News & Insights

The Country House Sale: January 2021

15th December 2020.

A mix of fine art, antiques, traditional furnishing and collectors’ pieces are to be sold in Tennants Auctioneers’ Country House Sale on 8th and 9th January. With plenty of rare and unusual pieces in the 760-lot sale, there will be much to catch the eye of potential buyers when it opens for viewing on 29th December.

A good selection of period oak opens the Furniture Section of the sale, a type of furniture that has been in demand in the saleroom in recent months. Of interest are a late 18th Century George III Oak Open Dresser and Rack (estimate: £600-800 all prices exclude buyer’s premium), and a George III Joined Oak Dining table from the late 18th/early 19th century (estimate: £800-1,200).

The sale includes the first part of the Selected Contents from West House, Gomersal, comprising forty lots of furniture and mirrors. Highlights of the collection include a Set of Fifteen Victorian Mahogany Armchairs from the late 19th century (estimate: £1,500-2,000), and a George IV Mahogany and Rosewood Crossbanded Bowfront Chest, dating from the 2nd quarter of the 19th century (estimate: £500-700).

Interesting decorative furnishing pieces are also on offer in the sale, such as two 1930s French grape picker’s hods or bin buckets. Each galvanised metal bucket is painted with the Châteauneuf-du-Pape emblem and is offered with an estimate of £300-500.

A rare circa 1833-36 Herculaneum Pottery Robert Stephenson Commemorative Frog Mug is also on offer with an estimate of £500-700. The mug, which has a realistically modelled frog sitting in the base, is decorated with a scene of the Exchange Buildings and Nelson’s Monument in Liverpool flanked by locomotives. The locomotives are Stephenson’s Rocket and Northumbrian, and it is also adorned by an image of Braithwaite and Ericsson’s Novelty locomotive. Stephenson’s Rocket and Braithwaite and Ericsson’s Novelty rang at the Rainhill Steam Trials on 6th October 1829.  Of the five entrants, Stephenson’s Rocket was the only locomotive to complete the trial and was declared the winner.  The Novelty was considerably faster than the other locomotives, but a failed boiler pipe damaged the engine during the trial.  Following the trial, the Northumbrian, built in 1830 and the last of Stephenson’s Rocket-style locomotives, was the used at the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.

Also of interest is a ‘Bois de Spa’ painted writing slope in the manner of Antoine le Loup (estimate: £150-250). Dated 1777, the writing slope is painted en grisaille with landscapes, buildings, figures and boats and inscribed ‘Thomas Fitzherbert Stubbington’. ‘Bois de Spa’ or ‘Boites de Spa’ were painted lacquered boxes sold at the Belgian town of Spa.  Antoine le Loup being noted for his monochrome views on such boxes.  Such boxes were also sold to clients on the south coast of England.  This example was made for Thomas Fitzherbert of Stubbington Lodge, Hampshire; in 1775 and 1782 Fitzherbert obtained contracts for supplying wagons for the army in America, ironwork for gun carriages, musket stocks, small arms and gunpowder, and for the hirer of horses employed in the fortification of Portsmouth.  It is possible that the scenes on the present box are fanciful interpretations of the landscape around Portsmouth harbour.

A select group of paintings is also offered for auction. Highlights include ‘Widgeon over Bosham’ by Keith Shackleton (1923-2015), which is sold with an estimate of £700-1,000. Shackleton was a friend of fellow conservationist and painter Sir Peter Scott, with whom he travelled to Antarctica. A further selection of paintings from a Private Collection of Paintings by Alexander Jamieson (1873-1937) are also on offer. Highlights include his ‘Village on the Seine’, which is sold with an estimate of £300-500. An interesting French School 19th Century street scene of dogs dancing to drum and trumpet outside an inn on the Rue de Joie is on offer with an estimate of £150-250.

Further notable lots in the sale include a rare and unusual pair of Mahogany Director’s/Library Timepieces made by Arnold and Lewis of Manchester circa 1890. The balloon-shaped clocks are sold with an estimate of £1,500-2,000. A good selection of rugs in the sale includes a very fine Kashan Silk Rug, made in the early 20th century in Central Iran (estimate: £1,200-1,800).


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