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This can encompass pewter plates and flagons, brass candlesticks and miscellaneous ironwork – pieces that often appeal to specific collecting niches.

At Woolley & Wallis’ furniture and works of art sale on April 12, the opening oak section is followed by some 24 lots of English and Continental bronze mortars. They have been consigned from two sources, one anonymous, the other part of a larger collection of apothecary material that has come from the late Ian Jenkins. They range in date from the 15th to 18th centuries.

What makes pieces like these desirable? Rarity and age obviously, but also their specific decoration. Several of the examples in the W&W auction have the bonus of initials while others are actually dated, which is always a bonus with any object.

Values range from a large group of 48 mortars and pestles of varying dates and materials from the Jenkins collection, estimated at £300-500, to £800-1200 for the single example pictured above. This is a Charles II period mortar which possesses numerous desirable features: a crisply moulded portrait of the king, the date 1666 and the initials EN flanking a bell for Edward Neale of Burford.

woolleyandwallis.co.uk

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