At 4ft 6in (1.37m) tall overall, the octagonal, gilt metal lantern – what today’s decorators would call a statement piece – came to the September 21 sale at Shrewsbury from a country estate.
Each side of the main body featured a painted glass panel, simulating stained glass, decorated with vacant armorials above vacant cartouches and connected to the upper crown with foliate scroll arms. A fruiting finial to the top and a central mask above swags to the base completed the ostentatious image.
A repair to one panel was evident but it was structurally sound with no obvious losses and, against a £600- 800 estimate, it sold at £8200.
At a time when both longcase clocks and traditional antique furniture remain at a lowish ebb, there were examples of solid enough sales of both going to UK buyers at Halls.
A George II musical longcase was signed to the arch by a member of the clockmaking dynasty John Drury, London (c.1689-1777).
In an 8ft 10in (2.7m) tall, figured walnut veneered case, the clock was the full bells-and-whistles creation. It had a three-train, eight-day chiming movement and every three hours the 26 hammers chiming on 14 bells played one of the 12 tunes whose titles were engraved on the arch.
It also had an unusual provenance. The vendor was a youngster with the Diplomatic Corps when he purchased the clock in the late 1950s at a Moscow ‘commission shop’ – a second-hand emporium selling everything, sometimes on behalf of vendors. Evidence, perhaps, of the era when English horology was the envy of the rest of the world.
With signs of age including minor chips to the veneer and some minimal restoration, the clock went above top estimate at £8000.
Down from Dundee
Best of the furniture was a William and Mary oyster veneered cabinet with a more orthodox provenance, having been bought by the Lord Lieutenant of Dundee in the early 20th century and coming to the vendor by descent.
The 3ft 6in (1.08m) cabinet had figured walnut sides with oyster veneered panels and the doors with flowerhead designs enclosed a fully fitted interior. The stand was later and the cabinet had undergone limited restoration five years ago, although evidence of age remained untouched including a hairline crack on one door and chips, dents and scratches consistent with use. It sold at a mid-estimate £4000.
Reflecting the way once keenly sought classical pieces by major names now bring more modest prices was a George IV rosewood revolving drum table stamped Gillows of Lancaster.
With a 4ft 2in (1.28m) diameter plain circular top over a recessed frieze with four flush drawers and raised on a hexagonal baluster column on a trefoil base, it went on the lower £3000 estimate.
In a strong section of mid-range jewellery the talking point was a 3ft 7in (1.1m) long necklace comprising 108 well-matched 3in (8cm) green jade spherical beads with a marcasiteset clasp stamped Sterling Silver.
Jade is notoriously difficult to date and the £200-300 estimate suggested judgment be left to bidders.
Two of them fought it out before the necklace went to China at £3200.