represent a fascinating moment in British social history. Fashioned by the silver ‘toy’ makers of Birmingham, these vinaigrettes and card cases engraved or die-stamped with British landmarks were seemingly marketed as tourist souvenirs.

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The key differences for Nelson vinaigrettes

13 December 2008

Recently sold at auction, three examples of the well-known Nelson memorial vinaigrette made by Matthew Linwood of Birmingham in 1805 sold for markedly different prices – and for good reason.

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Chinese works of art sold in Dorset with a primary provenance

01 December 2008

THE discerning collection of Chinese jades, rhinoceros horn, furniture, textiles and paintings assembled 200 years ago by John Reeves has now gone under the hammer.

Volunteer jailed for stolen medals

01 December 2008

A VOLUNTEER at the Royal Signals Regiment Museum in Blandford, Dorset, has been jailed for 12 months for stealing £33,000 of medals and selling them on eBay.

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Architectural splendour in miniature for sale

06 November 2008

Smallwork remains one of the most collectable areas of the silver market, and Dorchester auctioneers Duke's will be aiming to tempt enthusiasts for one particular corner of this arena later this month.

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The two faces of the £56,000 Sparks Gold at Duke's

09 June 2008

As BBC cameras rolled for live television, Duke’s of Dorchester sold three pieces of purportedly ancient gold for a total of £56,000 on June 5. The consignment, rejected by at least one major London auction house before Duke’s accepted them, has been the source of much opinion since their sale was announced in late May.

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Ruskin’s cherry blossom takes £20,000

11 April 2008

A TOUCH of spring arrived in Dorchester on April 10-11 where amongst a number of five-figure prices at Duke’s two-day sale was this tiny watercolour of a branch of cherry blossom by the prolific Victorian theorist, critic and artist John Ruskin (1819-1900). Dated 1857, it is displayed here a fraction less than its actual size.

Judge rules in dealer’s favour over Caveat Emptor

11 February 2008

A JUDGE’S ruling over an antique steel knife has challenged the policy of “Let the Buyer Beware” and may affect auctioneers’ cataloguing practices and their terms and conditions.

Future of Frink archive in doubt

12 November 2007

THE closure of Sherborne House in Dorset leaves a question mark over the future of the Elizabeth Frink Archive, the premier assemblage of the sculptor’s work.

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Bookstand brings out bidders

06 August 2007

This unusual 18th century bookstand or tray top commode, measuring 2ft 4in (71cm) wide, made a multiple-estimate £20,000 (plus 17.5 per cent buyer’s premium) at Dukes of Dorchester on July 26.

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Tacca’s Pasquino is a six-figure Dorchester sleeper

16 July 2007

When the Dorchester Fine Art saleroom Duke’s sold two rediscovered panels of Dominican saints by Fra Angelico for £1.7m, it was one of the best documented events outside the London rooms accompanied by months of pre-sale media coverage.

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Revealed: the buyer of the Fra Angelico panels

01 May 2007

There’s been plenty of speculation about who might have paid £1.7m plus 17.5 per cent premium for the two recently-rediscovered Fra Angelico (c.1395-1455) panels of Dominican saints at Duke’s of Dorchester on April 19.

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Private buyers dominate the bidding at Bacon sale

30 April 2007

For the second time in the space of a week a UK provincial auctioneer was celebrating a million-pound sale of works by one of the world’s most famous artists.

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Duke’s take £1.7m for Fra Angelico saints

23 April 2007

after months of pre-sale coverage in the media, the two recently rediscovered panels of Dominican saints from Fra Angelico’s celebrated 1438-40 high altarpiece for the Church of San Marco in Florence finally came under the hammer at Duke’s of Dorchester last Thursday, when they fetched £1.7m.

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Your Books, My Son – £730,000

12 March 2007

SIR Harry Newton (1871-1951), whose library provided some of the finest things in a £730,000 book sale held by Duke’s of Dorchester on March 8, was an adherent of the old ‘Cabinet’ school of collecting – buying key works of literature and science.

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At £36,000, this is something to spout about

26 February 2007

This Chinese turquoise ground ewer, standing just 73/4in (19.7cm) high, belongs to a group of ritual wares specially commissioned by the Qing Court for placement on Buddhist altars. Their function was for ceremonial use in palaces and temples either within the Forbidden Palace or Bishushanzhuang in Chengde.

Dorset auction house closes

27 November 2006

Blandford Auction Rooms have ceased trading as the saleroom was closed by its owners on November 3.

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Fra Angelico panels set to make provincial art record

20 November 2006

The discovery of two small panels by Fra Angelico (c.1395-1455) in a semi-detached house in Oxford ranks as one of the most remarkable art finds this country has ever witnessed.

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Polar collectors to explore Dorset

19 September 2006

WHERE polar exploration collectables are concerned, Christie’s have in recent years enjoyed, if not a monopoly, then certainly a strong grip on the auction market.

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Racoon Finally taken at £73,000

22 August 2006

"They kept their resolution longer than I expected, keeping us in action from 7 in the morning till [?] in the afternoon and to carry the scene on in a military manner they came down upon us, sounding the charge and their army colours flying, and in this manner continued till they were beaten to atoms. "