Clevedon Salerooms - On a Roll

Clevedon Salerooms held their Spring Specialist Fine Art Sale on Thursday 9th March. Having generated a great deal of pre-sale interest, impressive results were achieved throughout the day.


Fourteen rolls of 20th Century Chinese watercolour wallpaper Sold for £7,200

Unused wallpaper isn’t the sort of fare normally couched to get valuer’s pulses racing but when it’s Chinese hand-painted wallpaper it can be a different story. This was certainly the case with the discovery of fourteen rolls during a routine valuation at a North Somerset country property, which turned out to be one of the day’s star lots. Unused and still in its packaging, as it had been from the day it was bought fifty years ago, there was initially nothing to excite. Unrolled, however, a freely painted panoramic landscape of trees and mountains was revealed. Offering, as it did, decorative flair combined with a strong appeal to the bullish Chinese market hopes were high. The saleroom’s photographer surpassed themselves with no fewer than forty-five online images which really showed this extraordinary artwork to its full advantage. Reliable online images give buyers the confidence to bid high and in this case their hard work certainly paid off as strong commission bids, vied with fevered online bidding and four telephone bidders. In the end it was the internet that won out with the gavel going down at an estimate smashing £7,200.

Decorative appeal was also the key to the day’s best performing lot; a rare early 19th century satinwood trio of Pembroke table, and two demi-lune card tables. Heralding from an address in Clifton, what added considerable lustre to their appeal was the fact that each piece retained its original painted and gilded floral decoration and after some spirited bidding the handsome threesome left their estimate standing to sell for an impressive £8,000. [LOT 595]

Rare suite of three early 19th Century painted satinwood tables Sold for £8,000

As is customary at Clevedon, the Jewellery section commenced proceedings and it was here that some of the day’s highest prices were achieved. Top price was for a heavy gauge bracelet, stamped '0750' which sold for a weighty £4,650, just ahead of a diamond single-stone ring, stamped '18ct' which sold for £4,600. A diamond and calibré emerald ring which also did well, selling for £4,200, whilst a Victorian diamond hinged bangle sold for £3,400. Amongst watches it was the familiar name Rolex that led the pack with a gentleman's Oyster Perpetual automatic stainless steel wristwatch selling for £3,400, whilst a two-tone gold and stainless steel Oyster Perpetual automatic bracelet wristwatch achieved a very respectable £2,600. Amongst a strong clocks section, it was fine walnut and floral marquetry-cased 8-day longcase clock of circa 1700 by by George Murgatroyd of London, that really struck a chord with bidders, trouncing its estimate to sell for £5,800. [LOT 436]

Fine walnut and marquetry 8-day longcase clock George Murgatroyd, London, circa 1700 Sold for £5,800

Stars of the silver section included a large presentation jug with lavish repousse work. Styled in the early 18th century manner, it was actually solidly Victorian with a London assay mark for 1861. Weighing in at an impressive 1990g, it quickly shot past its estimate to sell for £2,200. At the opposite end of the decorative spectrum, a porringer by famed Arts and Crafts designer C.R. Ashbee spoke to more contemporary taste and also left its estimate in the shade, selling for £1,700.

Contemporary tastes were also to the fore in the pictures section. Leading the pack, a 1960s surrealist abstract oil on canvas by Desmond Morris which sold for £3,800. Morris is perhaps better known for his anthropological writings such as ‘The Naked Ape’ but clearly has a second string to his bow. The same was true of ornithologist Sir Peter Scott. The founder of Slimbridge nature reserve also enjoyed fame as a painter of birds and an oil on canvas of a landscape depicting ducks in flight also scored highly, sold for £3,600. A Victorian reverse oil painting on glass of a fully rigged three-masted ship 'The Star of India' with diorama-style background attributed to Belgian artist Carolus Ludovicus Weyts (1828-1875) had ‘decorators’ piece’ written all over it and raced passed its estimate to sell for £2,800 [LOT 432]. Striking a more traditional note, a 17th century oil on canvas portrait of the Countess of Bath, very much in the style of Anthony Van Dyck, sold for £2,700, whilst a watercolour by Irish artist William Percy French of a landscape with peat workings sold for £2,400.

Attributed to Carolus Ludovicus Weyts (Belgian, 1828-1875) - 'The Star of India' Sold for £2,800

And Irish eyes were also smiling in the furniture section which closed the sale. An 18th century Irish mahogany side table smashed its estimate to sell for £2,400. With some 86% sold and a total well above expectations, the sale represented another resounding success for a saleroom going from strength to strength.

Clevedon Salerooms next Quarterly Specialist Sale, for which entries are now invited, will be on Thursday June 1st and will include a major consignment of early oak furniture and other artworks from historic Barrow Court in North Somerset. Free valuation days are held at the Saleroom every Monday (except Bank Holidays), together with regular Bristol valuation days at Stoke Lodge in Stoke Bishop.