1. Australian silverware
This pair of 19th century electroplated cups, offered by Andrew Smith & Son in Alresford on December 11, are stamped for the noted Sydney silversmith Evan Jones (1846-1917). Apprenticed from the age of 12, his business with a workshop in Erskine Street was first listed in the Sydney Directory for 1873. The firm produced gold and silver racing cups, rowing and sculling trophies, decorative tableware as well as epergnes with motifs drawn from the local flora and fauna. At the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879 (Australia’s first), he showed “emu’s eggs mounted in 101 different ways”. This relatively modest pair of 61/2in (17cm) cups with stems cast with Aborigine heads underlined the demand for Australian silverware when it took a surprise £1900 (£80-120).
2. Bronze censer
The relatively short reign of the Ming emperor Xuande (1425-35) was considered a high point in the production of bronze works of art. Such was the reverence for these wares that a large number of bronze made during the 17th and 18th centuries have honorific apocryphal marks to their base. This example, with its original mallow-leaf stand measuring 10in (25cm) across, is one of a group of censers made in imitation of Song dynasty prototypes. It has an elaborate 20-character Xuande mark. It emerged for sale with a basic catalogue description and an estimate of £200-300 at HRD Auction Rooms in Brading, Isle of Wight on December 10. Picked up by multiple Far Eastern buyers it was hammered down for £62,500.
3. Portrait of Anglo-Irish soldier and politician
This unframed oil on canvas portrait, offered for sale at Hansons in Etwall, Derby on December 12, has an old label verso identifying the sitter as ‘Marshall Carr Beresford’ and the artist as Reuben TW Sayers (1815-88). Bidders more confident in the attribution competed it to £9500.
The Anglo-Irish soldier and politician Marshall William Carr Beresford (1768-1854), made Viscount Beresford in 1823, fought alongside the Duke of Wellington as a General in the Peninsular War and Field Marshall of the Portuguese Army. Rarely full or praise, Wellington referred to him as 'the ablest man I have yet seen in the army’. He was made Governor of Jersey in 1821 and held the position till 1854.
This 2ft 10in x 2ft 2in (85 x 65cm) half-length portrait of him wearing military honours, is better known from a mezzotint engraved by George Thomas Payne after Sayers and published in 1850. This could represent the original oil or at least a decent version of it. Bidding reached £9500.
4. Airfix models
The sale at C&T Auctions of Tunbridge Wells on December 11 included an unexpected bid of £1700 (estimate £50-70) for three unopened Airfix models. The key was the presence of a D-Day set 1700 in original bubble pack - one of the 1/72 scale Attack Force series models made by Airfix in 1969. They are among the rarest known to the collecting hobby. Accompanying this item was kit A17V, the Lee and Grant Tank in original bag from 1967 (commonly available at £10-15), and set 1706 the Roman Fort in original box from 1969 (priced at around £50).
Airfix first began producing plastic scale model kits for the mass market in 1952 although the earliest model dates from three years’ earlier. In 1949 the company was commissioned to create a promotional mode of a TE20 tractor for distribution to Ferguson sales representatives. To increase sales and lower production costs the model was sold in kit form at Woolworths.
5. Royal Copenhagen blanc de chine vase
This 121.5in (31cm) Royal Copenhagen blanc de chine vase offered by Newcastle’s Anderson & Garland (22% buyer’s premium) on December 5 has an early version of the underglaze ‘three waves’ mark dating to c.1870-90. Its naturalistic form of frogs and water lilies hints towards the Art Nouveau wares that would bring the factory so much acclaim in the early years of the 20th century. Although not in perfect condition it proved something of a sleeper selling at £7000 (estimate £100-150).
6. A gilt bronze and ivory figure
As implied by a plaque to the base titled Aeroplane Par Omertz, this gilt bronze and ivory figure of a boy in an aeroplane is by Georges Omerth (fl.1895-1925). Across three decades he produced figures in a range of modish styles from neo-classicism (as a student of the sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse) to Art Nouveau and Art Deco. The majority of his designs appear to have been created for the Paris retailer and manufacturer Edmond Etling.
This whimsical 10.5in (26cm) high model of a boy in flight above a village appears to be a rarity. Despite its obvious condition problems, including a missing chunk to the marble base, it sold for £2000 (estimate £150-200) at the sale conducted by Richard Winterton in Lichfield, Staffordshire on December 11.