Our February 2022 edition of Five Centuries featured an exciting selection of rare and unique furniture, paintings and works of art and includes specialist collecting areas encompassing clocks, bronzes, ceramics & glass, rugs & carpets.
Ahead of the sale our team chose a few of their favourite things to share as highlights that featured in our auction...
I try to fly the flag for so-called ‘brown’ furniture whenever I can, and in this rendition of Five Centuries it’s an easy choice to select the piece I like the most. Lot 121 is a real knock-out of a desk, and if I had the means and the suitable space, I would have it in a heartbeat. There are so many things to admire: the unusual lobed oval shape, the beautiful figured mahogany, the contrasting crossbanding, and the masterfully executed brass hardware, to name a few. When I come across a piece like this I have to remind myself what it would have looked like two-hundred and twenty odd years ago, when it was new. One has to remember that the colours of the different veneers have mellowed over time, so in it’s original state, the mahogany would have appeared a warm and zingy reddish-brown, while the alternating tulipwood and satinwood crossbanding would have been an absolute pulsating combination of aubergine and lemon yellow. Quite the statement! It must have been commissioned by someone with a bold and daring eye, and not least the confidence to go for such a unique and innovative design. Much to admire all around, I’d say.
- Douglas Girton, Head of Fine Furniture and Works of Art
I really like this unusual convex mirror. I’ve not come across anything quite like it yet. The way the figures and garlands are arranged around the mirrorplate is reminiscent of Limoges plaques, but there are some unique details. Especially the female figure seems to have individual attributes, like the lion’s head mask on her hip and the legs twisting into a tree trunk and roots. The way the enamel is made is also uncommon, with the shapes having been hammered into the copper plates to give them three-dimensional appearance. And on top of all these curious features, it also has plenty of charm and will look absolutely beautiful in a variety of settings!
- Kerstin Schaeffer, Auction Administrator
These pieces were made by Peter Rose in the 1970s, after seeing an oval pair sold in the Rupert Gunnis collection. I think the way they come to life when held up to the light is quite magical, revealing the intricacies of the geode slices displayed. It’s a very clever way of presenting these types of specimens, and I think it inspiring that Peter made them himself. They perfectly reflect the late collector’s eclectic taste and in particular his interest in nature.
- Theodora Burrell, Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts
My favourite lot is 216, a group of four pieces of Mochaware pottery. Once the vessel of choice in pubs and taverns, it is still now found and much sought after, in many a contemporary home. Typically handmade from earthenware with coloured bands, the distinctive tree like motifs were made from applying an acidic solution, that reacted with the alkaline slipware, once thought to resemble moss agate a semi precious stone, that originated in Mocha in Yemen. I have always been drawn to Mochaware, for its charm and decorative appeal and would be very pleased to have this lovely group on my dresser!
- Katie Hannah, Furniture, Clocks & Works of Art
I would absolutely love to dine at a table laid with the ornithological Meissen dinner service, lot 556. This extensive service dates from the late 19th century and is totally hand painted. A wide variety of birds from all over the world are naturalistically depicted, from local domestic fowl that we would all recognise to exotic species, and probably even some fanciful examples painted from imagination. Some of the scenes will have been inspired by 18th century printed sources. Surrounding the skillfully painted bird vignettes are scattered moths, butterflies and small insects, all enclosed within brightly gilded borders. Each piece is a small work of art in its own right and no two scenes are the same. This is a service to be enjoyed for the pure luxury, splendour and colour of it all.
- Katherine Wright, Ceramics & Glass
The Works of Art department sells a wide variety of antique items covering nearly 400 years of European and British design. Sold as part of our Five Centuries: Furniture, Paintings & Works of Art sale series, items offered at auction range from the esoteric to those of popular appeal and include sculpture, mechanical items, textiles, decorative objects and artworks. Primarily focused on works produced during the 18th and 19th centuries, our team of specialists and consultants are able to value and advise on the current market.