Highlights from the Summer Fine Art Sale

From fine 18th century pocket watches to a Tang Dynasty Pottery Horse over 1000 years old and a pearl necklace that is said to have belonged to the wife of Haile Selassie, Tennants Auctioneers’ Summer Fine Art sale is set to contain over 1100 lots of fine art and antiques. This sale also sees the introduction of a new format for Tennants’ Fine Art Sales; previously split over two days, this summer all lots will go under the hammer on one day – Saturday 15th July, with two salerooms running simultaneously.

Of particular note in the Summer Fine Art Sale is the Clocks and Pocket Watches section, with good examples of longcase and carriage clocks and pocket watches. Highlights include a fine selection of 18th century pocket watches by makers such as John Ellicott and Daniel Quare. One such is a Fine and Rare Gold Repousse Pair Cased Repeating Verge Pocket Watch, signed John Ellicott (London 1706-1772), who was one of the preeminent clock and watch makers of the 18th century and clockmaker to King George III (Estimate: £3000-5,000). A pretty, highly decorated Grande Sonnerie Alarm Carriage Clock, retailed by Tiffany & Co, New York, c.1890 with painted porcelain side panels (Estimate: £2,500-3000) is one of a number of interesting carriage clocks in the sale.

Longcase clocks are well represented too, with a fine private collection of five 18th century longcase clocks made by Jonas Barber of Winster - one of the finest clockmakers in the North West. The Barbers were a clock-making family of good repute, producing fine longcase clocks from their home, Bryan Houses Farm in Winster, near Windermere. The collection on offer includes an Oak Thirty Hour Longcase Clock, signed Jonas Barber, Winster, circa 1755 (Estimate: £1,800-2,200).

A range of interesting lots from the East include a Chinese Painted Pottery Model of a Horse, Tang Dynasty (618-906AD). Standing with one leg raised and with saddle and cold painted decoration, the horse is offered with an Oxford authentication certificate (Estimate: £2,000-3,000). Also on offer is a collection of rugs and carpets consigned by a Gentleman in Hong Kong. The collection comprises rugs and carpets woven in the vast barren area known in the 19th century and before as East Turkestan, Chinese Turkestan or Sinkiang, through which the Silk Road passes. One of the top lots is a large terracotta field Khotan Carpet (Estimate: £900-1,200); carpet weaving in the oasis town of Khotan can be traced back to the 16th century.

Lots with an interesting provenance always attract attention in the saleroom, and a Pair of Chinese Porcelain ‘Dragon’ Bowls, with Guangxu marks (Estimate: £700-1,000) have just that: the bowls have passed by descent from Elizabeth Shield, who was a companion to Lucie Cable Castleman of Illinois on her travels in Europe and the Far East in the 1880s and 1900s. Castleman (b.1849) was the daughter of one of the founders of the Rock Island Railroad, and was a wealthy woman in her own right.

Another lot with an intriguing past is a Triple Strand Pearl Necklace with a diamond set blue enamel clasp, which by repute was once the property of the Empress of Abyssinia, wife of Haile Selassie (Estimate: £15,000-18,000). The necklace, which is comprised of natural saltwater pearls and cultured pearls, was purchased by the family of the vendor in 1942 from Fisher Court Jewellers. Also on offer are a variety of fine, period jewels, including a delicate Cultured Pearl and Diamond Brooch (Estimate: £1,500-2,000).

Part II of a private collection of pictures by the Weatherill family and other Yorkshire artists depicting scenes around Whitby and the Yorkshire Coast, will be offered in the sale. Part I came up for auction in the Spring Fine Art Sale, when it really caught the attention of national and international buyers, with most lots selling high above their estimate. Of note in Part II of the collection is ‘Beached ship with fisher folk upon the sands and a view of Whitby Abbey beyond’, a watercolour by George Weatherill (1810-1890) (Estimate: £700-1,000).

Traditional sporting pictures are well represent too, with two watercolours by Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935), ‘Brambling’ and ‘Pied Flycatcher’, each offered at an estimate of £2,000-3,000; a set of four oil on canvases by George Wright (1860-1942) ‘Hare Coursing’, ‘Fox Hunting’, ‘Stag Hunting’ and ‘Otter Hunting’ from a private collection in North Yorkshire, are offered with an estimate of £4,000-6,000.

Consigned through Tennants’ Oakham Office, is an extensive Victorian/George V Silver Service of Kings Pattern Flatware in a fitted four-tier canteen. The service comprises 189 pieces from various makers (the majority John Aldwinckle and Thomas Salter) from London, dated 1890, 1894 and 1911, and is on offer with an estimate of £6,000-10,000.

On a more musical note, five good pianos from a collection in Ulverston, Cumbria will be included in the same sale. The vendor is well known in musical circles, and was involved in the Lakes International Piano Festival. The collection includes a very rare Steinway Model B Duo-Art Reproducing Piano in an extravagant Louis XV case with painted and gilded carved decoration (Estimate: £30,000-50,000), and a second rare Steinway Reproducing Piano and a whole array of rolls that can be played in them (Estimate: £15,000-25,000). Global interest is expected in these exceptional pianos, as it is so unusual to have such a good collection come onto the market.

A fully illustrated catalogue will be available online leading up to the sale. Alternatively, please contact the auction house on 01969 623780 or enquiry@tennants-ltd.co.uk.


A Triple Strand Pearl Necklace with a diamond set blue enamel clasp, which by repute was once the property of the Empress of Abyssinia, wife of Haile Selassie (Estimate: £15,000-18,000)



A Pair of Chinese Porcelain ‘Dragon’ Bowls, with Guangxu marks (Estimate: £700-1,000)