A collection of antique furniture, pictures and ceramics from the home of Liberal Democrat peer Lord John Lee of Trafford and his wife attracted bidders from around the globe at a collective country house auction this week.
Around 150 lots from 18th century Grade II Listed Bowdon Old Hall, Bowdon, near Altrincham formed the heart of the auction. Several lots
reflected the Armenian heritage of Lady Lee and the auction followed the family’s decision to move home. Among the star lots was a pair of late 18th century or early 19th century Turkish silver mounted wooden shoes which sold above estimate for £1,650.
Top sellers were a collection of 20th century German cameras and accessories which sold for £2,700 and a pastel portrait of ‘Nana’ by Edgar Chahine (1874-1947) which sold for £1,800.
Other leading prices included £1,000 for a French miniature silver gilt and green enamel cased timepiece, £900 each for an Erneman Anastigmat ‘Ernostar’ camera lens and an early 20th century Tabriz style carpet, £750 for a large 20th century Persian design blue ground carpet and £700 for a pair of 19th century Gothic Revival brass andirons.
Paintings sold well, with £800 paid or a Thomas Ellison (1866-1940) watercolour titled ‘Market Square’, £600 for a study of a young boy by Adolphe Joseph Thomas Monticelli (1824-’86) and £550 invested in an oil on canvas titled ‘Fishing boats by the quayside’ by Frederick William Jackson (1859-1918).
Japanese and Chinese works of art also performed well. A Japanese Satsuma pot and cover by Kozan made £480 and a Chinese famille verte style vase and matched cover sold for £400. Closer to home, an early Worcester porcelain fluted coffee can dating to 1754-’55 sold for £460 and a mid-19th century sycamore treen six section spice tower made £550.
In the furniture section, a George III mahogany serpentine sideboard sold for £1,000, a George III oak three drawer dresser base made £800, a Louis XVI style turquoise and gilt painted part bedroom suite made £750, a 19th century satinwood semi-circular fold-over card table made £620 and an early 18th century oak waterfall wall hanging open corner shelf made £600.
Heading the entries from other country houses were a 19th century boulle style and ebonised serpentine fold-over card table at £1,650, an early 18th century oyster veneered walnut chest which found a new home at £1,550, a 1770 George III carved and painted pine chimney piece from Hardwick Grange, Shropshire at £1,500 and a mid-18th century walnut veneered lowboy at £1,480.
Consigned from a deceased estate near Plymouth were two marine oil paintings by Arthur Wilde Parsons (1854-1931) – ‘Leaving Carrick Roads 1902 off St Anthony Light Falmouth’ and ‘Newquay, ship and boats in the harbour, fisherfolk on the quay’ – which sold for £1,350 and £750 respectively.
Several bidders were on the hunt for a Copeland and Garrett porcelain hound head stirrup cup, which sold for £600. A mid-19th century Baccarat Millefiori paperweight and a Victorian copper commemorative mould set by Temple and Crook weighed in at £650 each and a 20th century Chinese export lacquer box and cover, a ‘faience’ charger by Joseph-Theodore Deck (1823-’91) and an early 19th century Wedgwood blue and white foot bath sold for £500 each.
Other notable furniture prices included £600 each for an early 19th century mahogany inlaid and crossbanded serpentine sideboard and a late 19th or early 20th century restored dapple grey rocking horse and £500 for a 19th century dark stained pine linear high settle.
Senior auctioneer and valuer, Andrew Beeston described the auction as “a snapshot of country house living and interiors from the last three centuries, focusing on quality furniture, ceramics and pictures”.
He revealed that 330 online bidders from all four continents were registered, which was a record at Halls for this type of auction. More than half the lots were either bought or underbid by online bidders.
“From the volume of enquiries for two weeks prior to the auction and the number of people viewing, we had an inkling that we were going to have a good day,” he said.
“Buyers like fresh to the market items from private homes and our new format of mixed catalogue auctions is appealing to them.
“The collection from Bowdon Old Hall mirrored and enhanced the new auction format with select items from each category, which sold very well. The second half of the sale comprised entries from select country properties which had the same enthusiastic following.
“The vendors from today’s auction were delighted with the results and hopefully it will give others confidence to enter items for sale with us. The next country house auction in on July 6.”