On Wednesday 30 & Thursday 31 March, we held our two-day auction of Fine Furniture, Sculpture, Carpets, Ceramics and Works of Art. Spanning the 17th to the 20th century, the auction featured rare antique items, representing the best examples of their type and period, including several private collections such as property of the late Victoria, Lady de Rothschild, as well as items with Danish Royal provenance. With enthusiastic bidding across five online bidding platforms, telephone and commission bids, as well as bidding in the room, the auction totalled £1,451,825 (including buyer's premium).
Commenting on the results, Head of Sale, Ben Brown said, “I’m delighted with the results of this week’s 2-day auction with strong prices across the board and some stand out prices achieved for pieces with exceptional provenance. It was also lovely to see many familiar faces and new buyers during the auction view – great to be welcoming people back to Donnington Priory. The Dreweatts 360 Virtual Auction Tour also proved as popular as ever, for those that weren’t able to attend in person.”
We are now welcoming entries for our summer and autumn auction calendar. For a free auction valuation, please contact our specialists on: +44 (0) 1635 553 553 | firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can also complete our online valuation form, here.
From the property of Victoria, Lady de Rothschild, we were thrilled to offer Lot 52, a George I giltwood and gesso side or centre table. Dating to circa 1720, it was designed in the manner of James Moore. With lots of interest and competitive bidding, this sold for £32,500, above a pre-sale estimate of £4,000-6,000.
Also selling for an impressive £32,500 was Lot 97, a George II carved mahogany candle stand, circa 1750. This came from the Hague Collection, having once been owned by Sir Harry Hague (1881-1960) of The Chantry in Hertfordshire, and then by direct descent to the current owner. It was loaned to the National Trust in 1966.
The entrepreneur Sir Harry Hague was the managing director of A.Wander Ltd. The company manufactured the chocolate malt drink Ovaltine. At the time of the Second World War, Ovaltine was one of the most popular brands in Britain; it was the official drink of the 1948 Olympics and was carried up Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Traditional antique furniture has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years with prices continuing to exceed expectations. Lot 398, an early 19th century Chinese export Huanghuali sofa table, selling for £23,750.
The auction also featured a substantial garden section, offering a selection of garden furniture and ornament. Ending the sale was Lot 576, a late Victorian Arts & Crafts tea house in Asian taste, dating to circa 1890. This was removed from the grounds of Cowbridge House in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. With online and telephone bidding, this impressive structure sold for £20,000.
Coming to auction with Danish Royal provenance, we offered Lot 109, a rare 18th century Florentine Scagliola panel by Lamberto Cristiano Gori, signed and dated either 1752 or 1782. Originally in the collection of His Royal Highness Prince Georg of Denmark, the panel, decorated with an Italianate harbour scene, sold for £19,375.
Ranging in size and period, the auction also offered a selection of dining chair sets. Particularly popular was Lot 115, a set of twenty 20th century walnut and upholstered dining chairs in George II style. These came from a private collection in Berkshire, and sold for £17,500.
The auction had strong results from the start, when Lot 1, a lovely William and Mary walnut oyster, kingwood and rosewood veneered cabinet on stand, dating from circa 1690, sold for £15,000, more than three times it pre-sale estimate.
This came to auction from the estate of a titled gentleman in London. It was designed with the doors opening to an arrangement of drawers, some fitted with lift-out trays, around a central door.
The auction also included a strong selection of sculpture and works of art. Lot 176, a rare pair of Japanese export Nagasaki black lacquer and mother-of-pearl knife boxes, dating from the late 18th/early 19th century. These beautiful pieces, decorated with birds and flowering stems and fitted with 18th century silver flatware and later silver plate and steel, sold for £15,000.
In 1799 the Dutch East India Company's American chartered ship the Franklin of Salem arrived in Nagasaki. Its captain's personal account books record that he brought back a considerable quantity of lacquer, all of it apparently in contemporary European shapes, including '22 lacked knife boxes'. (Charles H.P.Copeland, 'Japanese export furniture', Antiques, LXVI, July 1954, pp. 50-1). As well as the tall urn form knife boxes- the Company was also importing cases in this swept slant box form with the shell inlay distinct from earlier hiramaki-e decorated ware. The Clive Collection at Powis Castle holds a similar shaped example in its collection but with the earlier style of decorative design.
Day two of the auction, offered a selection of Grand Tour items including sculpture. Highlights included Lot 473, a carved marble part figure of the seer and priest Laocoön, after the antique. Dating to the late 19th century, it is probably Italian or French. It sold for £17,500.
This marble group was based upon one of the most celebrated sculptural groups marbles from classical antiquity, which was discovered on 14 January 1506 near Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The full group depicts the priest, Laocoön, and his sons struggling against the serpents which have been sent to kill them by the goddess Minerva for warning the citizens of Troy against allowing the Wooden Horse to be brought into their city.It was acquired by Pope Julius II soon after its excavation, and moved to the Belvedere, where it has remained - with a Napoleonic interlude in Paris from 1800 to 1815 - ever since
Finally, another highlight from this selection of sculptures was Lot 471, an early 19th century carved Carrara marble bust of Napoleon, after Italian sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1822), which sold for £7,500.
Antonio Canova was invited by Napoleon to Paris in 1802 to undertake a series of portraits. As well as a bust depicting his subject in the uniform of the First Consul- he produced this simpler form, an emulation of earlier Roman Emperor imperial busts - and which became immensely popular and was reproduced for Francophiles and wealthy nobility undertaking the Grand Tour.
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