Topping the Chichester auction was an 18th century bombé serpentine commode, 3ft 2in (97cm) wide, featuring gilt-metal mounts, catalogued as ‘Louis XV’ with a £600-800 estimate.
“It was certainly period,” said auctioneer Peter Parker, “but I was so focused on determining the woods [probably quarter veneered padouk, rosewood and satinwood] – that I looked beyond the fact that it was English not French.”
Cabinetmakers such as the emigré Pierre Langlois (fl.1754-81) championed an Anglo-French style in the drawing rooms of England’s finest homes. This commode c.1765 appeared to retain its original rococo ormolu handles and mounts.
Bidders concurred and the commode, in reasonable condition for its age, sold to the UK trade at £15,000.
Howard in demand
The second furniture star at the February 10 sale was a Howard & Sons sofa, examples of which have for some years been the most in-demand items of Victorian and Edwardian furniture.
The 6ft 5in (1.95m) wide sofa at Stride & Son followed the Baring design, produced at Howards’ Berners Street, London premises in the late 19th or early 20th century and all the more desirable for that.
On turned walnut legs, with all castors stamped and labelled twice to the underside, it was structurally sound but needed re-upholstering.
It was pitched at £1000-2000 but a local lady was, said Parker, “determined to have it” and bought it at £13,000.
Sold at £3800 (estimate £600- 900) was a good quality William IV mahogany library table with six frieze drawers and reeded tapering legs with ‘Cope’s Patent’ brass caps and castors. It was very much in the manner of Gillows.
Surprises are to expected among Chinese offerings and a carved white jade pendant, catalogued as probably Qing, filled the role. Decorated in shallow relief with flowering prunus to both sides, the 2 x 1½ in (5.4 x 4cm) pendant on fitted hardwood stand was estimated at £300-500 and went to a Chinese bidder at £3600.
Among the English ceramics was a late Victorian 17-piece Coalport dessert service painted to two comports, four serving dishes and 11 plates with different named British landscape designs. The borders were a rich cobalt blue and gilt. It was pitched at £100-200 but made £1650.
Parker noted that the market for sets of Wilkinson toby jugs of First World War Allied political and military leaders appears to be past its peak of 20 years ago. However, the complete set of 11 figures offered in Chichester included one of only 150 figures of South African President General Louis Botha that Wilkinson produced.
By 1914, the Boer War leader had become reconciled with his bitter British enemies after what he described as generous peace terms.
The set went almost bang on mid-estimate, selling to a UK private buyer at £4800.
Radiogram in tune
Of appeal to a limited number of vinyl enthusiasts today but a top-of-the-market item in the 1950s and early ’60s was a Garrard Acoustical Quad radiogram with the serial no 50908. With all its accoutrements, it sold at 15 times the top estimate, taking £1800.