Monkeys mean Business

Monkeys mean Business

Clevedon Salerooms three-weekly Interiors sales are always treasure troves of the unusual, the desirable and the unexpected, as the lot that took star-billing at the latest Interiors sale on February 1st proved.



As always, an eclectic mix of items was on offer but it was amongst Ceramics that the day’s highest price was achieved. A collection of Meissen figures, including five from the famous monkey orchestra, had arrived at one of Clevedon’s popular Monday valuation days. Modelled after 18th century originals, the full orchestra is composed of twenty-four musicians and a conductor, all realistically modelled and fashionably dressed in 18th century attire, with the important distinction that all the characters are monkeys. One of the most celebrated and eagerly collected of all the creations of the famous German porcelain factory, the monkey orchestra was an instant success, especially after French fashion leader Madam de Pompadour ordered a set, but its popularity has spawned many imitations often of inferior quality. There were five figures on offer but what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality as each bore the famous underglaze crossed swords mark of the Meissen factory. One of the most watched items online prior to the sale, our Simeon friends certainly hit the right note as after spirited bidding the gavel was finally brought down at £1,400.


As is customary at Clevedon it was the Jewellery section which opened proceedings, where top price was for a loose aquamarine faceted stone which sold for £1,000. More traditional tastes were reflected in an 18ct gold curb link necklace, weighing 27 grams, which sold for £850, just ahead of an aquamarine and diamond 18ct white gold ring, which sold for £820. Familiar names were to the fore amongst Watches: an Omega gentleman's Constellation chronometer Automatic was the focus of some intense bidding, selling for £680, whilst a Rolex Gentleman's Oyster also did well, selling for £520. It was also a good day for Stamps and Coins. In the case of the former, three Stanley Gibbons Windsor albums of GB postage stamps and an album of Queen Victoria envelope covers did remarkably well, selling for £1,100, whilst in the latter category a group of twenty-three Royal Mint silver uncirculated coin presentation packs sold for £750. Sovereigns are also showing healthy results: three Elizabeth II gold half sovereigns sold for £480.

An eclectic offering in Ceramics was reflected in that sections top performing lots. A Chinese crackle glaze bottle form vase took top price at £360. A Wedgwood 'Waverley' pattern part dinner service bucked current market trends for tableware, to sell for £320, whilst fromage fanciers were well served by a Victorian majolica cheese dish which left its estimate in the shade to sell for £300.

One of the day’s biggest surprises came in the Furniture section where a pair of early 20th century George II-style wing armchairs left their estimate well and truly standing, selling for £520. Those with more contemporary tastes might have been tempted by the 1960s G-Plan teak 'Long John' sideboard. At least two people were and it sold for £320.

Clevedon Salerooms next Interiors sale, for which entries are invited, will be on Thursday February 22nd. Attention then turns to the first Quarterly Fine Art sale on March 14th. In what is already shaping up to be a memorable sale, entries include a rare 1980s watercolour by King Charles III, and an early script for ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.