By Adrian Rathbone, Associate Director & Head of Fine Arts, Hansons Auctioneers, Bishton Hall, Staffordshire
Note: all figures quoted exclude buyer’s premium or any additional online bidding fees that may apply
In turbulent and uncertain times it is a well-known fact that we often look to the past for inspiration and assurance. Often viewed through rose-tinted spectacles, the idealised past conjures up a feeling of security, warmth and nostalgia.
With many of us spending more time at home, enforced or otherwise, we are reviewing the way we live and wanting to improve our lives by surrounding ourselves with objects from the past or items that give us daily inspiration and a feeling of wellbeing. The family nest has never been more important.
Our October series of fine art and specialist auctions, including the Country House Fine & Decorative Arts auction on 8-9 October, Library Auction on 13 October and the Fine Picture and Whisky Auction on 20 October, were all a resounding success contributing to a combined turnover of £348,000.
From fine silver, glass, curated ceramics and works of art to unusual antique and later furniture, clocks and modern art - a number of key consignments helped boost the figures. Although there is no onsite public viewing for auctions at present for safety reasons, this has not deterred bidders from taking to the internet where they can view and bid in the sales from the safety of their own homes. Prices are exceptionally strong and bidding was fierce for key lots.
With precious metal enjoying high prices, the silver, jewellery and watches sections performed exceptionally well. Lot 13, a late 1960s boxed gents' Omega 18ct gold Chronometer flew past the estimate to bring £3,800. In the silver section, Lot 46, a large George V silver sideboard tray weighing 5,120 grams, sold for £1,950.
A private collection of early English glass, pottery and works of art had been consigned by a Devon-based gentleman with the whole collection totalling £18,200. Highlights included Lot 211, a late 19th Century Mauchline ware snuff box relating to Dr George Matheson, the famous blind Glasgow University academic. Lot 561, an early 19th Century Staffordshire pearlware pratt candlestick sold for £160. Elsewhere in the curated ceramics section, Lot 572, a circa 1860 and possibly Wedgwood creamware mincer brought £400.
In the furniture and clock sections Lot 329, a 19th Century French ormolu bracket clock by Jean Baptiste Delettrez discovered on a valuation day at Bishton Hall, our Staffordhsire saleroom, sold for £1,000. Lot 353, a Queen Anne walnut chest on stand, circa 1705, brought £2,000. Lot 379, a set of four 1930s leather-topped bar stools from the Queen Mary brought £1,900, no doubt propelled by the current vogue for cocktails.
Lichfield-born Roy Taylor’s extensive collection of 20th Century ceramics, mainly by Albany, totalled £18,000 with every Lot selling. Highlights included Lot 787, an Albany China model of a dappled grey horse galloped away to bring £260.
A Corporate Collection of modern art provided a modern twist on otherwise more traditional offerings and was well publicised. The collection comprised mainly rare limited edition prints by noted 20th Century names such as Sir Peter Blake, Gillian Ayres, Albert Irvin, John Hoyland and Sir Terry Frost. The collection totalled £18,000. Individual highlights included Lot 983, Peter Blake’s The Second Real Target 25 Years Later at £1,700. Lot 1041, a Gillian Ayres abstract composition screen print, made £1,200. Lot 992, Sir Terry Frost’s 1989 aquatint Is it True topped the Frost prints at £1,600.
More traditional artworks were offered. Oil on canvas highlights included Lot 17, an early 18th Century French School of Sarah arriving at the House of Tobit at £2,400. Lot 35, another depiction of Sarah by Eduard Johann Ilee (German, 1812-1885) brought £1,800. Lot 67, a still life study of fruit by Edward Ladell sold for £3,500.
In the whisky section, a comprehensive collection of miniature whiskies belonging to a deceased local gentleman totalled £6,000.
We are now inviting entries of jewellery, watches, silver, fine ceramics, glass, works of art, paintings, books, furniture and clocks for our three-day Country House Christmas Fine Art & Library Auction in December.
For further information, please contact Adrian Rathbone on 01889 882397 or [email protected]