1. Famille rose charger
Among the most admired lots in Sworders’ Asian art sale held in Mayfair on November 8 was this large famille rose charger decorated with a canework basket spilling over with a range of auspicious flowers plus a peach and a finger citron. It measures just over 20in (15cm) and was offered with a wood stand carved with two dragons chasing a flaming pearl.
Although it has a six character mark for the emperor Yongzheng (1723-35) it was thought to be a high quality honorific piece from perhaps a century later in the Qing period. It came for sale from a titled Essex estate and had previously been exhibited as part of an exhibition titled The Glory of the Garden held at Sotheby’s in 1987 in association with the The Royal Horticultural Society. Although estimated at £1500-2000, it sold to an online bidder at £72,000.
2. Scottish garden picture
The Scottish artist Joseph Farquharson (1846-1935) will forever be associated with snowy landscapes populated by sheep, often painted en plein air from an adapted shepherd’s hut complete with a stove and large glass window for observing the landscape. Not for nothing was his nickname Frozen Mutton Farquharson.
However, he did have other strings to his bow. This 20in x 2ft (50 x 60cm) canvas depicting the manicured herbaceous borders and the black and white facade of a Tudor revival country house is titled The Flower Borders of the Artist's Garden at Finzean, Aberdeenshire. The Finzean estate was the subject of many of Farquharson’s best-known paintings: his family had owned the eastern half of Finzean since the 17th century.
Offered for sale by Clarke’s of Shaftesbury, Dorset on November 9 with a modest estate of £300-500, it found a willing buyer at £5000.
3. Cartier silver presentation case
A sale focused on military and aviation history held by Dominic Winter in South Cerney, Cirencester on November 7 included this Cartier silver presentation cigarette case embellished with the gold monogram of the King and Queen of Belgium.
As detailed to an inscription to the interior it was given to Major Herbert Brackley (1894-1948) of the newly-founded RAF who in October 1918 flew with 204 Squadron from St Inglevert to St Pol to pick up Albert and Elisabeth of Belgium. The Queen sat beside Brackley for the flight as they flew over Ostende several times and close to still-occupied Bruges.
The Queen took many photographs during a one hour and 40 minute flight. Evidently the parties kept in touch. The cigarette case was sold together with signed photos of the monarchs, one inscribed ‘To Major Brackley, Cairo Baghdad Cairo, 15-21 March 31, Albert’ the other ‘A Monsieur Robert Mond Elizabeth, Egypte 1930’. The lot was estimated at £300-500 but sold to a bidder via thesaleroom.com at £5200.
4. Tinplate clockwork gramophone
The Stollwerck tinplate clockwork gramophone was produced as a vehicle to sell chocolate by one of the world’s biggest confectionary companies in 1902-03. Remarkably it was a working toy and could play a recognisable tune on the six 3in (8cm) chocolate discs stored in the turntable. They could be eaten once the fun was over.
The few survivors come in a number of difference colours. This example, offered for sale at an auction of Mechanical Music at Auction Team Breker in Cologne on November 9, has a rare red lithographed finish. It is also in very good condition retaining one of the chocolate discs and the original card box. Estimated at €10,000-12,000, the winning bid tendered via thesaleroom.com was €18,000.
5. Porcelain figure of a bijin
The Asian art series of sales at Chiswick Auctions on November 11-12 included an expanded offering of Japanese art. This 16in (40cm) Kakiemon figure of a bijin, c.1680, was fresh to the market from an English private collection. This particular piece was modelled after the famous courtesan, Tokuko Yoshino (1606-43), from the Shimabara ‘pleasure district’ in Kyoto. Many similar figures were exported by the Dutch East India Company to the treasure houses of Europe in the late 17th century. Estimated at £5000-7000, it sold to an online bidder at £20,000.