1. Viscountess Northcliffe portrait
A market-fresh, half-length oil portrait of Mary Elizabeth ‘Molly’ Harmsworth, Viscountess Northcliffe – wife of the publishing magnate Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, owner of the Daily Mail – is for sale at Cotswolds auction house Moore Allen & Innocent on June 8-9.
Three years after it was painted by the Anglo-Hungarian artist Philip de László in 1911, Country Life devoted two editions to Lord and Lady Northcliffe and their Tudor manor house home, Sutton Place in Surrey.
At the time the frontispiece of the magazine would generally feature the portrait of a young woman of society – a feature that became known as ‘girls in pearls’. László’s portrait of Lady Northcliffe found itself on the cover of issue 892, published on February 7, 1914 (although it seems the artist was not happy about that).
The artist had painted Lord Northcliffe in 1908. The portrait is now held by the trust that owns the Daily Mail and is believed to hang at Northcliffe House, the London headquarters of the newspaper.
In spring 1911 László invited Lady Northcliffe to sit for him. She gave the finished portrait to her husband as an unexpected gift. Lord Northcliffe sent a letter of thanks to the artist. He offered to pay for the portrait but the artist declined: “As I myself asked Lady Northcliffe to give me the opportunity to paint her portrait you can understand that it is not possible for me to reply to your kind request.”
Moore Allen & Innocent said the portrait has remained in the family since it was painted. The estimate in Cirencester is £20,000-30,000
2. Jack Llewellyn Davies' bicorn hat
Peter Pan (1911) author JM Barrie found huge inspiration for the book after meeting the Llewellyn Davies family in Regent’s Park while walking his St Bernard. They were transformed into ‘The Darling Family’ – parents Arthur and Sylvia, and their sons (‘The Davies Boys’) George, John also known as ‘Jack’, Michael, Peter, and Nicholas. Barrie became ‘Uncle Jim’ and a close friend of the family.
However, the children suffered an unfortunate childhood with Arthur dying in 1907 and Sylvia shortly after in 1910. Barrie became ‘The Davies Boys’ legal guardian and the success of Peter Pan allowed the author to provide for all of the brothers.
John (‘Jack’), the eldest, was found a place at the Royal Naval College at Osbourne and attended from 1906 onwards, becoming a serving officer in the Royal Navy during the First World War in the north Atlantic. He was appointed to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in 1924.
The Adam Partridge saleroom in Liverpool is selling Jack’s RN officer’s dress bicorn hat, epaulettes and sword belt worn during service and gifted to him on his retirement. They are housed in an original Grieve Matthew & Seagrove box engraved J Llewellyn Davies RN. They have been consigned by the vendor having passed down from his father who was rector of St Endellion’s Parish in Cornwall where Jack retired with his wife.
The items were a gift and have remained with the vendor’s family ever since. The estimate on June 6-7 is £500-800.
3. Music box
This disc-playing music box is one of three examples coming up at Plymouth Auction Rooms which were purchased by the owner in Leipzig some 30 years go.
Pictured here is the Adler, set with 65.50cm discs and complete with its original disc bin. This cabinet box is set with its original Adler etched glass door and also has a five pfennig slot mechanism.
Standing 7ft 9in (2.35m) tall in a walnut cabinet, it is estimated at £6000-8000 on June 8.
4. Glass ale flute
This small late 18th century glass ale flute with a facet cut stem is cut and engraved to the bowl with a two masted sailing ship below a star, and the inscription Prosperity to the Northumberland.
In good condition, it has an estimate of £700-900 at Hartleys in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, on June 8.
5. Lalique car mascot
McTear’s 19th & 20th century design sale in Glasgow on June 9 includes this example of René Lalique’s Grenouille (frog) car mascot designed in 1928. This version comes with a nickelled brass radiator cap by Breves Galleries of Knightsbridge that has been later mounted on a wooden plinth.
6. Railway poster
This original 1950s British Railways travel poster – Service To Industry Brickmaking – with artwork by Charles Cundall (1890- 1971) has a guide of £180-360 at the posters sale held by specialist Antikbar in London on June 11.