All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Antiques Great and Small!

by Steve Stockton

The beginning of June marks the end of my first year living and working in the North of England as a valuer and auctioneer for Tennants Auctioneers. As I look back over the past 12 months, I am truly staggered and delighted by the myriad treasures, rarities, curiosities and objects of wonder and fascination that I have been privileged to see and appraise whilst working for this great Yorkshire family-owned institution.

As manager of the Harrogate office, I have ventured forth, from coast to coast, finding items for the numerous and varied Tennants calendar of sales. I wish I could mention everything I have seen that has set my heart-racing, but I’m not writing a book, yet. So for this article I am going to focus on the Harrogate office’s contribution to our forthcoming Summer Fine Art Sale, one of the international tri-annual Leyburn extravaganzas, that never fails to impress and dazzle!

As a general valuer you never know what you are going to find when you walk through the door of a property, be it a large country estate or a terrace town house, my job is very unpredictable! For this forthcoming sale I think I have been lucky to see about as wide a range of art and antiques as it is possible to see.

Starting will the largest, we are delighted to announce that we will be offering for sale a splendid private collection of pianos, formerly housed in a substantial house in Ulverston, Cumbria. Comprising five examples, the star of the show is a Steinway Model-B Duo-Art Reproducing piano, an extremely rare model housed in a flamboyant Louis XIV style case. Made in 1928, this extraordinary instrument has been estimated at a cool £30,000-50,000 and is sure to get eyebrows raising and feet tapping around the globe. Also included in the collection is another fine Steinway Reproducing boudoir piano together with two enormous Broadwood concert grands, can’t be missed...literally!

Getting slightly smaller, also on show will be a fine piece of Yorkshire history, a George III lead cistern, emblazoned with an interesting elephant crest and dated 1767, formerly in the courtyard of the Mansion House in York. These monumental features always attract widespread interest when they occasionally appear for sale; this one will surely be no different with an estimate of £5,000-7,000.

Tennants’ reputation as one of the foremost auctioneers of the Decorative Arts will surely continue and grow, with yet another gigantic spread of 20th Century furniture and works of art. Sourced through Harrogate, and following on from a strong showing in the last sale, is a large sized ivory and bronze ‘Pierrot’ by the master craftsman Demetre Chiparus (Romanian, 1888-1950). Increasingly popular, Chiparus’s work captures that glamour and style of the period, this beautiful piece (pictured) is expected to achieve £4,000-6,000.

Finally, for this brief glimpse, I must mention a clock. Not the hottest market in recent years but this really is a clock of clocks (pictured). Housed in an incredible case, this unusual brass Grande Sonnerie Alarm Carriage Clock, made circa 1850, would bring any mantelpiece to life. Dazzling in detail and charm, this surely will have a wider appeal than just the clock enthusiasts, very appealing at an estimate of £1,500-2,000.

I could of course go on and on, needless to say I hope that this has wetted your appetite and that you will dash to your diary and write ‘Tennants of Leyburn’ in large letters across the second week of July.

For more details please contact us on 01423 531661, or visit

Demetre H Chiparus (Romanian, 1888-1950): "Pierrot" A Bronze and Ivory Figure

(top left) An Unusual Brass Grande Sonnerie Alarm Carriage Clock, circa 1850