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Hammer Highlights | March ’24

March 26, 2024

Our new saleroom came to life on Saturday, set with a wild profusion of delightful artworks and the sound of a busy hammer. Ronan Brown, our auctioneer, was kept busy with bids both in the room and those joining the fray via the internet.

The silver section proved to be very popular, and the first quarry to be hunted down with enthusiasm, Lot 27, a particularly splendid and large silver fox, a very carefully cast and naturalistically posed beast, with beady glass eyes watching on. The estimate was quickly outfoxed to sell for nearly four times expectations at £1800 (including Buyers Premium)

The majority of silver was sold well, including a lovely tea caddy, in original unaltered condition, a rare survival. At 233 years old it was still in excellent shape and buyers liked it too, selling above estimate at nearly £700.

The art section was led by a charming Scottish Impressionist painting by Sir William McTaggart, absolutely a classic example of his work. Three children rest above the coast on a hot midsummer day. The canvas was perhaps quite dirty after years in a large Scottish Borders home, and with a clean it was thought likely to bring the colours back out. In any event this sold for £4500, despite the need for some restorative work.

Other pictures included two fine limited edition lithographs by Henry Moore of elephant heads. These quickly sold online to a collector, both above estimate at £900 each (with buyers premium).

A personal favourite in this sale was Lot 137, an amazing Japanese Shibayama Scholars cabinet, probably made for a lady, as the two pairs of Hōō birds are usually used to represent the female. Perhaps another ‘male’ cabinet is out there, set with masculine Dragons? In any event the decoration was extraordinary. The cabinet makers would have taken days to inset the marquetry pieces and blow real gold dust into the lacquered surface. The overall effect was wonderful and we were delighted others thought so too. The cabinet sold well above estimate for a pleasing £1800.

Despite her seat being a little damaged, a lovely marble sculpture of the Greek poet Sappho found many admirers on the day. Thankfully the damage has been well restored and the figure itself remained in good overall condition. Modelled after a famous painting by John William Godward she will now find a new home to watch over. The estimate was quickly overcome and she sold for nearly £2000, a great result considering the previous damage.

Strong results amongst the jewellery lots, which included a lovely Art Deco diamond and enamel ‘Jockey’ brooch. These were hugely popular amongst affluent racegoers in the 1920’s and many examples appear at auction. This was a particularly nicely modelled example and it soon raced away for nearly £2200. Watches, as ever, remain very strongly contested and this sale was led by a lovely gold Omega deluxe Constellation automatic chronograph, a classic from the mid sixties and always sought after by collectors. This one doubled our estimate at nearly £2700.

Furniture was led by a wonderful George III serving table, with a graceful clean serpentine shaped top and nicely fluted legs. A lovely design perhaps hampered by its sheer size. Few houses have the spare space for such a large but elegant beast. Nonetheless the table doubled our valuers estimate at £2400 (including Buyers Premium).

Hopefully this will be the first of many Fine sales at our new salerooms. It’s worth coming along just to see the view. We may be hidden in a lovely Scottish Borders glen, but the trip will be worth it, and we always have coffee available for intrepid travellers. Do of course get in touch if you would like us to value items for our next Fine Arts and Collectors sale in the summer, or for one of our monthly Antiques and General Household Furnishings sales which often turn up a surprise or two.

Please note, we will not be holding a Second Chance Auction this month.  For those coming to collect items please use our postcode (TD9 8JE) or what3words://outbursts.juggle.hammocks

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