“In recent years this specialist area has been neglected by many of the international and regional auction houses, with items getting lost in multi-discipline auctions and therefore not receiving the full focus that this wide-ranging category deserves,” he said after the June 28 sale at Donnington Priory.
The 210-lot sale was certainly wide-ranging – from a 3½in (8.5cm) high c.600-30BC Egyptian soapstone fragment of the head of Osiris at a mid-estimate £480 to a 5ft (1.5m) high contemporary bronze alloy garden model of a mountain gorilla at £2800.
The bulk of the sale, however, was more classical. Biggest surprise of the day was a 19th century bronze reduction of Pierre Le Pautre’s (1660-1744) well-known model of Aeneas carrying his father Anchises holding the temple idol as they flee the ruins of Troy.
The marble dated 1716 is now in the garden of the Tuileries and a small terracotta signed and dated 1715 in the V&A. This 21in (55cm) high Victorian bronze was estimated at £2000-3000 but sold to a UK collector at £15,000.
More expected were results on two period carvings. A 9½in (24.5cm) tall bronze of a kneeling satyr attributed to Severo Calzetta da Ravenna (fl. Padua 1496-1543) mounted, possibly later, as an oil lamp, sold at £8000.
A 3ft 8in (1.11m) high wood carving of Ezekiel attributed to Giacomo Piazette (Venice, 1640- 1705), portraying the bearded prophet holding a staff and with his left foot resting on two books, took a lower-estimate £10,000.
“We were delighted at the results, with participation from UK and international buyers and many of these new to Dreweatts,” said Beadman, who will hold the second of the planned biannual specialist sales in November.