1. An Augustus John portrait
A portrait by Augustus John (1878-1961) of his daughter Gwyneth Johnstone sold for £26,000 at Cheffins in Cambridge on June 12. The sitter, who died aged 96 in 2010, had kept the work all her life and it came for sale from her estate.
Johnstone’s mother was the pianist Nora Brownsword who, according to Gwyneth’s obituary in The Telegraph “had been seduced by Augustus John when posing for him shortly before the First World War”. A gifted artist herself, she studied at the Slade from 1933-38, where she began a lifelong friendship with artist Mary Fedden.
The 2ft 5in x 20in (75 x 50cm) oil on panel from 1932 picture was probably painted when aged 17 Gwyneth briefly shared a London studio with her father. It suffered from a number of condition issues. The auctioneers noted a split to the panel and numerous paint losses. This no doubt led to a relatively cautious pitch of £6000-8000. However, it was eventually knocked down at £26,000 to a private client.
2. A three-drawer telescope
Ross is the name of a succession of London-based lens designers and the company that by the 1890s was also making Zeiss and Goerz lenses under licence for sale across British Empire. Prior to the First World War, Ross was put in control of the newly opened Carl Zeiss binocular and optical factory in Mill Hill, London.
The firm’s high-quality optical devices are still much admired – as observed when two early 20th century items carrying the firm’s name (a three-drawer telescope and a pair of field binoculars – emerged for sale at Italian saleroom Aste Boetto in Genoa on June 12).
Estimated at just €30-40, the telescope, numbered 28229, took €3600 (£3270) while the cased First World War binoculars stamped Civil Service, pitched at €10-20 sold at €600 (£545).
3. A Rolex Explorer
The Rolex Explorer ref. 6610 is a bona fide tool watch, issued from around 1958 to survive the rigours of international adventure and exploration. The 3-6-9 dial configuration is particularly admired by today’s collectors, the wording ‘Officially Certified Chronometer’ distinguishing it from its longer-running successor, the reference 1016.
This example with the more common black dial (there is a rarer version with an off-white dial) has its original bracelet and is engraved to the case back A Andrews RAF for an early owner. At Sheffield Auction Gallery on June 6 it sold to an online bidder via thesaleroom.com at £11,500 (estimate £5000-8000).
4. A Fijian vunikau war club
Fiji was responsible for more styles of native weapons than anywhere else in the Pacific Islands. Pictured here is the business end of what was once a much longer vunikau rootstock war club. These weapons, here inlaid with bone or marine ivory, were favoured for fighting in open grassland where the reach could be deadly. Although perhaps half its original length, this 19th century or earlier survivor sold to an online bidder for an unexpected £1400 (estimate £80-120 at WH Peacock, Bedford on June 7.
This 19th century or earlier Fijian vunikau weapon sold to an online bidder for an unexpected £1400 at WH Peacock, Bedford on June 7.
5. An early golf putter
This exceptionally early golf putter dating to the late 18th century was the star lot of Mullock’s June 6 sale of golfing memorabilia at Ludlow Racecourse in Shropshire. The longnose hooked face putter is likely to be c.1780 or earlier based on the head shape and its dimensions. The putter was stamped at a later date for the celebrated golf club maker Hugh Philp (1786-1856).
There are currently just two putters that are recorded to be older: a red keel putter (c.1775) which sold at Phillips auction house in 1994 and a Neilson putter (also c.1775) at Royal Sydney Golf Club in Australia. It is also one of the oldest extant putters not to have had the hook face filed back. It was offered in original condition with hopes of £15,000-20,000 and sold just below this to an online bidder via thesaleroom.com at £14,000.
6. A 1960s Patrick Scott painting
The series of Irish art sales held on home soil last week included this textbook 1960s work by Patrick Scott (1921-2014). Gold Painting 34, fashioned in 1965 using gold leaf tempera on an unprimed canvas measuring 8ft 1in (2.46m) square took €28,000 from an online bidder at De Veres in Dublin on June 11. A much exhibited and published work included in the 2002 show Patrick Scott A Retrospective, it came for sale by descent from the artist with an estimate of 25,000-35,000.