The Winter Fine Furniture, Pictures, Works of Art and Ceramics sale at Dreweatts.

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Berkshire - A rare musical automaton, a George III mahogany four post bed and other unusual and exceptional works will be offered in the winter Fine Furniture, Pictures, Works of Art and Ceramics sale at Dreweatts on Wednesday 3rd December 2014.

The rare composition musical automaton figure, from the golden age of automaton, is attributed to Gustave Vichy, Paris, circa 1900 and appears in Vichy's catalogue captioned Petit negre jouant du banjo. As the son of a Parisian watch and clockermaker, Gustave Vichy was well placed to respond to the Parisian fashion for automata that reached its height during the latter years of the 19th century. The Vichy workshop became leaders in the field and were particularly well known for the realism and inventive nature of their figure. Today, French automaton remain popular with collectors worldwide and this example, which is now in working order following restoration by Keith Harding, is estimated at £2,000-3,000 [Lot 221].

A rare survivor from 17th Gujarat is a mother-of-pearl and gilt metal banded bowl. Articles fashioned with mother-of-pearl plaques were made in Gujarat for local use as well as for export to foreign markets. In Europe, the rarity of the material and the distinctive craftsmanship of such objects made them much sought after for Wunderkammern or cabinets of curiosities. Frequently embellished with rich mounts, these works joined many Renaissance princely collections as well as church treasuries. [Lot 168, Est. £3,000-5,000]

The sale also includes an unusual Gujarati mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell parquetry veneered tray. The use of tortoiseshell in this piece is unusual for Gujarati work. It is estimated at £6,000-8,000. [Lot 174]

Leading the fine furniture in the sale is a George III mahogany four post bed, circa 1810, from Parkhill House. Parkhill House, near Arbroath has been home to the distinguished naval family, Duncan, for over 200 years. Alexander Duncan acquired the property in 1799 when he retired from the East India Company, and built the House in 1804 in the classical style. He was a pioneer of plant collecting in the 18th century, sending back hydrangeas and magnolias from Canton, China and a tree peony, for which he received a fellowship of the Royal Society [Lot 198, est. £2,000-3,000].

Elsewhere in the sale is a 19th century patinated bronze of a dying gladiator. The sculpture is modelled after Pierre Julien's marble Gladiateur Mourant that is held at the Louvre in Paris. The statue is a proclamation of Julien's knowledge of antique sculpture in which he was clearly reinterpreting the Dying Gladiator in the Capitoline Museum in Rome, a marble copy of which he had sculpted during his stay at the Académie de France in Rome from 1769 to 1772. [Lot 202, est. £2,000-3,000]

The sale will be held on Wednesday 3rd December at Dreweatts' Donnington Priory saleroom in Berkshire. The full catalogue for the Fine Furniture, Pictures, Works of Art and Ceramics will be available to view online at


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Frasers Autograph's. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

London - 25th November 2014