Auction Sale of Fine Art, Antiques and Objets D’Art

The North Cotswold Saleroom, Bourton-on-the-Water, October 2018

“A FANTASTIC result and more than just a little surprising” was how Martin Lambert, Fine Art Auctioneer and Valuer with Tayler and Fletcher for the last 21 years described one of the smallest lots in the room with the top price of the day.

The lot in question was most certainly one of the most hallowed phrases used at auctions and the “sleeper” came in the form of Lot 431, offered just after half past two on the Thursday being a small framed and glazed needlework sampler embroidered with the words Cheltenham Female Orphan Asylum.

At just 11.5cm high x 14cm wide the piece was the smallest of a collection of over 40 needlework samplers ranging from the early 18th century to the mid-19th century and came via an entire house/estate clearance given under instructions from executors as regards a detached property in a small village outside of Oxfordshire.

Given the low estimate (just £30-£50!), the Auctioneers were first alerted to the fact that this may be something quite special when several prominent dealers and collectors contacted the Auctioneers beforehand and requested a private view of this particular sampler and of course the rest of the samplers.

One of the top dealers in the country came to view the items before the published viewing dates and went straight to this particular lot, saying that she would very much like a telephone bid on it which was duly arranged.

On the day the Auctioneers were absolutely astonished when the bidding started low at under £100 soon rose to £1,000 and then £5,000 and crept up as potential purchasers battled it out not only on the bank of Auctioneers telephones installed specifically for the bidding but also online with the live internet bidding supplied by the

Soon it had reached an astonishing £10,000 much to the incredulity of the assembled vendors and purchasers, (not least to the auction staff themselves!) and several minutes later had reached the magical sum of £14,000!

The Auctioneers can only imagine the disappointment of the under bidder as they chose not to continue further bidding and the gavel came down at this figure.

It can be reported that the winning bidder was a UK lady private collector and when she paid for and collected the sampler she was absolutely ecstatic about having been able to secure it and explained that she had a small but select collection of only the best and rarest needlework samplers already.

As the Auctioneers understand it, the Cheltenham Female Orphan Asylum was founded in 1806 and received an input only 12 orphans per year making it a quite exclusive establishment and part of the value of this particular small sampler was in the superlative needlework, stitching and the highly unusual geometric colourations detailing very poignant wordings.

The rest of the needlework samplers sold well from this particular property right across the board to Europe and America and other contents from this particular house clearance including a large collection of 19th century Staffordshire pottery also sold well with a good selection of silverware also finding an array of contented new purchasers.

Another “sleeper” in the sale came in the form of no less than a mid/late 20th century teak table and chairs with the chairs stamped ‘Made in Norway’ and with the table having an original applied label to an underside bearer detailing A B Karl Andersson and Soner, Design Borge Morgensen, Made in Sweden.

The meteoric rise of such mid to late 20th century Scandinavian furniture has been no surprise over the past years with the best designers running well into five figures and it was with equal surprise that the Auctioneers received the final bid of £8,400 with no less than three telephone bidders, other bidders in the room, internet bidding and commissions etc.

The Auctioneers report that the internet bidding won out at that hammer price and the eventual buyer was identified as a local private collector and specialist scholar of such furniture, apparently the lure of a large extendable teak dining table together with very stylishly designed chairs with woven backs and seats was just too much of an attraction to him and he just had to have the table against all other bidding.

Other sections also did well at this exceptionally well attended sale and part of the success and attraction of a sale of this nature is fresh to the market private goods and the Auctioneers were lucky enough to have this in abundance and most of the quality items that had been squirrelled away for the previous four months were offered at this sale with no reserves and therefore the market was keen to buy and certainly some fine five figure results were achieved as a result under the Auctioneers gavel.

Jewellery did very well indeed and many four figure items were noted here but perhaps the best of all of these was a very fine diamond solitaire ring mounted in platinum that was assessed at approximately 3.2 carats and was admired by dealers, collectors and specialists alike as a particularly well cut single stone that only drew the very smallest amount of colour.

Much excitement ensued before the sale and two dealers were very interested a five figure level, both tried to secure the item before the auction itself.

