Antiques - a look around the North West’s showrooms | April 2020
PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 March 2020
A round-up of notable items for sale locally.
Here's an amazing example of how research - and a little luck - can pay dividends for the collector. This rare Boer War Mauser carbine was owned by an elderly Shropshire enthusiast who had purchased it from a North Wales gunshop. The stock was engraved 'P. Snyman Sep.1899' and in an attempt to learn more, details of his find were published in an article in the South African specialist magazine 'Man Magnum'. It was read by Ben Snyman who wrote back explaining that his great grandfather, Pieter Andries Snyman, owned two of the rifles, one still with Ben, who lives in Kokstad in KwaZulu-Natal Province. The other disappeared after the war and Pieter died in 1918. Correspondence ensued, the delighted owner sending Ben a target group of five shots at 30 metres, with three hits in one hole, adding 'not bad for a rifle that is 11 years old and a 72-year-old shooter. Both of us in good condition for our age'. The 7x57 bolt action rifle by Loewe and Co. sold for £950 at Nantwich auctioneers Peter Wilson.
This pencil drawing of a bearded man with walking stick by Manchester artist L.S. Lowry (1887-1976) was purchased from a charity shop by the owner's father 60 years ago. It sprinted out of a Capes Dunn auction in Stockport for a sprightly £10,000, no doubt a handsome return on the investment. The drawing is a typically stylised representation of the figures Lowry passed in the street. It measured 19 x 12cm and was signed and dated 1960, the price being boosted to nearly double the presale estimate because it was accompanied by a note authenticating the work by Martin Summers, a former director of the Lefevre Gallery, Lowry's London agents.
Evil in print
This memorial card is as tragic a piece of ephemera you're ever likely to find. It recalls the evil of Frederick Bailey Deeming who was hanged in Melbourne, Australia, in 1892 for the murder of his Rainhill, St Helens-born wife Marie, aged 39, and her children Bertha (8), Marie (6½), Sidney (4) and Martha (2½). Their bodies were found under the fireplace in Dinham Villa in Rainhill in the same room that he celebrated his next marriage to Emily Lydia Mather, the daughter of a widowed local shopkeeper, later taking her to Australia. He murdered her in December 1891 and buried her under a bedroom fireplace. Arrested in 1892, he admitted to the multiple murders and also to the murders of the last two Jack the Ripper victims. He remains the main suspect in the unsolved case and has featured in various TV programmes. Dinham Villa was demolished soon after Deeming was hanged. The memorial card was found in an old family Bible in a house in the Rainhill and sold for £380 at Warrington & Northwich Auctions.
Wild about Harrys
Two names stand out among the great ceramics artists employed by Royal Worcester: friends Harry Stinton and Harry Davis. This splendid flared neck vase decorated with sheep in a landscape was painted by the latter. Born in 1885, Davis followed his father and grandfather at the factory, joining aged 13 and serving a seven-year apprenticeship. He was a natural, painting landscapes with sheep, cattle, pigs, fish, polar bears, palaces, snow scenes, and London landmarks. As today, each had man had his own following among collectors of their work and occasionally the two worked together, notably in 1928 on dinner and dessert services for the Kellogg family of breakfast cereal fame. Davis died in 1970, but his name lives on, anything bearing his signature fetching good money in these days of falling interesting in ceramics. The vase, height 10 cm, sold for £950 in Adam Partridge's Macclesfield rooms.
A collection of almost 500 pieces of Moorcroft pottery, dating back to the 1890s, raised a total just shy of £80,000 at Etwall, Derbyshire, auctioneers Hansons. Top seller was a 1920s baluster vase painted with a fish pattern, which sold for £2,500. The collection began in 1974 when the retired yoga teacher from Staffordshire went to buy plant pots and was told that a Moorcroft jardinière would be an investment piece. William Moorcroft (1872-1945) founded his business in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, in 1913 and in 1928, Queen Mary made him 'Potter to the Queen'. The company continues today, producing highly collectable wares.
A 'reluctant sale due to personal circumstances' was how Lytham St Annes auctioneers Gerrards explained why this fine 18ct gold and silver gilt jewel-set chalice had come on to the market. Assayed in 1898 for John Smyth & Sons, 17 Wicklow Street, Dublin, 1898, it was inscribed to the base 'Presented by the priests of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly to the Very Reverend Canon Cahill PP VG Tipperary, on the Golden Jubilee, June 2nd 1899'. In French Gothic style, the gold bowl was decorated with cast panels depicting fruit and grain and was set with faceted amethyst and garnets, as was the foot, which was cast with panels depicting various ecclesiastical symbols, while the stem comprised a central orb set with emerald cut rock crystals. It measured 26cm (10¼ inches) in height and had an estimated gold weight 6-7oz, helping it realise a selling price of £7,500.
