A dramatic event: Collection of a famous figure in Scottish dance comes to auction05 September 2021 Glasgow firm McTear’s is offering the contents of 19 St Bernard’s Crescent, Edinburgh – the private collection of William Mowat-Thomson.
From modest beginnings on Orkney, Mowat-Thomson (1933-2019) became a well-known figure in Scottish dance, with his pioneering Theatre School of Dance and Drama in the Edinburgh’s Shandwick Place providing professional training for dancers across Scotland.
A talented musician, dancer and yoga teacher, Mowat-Thomson would frequently host extravagant dinner parties at his St Bernard’s Crescent residence which he liked to furnish in the grand Georgian style.
Having died in 2019 aged 86, the items that he amassed during decades of collecting are now up for sale.
With more than 950 lots included in the McTear’s auction, the sale takes place across two days on September 17-18. Items in the sale come from a wide range of categories such as furniture, ceramics, glass, silver, fine art, books and collectables.
Commenting on the auction, McTear’s director Magda Ketterer said: “This an astounding collection of unrivalled breadth and vibrancy that was lovingly created over a lifetime of collecting. A great friend of William Mowat-Thomson recalls that those visiting his magnificent residence in Edinburgh affectionately referred to it as ‘the V&A’, as it was like a museum packed with beautiful objets d’art.”
Below is a selection of five lots in the collection to give you a flavour of what’s coming up.
1. Mantel clock
Among the clocks on offer at the sale of the William Mowat-Thomson collection is this 19 century French example, pictured above.
The gilt metal mantel clock has one train movement and a white enamel dial. The case is flanked by a female figure standing over a frieze decorated with fruiting vines in relief and is surmounted by a pedestal bowl.
Measuring 9.75in (25cm) high, it is estimated at £150-200. View the catalogue entry for this mantel clock on thesaleroom.com.
2. Mahogany chest
This mahogany bow front chest is among the 190 or so furniture lots in the William Mowat-Thomson sale.
Featuring three cockbeaded drawers with brass drop handles, it measures 2ft 9in (85cm) wide and stands on splayed bracket feet. It is estimated at £100-150.
View the catalogue entry for this mahogany chest on thesaleroom.com.
3. Wedgwood vases
A pair of early 19th century Wedgwood three-colour jasper ware pedestal vases and covers feature in the ceramics section of the auction.
Standing 14in (35cm) high, each has a central roundel depicting Pegasus and a putti final. Three classical maidens are present to one side and a horse driven chariot to the other.
Offered together, they are estimated at £200-400.
View the catalogue entry for these Wedgwood pedestal vases on thesaleroom.com.
4. Claret jug
The William Mowat-Thomson auction includes a variety of glass from artistic objects to functional wares.
This early 19th century claret jug could be considered both. Made of cut glass with a faceted neck above a diamond cut body, it stands 11in (28cm) high. It is estimated at £80-120.
View the catalogue entry for this 19th century claret jug on thesaleroom.com.
5. Historical figures
Two composition busts of earlier historical figures will be offered as a single lot along with a pair of white painted wall brackets in the George III style. All together, they are estimated at £100-150.
The sculptures depict Sir Henry Havelock, a Victorian soldier who fought in India and became a Major General, and Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France from 1774 until her death during the French Revolution in 1793.
View the catalogue entry for this sculptural lot on thesaleroom.com.