The sale total at Canterbury Auction Galleries (20% buyer’s premium) was a premium-inclusive £212,110 against hopes of around £100,000 for a total of 624 lots.
‘Breadboard Annie’, as she was affectionately nicknamed in the early days, collected everything related to the unfitted kitchen. After her death in January 2020, more than 300 items were donated to the Jacobean Kiplin Hall and Gardens near Catterick in North Yorkshire, according to her wishes. The other items from her vast collection and stock came for sale in Kent.
It was a milk churn and cover that made the top price, selling at £4000 – 10 times the low estimate.
The early 20th century 21in (54cm) high white glazed pottery vessel printed with a rural idyll with milkmaid and cow and the legend Pure Milk carried a logo for the Dairy Outfit Co Limited, Office Kings Cross London. The period photograph, below, showing female workers at the King’s Cross operation sold at £70 (offered together with an image of a separate subject).
Another lot from the Dairy Outfit Co Limited, a suite of three blue and white Pure Milk pails printed in blue with floral and leaf scroll cartouche, the largest at 14½in diameter x 11in high (37 x 28cm), took a mid-estimate £2600 from a US online bidder.
Going well over the £600-800 estimate at £3500 was a Pure Country Milk two-handled pail and a New Milk pail, early 20th Century, produced for the Dairy Supply Co Limited of Museum Street, London (the building occupied since the mid 1960s by Pizza Express). It was bought by a UK online bidder.
Such companies provided a wide range of products to dairies, ranging from milk bottles and egg boxes to butter churns and cream separators. The Doulton factory in London was a supplier to the Dairy Outfit Co Limited.
Appropriately, a group of late Victorian turned and carved wood breadboards – 79 boards in total – sold in 15 lots for a total of £14,390. The best carved examples, or those with unusual wording, brought the strongest bids from collectors. The stand-out group comprised six examples, including two deeply carved with ears of corn, flowers and oak leaves and another featuring the words Staff of Life in gothic script. Offered with typical wood-handled knives and guided at £120-160, this lot proved a cut above, selling to a UK buyer via thesaleroom.com at £2100.
Marchant first became a dealer in 1980, having worked at an antiques shop, Chattels, in Camden Passage. Specialising in kitchen objects, she was a regular at the weekly Covent Garden market and the summer Olympia fair.
She was the only child of farmers in Wingham and Ash, Kent. After her parents died in the 1980s Marchant moved back to the family home, Wenderton, a large farmhouse that was perfect for showcasing her collection.