1. George IV Mahogany Dining Table – £7,200
The latest sale at Aldridges of Bath included this beautiful George IV period mahogany extendable dining table. In particular, he retains the label of cabinetmaker for Joseph Bexfield, Norwich.
Bexfield, who worked in a family business as a cabinet maker, upholsterer and mahogany merchant in Pottergate Street deserves a number of mentions in local business directories and newspaper advertisements from around 1810-38.
The online directory of British and Irish furniture makers registers an advertisement in the Norfolk Chronicle February 24, 1831 in which he invites the public to inspect “a set of tables in Norfolk Variegate Oak, which he had the honor of designing and executing for His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, and which will remain at his warehouses for a few days before being transferred to Kensington Palace”.
In an advertisement from Norwick Mercury on July 5, 1834, he lists his stock of “sideboards, dining tables, toilets, cards, Pembroke and other tables, sofas, chairs, heads, cupboards, glasses, etc., and a general assortment of furnishing goods [sic].”
However, the business closed in 1838.
The table offered at Bath was a fine example of this type with eight tapered turned and fluted legs on brass castors, a patented winding mechanism and three additional leaves which bring it to 10 feet (4 m) long.
Estimated between £800 and £1,200 at the July 26 auction, it sold to an online bidder via thesaleroom.com for £7,200.
2. Gamda Armored Car Toy – £1200
Special Auctions Services in Newbury recently sold John Garside’s collection. A real estate agent by profession, he organized the Windsor Toy Fair for several years for the Maidenhead Static Model Club. His collection focused on some of the smaller die-casting and tinplate factories that are often overlooked by toy collectors.
High prices have been paid for a series of toys by the Gamda toy brand – a company that operated in Israel in the 1960s (the name means “dwarf” or “dwarf” in Hebrew). The project was openly nationalist and the name Sabra (the word for cactus means an Israeli Jew born anywhere in the historic land of Palestine) was applied to the mid-1960s die-cast line of primarily American cars.
A series of military vehicles included models with United Nations decals or those of the Israeli Army and Israel Defense Forces. Some were redesigns of European toys, but most appear to have been original productions.
Gamda toys have a small but dedicated following. Pictured is a rare armored car from the Israel Army Toys series in its original box. Estimated between £80 and £120 at the July 26 auction, it went for £1,200.
3. ‘Hundred Boys’ Chinese Vase – £38,000
The famille rose vases decorated with scenes from the “Hundred Boys” are among the most commercial of all Qing ceramics. These scenes of young Chinese men carrying auspicious objects and playing games grant the wishes of a large family of healthy and talented sons.
The 10-inch (25 cm) example offered by Kinghams (23% buyer’s premium) at Moreton-In-Marsh on July 29 dates from the Daoguang period (1821-1850). It was discovered during a routine valuation day on Tuesday, brought by a private client who had inherited it.
Adding to its appeal was the Shende Tang Zhi mark in iron red at the base, a “hall” mark associated with a range of fine porcelains, renowned for their delicacy, made for the Hall for the Cultivation of Virtue, a residence of favorite of the Daoguang Emperor.
The vase was openly in poor condition – it had been broken and simply repaired – so it wouldn’t command the six-figure sums that the best of these pieces can do. However, with five phones reserved and plenty of online bidders, it topped the £800-1,200 estimate to sell for £38,000 to a UK-based Chinese collector.
4. Chalice Ramsden and Carr – £1600
This Edwardian Arts & Crafts manual planned the silver chalice by Omar Ramsden and fellow Sheffield-born designer Alwyn Carr is of additional interest for its inscription. In addition to the legend at the base Ramsden and Carr Me Fecerunt it is engraved on the rim I was forged for Henry S Tuke in 1905.
This connection to one of the greatest of the Newlyn School and English Impressionism widened its appeal when it went on sale at Gorringe’s in Lewes on August 1. Estimated at £600-800, it took £1600. Henry Scott Tuke’s diary from March 1899 to December 1905 survives at the Tate and can be researched online. It may well be that somewhere among its 196 pages this chalice is mentioned.
5. Bridget Riley Screen Print – £11,000
Arnold Root, recipient of a scholarship from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, was strongly committed to the philosophy of saving and repairing British buildings. He worked at English Heritage for 22 years, later running a small architectural practice, working on projects to repair and alter historic buildings.
He was also an avid collector of modern British prints – an impressive archive which was dispersed by Wotton Auction Rooms in Bath on July 22. M
any of the top prizes of the day were paid for prints by Op-Art pioneer Bridget Riley (b. 1931). This 18 inch x 2 foot (46 x 61 cm) color screen print on paper titled Print for Chicago 8 is signed, numbered and dated 1971 and bears the edition number 81/150. It topped the sale at £11,000.
6. Copy of the Eagle – £19,000
The Eaglethe second in a series of animal ballads written by William Hayley, is best known for the frontispiece and two illustrations provided by William Blake (1757-1827).
The project was published in parts by Blake in 1802, the letterpress printed by Seagrave, a Chichester printer, with the engravings printed by Blake and his wife Catherine on their own roller press at the cottage in Felpham, Sussex where they had moved in 1800. .
Hayley wrote the ballads in an effort to help Blake earn money from the sale of the illustrated work, but the plan appears to have been a financial failure with Blake bearing most of the costs.
This rare first edition includes 16 pages of text on heavyweight pale cream wove paper, Blake’s plates (untrimmed with fabric protectors intact) and the original pale blue paper covers. It went on sale at Dominic Winter in South Cerney, Gloucestershire on July 21 with a £1,500-2,000 guidebook, but fared better, selling for £19,000.