• Galleries & Displays
THE GALLERIES

An ever-changing array of fascinating art and antiques

Tennants Auctioneers is privileged to handle a diverse range of art, antiques and rare and beautiful objects with a rich history. From large private Country House collections to exquisite 18th century costume, colourful Moorcroft pottery to vintage toys and train sets, we have the opportunity to display many fascinating objects for visitors to enjoy before they once more return to a private collection and away from public sight.

Open seven days a week, the Galleries are free for all to enjoy.

Your Collection

A unique facility

Our state of the art display galleries allow us to showcase your items and collections ahead of sale and to promote the many fascinating, rare and beautiful objects we are privileged to handle.  

To discuss exhibiting your collection ahead of sale at Tennants, please speak to your valuer or specialist.

Featured Item

TEXTILES, COSTUME & FASHION

24th November 2018

ZARAFA: THE FAMOUS FRENCH GIRAFFE

A Circa 1830s Quilt, composed of strips of different Indian block printed fabrics, decorated with birds with exotic tail feathers, faded floral designs, Chinese pagodas in similar colours, nesting birds and a flying bird with a fish in his mouth and a single mast sailing boat with two flags. However, the most interesting fabric can be found in the two outside strips. This fabric depicts 'Zarafa and Atir', the female Nubian giraffe gifted from Muhammed Ali of Egypt to King Charles X of France in 1827, and her devoted handler.

The young giraffe was captured in Sudan and taken to Khartoum on the back of a camel. Transferred onto a boat, she was taken down the Nile to Alexandria with the company of three cows who provided her with 25 litres of milk a day. From Alexandria, she was sailed across the Mediterranean in a boat with a hole in the deck to accommodate her height, accompanied by Sudanese servant Atir, who would stay with her for the rest of her life. Arriving in Marseilles in 1826, she was overwintered in the city, before being walked the 900km to Paris by Atir and a naturalist Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, and of course some cows! During the colder spells, she wore a yellow two-part coat and shoes. The extraordinary travelling party drew crowds wherever they went.

They arrived in Paris after 41 days, and Zarafa was presented to the King on 20th May 1827, before being moved to Les Jardin des Plantes. La Belle Africaine (as she was dubbed by the press) caused quite a sensation in Paris, inspiring writers, artists, hairstyles ('coiffure a la girafe' - where hair was propped high on the head to resemble two ossicones), giraffe-print fabrics and more. There was even a fashionable colour known as ‘belly of giraffe’. Zarafa lived in Paris for 18 years, under the constant and devoted eye of Atir.

Muhammed Ali gifted three giraffes to European royalty; along with Charles X, they were given to George IV and Francis I of Austria. They were the first giraffes to be seen in Europe since the Medici Giraffe was sent to Florence in 1486.

Display Highlights

  • Autumn Fine Art Sale

    Autumn Fine Art Sale

    Highlights of the 17th November Sale, including pictures, silver and clocks

  • Vintage Textiles, Costume & Fashion

    Vintage Textiles, Costume & Fashion

    A selection of vintage outfits, vintage luggage, designer handbags and vintage accessories coming up in the Textiles Sale on 24th November. 

  • The Academy Costume Collection Part II

    The Academy Costume Collection Part II

    Selected highlights from the Academy Costume Collection, due to be sold on 24th November, featuring vintage fashion from the 60s and 70s.

  • Country House Sale

    Country House Sale

    Highlights of Ceramics coming up for sale in the Country House Sale on 12th January 2019.

  • Archive of a Country Law Firm

    Archive of a Country Law Firm

    Historic maps, legal documents, pictures, estate plans and ephemera from the Archive of a Country Law Firm.  Pearson and Pearson of Kirkby Lonsdale were one of the oldest surviving legal firms in the UK having been founded in 1777.

  • Liverpool Memorabilia

    Liverpool Memorabilia

    A Private Collection of Liverpool FC and other Sporting Memorabilia, to be sold in the Toys, Models, Collectables & Sporting Sale on 28th November.

  • Zarafa: The Famous French Giraffe

    Zarafa: The Famous French Giraffe

    A c1830s quilt, made with fabric depicting Zarafa, a Nubian giraffe gifted from Muhammed Ali of Egypt to King Charles X of France in 1827 who caused quite a stir as she was walked through France to her new home in Paris.

  • Toys, Models & Collectables

    Toys, Models & Collectables

    Highlights of Toys, Models & Collectables coming up for sale on the 28th November; including a rare late variation of a McLean’s Tractor Trailer made with black plastic wheel hubs, displayed alongside an earlier and more common example.