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At the eleventh hour the decision was taken to proceed with just three members of staff in the room and all bids taken remotely.

The circumstances were unpromising. In fact, helped by overseas bidders, and the decision to absorb both online bidding and storage fees, the results were pretty strong.

A second Hygieia

The highest-priced lot in the antiques section was a life-size lead figure of Hygieia modelled by Charles Bonnet for the Bromsgrove Guild.

Although the model does not appear in any of the Bromsgrove literature, another example of this figure was commissioned for the garden of the Buckinghamshire mansion Chequers by owner Lord Lee. The house was presented to the nation in 1917 as a country residence for the use of future prime ministers.

Hygieia, the daughter and chief attendant to Asklepios, the god of medicine, still stands on the lawn in front of the main entrance.

This model, the only other known cast, sold at the lower end of a £30,000-50,000 estimate.

Medici urn copy

A late-18th or 19th century marble copy of the Medici urn sold to a bidder via thesaleroom.com for £7500 against a £2000-4000 guide.

The Roman original from the second half of the first century AD was first recorded in 1598 in the inventory of the Villa Medici, Rome. In 1780 it entered the Uffizi in Florence, where it remains today.

Alongside the similarly shaped Borghese vase it became one of the most popularly reproduced antiquities, copied in marble, bronze, terracotta, alabaster and biscuit. This fine-quality Grand Tour souvenir stands 3ft 4in (1.01m) – around two-thirds of the size of the original.

A rare 11½in (29cm) high ‘bronzed’ Coadestone bust, c.1793, sold for over three times its low estimate at £3200.


Late-18th or 19th century copy of the Medici urn – £7500 at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst.

The back carries the date and the scratched name of Gerard de Visme (1726-97), a British merchant of Huguenot descent whose home, Wimbledon Lodge, was lavishly decorated with the products of Mrs Coade’s Lambeth Manufactory.

He made his fortune in Portugal before returning to London, where he was partner in a banking firm De Vismes, Cuthbert, Marsh, Creed and Co. The bust, with a partial old paper inventory label, is that pictured in Mrs Coade’s Stone by Alison Kelly.

A carved white marble bust of Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, sold at £2300 (estimate £400-600).

Removed from a house formerly owned by a member of the Physick family of sculptors, it is thought to be by Edward William Physick (c.1774- 1862) who made at least three other busts of Wellington in 1832, 1843 and another undated now in the Merchant Taylor’s Hall in the City of London.

This 2ft 6in (74cm high) bust is likely to have been made in the latter stages of the duke’s life and unusually it shows him in the normal dress of the day, rather than in military, ceremonial or classical robes.

Typical fare

Decent prices were paid across the sale for the typical fare expected of these sales: lead cisterns, sandstone troughs, wrought and cast-iron garden seats and bronze and marble statuary.

A good contest emerged for two antique giant clam shells, each estimated at £200-400. One sold for £1600 to a commission bidder, the other for £1800 to an internet bidder.


Antique giant clam shell – £1800 at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst.

A pair of Georgian carved sandstone reclining lions mounted on oval pedestals, 2ft 8in (80cm) high x 3ft 8in (1.1m) long, sold online at £4500 (estimate £2000-4000). They probably dated to the second half of the 18th century but still showed a good level of detail.

A series of bronze friezes, made in the late 20th century for London’s tourist attraction Camden Lock Market, were the top lot of the auction, sold by the sealed bids process.

In total, the 19 panels documenting the site’s history as a horse hospital and a warehouse for the Regent’s Canal are 28m long. Offered as four lots, they sold together for £55,000.

The sealed bids section of these sales occasionally throws up some strong results for objects that are potentially worth a lot to one individual but are not always well suited to the ‘sell it on the day’ auction format.

In this latest auction a massive 1970s Italian glass chandelier, some 8ft 10in (2.4m) high by 6ft 7in (2m) wide, which was previously in the Mayfair gambling club 50 St James’s Street, carried an estimate of £20,000-30,000.

It sold for £35,000.