February Hammer Highlights

Victorian splendour trumps Immortality!


The first auction of the year encouragingly shows that fine furniture can still shine. A very fine credenza, with strong kingwood and satinwood veneers and ornately decorated with finely cast ormolu figures, was contested both online and in the saleroom to sell for for £2,200 including Buyers Premium. This is a pleasing result for a large piece that in recent years has often been considered a tricky piece of furniture to sell and accommodate. We hope it goes on to grace a fine Scottish drawing room for many years to come. (Lot 189)

Favourite with the valuer in this sale, a wonderous Japanese vision of Immortality in the form of a huge and timeless White Pine about which a parliament of Red Crowned Cranes gather. Depicting the home of the Japanese ‘Seven Lucky Gods’, these mythical figures were in fact a blend of Buddhism, Taoism, and crossed continents from India to China and Japan where stories very much intertwine. The silk backed painting, probably originally in scroll form was popularly sought and sold above estimate for £1,000 including premium. (Lot 83)

Highlighted in this month’s paintings section was an early studio nude portrait by Earl Haig, an important 20th century juggernaut of Scottish Art. He had two studios at his home nearby to the saleroom at Bemersyde and was prolific and varied in his output. This recently re-discovered painting, exhibited in the well-regarded annual exhibition at the Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh in 1968, the same year it was painted, has a strong personality and simple honesty. Selling above estimate for £500 including buyer’s premium. (Lot 84)

With a 92% sale rate on the day, it again demonstrated that a varied and eclectic range of items in our regular Antiques & Collectables auctions is both a popular and effective place to buy and sell. Silver and smaller works of art continue to outperform with very strong bidding from the internet and interest from as far as Australia and the USA.

Our newly strengthened valuation and cataloguing team are here to help you. We aim to be a fine regional saleroom with a Worldwide reach and perspective and your first choice for an excellent service.

We are now collecting for our monthly and specialist auctions. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss your requirements. Don’t forget we offer complimentary collections* in the Borders, Edinburgh and Northumberland with our removal team are on hand to assist with more complex moves and house clearances.

Forthcoming Auctions:

12th March – Antiques & Collectables
Consignment Deadline 2nd March

9th April – Antiques & Collectables
Consignment Deadline 31st March

14th May – Antiques & Collectables
Consignment Deadline 4th May


Angus’ Highlights | February 2022

For the first sale of 2022 we can offer you immortality! Not only that, a Grand Tour around the World, taking in France, Germany, China and the wild landscapes of Japan. If you prefer to stay at home, we have a trip to Leeds, London and enjoy much that the Scottish Borders has to offer.

This month we start in Japan. Lot 83 is an extraordinary vision of the world of the Immortals. An Edo period (mid 18th century) landscape centred by a huge White Pine, backed by mountains, and thronging with hundreds of red crowned cranes, long a symbol of luck longevity and fidelity. They were believed to live for one thousand years and reside alongside the Immortals of Japanese legend. The painting on silk is unusually bold and it is a rare an unusual staging, with a single and impressive tree. If any Japanese speakers can decipher the text, clearly both a signature and perhaps a verse we would love to hear from you. This large painting would uplift any hall, or dining room.

Japanese painting of tree and red crowned cranes on silk

In 1900 an unfortunate young woman was discovered in the river Seine, her much publicised death was perhaps a little strangely remembered, because she apparently looked so much at peace. The mask was popular amongst the avant guard artists of the period and could be found gracing many a studio wall. Lot 8 is a good example of ‘L’Inconnue de la Seine’ and we hope it finds a peaceful wall to grace.

L’Inconnue de la Seine mask

Bold, elegant and beautifully built, we can offer you a wonderful example of High Victorian furniture making. Lot 189 is a splendid example of an inverted breakfront display cabinet, with high quality veneers of exotic timber from overseas, and further lifted by lovely ormolu Classical corner mount depicting joyful ladies playing cymbals and similar. The mirrored base and back is designed to show off whatever treasures are set upon it. Almost certainly made by one of the better London makers and complimented by a substantial highly coloured piece of Italian ‘Crema Valencia’ type marble. This cabinet would be a wonderful highlight in any drawing room.

Victorian display cabinet

If you enjoy supporting local artists, we can recommend taking a closer look at the art of Angela Lemaire. She has long been associated with her bold woodcut prints, often influenced by well known literature. We have a small selection to offer this month, including a dramatic chess match, taken from ‘The Seventh Seal’, the 1957 tour de force film by Ingmar Bergman. Also available are several paintings and we particularly like the joyful watercolour of Columbine, the paramour of Harlequin in the Commedia Dell’Arte.

This month’s auction has much to offer both collectors and somebody just looking to set up home. Don’t overlook the amazingly good value furnishings we have available, including a very stylish 1970’s bedroom suite, well built to last, carefully selected timber, and increasingly sought after, yet astonishingly good value when compared with modern chipboard based furnishings from a well known household store.

The last item to highlight this month is a ravishingly attractive portrait of a Pharaoh. Leeds Art Pottery, in this case, signed by Webb & Co., (later became known as Burmantofts), and in the late 19th century created some extraordinary glazed ceramics as art pieces. Lot 52 is a very rare example and has truly luscious glazes in creamy brown and jade, the relief portrait head is strong and imposing. It deserves a royally commanding bid on sale-day!

Online bidding is now open with the live auction starting at 10am on Saturday 12 February.  Call 01835 863445 or email info@brownsasr.co.uk to leave a commission bid or to arrange a phone bid.  Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you on the day.

Viewing available from 9 – 11 February between 10am – 5pm.