More notable lots sold on the saleroom in 202222 December 2022 Here is a selection of interesting items bought by online bidders this year.
1. A 1925 Bentley car
This car, pictured above, is a 1925 Bentley made just six years after Walter Owen Bentley had set up his own car company.
It passed through various owners until in 1958, Kenneth Ball, proprietor of Beacon Garage in Gringley on the Hill, Nottinghamshire, placed an advert seeking Bentley spares, and was duly alerted to the existence of this 1925 model numbered NT 8694. It was in bits at that time, but almost complete having been stored in a cellar in Worksop for some time.
A deal was done and renovation began including using some parts from other cars. Once complete the car enjoyed periods of long and careful ownership.
At a Richard Edmonds auction on October 15, it came with a large file documenting the complete known history of the car, plus records of work carried out all the way back to the late 1920s.
An online bidder saw off all rivals to take the vehicle at a hammer price of £195,000.
Browse classic cars, motorbikes and automobilia lots on the saleroom.
2. George IV dining table
The sale at Aldridges of Bath on July 26 included this fine George IV period mahogany extending dining table. Notably it retains the cabinet maker’s label for Joseph Bexfield, Norwich.
Bexfield, who worked in a family business as a cabinetmaker, upholsterer and mahogany merchant from Pottergate Street merits a number of mentions in local trade directories and newspapers advertisements from c.1810-38.
The online directory of British & Irish Furniture Makers records an advert in the Norfolk Chronicle on February 24, 1831 in which he invites the public to inspect “a set of tables made of Norfolk Variegate Oak, which he has had the honour to design and execute for His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, and which will remain at his Warerooms for a few days previous to their being removed to Kensington Palace.
In an advertisement in the Norwick mercury on July 5, 1834 he lists his stock of “sideboards, dining tables, loo, card, Pembroke, and other tables, couches, chairs, cheffioneers, wardrobes, glasses, &c., and a general assortment of Upholdery Goods [sic].”
However, the business closed in 1838. An advertisement in the Mercury dated August 25, 1838 offered the "Premises, situate in Pottergate Street, next the Friends Meeting House, now in the occupation of Mr Joseph Bexfield (who declines the Cabinet Business,) consisting of shop, extensive warehouses, wood-yard, saw-pit, workshops and drying lofts attached. The Stock in Trade, Utensils, &c. may be taken at a valuation if desired…"
The table offered in Bath was a fine example of its type with eight turned and reeded tapering legs on brass castors, a patent, wind-out mechanism and three additional leaves that take it to 10ft (4m) long. Estimated at £800-1200 it sold to an online bidder at £7200.
3. A portrait by George Romney
The sale at Schloss Ahlden in Lower Saxony on December 2 included this early work by the English portrait painter George Romney (1734-1802). According to information on the original frame the sitter is the 72-year-old Mrs Daniel Wilson of Dallam Tower.
Although far removed from the artist’s ‘prime period’ images of Emma Hamilton and the most fashionable members of Georgian society, the Wilson family were among Romney’s most important patrons in his formative years. The Lancastrian artist, who was born in Dalton-in-Furness and died in Kendal, made his reputation painting portraits of the Lakeland gentry. Working from studio in Kendal, the Wilsons of Dallam Tower and the Stricklands of Sizergh Castle were his best clients before his move to London in 1762.
This picture is dated 1760. Daniel Wilson (1680-1754) was a Whig politician who sat in the Commons for a total of 34 years as MP for Westmorland between 1708-47. His wife Katherine, depicted here in her widow’s weeds, was the daughter of Sir Daniel Fleming of Rydal Hall, another Westmorland politician.
The relined canvas, measuring 76 x 56cm, was guided at just €1500-3000 but found its audience, selling at an online bidder at €33,000 (£30,000).
4. Hip flask given to John Lennon
This German brown leather and plated metal hip flask has the inscription Fur Kaiser John Zu Seinem Geburtstag 9. Okt 1960 Von Stu, which translates as For Emperor John on his Birthday 9 Oct 1960, By Stu".
Adhered to the back is a paper inscription detailing its history: it had been a gift from Stuart Sutcliffe to John Lennon on his 20th birthday while The Beatles were playing in Hamburg. It was during the Beatles' Hamburg era (August 1960 to December 1962), that the band played over 250 nights with Sutcliffe playing bass for the band before he left to pursue an art career. He died in 1962.
Lennon later re-gifted the flask to Geoff Mohammed, one of his friends from art college, who sold the flask during the mid-1960s. It came for sale at entertainment memorabilia specialist Prop Store in Rickmansworth on November 3-6. It had an estimate of £4000-6000 but found a buyer at £18,000.
5. A Wooton secretaire desk
The sale at Mander Auctions in Sudbury on August 19 was topped by this textbook example of late 19th century American furniture, the Wooton secretaire desk. Estimated at £2000-3000, it took £6000 from an online buyer.
William S. Wooton was an Indianapolis entrepreneur (and later Protestant preacher) who obtained a series of patents for office furniture design in the 1870s. He employed mass production methods, while creating the product in four different grades, three different sizes and a number of different styles.
The first Wooton desks, like those shown to great acclaim at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, were made in the popular Renaissance revival style but later examples embraced the Aesthetic movement. Advertised as ‘The King of Desks’ they were expensive (priced at between $90-750 each) but sold well at a time when the filing cabinet was becoming the essential office accessory.
Production of Wooton desks continued until about 1884 and thereafter the model was produced by a series of firms in the Midwest. However, it is those from the original decade that are the most sought after. This example, in walnut with a maple interior is fully inscribed 'Manufactured by The Wooton Desk Co, Indianapolis, Ind, Pat Oct 1874.
6. A record price for a cigarette card
At Loddon Auctions in Reading, Berkshire, this card (above) depicting Derby County inside-right Steve Bloomer (1874-1938) sold in a timed online auction for £25,900 on November 30.
Bloomer is a legend at Derby where he is still the club's all-time leading goalscorer and he also scored 28 goals in 23 games for England.
Cards featuring Bloomer do sell at auction for more modest sums. However, this one was issued by the obscure firm St Petersburg Cigarette Co Ltd of Portsmouth. Just 17 St Petersburg designs are known, all of them featuring footballers.
The price appears to be the most ever realised for a single British cigarette or trade card.
Browse and bid for collectables on the saleroom.
7. A portrait of Philip IV
Philip IV (1605-65) was king of Spain (1621-65) and Portugal (1621-40) during the marked decline of Spain as a great world power.
Famously he was painted repeatedly across 30 years by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660) in a series of portraits that involved a political element. The absence of swagger and badges of royalty reflected the reformist intentions of the monarch and his court. However, despite the narrow chromatic range and relatively sober clothing, the sitter with his prominent Habsburg lips and chin was instantly recognisable.
A surprise bidding contest emerged at Babuino Casa D'Aste in Rome on December 14 for this 17th century portrait of Philip IV. The 70 x 56cm oil on canvas in a giltwood frame, consigned by a Rome family, shows the monarch in his youthful 20s wearing armour and a white ruff akin to the portrait by Velazquez dated c.1626-28 in the Prado, Madrid.
More than one admirer believed they had seen something more than a pedestrian copy under areas of late 19th century restoration and overpainting. Estimated at €2500-3500, it sold to an online buyer at €47,000.