Following hot on the heels of our January Interiors sale, we have our February auction, taking place on 21 & 22 February. The auction features a fantastic selection of sporting art, including selected items from the collection of the late Obby Waller. Here Ashley Matthews, Head of Sale, takes a look at some of the highlights.
The sale opens with the selected contents of Barton Hill House, the former home of Tim Rootes and Obby Waller. Offering 108 items, including furniture, sculpture, sporting art and works of art, this selection represents the culmination of their collecting and combined possessions.
Tim's great love was horse racing and breeding. He had a stud near Banbury where many winners were bred. In 1995 he built Barton Hill House at the property, designed in the Georgian style. Tim's partner of 60 years, Obby Waller, was an accomplished interior decorator, beginning his career with George Spencer.
Together, Tim and Obby created comfortable homes in which to entertain. Obby was heavily influenced by the work of Colefax and Fowler who had mastered the English Country House style of the 20th century.
Among the lots on offer, is a wide selection of interior furnishings including 'Howard' style sofas and armchairs, traditional Georgian furniture, and a range of artworks and sculptures dating from the 18th through to the 20th century. In addition to the offering in this sale, they generously bequeathed pieces from the collection to their many friends.
However, it is perhaps the items of sporting interest that catch the eye most including large scale works by renowned artists Philip Blacker and the late Heather Jansch.
Lot 95 is one of Jansch's signature works - a large scale naturalistically modelled driftwood sculpture of a horse. Sure to grace the paddocks of any horse enthusiast, it stands at an impressive 160cm high and 170cm long. It is estimated at £1,500-2,000 (+ fees).
Amongst the smaller works of art is Lot 97, a limited edition bronze of rearing horses by Philip Blacker. Blacker is well known for having a strong knowledge of horses and their behaviour. He is the son of Cecil Blacker who rode as an amateur jockey in the 1948 Grand National. Philip himself is remembered as a jockey until his retirement in 1982. Since then, he has been a sculptor of sporting art.
Here the artist has caught the horses in action as they twist and turn past each other with one appearing to have the upper hand and dominate the other, perhaps about to land a nip to the body. Such behaviour is not uncommon amongst stallions as they compete for dominance.
The sale then continues with another private English collection of sporting art. From this collection, we have two more limited edition examples of Blacker’s work (Lots 109 & 110). Lot 109 depicts a jockey and racehorse in full flight racing one presumes toward the finish line, while Lot 110 is a more prosaic subject with a boy rider perched bare-back upon the pony with his hound following behind. Estimates range from £800-3,000 (+ fees).
Further on in the viewing ring, Dreweatts is also pleased to be offering a brace of works by Simon Erland highlighting important moments from British Horse Racing history. First up, Lot 134 is a unique bronze maquette depicting the denouement of the 1989 running of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Nashwan is famed as the only horse to have won the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Eclipse and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the same season (1989). Dick Hern, called Nashwan "the best horse I've ever trained". Here we have the moment Nashwan, ridden by Willie Carson, beat his old rival Cacoethes, by a neck. This is estimated at £2,500-3,500 (+ fees).
Lot 135 is another maquette, this time depicting Barathea, the Irish-bred and British-trained thoroughbred racehorse, being ridden by Frankie Dettori.
Barathea landed the Breeders' Cup Mile back in 1994. Jockey Lanfranco 'Frankie' Dettori hugged the turns with Barathea and pulled away by three lengths while setting a new course record of 1:34.5. It was the first Breeders' Cup win for Dettori.
Frankie Dettori's most celebrated achievement was riding all seven winners on British Champions' Day at Ascot Racecourse in 1996.
Tuesday 21 & Wednesday 22 February | 10.30am GMT
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
Browse the auction
Sign up to email alerts
Viewing in Newbury:
Sign up for auction alerts and our monthly newsletter to receive expert analysis and insights from our specialists and keep up-to-date on forthcoming auctions, valuation days and previews.