Rare Staff is the Chief Attraction

Rare Staff is the Chief Attraction

Clevedon Salerooms held their latest Quarterly Fine Art sale on Thursday June 13th. Competitive bidding online, on the phone and in the room, throughout the day saw the auction achieve some fantastic results and a sale total well over expectations. As is so often the case at Clevedon, there were a few surprises amongst the highlights.


Chief amongst these was a rare piece of ethnographica, a Chief's staff or pole club. Heralding from the Austral Islands in modern day French Polynesia, it had arrived at one of Clevedon’s ever-popular weekly valuation days. Auctioneer Mark Huddleston recognised its potential and set about the task of researching the piece. His labours certainly proved fruitful as strong bidding from France and Belgium saw it rapidly eclipse its estimate to sell to a telephone bidder for £15,500.

It was a day of contrasts as a diverse assembly of the rare and desirable jostled for position amongst the day’s other big hitters. A large Minton majolica elephant four-branch candelabrum centrepiece was a tour-de-force of ceramic art. Despite a decline in the popularity of Minton majolica since the heights of the 1980s collecting boom, our four-legged friend clearly had enough about it to attract bidders attention and it made short work of its estimate selling for £6,200. 

As is traditional at Clevedon it was the Jewellery section which opened proceedings where the star lot was an Asscher cut diamond platinum ring. Measuring an impressive 4.5 carats it also sold to an English buyer for £11,500. Also scoring highly, a diamond solitaire platinum ring, the round brilliant cut diamond weighing approximately 2.55 carats which sold for £5,000. Similar brilliance was found in a Knight Commander’s set of insignia for The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, K.C.S.I.. Manufactured by Garrard & Co. and incorporating diamonds and a cameo portrait of a youthful Queen Victoria within a yellow metal and blue enamel surround, this showstopping piece arrived from a private collection. The source of much pre-sale interest, it sold for £12,500.



In a sale which saw the luxury market well represented it was a souvenir of the Grand Tour which really set pulses racing. A fine and extremely rare early 19th century double-sided micromosaic, porphyry and unmarked gold bonbonniere or table box, in the manner of Giacomo Raffaeli, the circular cover depicting the Doves of Pliny. Proof positive that good things do come in small packages, spirited bidding took it way past its estimate to sell for £11,000. For those with more contemporary tastes, it was the magic name Cartier which lead the way. A lady's yellow metal (18K) Tank Francaise wristwatch was the star of the watches section, selling for £4,000.


When it came to Ceramics, as is so often the case, it was amongst the Asian section that the highest prices were found. A Chinese Canton Famille Rose porcelain ‘Lotus’ bowl, finely enamelled to the exterior with a continuous band of flowering lotus, was the stand out piece. Bearing the six character mark of Guangxu (1875-1908) beneath, and probably of the period, it sold to a commission bidder for £6,800. One of the more unusual lots of the sale was a George III mahogany-cased bentside spinet. Found during a Probate valuation at a property in the Hotwells area of Bristol, it had been the focus of much pre-sale it clearly struck the right note, selling for an impressive £7,000.

Clevedon Salerooms next auction will be an Interiors sale on July 4th. The summer then sees two further Interiors sales on July 25th and August 15th. The next Quarterly Fine Art sale will be held on Thursday September 12th for which entries are now invited.