Meiji cloisonne vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki

Meiji cloisonné vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki, £13,000 at Tooveys,

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1. Meiji cloisonné vase – £13,000

The June 8 sale at Tooveys in Washington, West Sussex included a fine example of Meiji cloisonné by Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927). His was among the best of all the Kyoto metalworking shops.

Namikawa began his career as a cloisonné artist in about 1868 and worked with the Kyoto Shippo Kaisha between 1871-74, before opening his own studio. He exhibited his work, to great acclaim, at national and international expositions and in 1896 he was appointed an imperial craftsman to the Meiji emperor.

Working across half a century, his work assumes a number of different styles. The 6in (15cm) vase offered in Washington was finely worked with a design of scattered polychrome flowers, scrolling foliage, flower roundels and butterflies on alternating panels of colour.

Meiji cloisonne vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki

The mark to the base of a Meiji cloisonné vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki sold at Tooveys.

It is signed on silver plaque to base Kyoto Namikawa and was offered in an associated hardwood stand.

A very similar piece is illustrated in the 2011 book Japanese Cloisonné by Victoria & Albert Museum curator Gregory Irvine. In the perfect condition cloisonné buyers desire, it attracted plenty of interest at its £2000-4000 estimate and ultimately sold at £13,000.

2. Map of Bombay – £3000

A New and Accurate Chart of Bombay Harbor

A New and Accurate Chart of Bombay Harbor, 1830, £3000 at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

This rare map from British India is titled A New and Accurate Chart of Bombay Harbor. Drawn from the Latest Authorities for William Heather.

Oriented with east at the top, it combines highly detailed practical information, information on depth soundings, indications of sand bars, and notations on lines of sight to landmarks, as well as several views of the coast and Bombay Fort as seen from the sea. The mainland, labelled “The Continent”, has the statement: “This Coast is not frequented by Europeans”.

The chart was first published by Heather in 1803 and then revised by John William Norie in 1815, 1820 and again in 1830. All versions are scarce with this uncoloured 1830 copy, later mounted on blue paper, sold for £3000 as part of the rare books sale at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood in Exeter on June 6. The estimate was just £100-200.

John William Norie (1772-1843) was a mathematician, hydrographer and specialist publisher of nautical books and charts. When the instrument and map seller William Heather died in 1813, Norie bought his business and traded from premises known as the Navigation Warehouse. It featured in Charles Dickens' Dombey and Son.

3. Robert Brough portrait – £95,000

Robert Brough portrait

Sweet Violets by Robert Brough sold for a record £95,000 at Lyon & Turnbull.

Works by Samuel John Peploe’s friend and near contemporary Robert Brough (1872-1905) appear on the market more infrequently than those of the Scottish Colourists.

Young, ambitious and precociously talented, his career was cruelly cut short after he sustained fatal injuries in a train crash in 1905. His mother and his mentor John Singer Sargent were at his bedside when he died.

The 2ft 3in x 3ft 5in (68cm x 1.04m) oil on canvas Sweet Violets dates to 1897, shortly after Brough returned to his native Aberdeen from France (he shared lodgings with Peploe while training at the Académie Julian in Paris). It was a time when establishing himself as an accomplished society portraitist.

Using a landscape format and characteristically flamboyant brushwork, he depicts the model Barbara Staples wearing a spectacular hat and veil. She holds aloft a jar of violets, with their purple hues reflected at her throat and cuffs. A companion piece of the same date titled Fantaisie en Folie is in the collection of the Tate Gallery.

Sweet Violets was originally acquired by British surgeon Alexander Ogsten and hung in his home at Ardoe House, Aberdeen, for many years. Although he steadfastly refused to sell it in his lifetime, in 1960 it was bought by Staples’ family and, after inclusion in the 1995 Brough exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery, was purchased by the vendor.

Offered at auction for the first time at Lyon & Turnbull’s summer auction of Scottish Paintings & Sculpture on June 8, it sold for £95,000. The price was just below estimate but more than double the previous record for the artist at auction (Breton Girl sold for £44,000 at Sotheby’s in 1997).

4. Norwich silver spoon – £7500

Norwich silver seal top spoon by Arthur Haslewood

Charles I Norwich silver seal top spoon by Arthur Haslewood I, £7500 at Sworders.

