blue john vases

Among the 267 lots at Sworders’ Dick Turpin sale is this pair of George III blue john and ormolu ‘Cleopatra’ candle vases, attributed to Matthew Boulton, estimated at £2000-4000. View the catalogue entry for these vases here.

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A giant of a man with a large walrus moustache, he was as a distinctive figure who achieved near-legendary status during a 50-year career. Known throughout the trade as ‘Dick’, he was a familiar sight at regional UK salerooms with his thick-rimmed spectacles and trilby hat.

Born in Bow, East London, the son of a fruit seller, he trained originally as a sound engineer. After a spell working for the BBC, he took up a job as an antiques ‘runner’ in the summer of 1948, searching provincial shops and markets, sourcing goods to be sold on to those in the London trade. A couple of years later he opened his own small premises on Portobello Road, soon establishing himself as one of the industry’s most emphatic personalities.

Sourcing works from provincial auctions and house sales in the UK and Europe, he later became one of the first British dealers to undertake frequent buying trips to the US where he became equally renowned.

Maurice ‘Dick’ Turpin

Not to be confused with the 18th-century highwayman, the British dealer Maurice ‘Dick’ Turpin was a colourful figure in his own right.

He established a strong reputation in multiple fields including English furniture, Renaissance bronzes, Continental furnishings, glass, porcelain and pictures. Following his death in 2005, the remaining stock from his Bruton Street shop was sold in two sales at Christie’s, titled ‘The Legend of Dick Turpin’.

On January 25, Sworders of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, will offer a further sale of contents from the West London flat that he shared with partner, the late Jackie Mann (see obituary in ATG No 2613).

The residence in Barons Keep, West Kensington featured some spectacular and carefully chosen pieces which will be offered across 267 lots.

Here is a selection of works on offer:

1. Stationery casket

stationery casket

A tooled leather stationery casket made in France in the late 19th century is among the lots at Sworders’ sale of the Dick Turpin collection. With a hinged cover enclosing a marble-papered divided interior, it is stamped 'V. BEAUMONT REL. PARIS' to the base, and is estimated at £100-150. View the catalogue entry for this stationery casket.

2. Walnut sofa

Walnut sofa

This George III-style walnut sofa dates from the 19th century and is upholstered in blue velvet. It has a £500-700 estimate at Sworders’ sale of the Dick Turpin collection. View the catalogue entry for this walnut sofa.

3. Ormolu pendule d'officier

Ormolu pendule d'officier

Dating from c.1800, this ormolu pendule d'officier by Robert & Courvoisier has plenty of decorative features such as the entwined serpent handle and foliage to the sides. It is pitched at £1500-2500 at the Sworders sale. View the catalogue entry for this ormolu pendule d'officier.

4. Cloisonné cranes

cloisonné cranes

This pair of Chinese cloisonné cranes dating from the Republic period (1912-1949) are enamelled with white bodies and polychrome wings and tails. Offered together, they have an estimate of £300-500 at Sworders. View the catalogue entry for these cloisonné cranes.

5. Prancing horse bronze

Horse bronze

A bronze by Eugenio Pellini (1864-1934) is among the lots on offer at Sworders. The prancing horse figure with green patina bears a cast signature of the Italian artist to the base. It is estimated at £500-700. View the catalogue entry for this prancing horse bronze.