Over 1,600 lots went under the hammer at Tennants Auctioneers two day fine art Summer Sale, on July 13 & 14, resulting in a total hammer price of £1.8million.
The highlight of the sale was undoubtedly watching the greatly anticipated pair of ormolu mounted Blue John campana shaped pedestal urns, from a private estate in Leicestershire (lot 987), go under the hammer. Despite eight telephone lines and a packed saleroom you could hear a pin drop as, after several minutes of selling, just two remaining telephone lines went head to head from £65,000 taking the bidding all the way to a final hammer price of £120,000.
This electric atmosphere was held throughout the two day sale as great prices were reached in the various disciplines. Although the head office is based in Wensleydale, with a further office in Harrogate, this sale once again had nationwide vendors, many of the top lots achieving success for those in the South who were introduced to Tennants through visits and valuation days out of our Oakham office. As highlighted in the catalogue, Tennants were instructed to sell the contents of Littlethorpe House in Leicestershire, the home of renowned local business woman Dr Helen Scott OBE, which contributed over 100 lots to the sale.
The Continental ceramics section on the first day included a private collection of early Meissen pieces from a deceased estate in Newcastle, which attracted a number of buyers from across the Continent. The top lots of this section were a pair of Meissen porcelain figures of swans, circa 1750 (lot 99) which made £10,000, a pair of large gilt metal mounted Sevres style pottery urn shaped vases, circa 1900 (lot 75) which made £9,500, and a rare Meissen porcelain Goldchinesen teapot and cover, circa 1725 (lot 205) which made £8,500.
Oil paintings had some of the top prices of the two day sale as a whole. Three Alfred de Breanski Snr (1852-1928) oils were among them, “Invernglas, Scotland” (lot 429) reaching £17,000 and a pair “A Spring Morning in Perthshire” and “Easedale Tarn, Cumbria” (lot 430) reaching £9,500. Other notable lots included, a George Cole RBA (1810-1883), “Romney Lock House, Windsor” (lot 431) which made £17,000 and two Johannes Francisscus Spohler (1853-1894) oils, A busy street scene and Figures along a Dutch canal reaching hammer prices of £12,500 and £11,000 respectively.
Whilst more modest hammer prices were reached in the Contemporary Art section of the sale, it was a success in its own right. Well-established local artist Piers Browne’s (b.1942) View of Coverdale (lot 1297) made £2,400, a Brian Shields “Braaq” FBA (1951-1997) “The Red Umbrella” (lot 1394) made £2,800 and Michael Jackson’s (British, b.1961) A Tiger in Water made £1,100.
Jewellery, and in particular diamonds, once again proved incredibly popular with private buyers; three diamond solitaire rings came in the top 25 lots of the whole sale. The third highest lot of the sale was an impressive baguette cut diamond solitaire ring (lot 772) which sold for £32,000; other notable lots in this section were a pair of diamond and South Sea pearl earrings (lot 760) which sold for £14,000 and a fine sapphire and diamond three stone ring (lot 664) which sold for £13,800.
Although the smallest section of the sale, Clocks and Barometers made some of the highest prices; a rare Art Deco rock crystal, enamel and diamond set strut desk timepiece, signed Cartier, circa 1925 (lot 1003) was the second highest grossing lot of the sale making a total hammer price of £52,000. The success of the clock was not only attributed to the Cartier signature but also its decorative and rare qualities, including the original pink leather and silk lined fitted case which was in good condition. Another interesting lot was a rare brass and nickled automation industrial boiler mantel timepiece, circa 1900, complete with large automation wheel driving a central piston pump, two latched boiler doors and a thermometer and an aneroid barometer (lot 1014), realising £18,000.
The notion that “brown furniture” is no longer popular was largely dispelled by the results of the furniture section. Top quality, stylish pieces, especially those items that suit smaller flats or sit alongside contemporary furniture were sort after. A Gillows foldover card table (lot 1079) reached £3,200, a small 17th century oak and yewwood gateleg table (lot 1179) reached £2,400 and an oak sideboard dresser (lot 1192) reached £4,800. The top lot was, however, a large Regency mahogany extending dining table in the manner of Gillows, which made £11,000.
Oriental pieces again sold well across the board; a Chinese porcelain saucer dish, Daoguang reign mark (probably of the period) (lot 228) made £7,000, a Chinese white metal three piece coffee set, Tack Hing, (lot 786) made £1,200 and a Chinese hardwood plant stand (lot 1084) made £1,600.
Locally made Robert “Mouseman” Thompson furniture proved as popular as always, but more notably in the Decorative Arts section were the French glass lots, with a pair of Galle cameo vases, circa 1890-1900 (lot 1459) making £3,400, and a Daum Nancy enamelled cameo winter landscape vase (lot 1466) making £3,600.
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