Asian Art section tops the sale


Spring 2019 Fine Art Sale Report

01568 611122

Asian Art section tops the sale

Jiminy Cricket! Buyers flock to bid on a magnificent collection of Chinese cricket cages…

Brightwells Spring Fine Art two-day sale followed three days of hectic viewing, plus numerous requests for condition reports from absentees all over the globe, particularly for the Asian section.

Buyers were queuing up to bid on the magnificent collection of Chinese cricket cages. All 12 found buyers for hammer prices well in excess of their presale values. Formed from specially grown gourds surmounted with carved ivory lids, these delightful 4-inch high containers were produced by monopoly in the Forbidden City to house singing and fighting crickets. Despite one or two condition issues, the collection sold for a total hammer of £52,800. An exquisite example with the lid carved and pierced with lotus flowers achieved the top price of £8,000.

From another private collection, a group of jade carvings were featured, with two beautiful examples in the Ming-style, a recumbent buffalo and a carving of the immortal Li Tieguai, realising £10,500 and £5,600 respectively. A wireless cloisonné box by the highly collectible artist Namikawa Sosuke doubled its estimate to fetch a pleasing £2,000, despite some damage & the challenging market for Japanese works of art.

The popularity of Republic period porcelain continues amongst Chinese buyers in particular, as demonstrated by the £5,200 paid for a hardwood mounted porcelain table screen decorated en grisaille, and depicting figures in a garden.

Lastly, a collection of charming mid-Victorian South Indian painted wooden figurines of artisans, peddlers, men and women in regional dress etc. were keenly contested. Most had condition issues as could be expected from such delicate models, nevertheless 14 lots sold for a total hammer of £4,490.

Oil paintings, prints and watercolours in all categories were in strong demand, with very few unsold. £5,000 was paid by a private buyer from Lincolnshire for a fine oil on panel by Thomas Sidney Cooper, which depicted farm animals in a meadow. It had originally been purchased in 1914 from Frost & Reed for £135, and had remained in the vendor’s family since. Another painting from the same source was Edmund Blair Leighton’s 1901 work titled ‘In a garden’. It depicted a young lady in a doorway proceeding out into a Garden. Originally purchased for £36 5/- in 1927 from the Bristol dealers Frost & Reed, it sold for £3,000 to a buyer from the USA.

Twentieth century paintings in the auction included works by Alfred Wolmark, Rodrigo Moynihan, Michael Ayrton and Harry Morley. A 1923 work by the latter artist depicting the mythological subject of ‘Hylas and the Nymphs’, sold for £2,200 to a private buyer.

The silver section contained an eclectic mix of collector’s items, sets of cutlery & tea services etc. Highest price of £1,600 was paid by a private collector for a George II silver Quart Tankard with domed lid, which considering its age was in good clean condition & without any later embellishments. Two sets of king’s pattern cutlery realised £1,300 and £1,000 respectively, and a fine quality Victorian tea and coffee service with floral and leafage engraving, hallmarked London 1878, sold to a private buyer for £950.

The small coin section saw an almost total clearance, with especially strong demand for the gold Roman issues. Highlight of the section was the Gold Pope “John XXIII” Medallion - Limited Edition with certificate, which sold to an absent overseas buyer for £2,200.

Within jewellery, pocket & wrist watches were again keenly sought after; an 18ct gold half hunter Pocket Watch reached £1,050, an 18k gold cased Pocket Watch sold for £950, as did an Edwardian Half Hunter Pocket Watch, and a Gentleman's Omega Quartz Wristwatch sold for top estimate at £1,200.

Highlights of the metalware section include a bronze in the manner of Ganu Gantcheff, which doubled estimate at £1,300 and a CIJ Alfa Romeo P2 tinplate Clockwork Racing Car, in beautiful condition sold above top estimate at £5,200.

There were some hefty pieces in the garden section, including stone troughs, staddle stones, tables and ornaments. Leading the way was the £750 paid for large rectangular trough measuring 3ft 8in x 2ft 7in, but in exceptional condition. A large pair of spheres sold for £440 and the better pair of staddle stones realised £380.

The large furniture section saw another tranche of mainly oak furniture from a deceased estate, and this collection produced the highest price. A private telephone bidder paid £2,700 for the last lot of the day, an impressive 19th Century oak Library Bookcase, measuring a substantial 8ft wide by 8ft 2in high. The same purchaser also bought the previous lot, a smaller, similar bookcase for £850. Other four figure sums include; £1,950 paid for a fine quality Chippendale style mahogany framed Settee, £1,750 was paid by a local private buyer for a fine quality reproduction walnut four poster bed and the same price secured an early 18th Century walnut double dome top bureau bookcase.

One of the surprises of the section was the £1,700 paid for a small French marquetry circular occasional table, of no great age, but very decorative. A local private buyer, with Dutch connections, parted with £1,400 to secure a Dutch marquetry display cabinet of unusually small proportions, and also of smaller than normal dimensions, a mahogany chest on chest found a new home at £1,250.

Entries are now being accepted for our next two-day sale which falls on the 24th & 25th July 2019. If you would like a free auction valuation, either in our saleroom or your home, please contact our specialists on 01568 611122 to make an appointment.