This of course was not possible as it was always destined to go under the Auctioneers gavel being part of a selection of fine gold jewellery and other similar related high value bijouterie that had been squirrelled away hidden in a bank vault for the past 17 years before the Auctioneers were lucky enough to be able to offer it.

The Executors were expecting somewhere in the region of £10,000 when all of the final information was collated and reported to them before the sale, but the Auctioneers were rewarded further with a battle between a local specialist high value dealer bidding via the telephone and a private buyer in the front row.

The private buyer sadly lost out to the trade bid of £12,100, a final hammer price exceptionally well received by the Auctioneers, the buyer and of course the vendors who were vindicated by placing the ring in an auction sale to find out the true value.

It is true to say that items sold well across the board and the vast majority of the 730 lots offered at this particular fine art and antiques flagship sale found new owners, with a collector of early Italian tin glazed earthenware delighted at his two purchases of wet drug jars, lot 39 for £700 and lot 40 for £600.

Other ceramics also did well and within a small but select group of Chinese and Oriental ceramics, a very small satsuma vase and cover made £300 whilst an early Chinese ceramic tripod incense burner with purple splash decoration made £500.

Glassware, although sometimes selective was also well received but it was noted that any damage however minor did have a considerable effect on the eventual price.

£320 was tendered for an early 20th century hand cut silver mounted lockable decanter despite the fact that it had a very small crack to the interior of the neck.

An 18th century style wine glass managed £170.

Just a short while later, it was the turn of silver with most items here finding eager buyers including lot 165 an early 19th century composite 86 piece twelve place hallmarked silver cutlery service with a fiddle and thread pattern that defied expectations at £1,800, a very fine and heavy Tessiers of Bond Street Limited Edition hallmarked silver bowl “The Wildlife Silver Bowl” with decoration after animal artists that included Sir Peter Scott was very well contested and the vendor was delighted with the £850 hammer.

Clocks sold steadily enough with an 18 carat yellow gold cased full Hunter quarter repeater and pocket watch raising £700 as it was predicted to do and a ladies heavy yellow metal (marked 14K) dress wristwatch also selling within expectations at £1,300.

A little later, lot 304 in the form of a heavy 18 carat yellow gold cigarette case was taken all the way up to the princely sum of £2,700 delighting both the Auctioneers and vendor.

In this commemorative centenary marking the end of the First World War, medals and military items have been eagerly sought after of late and lot 384 consisted of an Allied Landings (GVI) Distinguished Service Cross and quasi bar group of four to MTV Lieutenant Commander John Arthur Humphrey Whitby RNVR, for Gallantry, Skill and Undaunted Devotion to Duty shown during the landing of Allied Forces on the coast of Normandy in June 1944.

The medal was dated November 22, 1944 and rose all the way up to £2,700 from a UK collector.

Many more exceptional prices were received throughout the sale for highly desirable items and these included £650 given for a Snaffles Print “The Guns!, Thank God!, The Guns!”, a pair of wonderful and large unframed horse portrait massive head studies of famous racehorses, Dover’s Hill and Fern Hill Socks by one of this country’s top equine artists Tanya Still (b. 1976) sold collectively at £3,000,

£1,700 for a good and modern designer Danish rosewood knee-hole desk, £1,800 for a good 19th century satinwood bookcase, £2,600 for a fine, large and rare mid-19th century French chestnut femme de chambre, a massive £6,000 hammer tendered for a fine mid-20th Century Danish extending rosewood dining table and chairs which surprised the whole room and just a little later, a reproduction Regency style dining table with a very long set of 14 (12+2) dining chairs made £4,800.

The very last lot in the sale also did not disappoint with a battle royale between a telephone bidder and a bidder in the room, this consisted of a magnificent pair of verdigris’d coade stone pineapple finials on square plinth bases.

Despite damage and losses, the magnificent gate post finials were taken all the way to £6,350 by one of this country’s top dealers who commented afterwards that he was very pleased to have them in stock.

Rare items indeed and an exceptional price achieved.

For further information please contact Fine Art Auctioneer Martin Lambert

on 01451 821666

or Email: