This March, we have our two-day Fine Furniture, Sculpture, Carpets, Ceramics and Works of Art auction, taking place on Wednesday 29 & Thursday 30 March. The auction features a wonderful selection of items representing some of the best examples of their type and period, including a number of private collections.
The auction features pieces from Borde Hill House, West Sussex, belonging to the Stephenson Clarke family since the late 1800’s, Lots 48-63. The Stephenson Clarke family’s history originated in Northumberland over 300 years ago, when they started a fleet of colliers which became the oldest shipping line in the country. By further adding a fleet of coal trucks, and expanding into Europe, they created wealth to buy land and estates which meant that by the late 1800’s Colonel Stephenson R. Clarke was able to purchase Borde Hill Estate in mid Sussex, and start to engage his passion as a collector – both of fine art but more significantly of exotic plants from around the world, which led him to become known as ‘the greatest amateur horticulturist of the 20th century.’
From the Borde Hill House collection we have Lot 54, a finely embroidered Mughal summer carpet or floor spread, Indian, from the 18th/19th century. Summer cloths (spreads/carpets) were typically decorated in symmetrical designs, with repeating floral patterns - often centred on a medallion with matching spandrels and large borders. The effect would be of a formalised flower garden - for the guests and visitors inside. However, rarer examples, such as this lot, display a more asymmetric, meandering design - characteristic of the European taste for "Bizarre Silk" from the late 17th/early 18th century period. The present lot as such is richly decorated in tamboured coloured silks, embroidered with exotic birds, monkeys, butterflies and animals - and possibly a pangolin - amidst delicate flowering vines bearing a variety of blooms. The handwritten label on the reverse says "Col S R Clarke. Borde Hill. Haywards Heath. Sussex". Colonel Stephenson R. Clarke was a keen naturalist and horticulturist, he sponsored expeditions by plant and tree collectors across the world. They returned with rare specimens brought back from their travels in the Himalayas, China, Burma, Tasmania and the Andes - many of which he planted in his own gardens.
Also included in Day One of the sale, is Lot 272, a George III satinwood, marquetry and painted serpentine fronted commode. Dating to circa 1780, it is designed in the manner of Ince & Mayhew. The distinctive and heavily engraved neoclassical marquetry combined with the use of satinwood, sycamore and pearwood is characteristic of Ince & Mayhew’s work. Whilst this lot being offered is satinwood, rather than ash, the veneers to the doors are unusually cut in the manner of Hungarian ash to give the distinctive grain figuring 'like watered silk'.
The sale continues on Day Two, with Lot 606, an ormolu nine light chandelier in empire style, from the late 19th to early 20th century. It is highly decorated, featuring a central Nike lifting a faceted finial on a feathered urn surrounded by caryatid patterned sconces. Below this features acanthus terminals linked with festoons, with masks and swags to the lower frieze of the terminal. This lot is from the private collection of a Gentleman formed at two properties in Twickenham and Hampton Court, over the period of sixty years.
With Cheltenham races just around the corner, we have Lot 675, a large equestrian bronze figure colt. Rare to find a bronze sculpture of this size, this impressive life-size figure measures at 177cm height and 284cm in length. Standing four square and on integral base this contemporary piece is brought to us from a Cheshire country house.
Wednesday 29 & Thursday 30 March | 10.30am GMT
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
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