A rare 18th century Bow porcelain model of ‘The Fortune Teller’ grabbed the headlines at our fine art auction yesterday) as it sold for £11,000.
The model by the Muses modeller after an original watercolour by Francois Boucher (1703-’70) was one of a collection of antiques from Linley Hall, near Bishop’s Castle, one of Shropshire’s most important country homes, that went under the hammer.
Bidders were not deterred by damage to one of the model’s two figures – the female having had her broken head re-glued – as bidding quickly raced away from its £1,200 pre-sale estimate.
“The Bow model was one of only 10 in the country but we gave it a modest estimate because of the damage to one of the figures, which in no way deterred the bidders,” said fine art director Jeremy Lamond. “We are delighted the excellent price achieved.”
The collection of lots from Linley Hall, which included furniture, clocks, ceramics and glassware, attracted a huge amount of interest and a series of estimate-busting results.
A Regency mahogany circular dial wall clock by ‘Arnold, 84, Strand, London’ sold for £5,000, a Sevres porcelain tray or plateau carre made £3,600, two pairs of 19th century and later mahogany bookcase or display cabinets made £1,800 and £950 and two rare 18th century Chelsea porcelain Commedia Dell’arte figures sold for £1,300.
Other leading prices from the collection were £1,700 for a 20th century shell, rock crystal, malachite and coral encrusted wall mirror by Anthony Redmile, £1,200 each for a Regency polychrome and gesso landscape mirror and a George III mahogany scroll end windows seat and £950 for a George III wax portrait relief bust of a gentleman.
Ceramics from Linley Hall were keenly contested as a pair of Bow bird porcelain bocage groups and a pair of Derby porcelain squirrels sold for £1,000 each while a set of four 18th century Derby figures representing the ‘Four Seasons’ made £900.
Two early 19th century twin-handled joke cups from Linley Hall, which carried the name ‘John Mytton of Halston’, otherwise known as outrageous Shropshire aristocrat ‘Mad Jack Mytton’, were keenly contested to £640. The interior of each cup had a crouching frog, which would have been revealed to the surprise of the drinker as the contents were consumed.
Elsewhere in the saleroom, a rare full set of 11 Wilkinson Toby Jugs made in tribute to First World War Allied Commanders sold for £6,000 to the delight of a Shropshire vendor. Issued in limited editions from 1915-’19, the highly collectable Toby Jugs were designed by Sir Francis Carruthers Gould (1844-1920), one of the most famous political cartoonists of his time.
An ornate Victorian oak clock back pedestal sideboard bearing the crest of former Shrewsbury MP, Mayor and surgeon William Clement raced away from its estimate to sell for £5,500 while a bronze of a leopard by South African sculptor Dylan Lewis found a new home for £5,000, an 18th century pearlware model of a lion by Ralph Wood made £2,200 and a 19th century ormolu, malachite and ivory chess board and ivory chess set made £1,400.
Stars of 35 lots of Caughley porcelain on offer were a rare sparrow beak jug at £900, rare ice cups at £800 and £600, a robin’s beak jug at £700.
In the furniture section, a large Regency mahogany serving table sold for £1,800, two Florentine style carved and pierced wood panels made £1,750, a 19th century Boulle style ebonised side cabinet made £1,400, a satinwood and marquetry bedroom suite made £1,250 and an 18th century continental carved oak panel depicting an triumphant battle scene made £1,050.
Mr Lamond said the Antique, Design and Contemporary auction, a new format introduced by Halls this year, had proved very successful and underlined the company’s ability to sell Shropshire country house collections to the best advantage within the county and to a global audience.