News & Insights

Provenance and history attract attention at auction

24th July 2018.

Provenance and history once again proved key in Tennants Auctioneers’ Summer Fine Art Sale on 21st July. Amongst a strong overall sale, many of the top lots lured the bidders with their illustrious past.

Near the beginning of the sale a group of three lots of garden statuary sparked a bidding battle. All three lots were purchased by H. C. Moffatt in the early 20th century for display in his garden at Hamptworth Lodge, Salisbury, which had been designed by the renowned garden designer Thomas Hayton Mawson. The lots comprised a rare set of four early 20th century Bromsgrove Guild lead figures of the Four Seasons modelled by Walter Gilbert (Sold for £25,000 plus b.p), a lead figure of Athena, after the Antique (Sold for £15,000 plus b.p) and a life size bronze figure of a Nubian girl by Emile Louis Truffott (1843-1895) (Sold for £31,000 plus b.p).

With provenance from the historic 1947 Lowther Castle Sale, when part of the Earl of Lonsdale’s Collection was auctioned, were a pair of Chinese Porcelain Fish Bowls from the 19th century, which sold for £13,500 plus b.p. Later in the sale, the accompanying Victorian giltwood jardinière stands were sold for£6,200 plus b.p.  Also from the same private collection was an impressive Louis XV style tulipwood, purpleheart and gilt metal mounted commode in the manner of Pierre Roussel, which sold for £20,000 plus b.p.

Having attracted press attention ahead of sale, a rare 18 carat gold enamel memorial ring for Lord Byron sold for £9,200 plus b.p. There are only two other known examples of Lord Byron memorial rings of this type, all of which were made by Charles Rawlings of London; contemporary accounts suggest that these rings were associated with Byron’s family and close friends. The ring came by descent, reputedly, from the contents of Byron’s home Newstead Abbey, via Pepper Arden Hall, Northallerton. Newstead was sold by Byron to Col. Thomas Wildman, who then sold the Abbey and its contents to William Frederick Webb in 1861.  Webb’s daughter, Geraldine married Sir Herbert Chermside, who inherited all the Newstead Abbey heirlooms after the death of his wife and sister-in-law. In 1919 Chermside moved all the heirlooms to his home at Pepper Arden Hall in 1919.

Of Nelson interest was a George III cut steel and gold presentation snuff box, in the manner of Matthew Boulton. The box was inscribed ‘This Box was made by a true Born Briton, John May Of Birmingham and Presented to the King Of The Ocean Horatio Vist. Nelson June 10th 1802. Whose daring deeds of Arms Rais'd England's Flag Triumphant O'er the World’, and it had been in a private family collection since it was acquired in 1910. (Sold for £4,500 plus b.p).

In the 20th Century Design section of the sale a pair of laboratory stools, attributed to Charles Rennie Mackintosh, made for Queen Margaret Medical College, Glasgow, in 1894 sold for £3,000 plus b.p. Elsewhere in the sale strong bidding continued, with high prices going to a standout River Landscape by Bertram Priestman (1868-1951) (Sold for £20,000 plus b.p), a c.1830 fine and rare George IV rosewood library clock by Vulliamy (Sold for £11,000 plus b.p), a cold painted bronze and ivory figure of a Charleston Dancer by Johann Philipp Ferdinand Priess (Sold for £8,500 plus b.p), and an early 19th century mahogany writing table in the manner of Gillows (Sold for £15,000 plus b.p).

The sale resulted in a total hammer price of £1,083,140 for the 807 lot sale, with an 86% sold rate.

Tennants are currently accepting lots for the Autumn Fine Art Sale on 17th November 2018, please contact the Salerooms on 01969 623780 or for details.

Emile Louis Truffot ‘A Nubian Girl’ – Sold for £31,000
A Louis XV style commode, in the manner of Pierre Roussel – Sold for £20,000

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