Sworders’ June 12-13 Fine Interiors sale included a collection of Norwich 17th century silver assembled by one of East Anglia’s best-known families.

The 12 pieces came from Bixley Manor, the estate of businessman Sir Timothy James Alan Colman (1929-2021). He was the great-grandson of Jeremiah James Colman (1830-98), the man who turned Colman’s Mustard into an international brand.

Collecting East Anglian works of art ran in the family. His grandfather Russell James Colman (1861-1946) assembled the collection of Norwich School paintings, watercolours and drawings that now hangs in Norwich Castle Museum.

Many of the pieces of silver in the sale had formed part of an exhibition of East Anglian silver held at the museum in 1966.

Norwich silver is particularly sought after as the city’s Assay Office closed 1702. While some ecclesiastical wares such as communion cups and patens were preserved in Norfolk’s old churches, relatively few secular silver objects bearing the city’s mark survived.

Seven pieces in the Colman collection carried the mark EH for the remarkable Elizabeth Haselwood (1644-1715). A member of the Haselwood family of silversmiths that prospered for three generations from around 1625-1740, she took over the workshop when her husband Arthur Haselwood II died in 1684. Then aged around 40, she ran the business – a large concern – until her death in 1715, probably hiring other smiths to complete the work.

As the only woman silversmith registered in Norwich in the 17th century, Elizabeth Haselwood’s work features in both the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Royal Collection.

On offer here were five trefid spoons with marks ranging from 1675 to 1697. Estimated at £500-800 each, they sold at prices between £600 and £2200.

Norwich silver beaker by Elizabeth Haselwood

William III Norwich silver beaker by Elizabeth Haselwood, £4800 at Sworders.

Two plain beakers marked for 1688 and 1697 were guided at £2500-3500 apiece.  The example from the reign of James II went to a London trade buyer at £3800. That from the reign of William III went to a private buyer from Norfolk at £4800.

Norwich silver made before the Civil War is particularly hard to find. So much English silver was melted down for coin during this period.

A Charles I silver seal top spoon by Elizabeth Haselwood’s father-in-law Arthur Haselwood I with the date letter for 1641 and the pricked initials N B TB sold at £7500, again to a Norfolk buyer.

A one-time mayor of Norwich, Thomas Havers (c 1647-1732) was the maker of a handsome William and Mary tankard marked for Norwich 1691 that carried expectations of £4000-6000 and went to a London trade buyer at its top estimate.

5. Painting of the Doncaster Gold Cup – £28,000

John Frederick Herring Snr painting of Doncaster Gold Cup

John Frederick Herring Snr’s oil of the 1829 Doncaster Gold Cup, £28,000 at Dore & Rees.

John Frederick Herring Sr (1795-1865) spent his first 18 years in London but in 1814 he moved to Doncaster. He first found employment as a painter of inn signs and coach insignia and as a coach driver but the ‘artist coachman’ also picked up commissions to paint the hunters and racehorses of the local gentry.

A painting offered at Dore & Rees in Frome on June 7 belonged to a series of early racing pictures depicting the Doncaster Gold Cup, a famously hard-fought race over two miles and five furlongs. Signed and dated 1829, the 53cm x 84cm oil is titled Lord Cleveland’s Voltaire beating Major Yarborough’s Laurel.

As the horses pass the old neoclassical grandstand, painted here in meticulous detail, the previous year’s winner Laurel, bred by Major Nicholas Yarburgh of York, is beaten by more than a length by Voltaire, a two-year-old owned by William Henry Vane (1766-1842), 1st Marquess and later Duke of Cleveland.

There was a time when a historic racing picture such as this by a top name might have been priced close to six figures. However, today the going is famously ‘soft’ to ‘heavy’ for 19th century images of the Turf and this particular work was probably a collaboration between Herring and James Pollard. In each work, Herring painted the race and horses while Pollard is thought to have depicted the grandstands and thronging crowds.

The estimate of £1500-2500 can scarcely have been more than the picture cost when last sold at Christie’s in 1979. The auction house said estimate was based on a very old probate valuation rather than a reflection of any condition issues.

In Dorset, it generated some respectable competition selling for £28,000.

In 1830, Herring left Doncaster for Newmarket where he spent three years before achieving fame and fortune in London as an animal painter to the royal family.