An Arts & Crafts pear wood upright piano and stool designed by Ernst Archibald Taylor (1874-1951) sold within expectations at £5500 (£4000-6000).
It is probably among the first items of furniture designed by Taylor for the Glasgow furniture maker Wylie and Lochhead.
An archival photograph shows the instrument in situ as the centrepiece of Taylor’s ‘drawing room’ stand at the 1901 Glasgow International Exhibition (John Ednie and George Logan were also given similar showcases by Wylie and Lochhead).
Both pieces display several of Taylor’s signature devices including pierced silver plated mounts and inlaid mother of pearl rosettes, identical to those used on other pieces by Taylor for the 1901 exhibition. The piano forte itself was made by Bechstein with the serial number 54752 dating it to 1900.
Like much of the other furniture in Taylor’s Wylie and Lochhead display these pieces were considered lost, perhaps sold in Budapest where the room was later exhibited in 1902.
They had been purchased from a Miss Templeton in the early 1960s by J Caldwell of the Eglington Arms Hotel in Irvine and came by descent to the current vendor.
Pianos were an important part of room displays of the period (Hugh Baillie Scott and Charles Ashbee had made similar attempts to reform the design of the upright piano forte a couple of years earlier) but they are not the most commercial forms.
By way of price comparison, a side chair from the 1901 exhibition offered by Phillips New York in December 2015 failed to sell against a hopeful $25,000-35,000. Perhaps a better guide is the £3200 taken by Lyon & Turnbull in 2018 for a Taylor mahogany standing cabinet with the same inlaid design or the £8000 bid there in April for a fall-front desk c.1905.
Sold at £9000 at the auction on June 11-12 was a fine example of Napoleonic prisoner of war art – a 2ft 1in (63cm) bone ship model of The Caton. It is housed in a mahogany framed glass case together with a separate board under a glass dome containing 29 polychrome bone figures of the ship’s crew
Before the construction of purpose-built hulks, prisoners were kept aboard ships moored in the Plymouth estuary – among them The Caton.
This French ship of the line was one of four vessels captured by Lord Hood at Mona Passage, the strait separating Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, on April 19, 1782 in the wake of the Battle of the Saintes during the American Revolutionary War.
The Caton had been taken back to England and used as a prisoner of war hospital ship and moored off Saltash in Cornwall, a role she continued well into the Napoleonic Wars. This very detailed model came for sale with a guide of £8000-12,000.
The opening lots of the first day were given to a trio of Royal Worcester vases decorated by Charles Henry Clifford Baldwyn (1843-1913). The son of a local piano tuner and musician, he worked at the Worcester factory from the age of 15 until 1904.
Flying swans and birds in moonlit scenes became Baldwyn’s signature pieces and no other decorator was allowed to paint them.
Both with date codes for 1903 were potpourri vases and pierced covers – one standing just over 8in (21cm) high and painted with five swans in flight (estimate £2000-3000) the other smaller at just under 7in (17cm) decorated with four swans (estimate £1000-1500). In excellent condition, they sold at £6200 and £3200 respectively.
A pair of 12½in (31cm) baluster form vases with gilt acanthus leaf handles and pedestal bases (shape number 1686) were particularly good examples. These took £6800 (estimate £3000-5000).
These are very much market prices: a Bonhams sale in London on June 23 included both a Baldwyn wall plaque and a pair of inverted pear-shaped vases sold at £5500 and £4800.
In a softening market there were decent within-estimate bids for two Wedgwood octagonal form bowls with Daisy Makeig-Jones Fairyland lustre designs. A 9in (23cm) bowl decorated in the Leapfrogging Elves pattern to exterior and Fairy in Cage to the interior, took £2500 while a 7in (18cm) bowl in the Firbolgs and Thumbelina designs brought £800.
Those without the wherewithal for Fairyland, either in the 1920s or the 2020s, could purchase something similar on a budget by the Fieldings Crown Devon factory.
A scarce green-orange lustre bowl with a gilt lizard to the exterior and a fairy scene to the interior took £100.
A sale that covered many different collecting bases (silver, futniture and works of art highlights are pictured here) also included, at £2000 (estimate £500-700), a Scottish percussion single barrelled target rifle.
It was signed for Alexander Henry (1818-94), the Edinburgh maker who designed the rifling and barrel used in the Martini-Henry rifle. This gun (patent No. 252) carried a presentation plaque reading Presented to the 9th ARV by Captain JG Stevenson and was housed in a fitted case.
Topping the sale was The Black Hat, a Colourist still-life by George Leslie Hunter that, bought by the vendor in 1990, sold just above the top estimate at £76,000.