Chippendale to Hiroshige at Wessex Auction Rooms

Jan 14, 2020

The atmosphere at Wessex Auction Rooms final Antiques, Collectables and Furniture Auction of 2019 was one of sheer joy. The general public were continuously plied with mulled wine and mince pies throughout the day and with clients bringing in homemade goodies to share out, there was a real party feeling.

The highlight of the day was a beautiful George III mahogany chest of four draws with brushing slide, raised on bracket feet with brass handles. The craftsmanship was superb and the recess to the feet very much in the manner of Chippendale. While most brown furniture is out of fashion, small good quality, useable pieces of brown furniture are desirable and still make the money. Of lovely small proportions and in superb condition this chest of drawers sold, following an intense bidding battle, for £3,400 to a telephone bidder. “What I really liked about this piece” comments Tim Weeks, Director at Wessex Auction Rooms “is that it would suit almost any home. It’s not an intrusive piece of furniture and yet it screams quality and would look just as amazing in a modern new build as it would in an 18th century cottage”.

A rare complete set of Japanese woodblock prints saw lots of pre-sale interest. The collection, known as “The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō” were created by Utagawa Hiroshige, inspired by his travels along the Tōkaidō in 1832. The Tōkaidō road linking Edo with Kyōto, was the main travel route through old Japan and the most important of the Five Roads. Hiroshige travelled the full route from Edo to Kyōto and the landscapes made such an impression on him that he created numerous sketches en route and upon his return home began work on what became fifty-five images: one for each station plus a starting and ending point. The success of The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō established Hiroshige as a prominent and successful printmaker. “Our set has been well looked after” explains Izzie Balmer, Auctioneer and Head Valuer “and as a bound collection the pictures haven’t faded through sunlight exposure and have retained their original vibrant colours. They were as fresh as the day they were made and a glimpse into history, seeing with our eyes what Japanese people saw 150 years ago.” The collection at Wessex Auction Rooms sold for £1,400.

Victorian microscopes and scientific equipment are always popular and a Husbands of Bristol Victorian microscope with accompanying mahogany miniature glass slide drawers saw strong competition, selling against a conservative estimate for £1,300. Henry Husbands and William Clarke owned an opticians and scientific instruments shop in Bristol from 1858 to 1870, which operated solely as Husbands following this until the early 20th century. They were the main suppliers of scientific instruments to the Bristol area. The microscope saw lots of local interest but sold to an online bidder.

A David Tindle oil on board depicting an industrial abstract landscape in a muted brown colour palette sold for £750. David Tindle RA was born in 1932 in Yorkshire and studied at the Coventry School or Art. Tindle mostly focuses on small intimate domestic subjects and his artwork possess a quiet perceptiveness. His works can be seen in the Tate’s permanent collection as well as the National Portrait Gallery.

A Victorian enamelled pearl set carnelian cameo brooch sold for £620. Apart from a few chips to the enamel, the brooch was in lovely condition. The carnelian cameo depicted a Grecian lady with a surround of seed pearls. “Cameo brooches were extremely popular during the Victorian period and saw a revival in the mid 20th century” notes Izzie. “It’s unusual to see a cameo carved out of carnelian, usually they’re carved out of shell. This cameo was of such beautiful quality. The addition of the enamel and the seed pearls added an extra level of luxury to this already lovely brooch.”

A large Walker & Hall silver three light candelabrum with traditional foliate scroll and acanthus leaf decoration sold to the room for £400. As a statement centrepiece it was no surprise in the run-up to Christmas that the 1920s candelabrum saw such interest. A large George V silver salver saw a rapid bidding battle and sold for £400. Raised on four feet with a Chippendale border the centre was plain polished without presentation inscription. So often salvers have personalised inscriptions, this plain example sold above its top estimate with the lack of engraving proving too tempting for some.

A mid 20th century Lalique Six Figurines Decanter, signed R Lalique sold for £650. The most valuable Lalique is that of Rene Lalique himself. He died in 1945 and his son, Marc, took over the business and incorporated lead glass into the production. Lalique Figurine patterns are amongst the most desired and the carafe-shaped decanter had moulded sepia panels depicting raised nude female figures. Standing 35cm tall and complete with stopper, it was, importantly, in perfect condition.