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The stunning objects which made our Decorative Arts Auction soar to success

The world’s passion for Decorative Arts knows no bounds with impressive hammer prices achieved for an eclectic mix of items in Hansons Auctioneers’ February 2018 Decorative Arts and Design Auction. The star lot was a painting by Mary Fedden (below) which soared to £14,000, believed to be a record. Here, Hansons’ Decorative Arts valuer John Keightley reveals the highlights.

A busy auction room and plenty of online registrations and commission bids set the tone for one of the most successful auctions of the department.

Silver kicked us off with a design classic by Sheffield silversmith David Mellor. His Pride tea set in silver plate made £240. Meanwhile, a Liberty silver christening mug, which sparked much presale interest, sold for £270 and an exceptionally well made set of menu holders by Sampson Mordan went for £380.


Continuing the success of silver, but in jewellery form, a beautiful Norwegian enamelled silver brooch flew away for £420; a striking Modernist necklace, by renowned silversmith Graham Watling, sold for £290 and a Victorian Celtic brooch made its way back to Ireland for £270.”

A collection of pens and writing instruments was one of the biggest sections, with 100 lots. The highlights were two Japanese lacquer pens by the most prized manufacturer Namiki. A desk pen, signed by the artist, sold for £1,250 while a completely plain black example made £460. Both had heavy competition from Japanese bidders, but they eventually sold to Italy.


Ceramics attracted many room bidders and sold exceptionally well across the board. Tiles in particular attracted fierce bidding. A De Morgan galleon tile sold for £370, while Aesthetic Movement tiles by Robert Minton Taylor and Moyr Smith sold for £480 and £180 respectively.

A superb private collection of Bernard Moore miniatures and some larger pieces, all sold extremely well, with an exhibition quality temple jar making £1,900.

A miniature moonflask type vase, by Royal Doulton in the famous Sung range, sold to a private buyer for £1,000.

Moorcroft Eventide vases sold well, as did a salt glazed fish vase, making £1,800.


But it wasn’t just Arts and Crafts and art pottery that sparked high bids in this section - 1960s and 70s ceramics did equally well. Troika vases made between £520 for an early chimney flask by Stella Benjamin, to £420 for an anvil vase and £390 for a double base vase.

Artist Glyn Colledge, from Denby, Derbyshire, made his mark when a rare Cheviot bottle vase sold for £500. Another design classic by Eric Ravilious, his 1953 Coronation mug, sold above estimate at £180.

The glass section also had excellent and more affordable pieces for our buyers, but the star of the section was a rare pair of Loetz vases, in a striking green and bright orange colourway, from 1911, selling to a telephone bidder for £1,150.

Works of Art continued the trend, with a Glasgow School brass candle sconce, probably by Margaret Gilmour, making £370, a Lorenzl figure selling for £500 and three Modernist Art Deco style mirrors selling for £600.


There had been much interest in a superb collection of privately sourced prints by woodblock artist Arthur Rigden Read,featuring more than 30 unframed lots, many with multiples. The collection as a whole realised £11,885.

Other prints, including two by Julian Trevelyan, made £680 and £980. But it was Trevelyan’s wife, Mary Fedden, who stole the show with her watercolour and gouache painting of two cats selling for what is believed to be a record price for a work on paper by the artist, £14,000.

The work, painted in 1981, was exceptional not only for its size, but for the fact that it had two cats, as well as the iconic St Ives coastal backdrop and still life table arrangement which makes her works so desirable among collectors today. With four telephones competing, it eventually sold to a private buyer on the internet in Scotland.

Paintings by Modern British Artists including Joan Gilchrest, John Bratby and Feliks Topolski sold well, making £1,00, £540 and £400 each, while work by a Nottinghamshire artist, Paul Waplington, caught the interest of bidders, selling for £840.

To finish off an exciting and energetic auction, the furniture section closed the auction on a high with a 100% sale rate in this area. An Arts and Crafts bureau made £520, while works by Derbyshire craftsman Rupert Griffiths sold for £460 and £440. A pair of Danish chairs made £350 and English modernist furniture in the Danish style, by John Herbert sold for a total of £360 for a set of chairs and a dining table.