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Interest and prices were strong across the board and at all levels with brown furniture, which is supposedly in the doldrums, out-performing almost everything else.

In today’s patchy market, strong provenance and fresh goods are all important and this sale had both in spades.

Bank House, a large family residence, in Lower Tean, near Uttoxeter, provided much of the furniture along with around 30 other deceased estates.

It was Bank House that yielded the best seller: a Regency mahogany, rounded rectangular, draw-out dining table.

Each of the four leaves varied slightly in colour because of sun damage, but the surface of the 4ft 11in by 10ft 4in (1.44 x 3.14m) oversailing top with moulded rim, was in good
condition.

The fluted legs were a slightly different matter, having quite a few bashes where chairs had hit them. The table was estimated at £3000-5000 and the trade dropped out at £4500. This left the battle to two private local buyers with one of them posting the winning £7800 bid.

Also from Bank House was a George II housekeeper’s cupboard in oak crossbanded in mahogany.

The 4ft 5in by 6ft 4in by 18in (1.36m x 1.93m x 45cm) cupboard had a stepped oversailing cornice above a pair of raised and fielded panelled doors crossbanded in walnut and centred by a four-pointed star flanked by canted angles and enclosing an arrangement of pegs and hooks.

The projecting base of the cupboard had three short and two long crossbanded drawers, bat-shaped brass escutcheons and swan-neck loop handles.

James Lewis felt this to be a really nice piece of good size and colour and it brought ten commission bids and lots of interest in the room. With hopes of up to £3000, it took £4500 from a local private buyer against strong trade interest.

Local private buyers were out in force on sale day and a William and Mary oyster veneered chest on stand with a moulded cornice became another private buy.

With two short and three long graduated drawers, lozenge-shaped engraved escutcheons and a projecting moulded base with a long drawer raised on six slender turned baluster legs joined by an incurved rectangular stretcher, the 3ft 4in by 5ft 4in by 23in (1.02m x 1.63m x 59cm) chest was in good condition.

Stiff competition from both dealers and the successful private buyer saw it contested above the £2000-3000 estimate to sell at £3800.

The trade always like something they can do up a bit so it was no surprise that a dealer took an unusual Victorian mahogany lyre-shaped whatnot. Sourced locally from a house where it was the only piece of any real value, the whatnot had good colour but was in poor condition, with both sides of the pierced outswept gallery, which sat at the top of four graduated square tiers, smashed to pieces.

The auctioneers managed to repair one of the sides but not the other. With a blind-fret drawer to the base and outswept legs terminating in foliate roundels, the piece measured 20in by 4ft 5in (50cm x 1.35m) and carried a damage-reflecting estimate of £500-800. But the trade really liked it and the final hammer price was an impressive £3700.

Topping the ceramics was a pair of Meissen models of a pug dog and a bitch modelled by J.J. Kändler. As the pair was the cover lot, James Lewis felt the Nottinghamshire-sourced pieces might have attracted a bit more interest than they did, but put this down to a rather punchy £5000-7000 estimate which he feels automatically cut out lower-end bidders.

The c.1750 pair had pale brown coats, black muzzles and tails with puce and gilt collars applied with yellow and pink ribbons to match the puce and gilt cushions they sat on. There was some minor chipping to the ears and a small chip to the base of one dog, but this didn’t deter the two determined bidders who contested them up to £5000.

English ceramics didn’t perform as well as Continental but a Derby circular plaque painted by Thomas Steele deserves a mention.

Painted c.1825 with poppies, roses, auricula, passion flowers, convolvulus, apples, peaches and grapes, all on a marble ledge, the 15in (38.5cm) diameter plaque was in good original condition bar a later giltwood frame.

Not taking four-figure sums, but making an important comment on the state of the market was the continued interest in tea caddies and boxes.

Dealers and private buyers alike were buying with lots of enthusiasm. The best money in the section was taken by an early 19th century tortoiseshell rounded rectangular tea caddy with a domed cover.

Sectioned with silver stringing and with a rectangular vacant cartouche enclosing two lidded compartments, the 7in (18cm) wide caddy got away at a mid-estimate £720.

But with all this success there was an area of failure and unsurprisingly this was the silver.

Although most pieces were getting away, albeit in three figures, the section contained the biggest casualty of the day – a George IV gentleman’s rectangular brass-mounted mahogany travelling case containing 16 scent bottles and jars, all with silver tops assayed in London in 1825.