R Johnson Clapham & Morris safety lamp sold for £3500 at Paul Beighton’s sale.

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Miners’ lamp lights up Yorkshire sale

A rare miners’ lamp was the unexpected highlight of Paul Beighton’s October 14 sale in Thurcroft near Rotherham.

The R Johnson Clapham & Morris safety lamp was part of a group lot estimated at just £15-20, but bidding opened at £1600 with several phones taking it to £3500 (plus buyer’s premium).

The metalworking firm established by Richard Johnson in Manchester made many miners’ lamps – the majority relatively common and priced under £100. However, this is a scarce variant of the Marsaut lamp – the blueprint for the modern mining lamp created by French mining engineer Jean Marsaut c.1882. As indicted by the inscription Howat Patent (1888), this particular lamp has a deflector plate, used to encourage the flow of air between the bonnet and the gauze.

The most desirable of all miners’ lamps are the models produced to designs by three early 19th century pioneers – Humphrey Davey, George Stephenson and William Reid Clanny.

A Stephenson lamp made by local manufacturer Robert Watson of High Bridge, Newcastle, c.1815-20 sold for a record £15,000 at Moore Allen & Innocent in June 2017.

Bridgnorth auction house closes down

Auction house Perry & Phillips in Bridgnorth will close after 170 years in business as its owner has decided to focus instead on running the antiques centre in the Shropshire town.

The firm was founded in 1835. In 1982 brothers Denis and John Ridgway took over the firm and opened sister company Old Mill Antiques Centre, next to the auction house on Mill Street, in 1996.


John Ridgway, who has decided to close auction house Perry & Phillips in Bridgnorth to focus on the Old Mill Antiques Centre.

Denis died in 2015 and it has since been run by John, supported by brother Philip, Denis’ widow Beryl and sister-in-law Lindsey.

Philip, who had been an antiques dealer for more than 50 years, died earlier this year and now the family have decided to concentrate on the antiques centre which houses 40 dealers.

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Gentileschi work sells in Vienna

Artemisia Gentileschi’s Lucretia was hammered down for €1.6m at an auction in Vienna.

The 4ft 4in x 3ft 6in (1.33 x 1.06m) oil on canvas was consigned to Dorotheum from an aristocratic collection where it had been since the mid-19th century. It had an upper estimate of €700,000.


Artemisia Gentileschi’s 'Lucretia' – €1.6m at Dorotheum.

The work was knocked down to a bidder in the saleroom on October 23 and will join a private Australian collection.

Like many of the 60 or so paintings attributed to Gentileschi, this work features a strong female subject, and is considered to have an autobiographical edge. Lucretia depicts a woman from Roman historical legend who killed herself after being raped by the son of a king.

The artist, whose legacy is dominated by her personal story, was raped by fellow artist Agostino Tassi and took part in his prosecution.

Her self-portrait as St Catherine of Alexandria (c.1615-17) was bought by the National Gallery in London for £3.6m this summer.

No-deal Brexit ‘good for UK art market’

The UK government’s Brexit documents reveal that in the event of a no-deal with the European Union it will not be aligned with EU regulations on cross-border trade for cultural property.

This will mean that the UK could become a more attractive art market than EU member states.

CINOA, the international confederation of art and antique dealer associations representing 5000 dealers across 30 associations, said that if the European Parliament votes through legislation restricting the import of cultural goods, it will place EU member states “at a distinct competitive disadvantage with regards to the UK”.

CINOA said this would affect fairs such as TEFAF Maastricht and the Paris Biennale.

Home sought for Soper trust archive

A charitable trust formed to promote the art of The Soper Family is seeking funding to build a home for the archive.

More than 700 original pieces of art, letters and memorabilia have been catalogued from the three key members of the family: illustrator George Soper (1870-1942) and daughters Eva (1901- 90), an artist and modeller of birds for the Royal Worcester Porcelain Company, and Eileen (1905-90), an illustrator of children’s and wildlife books including those by Enid Blyton.

The trust would like to buy a property near Sudbury in Suffolk to house the collection. It must raise £600,000 by November 20.

Interested parties can contact the charity at or call its treasurer on 01787 247610.

Ship’s bell marks an aircraft trailblazer

A ship’s bell on offer at Charles Miller’s November 6 sale at the 25 Blythe Road auction collective, west London, marks the first successful launch of an aircraft from a ship. Estimated at £2000-3000, it comes from HMS Africa, built in 1905.


Ship’s bell from HMS Africa (1905), estimated at £2000-3000 in Charles Miller’s November 6 auction.

She was rendered all but obsolete by the revolutionary Dreadnought which completed just a month later, but Africa proved to be useful when the Admiralty was looking for a vessel for experiments. She was fitted with a 100ft downward-sloping ramp extending from foredeck to bow .

On January 10, 1912, Lt Charles Samson (1883-1931) completed the world’s first powered flight from a ship.

In Numbers


The hammer price (£273,000) paid for first AI artwork to be sold in a major auction. Edmond de Belamy is a work created by an algorithm.

Carrying a $7000-10,000 estimate, it sold after a bidding battle on the phones and via ChristiesLive. It is one of 11 unique works in a series called La Famille de Belamy conceived by the Paris AI collective Obvious.


Edmond de Belamy, a work created by an algorithm that sold for $350,000 (£273,000) at Christie’s. Image: Obvious.