1. Garden statuary seats – £21,000
An extraordinary cache of garden statuary, unseen for decades, was offered for sale at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex on September 29.
Dubbed The Cotswolds Collection, it was pieced together at the country house sales that proliferated in the inter-war years by one Mr Perry, the owner of a garage and a roadside cafe with a sunken garden as its focal point near the village of Dodington.
Trading into the 1950s, the site then fell into disrepair and was fenced off. Only late last year, when the present owners decided to clear the site, did some significant objects come to light.
Some pieces in the sale had provenances to nearby country estates - including this pair of early 20th century carved Cotswold stone seats measuring 176cm wide and 192cm wide. They were bought by Perry in 1924 at a sale conducted by Gloucestershire Bruton Knowles at Owlpen Manor, Dursley - a Tudor house reworked in the late 19th century in the Arts and Crafts style. The pair took £21,000 (estimate £12,000-18,000).
2. Garden watercolour – £2500
This watercolour by Mildred Anne Butler (1858-1941) titled The Garden, Kilkenny sold for an unexpected £2500 at Wessex Auction Rooms in Chippenham September 30. The winning bid, way above the estimate of £80-100, came via thesaleroom.com.
Although she trained in London and made frequent trips to England and the continent, Butler spent most of her life in the family home at Kilmurry, Kilkenny.
Scenes of privileged domesticity based around the house, its gardens and the surrounding pasture proved the key source of inspiration in her work. Many were painted en plein air - qualities that can be seen in this 17 x 33cm watercolour that came for sale from a Gloucestershire estate.
In 1980, many of Butler’s watercolours, drawings and sketches were sold as part of an artist's studio sale at Christie’s in London.
3. Irish Free State currency – £2600
Following the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 and the creation of the Currency Commission to advise the government on a monetary system, a new series of banknotes was issued on September 10th, 1928. They were issued in denominations of 10 shillings, £1, £5, £10, £20, £50, and £100. Each featured one of the sculptures on the facade of Dublin’s Custom House (each denotes a major Irish river) and a female personification of Ireland created by Sir John Lavery. The artist had used his wife Hazel as a model.
The notes remained in circulation until the 1970s but early examples - even those of the lower denominations - are hard to find. The sale at Clarks in Liskeard on September 30 included two 10 shilling notes with first day issue dates – 10-9-28 - and the relatively low serial numbers 009533 and 009534. They were estimated at just £10-20 but made £2600.
4. Portrait – £13,500
Monica Piping by Sir William Russell Flint (1880-1969) sold to a bidder via thesaleroom.com for £13,500 (estimate £6000-8000) at Aldridges of Bath on September 29. This textbook 13in by 2ft (32 x 60cm) tempera work of young lady in blue chiffon has an extensive inscription by the artist.
In addition to several lines of poetry by Keats, it reads Painted With Great Pleasure For Theodore & Monica Dewey by W Russell Flint, June 1937.
Monica Dewey, an artist’s model, was the sitter for this picture that was included in the Royal Academy’s Sir William Russell Flint Exhibition in 1962.
5. Zsolnay vase – £5800
The most desirable of the varied wares produced by the small ceramics factory established by Vilmos Zsolnay (1828-1900) in the southwest Hungarian town of Pecs are those created after the 1890s. It was then that Zsolnay perfected his iridescent Eosine glaze and employed his principal designer, Tade Sikorski.
This vase offered for sale by Dawsons in Maidenhead on September 00 is a good example - an organic Art Nouveau two-handled design standing 10in (25cm) high and numbered 6194. Estimated at £200-300, it attracted plenty of interest from its native Hungary before it sold at £5800.