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Hammer Highlights | June 2024

June 24, 2024
MICHELANGELO MAESTRI, Italian (1802-1812), Allegorical Classical figures for 'Peace & War'; 'Wisdom & Knowledge'

Flaming June seems to have finally arrived and sunshine and a flurry of bidding lit up our new saleroom on Saturday.

A clear winner on the day was a lovely sun dappled painting of Italy by the Modern British master of landscape Algernon Newton, RA. Lot 153 “Mountain Country” may have been a small work, but its simplicity and gentle tones were typical of the artist.

Clearly a number of bidders were waiting to pounce on the lot, jumping in together at the last second, forcing the hammer price back up to fall satisfyingly mid estimate at nearly £5300 (including Buyers Premium). A great result for a small work discovered lost in a country house basement. It just goes to show it is worth checking such items with an expert, what one person might disregard, may be treasure to another!

Another landscape success this week deservedly sold far above our valuer’s expectations. A lovely tree lined avenue of statuesque beech trees on the banks of Loch Fine. A small figure on the track revealing how small humanity is when set against nature. This winter oil painting was created by George Houston, a Scottish master of landscape who has seen his prices fall back in recent years, so it was lovely to see such demand. Lot 144 sold for £2000 (including Buyers Premium), well above the £500-700 estimate.

Other successes included Lot 145, a rare pair of gouache paintings by Michelangelo Maestri, based on the murals discovered at Pompeii and the Renaissance works of Raphael. Allegorical figures of the Gods and Goddesses Athena, Apollo, Ares and Eirene. An unusual discovery today, but popular in the 19th century as ‘Grand Tour’ keepsakes. The pair sold for nearly £1700 (including Buyers Premium).

Lot 96 was a strange and wonderful beast. A hugely tall wall mounted clock designed by that local artist in wood Tim Stead, who lived nearby in Galashiels. This complex timepiece, where the clock face was cleverly suspended below the swaying pendulum attracted much discussion with buyers. Not the easiest item to accommodate, needing about 3.5 metres of wall to hold it! It was hard to know what it might make on sale day, as few pieces by the artist have sold at auction, however it was snapped up by a collector for £1200 (including Buyers Premium) and I wish them luck with the jigsaw to reconstruct it!

As usual we have a good group of silver and jewellery in the sale. Notable was Lot 93 and rather splendid Scottish made bracelet, with five different coloured polished stone cabochons with a chain linked bracelet. It was chased over estimate to £450 (including Buyers Premium).

We had our first large collection of vintage cameras in this Fine Art & Collectors’ Auction. Every lot from the numerous group was sold, including a rare Komamura Horseman VH-R Field/Press Camera, which was so devilishly complicated to operate it’s a mystery to me how a press man would ever had used it in the field and catch that vital shot! Overall the group sold pleasingly well and do let us know if you have other similar collection you might like included.

We also had a successful auction of whisky, wine and port, where every lot found a buyer on the day, including a fine case of Churchill’s 1985 vintage port, which sold on the button at £360 (including Buyers Premium)

We are of course delighted to provide free action valuations now for our next Fine Art & Collectors’ sale, or indeed for any of our regular auctions. Do get in touch to speak to one of our friendly team.

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