The sale at Hutchinson Scott (25% buyer’s premium) in Skipton, North Yorkshire, on February 4 included a Victorian perfume box by Dee (London, 1877) modelled as a curled-up otter with cabochon garnet eyes. It had been purchased by the vendor from Gerald Sattin Antiques.
The choice of subject matter would not have been lost on the Victorians: until the late 19th century otters were a source of natural musk, used in the perfume industry as a fixative to reduce the rate of evaporation.
Opening to reveal a fitted gilt interior with four glass perfume bottles, the inner rim is engraved for the retailer Jones, Bt. des Capucines, Paris. 41 St. James’s St. London. Estimated at £1500-2500, it made £2400.
After Henry retired, the firm was run by his brother Louis Dee until his death in 1884.
Among the quirkier creations carrying his mark is a 7½in (19cm) long model of a dab flat fish. A sewing case of this form (London 1884) retailed by Alfred Clark of 33 New Bond Street was sold for £3600 by Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury in January 2014.
The example pictured here was offered by Specialist Auction Services (20% buyer’s premium) in Newbury on February 1.
Hallmarked for London 1879, it appeared to have been created as a paperweight – without the lid to the reverse seen on the sewing kit.
Estimated at a very attractive £80-120, it took £1500.