Antique Carvings Rescued From Spanish Chapel In Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers’ September Sale
Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers September Sale
Antique carved wooden figures and architectural columns believed to have been rescued from a Spanish chapel will add colour to the September sale of fine art at Surrey’s premier auctioneers Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers.
Consigned to the sale by a private Surrey individual, the religious artefacts were acquired by him when he purchased a residential property in Spain about 25 years ago. They had been feature pieces in the interior design of the home, having been purchased originally from a Spanish antiquities dealer. It is believed they had been rescued from a chapel in Barcelona.
Viewers of the ITV programme Trash to Treasure, which charts the fortunes of two firms of salvage hunters, will know how rare architectural antiques are highly sought after by today’s collectors, builders and interior decorators. Unique objects with interesting provenance always sell for a premium.
Most imposing among the 10 lots from the Spanish property is a pair of 17th century carved wood gilt and painted columns which stand five feet tall. Each is carved in a spiral form and decorated with applied and painted cherubs, birds, vines and bunches of grapes, terminating with acanthus and scroll decoration. The pair is estimated at £8,000-12,000.
One of the more unusual pieces is a 17th century carved wood figure of Saint Roche or Roque, who lived from about 1348-1379. A colourful figure, he is apparently the patron saint of bachelors, diseased cattle, dogs, falsely accused people, invalids, surgeons, tile-makers, gravediggers, pilgrims, apothecaries and fittingly second-hand dealers.
The figure is carved holding a staff, with characteristic wound on his left thigh, a dog carrying a loaf of bread in its mouth at his feet and putto carrying a wine flask. Each is symbolic of his life.
Born in France, Roche’s parents died when he was 20, whereupon he distributed all his worldly goods among the poor and set off on a pilgrimage to Rome. He arrived during an epidemic of the plague and tended the sick in the public hospitals where he is said to have effected many miraculous cures by prayer.
He finally fell ill himself and was expelled. He fled into the forest where he made himself a hut of boughs and leaves, which was miraculously supplied with water by a spring that began to run alongside it. He would have perished had it not been for a dog that brought him bread and licked his wounds, healing them. On his return to France he was arrested as a spy and thrown into prison, where he died, later to be canonised when his true identity was revealed. The figure is estimated at £2,000-3,000.
The collection is expected to raise a total in excess of £20,000. It also includes carvings of the Virgin Mary (estimate £4,000-6,000); the baby Jesus with naturalistic hair and glass eyes (£800-1,200) and a musician with flowing hair (£2,000-3,000).
An 18th century carved full length figure of Christ, painted in white and cream in elaborately decorated long robes with scrolling decoration holding an orb in his left hand with his right hand raised and fore and middlefingers bound is estimated at £3,000-5,000, while a 17th century carved wood panel depicting Christ flanked by cherubs with painted and gilt decoration of flowers scrolls and foliage is estimated at £2,000-3,000.
A small wax figure of the Virgin Mary in embroidered dress and robe, with the Christ Child under the robe at her feet is estimated at £100-200. The figure stands on an ebonised base under glass dome.
Entries are now invited for sales of Victorian and later furniture and effects at Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers on August 15 and 29 and for the autumn auction of fine art, antiques and collectors’ items for the September sale. For further information, please contact the auctioneer on 01483 223101 or email@example.com.