A scorching Summer Fine Art & Collector’s Sale

Despite the continuation of the June heatwave and the temptations of the garden the Minster Auctions two-day Summer Fine Art & Collector’s Sale lured good numbers of potential buyers to our three viewing days where they obviously found a lot of what they liked.

The first day commenced with the silver & objet d’art section that was headlined by a diverse selection of treen and horn Snuff Mulls. The first excitement came with an exquisite 18th Century ebonised mull of bombe form whose simple shape and original condition encouraged bidding to progress swiftly to £550. A couple of lots further into the sale and another early Snuff Mull, this time in the form of a Ram’s Head took off after lots of interesting finally reaching a hammer price of £3,800. These two providing great examples that the trade in traditional British folk antiques is stronger than ever. A very different lot in the form of five Elizabeth II silver and gilt Goblets in original Cases highlighted clean 20th Century design making £1,700 hammer price.

Jewellery and watches continued the sale with strong results across the board. A gentleman’s Longines military issue ‘Dirty Dozen’ watched soared passed its £1,000-1,500 estimate selling for £3,200. The highest price in this section was achieved by a 2.68ct diamond pendant which sold for £6,000 but generally the antique jewellery pieces were the stars of the show achieving excellent prices. Highlights included an Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Line Bracelet selling for £1700, a Victorian Amethyst Rivière which sold for three times its estimate at £1200 and a 19thC gold filigree Turquoise Set Pendant Cross for which bidding reached £950 against a £150-£200 estimate. Within the sale was an excellent collection of Art Nouveau enamel pendants which attracted a great deal of attention and proved the current trend for jewellery of this period.

The fascinating portrait by Frank Owen Salisbury of cellist Beatrice Harrison was always likely to be of interest. The renowned cellist famously played alongside a Nightingale in her garden and was recorded by the BBC as one of their first outside broadcasts in May 1924. This recording was sadly proven to be false with the Nightingale song imitated by a bird song impressionist Maude Gould. Salisbury’s popularity as an artist and his fascinating subject meant the portrait sailed past it’s £2000-3000 estimate finally selling to an internet bidder for £6,500 hammer price.

Also offered within the paintings sections was an early Painting attributed to Paolo Franceschi (c.1540-96) depicting the classical scene of Eurydice chased by Aristaeus. An imposing painting from the school of old masters it attracted a fair level of pre-sale interest and sold for £6,000.

A fine Royal Worcester Tureen painted with designs of fruit by S. Smith sold for £1,500 against an £800-1200 estimate, this was followed by a Royal Worcester Tray of similar design by the same artist that achieved £600. The Chinese market remains strong with a near pair of blue and white Ginger Jars realising £1,300 and a Chinese polychrome Bottle Vase selling to the internet for £650.

Fabrics and designs by the Arts and Crafts designer William Morris will always remain popular with collectors and so it proved with a large Carpet from the famous collection of the late Roger Warner that sold for £1,300.

We were privileged to be able to offer a fascinating selection of treen and items of folk art from two main collections. There were many excellent results for some rare and unusual items, however among the highlights were a charming folk art Work Box in the form of a cottage with original painting. Considerable interest in this item resulted in a hammer price of £480. Three accurately carved Lay Figures, used in the 19th and 20th Centuries as anatomical aids for artists were hard fought over. With three phone bidders and action on the internet the two larger figures both measuring just over 2ft high achieved £1,200 and £1,600 respectively, while the third smaller example at a little over 1ft high achieved £1,000.

A 16th Century Panel in the Romayne style depicting a female head from the era of Henry VIII unsurprisingly drew the attention of many buyers and sold for £900. A lovely example of English Country Estate blacksmithing in the form of a surrounding Tree Seat sold for £850.

The undoubted highlights amongst the large selection of furniture were a number of pieces by ‘Mouseman’ Thompson. The most eagerly sought after were a square Occasional Table with his usual carved mouse signature that sold to a phone bidder for £1,700 hammer price. This was followed by a Dresser Base fitted with panelled doors that again received much interest from the phone and internet finally selling for £2,600.

Day two featured a large collection of Medals from all eras. An interesting WWII Group of four issued to Platoon Sergeant Major Frederick W. Colvin of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders who was taken prisoner by the Japanese was purchased after a long internet battle for £620. A WWI medal group awarded to an Argyll & Sutherland Highlander, Lieutenant T.F. Cairns including a Military Cross for his actions during the Battle for Passchendaele in 1917 sold for £850.

There were also a number of lots of taxidermy and natural history. More notable amongst them were a European Wildcat mounted by John Macpherson of Inverness that sold for £620.