The mystery name was CH Powell, creator of six Arts & Crafts hammered copper-framed pieces with enamel plaques – a mirror and five plaques offered in three lots – consigned by the same vendor to the Woking sale.
Auctioneer Chris Ewbank’s research unearthed nothing about Powell apart from a link to the Watford School of Art.
In this context the provenance was of interest: all had formerly belonged to someone who as a youngster was a sculptor attending the Watford School of Art before becoming Sister Benedict of the Holy Order of Our Lady of Walsingham.
All five Powell lots sold above estimate and, said Ewbank, would have made more had they been in better condition. They had suffered some difficult-to-repair damage to the enamels to different degrees.
The 2ft 8in (78cm) tall mirror, illustrated above, was signed and depicted sirens on the seashore with plaques of galleons, fish and dolphins. Estimated at £800-1200, it made £2600.
Best of the framed plaques was a 14 x 7in (35 x 18cm) monogrammed scene of an angel under a tree. A paper label to the reverse read Forbidden Fruit, C H Powell, School of Art Watford.
Estimated at £200-£300, it sold at £2000.
On more familiar 20th century design territory were two examples of the classic laminated rosewood and black leather lounge chair and ottoman designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller in 1956.
Each estimated at £600-1000, an early example sold at £5500 and the other, from about 10 years later, at £2600.
A very different aesthetic was provided by a Cotswolds School maker: Edward Barnsley (1900-87).
His walnut, serpentine-fronted kneehole desk had suffered some water damage to a rear stretcher and some sun fading, and the matching armchair needed re-caning. Both were stamped Barnsley Desk and, against a very modest £500-600 estimate, sold at £3200.