The earliest was the equestrian group of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, on his horse Copenhagen.
It was made by Garrard and Co of London in 1839 to a model by Edmund Cotterill. He ran Garrard’s design studio from 1833 and helped establish the firm’s reputation for producing sculptural groups and centrepieces in bronze and silver.
The model of the famous statesman, soldier and politician, who as well as defeating Napoleon at Waterloo twice served as prime minister, was originally designed in silver and displayed at Wellington’s London residence Apsley House.
This 2ft 1½in (65cm) high version on a slate base weighing approximately 159oz had a presentation inscription to the base reading THE CONSERVATIVES OF WEST SOMERSET PRESENTED THIS STATUE TO JOSEPH RUSCOMBE POOLE ESQR. 1839. It came for sale on July 12 as part of Lawrences’ (30% buyer’s premium) auction in Crewkerne in Somerset having passed down by direct descent in the Poole family.
A famous subject, a quality design and maker and the unbroken primary provenance all combined to push the price far past the £2000-3000 guide to £26,000.
A realistically executed model of a horse and rider dated to 1869 offered at Tennants (24/20% buyer’s premium) in Leyburn on July 15 was the work of the firm of Hunt and Roskell.
The group was set on a silver cast rockwork and a 12½in (30cm) wide ebonised wood base and weighs just over 92oz.
The firm used a number of different designs for its equestrian groups throughout the second half of the 19th century, including George Armson Carter who is recorded as working for Hunt and Roskell in the late 1860s. He is known to have designed the Huntingdon cup depicting King John on horseback in 1869, the same year as this example.
It sold in North Yorkshire for £6800 (estimate £3000-5000).
The most recent of the three groups was a silver model of a mounted Blues Officer by H Phillips of London which dates from 1944.
It was set on a later wooden plinth bringing the overall height to 14½in (35cm) and came with a fitted wooden case and the original wooden stand with a presentation plaque reading Presented to Field-Marshal The Lord Birdwood G.C.B, G.C.S.I., G.C.V.O, D.S.O., D.C.L., L.L.D, Colonel of the Royal Horse Guards and Lady Birdwood on the Occasion of their Golden Wedding the 5th of April 1944 by his Brother Officers of The Blues.
Field Marshal William Ridell Birdwood (1865-51) was the second son of Herbert Mills Birdwood, postmaster-general of the Bombay Presidency.
Educated at Clifton College and Sandhurst, he was commissioned in 1885, becoming a lieutenant in the 12th (Prince of Wales’) Royal Lancers.
In 1900, he saw active service in the Second Boer War on the staff of Lord Kitchener, and later in the First World War during the Gallipoli Campaign, where he commanded the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp – the Anzacs.
The group was offered by Woolley & Wallis (26/20% buyer’s premium) in Salisbury as part of its July 11 silver and objects of vertu sale, where it realised £9000 against an estimate of £2000-3000.
Boer War horseman
Edinburgh jeweller and silversmith Hamilton & Inches produced the 1920s presentation sculpture shown above.
Modelled as a Royal Scots Greys trooper on horseback, it is based on the monument in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, by William Birnie Rhind, depicting Sergeant Major Anthony James Hinnigan from Jedburgh and his horse Polly. The monument was erected and unveiled by the Earl of Rosebery on November 16, 1906, in commemoration of the fallen members of the regiment during the Boer War.
The silver-gilt plaque on this sculpture bears a presentation engraving Presented to Captain A.W.E. Crawford Royal Scot’s Greys on the occasion of his marriage 1924 and names of contributors.
The 2ft (61cm) high piece was owned by Captain Alastair Wardrop Euing Crawford (1896-1978) and came by descent to the vendor for the Lyon & Turnbull (26/25/20% buyer’s premium) Scottish Works of Art & Whisky auction in Edinburgh on August 16.
Captain (later Brigadier) Crawford was an officer of the Royal Scots Greys during the First World War, reaching the rank of major. During the Second World War he transferred to the Reconnaissance Corps where he reached the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was mentioned in despatches in 1945 and on retirement in 1946 was made honorary brigadier of the regiment.
This sculpture was presented to Captain Crawford by the Royal Scots Greys when he married Helena Beatrice Dundas on October 1, 1924.
Estimated at £3000-5000, it sold for £6200.