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The extraordinary finds that dazzled at Hansons’ Summer Fine Art Auction

Posted on 19/07/2018 in Press Coverage

Here, Adrian Rathbone, Associate Director of Hansons Auctioneers, reports on Hansons' Summer Fine Art sale.

Hansons’ Summer Fine Art Auction (June 28-30) soared to success with 89% of lots selling and a total just shy of half a million pounds achieved - a cause for celebration.

This impressive result was down to three key things - winning the best, fresh-to-market consignments, sensible estimates and realistic vendors.

With our consigning arms stretching now to nearly all corners of the UK - from Scotland and the north of England to our base in the Midlands and the south, including London, a friendly and knowledgeable Hansons representative is never far away.

We were lucky in this auction to have secured the contents of Hallfield Hall, a 19th Century industrialist’s mansion near Alfreton, Derbyshire. This formed a solid backbone for the auction with good silver, antique furniture and paintings. A view of the grand dining room appeared on the rear cover of the catalogue.

As always, jewellery and watches started proceedings on the evening of June 28 with the Prosecco flowing to get everyone in the mood. A private collection of ancient rings - including Medieval, Viking, Roman Greek and Byzantine had been consigned by a Cambridgeshire-based client. The highest individual price was £3,600 for Lot 20, an East Greek Hellanisitc (4th-1st Century AC) gold ring set with garnets which was bought by an anonymous UK buyer.

Lot 140, an Edwardian silver and gold opal and diamond brooch with a bow suspension and set with opals, flew past the £1,500 lower estimate to net £2,400.

Fine and luxury watches show no sign of abating with a vibrant market of collectors and connoisseurs and private individuals actively sourcing examples by top brands.

From vintage to modern Rolex and Omega to Breitling, Patek Philippe, Jaeger Le Coultre and Cartier - there was something to satisfy all tastes and budgets. Lot 168, a circa 1972 Breitling Navitimer chronograph wristwatch, had been discovered on a valuation day at our Derbyshire saleroom and sold for £1,350.

Cartier was the name of the day providing the two highest single results. Lot 177, a gentleman’s Cartier 18ct gold Tank Americaine watch with leather strap sold for £2,500 and Lot 176, a lady’s 18ct gold Cartier Tank Americaine with gold strap sold for £3,850.

In the silver section on day two, a series of Japanese Meiji period silver shibayama vessels, discovered in a Derbyshire client’s attic, soared to success.

Shibayama is revered for its intricate use of materials such as lacquer and semi-precious stones. Offered as Lots 244, 252 and 253, the three Lots totalled £9,100 and were bought by a UK and a Japanese buyer.

Our Connoisseur Ceramics are successfully overseen by leading British experts Alan and Jill Finney. As always, there was a good cross-section including 18th Century English and Continental to 20th Century flamboyant Royal Worcester wares.

Highlights included Lot 499, an 18th Century Derby seated pug dog which had formerly belonged to The Duke & Duchess of Windsor. It sold for £1,450 to a German buyer. Lot 453, a medieval olive glazed ale jug circa 1380-1450, was a surprise hit at £1,600.

Works of art encompassed a hand-picked selection of bronzes, portrait miniatures, antique worked ivory and unusual objects. Lot 665, a charming bronze study of two bears wearing hats after French sculptor Christophe Fraton (1801-1864), flew past the estimate to bring £2,900.

The painting section was one of the finest I have had the pleasure of handling in many years. There was a good range of listed artists of note with a proven track auction record. A selection of works in oils by the famous Scottish impressionist William McTaggart R.S.A. R.S.W. (1835-1910) had been consigned by a direct descendent of the artist. Lot 808, a work titled 'Caller OO' exemplifying his typical loose style, sold on commission for £16,000.

Lot 867, 'Feast of the Gods' and 'The Muses Dancing...' by Flemish artist Frans Francken II (1581-1642) sold for £5,600. Lot 866, a favourite of mine, was an English School circa 1820's family group in a garden with an enduring naive quality which I sourced from a Wilmslow valuation day. I was pleased to see it sell within the estimate for £2,300.

Again, sourced from Cheshire, Lot 798, a portrait of Margareta de Vos catalogued as ‘by follower of Sir Antony van Dyck’ and on a ceramic panel flew past the £15,000 upper estimate to bring £25,000.

The highest price for the painting section, and indeed the auction, was reserved for the painting gracing the catalogue front cover, Lot 870. George Leslie Hunter (1877-1931) was one of the leading members of the Scottish Colourist Movement along with John Peploe, Francis Cadell and John Duncan Fergusson. Best known for his landscapes, Lot 870 showcased Hunter's talent for depicting light and colour. After an intense phone bidding battle, it sold to a private UK buyer on the phone for £72,000.

Furniture also performed well with a particular lean towards a consignment of late 19th/early 20th French pieces, which I sourced from a Northamptonshire estate. Here, Lot 930, a circa 1890s quality kingwood bureau de dame with inset Sevres style plaques brought £2,400. Elsewhere, Lot 923, a 17th Century European walnut and marquetry cabinet on stand, (with later alterations) performed well at £2,600.

We are currently inviting entries of fine jewellery, watches, silver, ceramics, European and Asian works of art, paintings and furniture for our Autumn Fine Art Auction, which runs from September 27-29. The auction already includes the contents of 18th Century Firs Farm House, Hoton, near Loughborough. Entries close September 7.

For further information, please contact Head of Fine Arts, Adrian Rathbone on 01283 733988 or email [email protected]

Note: All figures quoted are hammer prices and exclude the buyer and any other additional premiums that may apply