Walters (c.1778-1823) was injured in the British Army and earned a living as a busker, playing violin outside West End theatres and immortalised in William Thomas Moncrieff’s play Tom and Jerry, or Life in London (1821).
The piece was brought by early English pottery specialist Roger de Ville. “A local visitor to the fair recognised the figure of Bill and knew his story and had to buy the piece,” de Ville says. “That’s exactly the kind of knowledgeable purchaser we always meet at the Chelsea fair.” The object sold for £1350.
Other sales included the highest-priced object at the stand of Hickmet Fine Arts, a bronze sculpture, which sold for £37,500.
With a total of 35 exhibitors standing at the fair, organiser Caroline Penman called it the “most successful Chelsea fair for several years”, adding that Sunday “was like the good old days of the 1980s. We were exceptionally busy and the sales flowed.”