Stowmarket firm Bishop & Miller (20% buyer’s premium) launched a new calendar of specialist sales on October 15 with a 280-lot Fine Collectors Auction. It comprised traditional works of art, furniture and needlework from the 16th to the 18th centuries – and some high-quality individual entries.
These included a detailed inlaid olivewood model of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem of a type produced by Franciscan monks for pilgrims and tourists in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Similar models are in the Museum of the Order of St John, Clerkenwell, London, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the National Museum, Copenhagen. Another, with some missing elements, took £25,000 (plus 21% premium) at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood in January last year (ATG No 2382).
The 16in (42cm) example offered here was of the same quality. Confidently catalogued as 17th century, it was intricately inlaid overall with mother-of-pearl, bone and ebony and it featured removable sections with the main dome lifting to reveal the interior.
It attracted worldwide online and phone bidding before going to a London buyer for £22,500.
William and Mary cabinet
Top bid of the day, however, was for a William and Mary lacquered cabinet on stand.
The 3ft 5in (1.04m) wide cabinet was decorated to the exterior with chinoiserie birds and to the 11 interior drawers with lacquered landscape scenes. Featuring concealed compartments behind sliding panels, it stood on a silvered softwood stand decorated with scallop shells, swags and ribbons, giving a total height of 5ft 7in (1.71m).
A high-quality example of a piece of desirable form, it had been bought at the BADA Fair in 2001. Against an estimate of £4000-6000 it went to a Florida buyer bidding on thesaleroom.com at £23,000.
A five-figure piece of vernacular furniture was a c.1600-10 Sussex oak court cupboard. Its decorative scheme included an upper frieze inlaid with geometric panels, a central inlaid cabinet and bulbous cup-and-cover carved supports. Standing 3ft 11in tall x 4ft 1in wide (1.14 x 1.25m), it more than doubled the top estimate going to a London buyer at £12,500.
The earliest piece of furniture on offer was a c.1580 Spanish table with a 4ft 4in x 2ft 8in (1.31m x 81cm) single-plank walnut top on foldable square-section legs united by an iron stretcher. Pitched at £2500-3500, it sold to a London buyer at £5000.
Best of a well-received needlework section was a 16in x 12in (41 x 31cm) mid-17th century depiction of Pharaoh’s daughters discovering Moses in the bulrushes.
Featuring seed pearl necklaces for the daughters and mica windows to the background palaces, the needlework went a shade over top estimate to a Shropshire buyer at £5400.