Clevedon Salerooms held their Autumn Specialist Fine Art Sale on Thursday 2nd September. The sale was the first specialist auction for some eighteen months to welcome bidders back into the room on the day. Combined with the increasing presence of internet bidders both via www.the-saleroom.com and the auctioneers’ own live bidding platform, lively bidding was in evidence throughout the day with consistently strong prices, a sale total well over expectations, and an 87 per cent selling rate from over 500 lots on offer.
Autumn is lyrically known as the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Appropriately, it was fruit that provided some of the day’s strongest prices: a stunning single-owner collection of Royal Worcester fruit-painted porcelain tea and coffee wares were consigned from a returning Clifton customer. Intense online and telephone bidding saw the eight lots leave their estimates standing, achieving over £15,000. The collection comprised two distinct groups, being one service collected circa 1930 and a second of around 1960. Commencing with the earlier service, a trio of coffee pot, cream jug and sugar basin sold for a staggering £2,600 [LOT 339] , and a set of six ‘trios’ of cup, saucer and plate sold for £1,900, and prices for the later service were just as impressive, with a single coffee pot and tea pot sold for £1,500 and £1400 respectively, and two sets of six further trios sold at £2,600 each.
Earlier, the jewellery section began proceedings. Highlights included £2,450 for a sapphire and diamond three stone ring, a sapphire and diamond pendant sold at £1,900, an attractive heart-shaped aquamarine and ruby pendant also sold well at £1,600, and two three-stone rings – one sapphire and diamond, the other emerald and diamond - sold for £1,400 each. A rare George V 9ct gold pedestal dish (every home should have one!) was hammered down at £3,400 [LOT 56]. Watches immediately followed, where the top price was for a Cartier Tank Francaise lady’s wristwatch, which achieved £2,000. Also performing well was an 18ct gold open faced pocket watch, hallmarked Chester 1891, which came in well above estimate at £1,120. Top of the tree in the Silver section was a salver hallmarked for London, 1850, and later five-piece tea and coffee set with a GWR connection recorded in its inscription which steamed away at £2,300. An Edward VII oval tray also fetched and impressive £1,950, and a canteen of flatware also exceed top estimate to take £1,900.
The sale featured a particularly strong section of medals. Highlight of them was the group to Wing Commander John Woodburn Gillan DFC AFC, who set a speed record in a Hawker Hurricane. Consigned by his descendants, the lot attracted intense bidding before selling at £6,200 [LOT 212].
Amongst the offerings in the Asian Art section were two examples of Chinese porcelain. From an Oxfordshire country house, a pair of monumental 20th Century floor standing vases which, at 217cm high, dwarfed everything and everyone around them, also quickly outgrew their estimate to sell for £3,300. Going one better, an early 19th Century Chinese porcelain baluster vase in 'Hundred Boys' style decoration from a North Somerset farmhouse sold for a multiple-estimate £3,400 [LOT 279]. From the same source, a group of fifteen ‘Company School’ Indian watercolours of landmarks, dating from the mid 19th century also sold very well, to a telephone bidder in their country of origin for £4,000.
In the picture section, performing with customary gusto, an L.S. Lowry signed print of ‘Berwick-upon-Tweed’ from a South Bristol property achieved £6,900. Of more local interest, a finely-painted oil on canvas view of the Avon Gorge by James Baker Pyne left its estimate far behind to sell for £3,300. Also local, a rare three-pigeon oil on canvas by Andrew Beer, the ‘Thomas Gainsborough of pigeon painters’ created a flutter of excitement (some might say a coup?) when it sold for £4,500 [LOT 420], whilst a watercolour by esteemed printmaker Eric Slater sold extremely well at £2,500. From the aforementioned Oxfordshire property, an imposing 19th Century oil on canvas after Spanish artist Murillo sold for £3,100. The outstanding result of the day was for a Continental oil on canvas of a street scene with peasants, which further research suggested may be by Georgian artist Felix Varla, sold for a multiple-estimate £8,500.
Rounding the sale off on a pleasing note, and from the same Oxfordshire country house source as the floor-standing vases, a late 19th century Steinway grand piano attracted international interest to sell for £4,800.
Clevedon Salerooms next Specialist sale (for which further entries are invited) will be held on 25th November, and the next Interiors sale will be held on Thursday 23rd September, commencing at 10.30am.