Tributes As Loseley Saleroom Sells Its Last Lot
Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers Merger Sees Auctions Move To Ewbank’s Existing Saleroom At Send
Well-wishers turned out in force for the final auction at the old Clarke Gammon Wellers fine art saleroom at the Sussex Barn, Loseley Park, Guildford on Tuesday April 28 and marked the occasion by buying virtually everything that was on offer.
It was a poignant moment for staff at the long-established saleroom, a fact underlined in a brief address before the sale by auctioneer Chris Ewbank. He will take the firm forward under the new banner of Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers, following a merger of the fine art auction business with his firm on April 1. All future sales will be held at the saleroom at Burnt Common, Send adjoining the A3. No redundancies were caused by the merger and Clarke Gammon Wellers property business is unaffected by the changes.
In a tribute to the former Bedford Road and Loseley saleroom’s long time principal the late Brian Clarke, and its staff past and present, Mr Ewbank said that he and his new partner Tony Jamieson of Clarke Gammon Wellers would continue to offer a technologically based professional auction service to clients old and new. He added that the new antiques and fine art auction business will, under his leadership, be the largest and most influential in the county.
Despite these cautious times, bidders spent readily in the sale, notably on a good selection of jewellery, which produced many of the top lots. Mirroring a trend seen across the country, it appears that precious metals and gemstones are being purchased as an alternative to putting money into banks and shares.
A diamond and jade-set ring estimated at £500-800, sold for a surprising £5,000, while an Art Deco emerald and diamond example overturned a low estimate to sell for £1,600; a three stone diamond ring, estimated at £400-600, sold for £1,400 and a three-stone diamond and sapphire ring, estimated at £600-900, sold for £1,150.
Silver was also in demand with an early 20th century Chinese tea service selling for £1,100 against an estimate of £500-800. It weighed a total of 78 ounces and comprised 10 each of spoons, dishes, goblets and stands each with a shell-shaped bowl, four divided dishes and two bowls. A Victorian four-piece tea and coffee service by London silversmiths Garrards, each piece chased with fluting and engraved with stylised foliage, sold on top estimate for £1,000. Bearing assay marks for 1855, 1856 and 1877, the service had a gross weight of 68 ounces and came in a fitted oak box.
In furniture, a smart 18th century Dutch inlaid walnut bombé chest of four drawers sold for £1,300 against an estimate of £500-800 and a pair of elegant George II walnut side chairs with shaped backs and cabriole legs terminating in claw and ball feet sold for £1,100, again a multiple of the pre-sale estimate.
In oil paintings, a portrait of the Madonna del Cardelline, or Madonna of the Goldfinch, after the masterpiece circa 1505 by Raphael now in the Uffizi in Florence, sold for £1,500. The picture, which was in its original carved giltwood Florentine frame, depicted the Madonna holding a book to siggnify her wisdom, while at her knee were the figures of the Christ child and the young John the Baptist who held a goldfinch, the symbol of Christ’s brutal death.
In ceramics, a large 19th century Chinese export Canton punchbowl decorated in famille verte colours with figures, birds and foliage sold for £400, while two Georgian pearlware busts only seven inches high of the 18th century philosophers Voltaire and Rousseau sold together for £550, the same price as a brightly coloured Art Deco conical bowl by Clarice Cliff.
Oriental works of art included a Japanese circular lacquered dish decorated with four fighting toads carved in ivory and mother of pearl which sold for £460, while among okimono, the name given to carved oriental ivory, was an amusing group of monkeys and a winged beast, the base with a grotesque mask, which sold for £550 and another carved with figures and birds sheltering under a tree, which sold for £400. Both exceeded their pre-sale estimates.
Pick of the collectors’ items was an unusual penknife, with a mother of pearl handle carved with a standing figure of Napoleon. Its leather sheath was inscribed “Boiven 1815”, indicating that it might have belonged to a French prisoner of the Napoleonic Wars. It was estimated at £80-120 but sold for £370.
With the move to Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers’ existing premises at Send imminent, the next fine art and antiques sale will be held there on June 24 and entries are now being accepted. Regular general auctions are also held at Send and the next two sales will be on May 20 and June 3. For further information, please contact the auctioneers on 01483 223101 or by email at email@example.com
Full information on buying and selling antiques by auction can be found on their web-site www.ewbankauctions.co.uk