News & Insights

A Trio of Sales to Brighten January

17th December 2019.

A trio of sales on 11th January will dust off those New Year cobwebs, when Tennants Auctioneers will sell over 1,000 lots of Sporting Art, Jewellery, Watches and Silver, and traditional furniture and antiques.


The Sporting Art Sale, the first of such sales at Tennants, will offer a broad range of period and modern sporting art from many of the leading names in the field. Highlights include ‘Home for the holidays’ by Sir Francis Grant (1803-1878), in which Grant, the most fashionable portrait painter of his day, depicts his son on horseback at the family’s home of Kilgraston, Perthshire (estimate: £30,000-5,000 plus buyer’s premium). Grant, the son of a laird, often had his success attributed to his good looks and aristocratic background, but his talent as a portrait painter cannot be doubted. In contrast to his formal portraits of the likes of Queen Victoria, Grant’s private portrait of his son, Francis Richard Charles (b.1834), embodies the child’s youth and energy with a loving paternal touch. 

In contrast to this dynamic painting is a portrait of Sir Francis Grant himself, by John Ferneley Snr (1782-1860), mounted on his horse Grindal (estimate: £15,000-20,000 plus buyer’s premium). Ferneley’s ability to capture the essence of his equine subjects propelled him to fame as one of the most gifted sporting artists of his generation. Following a move to Melton Mowbray, the epicentre of the fashionable fox hunting scene, Ferneley met Grant who was a devoted hunter. Grant studied under Ferneley, and the two frequently collaborated, Grant providing the human portraits, and Ferneley the equine portraits. The present painting is such an example, executed in 1851 when Grant was 48 years old; the face is a self-portrait by Grant and it was executed for his own collection.

The sale will also see the sale of the first instalment of animal bronzes from the Estate of Sally Arnup. Sally Arnup (1930-2015) was one of the finest figurative bronze sculptors of her age and had a well-earned reputation both nationally and internationally for her life-like animal sculptures. On offer will be her impressive half life-size bronze of ‘Arab Horse Aslan’ (estimate: £10,000-15,000 plus buyer’s premium). Many of Arnup’s commissions were for dogs, such as ‘Seated Bloodhound’ (estimate: £2,500-4,000 plus buyer’s premium), and ‘Norfolk Terrier’ (estimate: £1,000-1,500 plus buyer’s premium).

Also on offer are works of sporting and wildlife subjects by the likes of Francis Sartorius, John George Brown, Maud Earl, John Cyril Harrison, Henry Thomas Alken and Arthur Wardle.


The first of the new series of stand-alone Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sales will offer a good range of period and modern pieces across the three sections. Highlights from the Jewellery section include a collection of contemporary Jet jewellery, a diamond and enamel mourning ring (estimate: £400-600 plus buyer’s premium), and a good selection of gold bangles, including an enamel and diamond Snake Bangle (estimate: £700-1,000 plus buyer’s premium). Period pocket, vintage and collectable modern watches are led by a 1968 Omega Seamaster (estimate: £500-700 plus buyer’s premium) and a 1987 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Superlative Chronometer (estimate: £500-800 plus buyer’s premium). Also of note is a nice Repousse Pair Cased Verge Pocket Watch, signed Jno Sterland, Nottingham, circa 1770 (estimate: £300-400 plus buyer’s premium).

Amongst a selection of period and modern silver is a striking silver ‘Aqua Posy Dom’ beaker by Hiroshi Suzuki, London, 2006. The beaker is chases with asymmetrical spiral fluting and on offer with an estimate of £1,500-2,500 (plus buyer’s premium) and is part of a small collection of contemporary silver. Hiroshi Suzuki’s work has been widely exhibited and is represented in many major private and public collections around the world. One admirer, Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire said of Hiroshi’s work: 'His vessels are incredibly tactile. The beakers, for example, make you want to drink, to pick the vessel up and use it. They are weighted so that the ridge and furrow are perfect for your hand’.

Modern luxury items include a selection of silver and enamel fountain pens by Cleave & Co. of London, who are revered for their fine craftsmanship. One of the pens, estimated at £700-1,000 (plus buyer’s premium), depicts the London skyline along the barrel of the pen and was issued in 2012 to coincided with the London Olympic Games. Period pieces include a good selection of novelty pincushions in the shape of animals, and a Continental Gold Lady’s Purse, with English import marks for Cohen and Charles, London, 1919 (estimate: £2,000-3,000 plus buyer’s premium).


Filled with good period furniture, rugs, works of art, ceramics and more, Tennants’ Country House Sales are amongst the most popular of the year. The sale on the 11th January looks to be no exception and will include selected items from Moulton Hall, Richmond, North Yorkshire, the property of Lord and Lady Eccles and over fifty lots of oak furniture. A good selection of rugs and carpets include a Kirman Carpet made in Southern Iran circa 1950 (estimate: £800-1,200 plus buyer’s premium), a good pair of Kirman Pictorial Rugs from South East Iran circa 1900 depicting peacocks and trees (estimate: £700-1,000 plus buyer’s premium), and a Sultanabad Carpet from Western Iran circa 1920 (estimate: £700-900 plus buyer’s premium).

The sale will also include a further instalment of clocks from The Eric Morton Collection, including a Mahogany Eight Day Longcase Clock with Unusual Calendar and Zodiac Displays, made in the 18th century by ‘Jno Wilson’ of Newcastle (estimate: £500-700 plus buyer’s premium). Amongst a raft of interesting lots are a late 18th century ash stick-back armchair from the Thames Valley (estimate: £600-800 plus buyer’s premium) and a Meiji period Japanese ivory figure of a fisherman (estimate: £700-1,000 plus buyer’s premium). Also of note are a pair of Jersey pewter flagons, made in the mid-18th century by John de St Croix (estimate: £500-800 plus buyer’s premium).

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