Napoleonic prisoners of war faced a pretty grim time. Between 1793-1815 around 250,000 were brought back to the British Isles to languish in camps on land and in the hulks of redundant ships moored offshore. Food and comforts were in short supply, but to ease their suffering, many made articles such as toys, models, boxes and pictures using straw, wood and bone to sell to the public. Many were gifted craftsmen and the elaborate objects they made raised enough to buy extra rations, tobacco and even liquor. The most coveted among today's collectors are bone models like this three-masted, 100-gun frigate, which, despite being in need of restoration, sold after a fierce battle for £3,400 at Cato Crane's Liverpool rooms. It was secured by a North of England collector who fought off four telephone bidders.
Combining Ruskin Pottery with Liberty & Co silver in a single object like this stylish Arts & Crafts ewer guarantees success in the saleroom. No surprises then at Leyland auctioneers Warren & Wignall, who took a winning bid of £2,000 from an eager London dealer. The blue and green mottled glazed pottery was unmarked and catalogued as 'possibly by Ruskin', but the partnership between William Howson Turner, who named his ware after the artist and social writer John Ruskin, and Arthur Lasenby Liberty, who opened his department store in 1875, is well documented. The stylish silver handle, assayed for Liberty & Co in Birmingham in 1900, removed any doubt. Sadly, however, it was missing its silver lid, prompting auctioneer James Warren to remark: 'otherwise it could have gone for twice that amount'.
James Lansdowne Norton began building motorcycles in Birmingham in 1898.and in 1907, a Norton ridden by Rem Fowler won its class in the first Isle of Man TT race, beginning a sporting tradition that went on until the 1960s. Norton's post war campaign in trials events got off to a false start in 1947 but after a season of extensive modification and experimentation, the factory came up with the legendary 500T. This example pictured emerged at Adam Partridge's Liverpool rooms having been found in a private collection following its owner's death. Offered with a vintage Norton helmet, various registration documents and certificates of work done, SSK 428 sold for £8,000.
The cats' whiskers
Jenny Winstanley loves cats. She and her team of artists at their Norfolk pottery have been making them for more than 40 years and each one is unique. This clowder of the creatures stole hearts in an auction at Silverwoods of Lancashire, selling for a total of £170, one of them purchased by a saleroom regular as a companion for a dear friend. She's also on the lookout for a Winstanley hare, but without luck so far.
Mitchells' Country Sporting Sales in Cockermouth are now held over two days, such is their popularity. A highlight of the April 23-24 auction is this charming carving of a pine marten and a mouse by the well known Keswick artist Richard 'Dick' Fisher (1925 to 2015), which is estimated at an affordable £50-80. Fisher, was born in Thirlmere in the Lake District and studied at the Keswick School of Industrial Art. Elected a Fellow of the Lakes Artist Society in 1952, he was also a founder member of the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team.
One of the surprise lots of the day at North Yorkshire auctioneers Tennants came with the sale of this 19th century English School miniature of a naval officer. Offered with a modest estimate, the sitter was subsequently identified during the sale viewing as Admiral Sir Henry d'Esteterre Darby KCB, who fought with Nelson and was depicted wearing the Nile Medal. The miniature sold for £5,200.
Sale dates for April
Byrne's, Chester - 1, 15, 28: Collectables & General
Capes Dunn, Stockport - 6, 20: General 7: Clocks, Carpets, Paintings 21: Northern Art
Cato Crane, Liverpool - 8: Antiques & Fine Art, Collectables
Gerrards, St Annes - 9, 30: Antiques & Fine Art
Maxwells, Stockport - 15: General, (am) Antiques,
Mitchells, Cockermouth - 2, 9, 16, 30: General 23-24: Country Sporting
Adam Partridge, Liverpool - 1: Antiques, Collectables, Maritime & Transport 23-24: The Jam Memorabilia
Adam Partridge, Macclesfield - 1: Antiques & Fine Art, Sporting, Militaria, Silver, Jewellery, Watches
Silverwoods, Clitheroe - 1, 8, 15, 22, 29: General 22: Antiques & Fine Art
Tennants, Leyburn, North Yorks - 1: Toys, Models, Sporting, Fishing 17: General with Beswick & Border Fine Arts 25: Country Antiques, Sporting Art, Jewellery, Watches, Silver
The Auction Centre, Runcorn - 15: British Toy Auctions 25: Antiques & Collectables
Warren & Wignall, Leyland - 1, 8, 22, 29: General 15: Antiques & Collectables
Warrington & Northwich Auctions, Warrington - 15, 29: Antiques, Collectables
Whittaker & Biggs, Congleton 3, 17, 24: General
Peter Wilson, Nantwich - 2: General 16: Northern Art 23: 20th Century Art & Design
1818, Milnthorpe - 1, 15, 29: General 1-2: Antiques & Fine Art 8: General, Mid Century, Retro, Contemporary, Lakeland Art 23: General, Musical Instruments & Vinyl