Recent years have seen the demise of the house sale owing to a number of considerations, not least the lack of suitable properties coming onto the market. While it was impossible to hold the sale of Ryelands Farm, Taynton, Gloucestershire on the premises, the house contents were of impeccable provenance and quality, resulting in a magnificent sale at Chorley’s on Thursday 22nd October 2009.
The collection of the late Captain Wilson comprised exactly the sort of fresh to the market, stylish pieces that appeal to anybody trying to create the classic country house look. Typical of this was a group of Snaffles prints, most of which exceeded their upper estimates. The section was led by ‘Great Banks’ (lot 23), a classic hunting scene which leapt to £920. Snaffles sent Christmas cards every year bearing amusing hand coloured hunting scenes and while small, those offered for sale all performed strongly; one simply showing a running fox (lot 32) with a quote beneath was eventually knocked down at £440, showing the enduring popularity of sporting art at auction. Similarly a watercolour view of the Cotswold Hunt above Foxhill Inn (lot 66) made £1,300.
A delightful painting of two whippets by John Frederick Herring Senior (lot 114) saw a great deal of interest from dog lovers. Set in a stable, it is typical of Herring’s smaller scale works and found a new home at £13,500. Another painting from Ryelands Farm that generated a lot of interest was attributed to Enoch Seeman (lot 117) and was not only delicately painted but had the benefit of depicting a very good looking young boy in a fantastically decorative costume. Estimated at £4,000-6,000 it went on to fetch £7,500.Image Lot 117,Attributed to Enoch Seeman, A Young Man, oil on canvas
The furniture at Ryelands Farm was typical of that which filled the genteel homes of post-war Britain. It is increasingly rare to find homes furnished in this fashion and the prices were an accurate reflection of the market as a whole. The better items fetched strong prices but there were several bargains to be had among the Victorian and more everyday furniture. A rosewood sofa table with attractive brass inlays (lot 571) fetched £2,200; a pair of 19th century Italian occasional tables (lot 576) with beautifully inlaid tops reached £3,800 and a pair of 18th century open armchairs (lot 598) made £3,000.
Other properties yielded some strong results. Among the watercolours was an intricately painted Orientalist scene by Carl Werner (lot 99). Purchased recently by the vendor at a local saleroom where it was catalogued as a print, he brought it to Chorley’s as he felt it might be a watercolour. This was confirmed and it was entered for sale at £2,000-3,000. Pre-sale interest led the auctioneers to believe it would exceed this and it did in style, eventually getting away at £11,000. Not a bad return on £200!
Among several strong prices in the oil paintings was a satisfactory £12,000 for ‘Little Bo Peep’, a typical work by Sophie Anderson (lot 131) showing a pretty young girl who may have been the artist’s daughter.
The miniatures were led by a tiny enamelled portrait of George IV as Prince Regent (lot 162). Painted by Henry Bone, similar versions were given by the prince to his friends, relations and mistresses. This one certainly appealed at £3,800.
A good single owner collection of Moorcroft pottery saw competitive bidding throughout, the star being a Florian Ware vase (lot 184) decorated daffodils at £2,100.
A select Arts and Crafts section had some good prices, notably an oak blanket box by Stanley Webb Davies (lot 456) which found a buyer at £1,900. A small group of items by Alec Miller were consigned by a vendor in Scotland who wanted to use an auctioneer with a proven track record and located in Cotswold Arts and Crafts country. A painted plaster cast of ‘Alastair’, Miller’s son (lot 467), realised £650, justifying the vendor’s decision to consign south of the border.
The day’s highlight came from a local vendor and was certainly unusual. A silver wine jug modelled as a kangaroo (lot 335) and dating from 1882 was always bound to generate interest from the antipodes. Sure enough, all the telephone lines were booked out and a hushed saleroom saw the bidding hop to a stunning £24,000. All in all, it was a highly successful sale across all categories with 63 lots realising in excess of £1,000 which confirms Chorley’s reputation as the pre-eminent saleroom for top-end antiques in the Cotswolds.
For further information regarding the sale please contact Thomas Jenner-Fust on 01452 344499.
The next sale at Chorley’s is on Thursday 10th December 2009.
Prinknash Abbey Park, Gloucestershire, GL4 8EX
Telephone 01452 344499