This was the latest tranche from a collection of about 350 figurines amassed by a Worcestershire couple who built an extension on their home to house the display cabinets. Rather than flood a fragile market, the firm is offering them over a series of sales (the first held last autumn).
Pictured here are the two top-selling lots from the collection at the sale on May 26-29: the 8in (19cm) high group Columbine and Beltrame modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler, c.1741, (estimate £500-800) and a 7in (18cm) figure of a seated cook modelled by Kändler and Paul Reinicke, c.1750 (estimate £600-800).
Possibly inspired by the two central figures in the rococo engraving Le baiser donné by Pierre Filloeul, Columbine and Beltrame or The Spanish Lovers is one of Kändler’s most popular models, with a number sold in recent years. This example had some condition issues (as well as restoration to hands and hats, a large firing crack runs through the base and lower section of the dress), but took £6400 via thesaleroom.com.
The figure of a cook, here with a frying pan in one hand and a cut of meat in the other, is one to which Kändler and Reinicke returned on a number of occasions, notably in the Cris de Paris series of street vendors created from 1753-54. Only the handle of the knife has been restored.
It took £4200 – much the same price as another of this scarce model sold by Bonhams in 2008.