Choose something Out of The Ordinary31 March 2021 Numbering close to 600 lots, the Out of The Ordinary auction at Sworders on April 13-14 is the largest to date.
In keeping with the name of the popular format, the sale brings together the weird and the wonderful from an original Dalek from the Doctor Who series to the UK’s only surviving flea circus.
The smallest show on earth
Flea circuses were a hugely popular form of fairground entertainment in both England and Germany between the 1830s and the 1960s.
In its heyday the Professor Len Tomlin Flea Circus attracted the crowds in Belle Vue, Manchester and later formed part of the Ribchester Museum of Childhood.
It is believed to be the last example in the UK. Bidding for the two miniature swing trapezes, a chariot, two bicycles, a windmill, a garden roller, a carriage and a duelling pedestals is expected at £1500-2000 but it may leap higher.
Worth a bobbin or two
Once a common sight in London’s Billingsgate, these kind of leather ‘bobbin’ hats were worn by porters as they moved the merchandise from the local fish market to distribution vehicles.
One of the pair of late 19th and early 20th century hats included for sale (estimate £500-700) is known to be have owned by James Alfred ‘Robo’ Robinson (b.1911) who worked at Billingsgate most of his life and received the hat from his father.
This curious type of headwear is thought to get its name from the ‘bobbin’ or payment, that the porters received for their services.
The Daleks are now almost 60 years old – they first appeared on our screens in 1963 – but they remain the most famous of all of the Dr Who villains.
Standing 1.6m high, Sworders’ example (estimate £15,000-18,000) is made to ‘new series’ specifications – principally of wood with fibreglass, metal and plastic elements – and has recently been fitted with a motor so it can be driven around.
It appeared in three episodes of the BBC series - alongside Matt Smith in the Asylum Of The Daleks in 2012 and Peter Capaldi in The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar (2015).
The original supermodel
Original Victorian photographs of well-known Pre-Raphaelite muse Julia Prinsep Stephen (nee Jackson) are expected to bring £500-800.
The original supermodel, Julia Jackson was deemed one of the most beautiful women of her age. She was a model for many artists including William Holman Hunt (who proposed marriage) and was the favourite model of Julia Margaret Cameron (her maternal aunt and godmother).
After the death of her first husband Herbert Duckworth, a barrister and member of the Somerset landed gentry, she refused to contemplate remarrying for many years.
However, in 1878 she accepted the proposal of the writer and critic Leslie Stephen with whom she would have four more children - all of them influential members of what would be known as the Bloomsbury Group.
No Out of the Ordinary sale would be complete without a few lots focused on dark magic.
The Incantation, a pen and ink drawing of a naked witch with a snake curled around her waist, an owl on her shoulder, is signed and dated 1898 by the Punch magazine Arthur Wallis Mills (1878-1940). It is expected to bring £800-1200.