It was on a trip to Venice in 1954 when the British sculptor Michael Ayrton (1921-75) observed a group of boys and young men bathing from a jetty on Giudecca, an island in the Venetian Lagoon. A series of studies inspired by what he saw followed and led to sculptures such as the bronze shown above.
Bather and Child, conceived in 1956, was made in an edition of nine. This example, erected on a wooden base and measuring 16in (40cm) high, was bought from the Bruton Gallery in Somerset in 1981. It is estimated at £3000-5000 in a sale of Modern British and Post War Art at Mallams in Oxford on May 23-24.
This Moorish-style 19th century Italian ivory inlaid centre table above is decorated with detailed panels depicting European river landscape and rural scenes with masks to each of the four corners.
The 4ft 4in (1.3m) wide piece comes from a private collection in north Somerset and will go under the hammer at Chilcotts’ saleroom in Honiton, Devon, on June 1.
A 1950s bear puppet by toy maker Chad Valley used for the character of Teddy in the BBC children’s TV show Andy Pandy will go under the hammer on May 22 at C&T in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Of the three known Teddy puppets from the series, this is the only version not weighted (weights were used to help puppeteers operate them) and is therefore thought to be the earliest of the trio. The HMS sailor hat and rucksack were probably used in the episode Boats, which aired on September 26, 1950.
It comes in an old card box inscribed in pencil ANDY PANDY TEDDY and addressed to a Miss Vida F Baxter in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The puppet carries an estimate of £3000-5000.
This cased pair of flintlock pistols above, offered in a Medals & Militaria on June 14 at Lacy Scott & Knight in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, were made in the early 19th century by Mabson & Labron – a Birmingham-based gun manufacturer that prospered greatly during the period.
This was largely down to the Napoleonic Wars, which required a huge scale of gun production. Almost two million muskets, rifles, carbines, and pistols were being manufactured for the government alone from 1804-17.
Approximately two-thirds of this production was carried out in Birmingham – known as the ‘Toyshop of Europe’ in the late 18th and early 19th century – where a thriving gun quarter encompassed hundreds of manufacturers, which rose from 125 in 1815 to 455 by 1829.