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The whitewood cottage, an early example of painted Tunbridgeware ware, was among the 680 offerings at the biannual specialist sewing sale at Bleasdales (20% buyer’s premium) in Warwick on November 21.

Measuring 6in (15cm) wide, it featured a sliding thimble panel to the interior and a six-compartment drawer fitted to the side and sold comfortably above hopes at £3700 to a regular at the rooms building up a collection.

The sale also included four pieces of 19th century French ivory carved in 14th century style from a family collection. A diptych, 6in (15cm) wide when open, went at a triple-estimate £2950 to a Belgian buyer who was the underbidder against a Warwick dealer who went to double or treble the estimates to take the other pieces.

These were a carved and stained double comb at £980; a mirror frame carved with religious figures and animals at £1700 and another diptych at £1050.

“In general, my UK buyers want ivory examples for collections and are not concerned by the changes in law,” said auctioneer Robert Bleasdale.

The ivory laws did impact on the November 21 sale at Clevedon Auctions (20% buyer’s premium) in Bristol where one of the stars was the 19th century Vizagapatam ivory sewing box modelled as a colonial house.

“It was consigned locally with the impending ivory law in the vendor’s mind,” said auctioneer Toby Pinn.

With a hinged lid and fitted interior of covered partitions, the 7½in (19cm) wide box had a split to the back panel and minor condition problems consistent with age, but went at £4500 to a London buyer.

Chess set


Indian ivory chess set c.1825 – £7500 at Dreweatts.

Bidders at Dreweatts (24% buyer’s premium) contested a c.1825 Indian ivory chess set to a decent sum. Known as a John Company set (named after the all-powerful British East India Company), the royals are carved riding in elephant howdahs, the rooks as flag-bearing crenelated towers, the knights as rearing horsemen and the bishops as camel riders.

The 3in (8cm) tall pawns depict Indian soldiers carrying spears and Company sepoys armed with muskets.

In good condition, the set sold at £7500 to a UK buyer at the Newbury rooms on November 21.