Gregson House and its contents date from the early Victorian period. Measuring 6ft 10in (2.04m) high it was made for and furnished by Miss Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Wilkinson (d.1857) of Aston Hall, Birmingham, and came by descent until 2010 when it was sold by private treaty to the vendor, a family friend.
At the Furniture, Works of Art & Clocks sale at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury on June 29-30 it has a guide of £20,000-30,000.
Bessie Wilkinson was the scion of a great iron-making dynasty, being daughter of William Wilkinson (1744-1808) and niece of John ‘Iron Mad’ Wilkinson (1728-1808) of Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale fame. Her sister Mary Anne married Matthew Robinson Boulton (1770-1842), the only son of the great 18th century entrepreneur Matthew Boulton, but died in childbirth in 1829, leaving seven children and a new-born baby girl. It was this tragedy that precipitated the creation of the doll’s house as aunt ‘Bessie’ sought to help her nieces and nephews recover from a great sadness.
Vivien Greene (wife of author Graham Greene) in her book Family Doll’s Houses of 1973 wrote that the Gregson House was a “splendid example” of a “cupboard house”. She thought the Still Room was unique in her experience “and it is a delight to survey the ranges of built-in cupboards, curved round the room, some filled with china”.
The sale of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs in Edinburgh on July 13 includes this document signed by the adventurer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618) on the Isle of Wight, August 15, 1580.
Penned in a secretarial hand, the text references Raleigh’s preparations to travel to Ireland to help crush the Desmond rebellion – the venture which propelled him into the favour of Elizabeth I. Raleigh’s signature is extremely rare, with this early example expected to bring £15,000-£20,000.
A rare regimental commander’s Peninsula War group awarded to Lieutenant General Sir John Cameron (1773-1844) carries an estimate of £70,000-90,000 at Noonans’ sale on June 29 of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria.
Cameron received the Gold Medal for his services at the battles of Rolica, Vimeiro, Corunna, Bussaco, Salamanca, Vitoria, Nive and the siege of San Sebastian. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Military Order of the Bath in 1821.
The 1847 Gothic Crown engraved by the great William Wyon (1795-1851) is one of the most sought-after coins of the British Crown series.
The Latin legends translates on obverse as ‘Victoria by the Grace of God, Queen of the Briton’s, Defender of the Faith’ and on the reverse as ‘May God guard these united, in the year of our Lord 1847.’ The legend on the edge translates as ‘An ornament and a safeguard in the eleventh year of her reign.’
These proof crowns with lettered edge were limited to 8000 pieces with this example in outstanding condition – graded as PR63 Cameo. It has an estimate of £18,000-22,000 at the summer online auction of coins conducted by Sovereign Rarities on June 28.
London numismatist Baldwin’s will mark its 150th year with a special anniversary auction on July 12.
Among the many fine gold coins in the sale is this ‘uncirculated and choice’ Scottish unit issued as part of the third coinage (1637-42) of Charles I. The design, featuring a half-length portrait of the king wearing an ornate full armour, is by the celebrated French coin engraver and medallist Nicholas Briot (1579-1646). Estimate £8000-10,000.
The sale of Valuable Books and Manuscripts at Christie’s on July 13 included a 1687 copy of Sir Isaac Newton’s most famous work, Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.
The printing history of the Principia – described by Albert Einstein as “perhaps the greatest intellectual stride that it has ever been granted to any man to make” – is well documented.
This copy, with a two-line imprint to the title page, was one intended for distribution in Britain and is traditionally considered the first issue. In contemporary panelled calf, it is guided at £350,000-500,000.
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by ‘A Lady’ was the first book by the English cookery writer Hannah Glasse (1708-70). Published in 1747, it became the best-selling recipe book of the Georgian age and appeared in 20 editions in the 18th century alone.
The work includes one of the first English recipes for ‘Currey the India Way’.
This copy ‘sold at Mrs. Ashburn’s, a China-Shop, Corner of Fleet-Ditch, 1747’ conforms to the description of the first issue and has a provenance to John Le Mesurier (1781-1843), the last hereditary Governor of Alderney whose engraved armorial bookplate and ink signature appear to the title page.
It has an esimate of £3000-4000 when Forum Auctions sells the gastronomy library of the late collector Caroline Crisford in London on June 23.
The Arms, Armour and Militaria sale at Olympia Auctions on June 29 includes a private collection of English 17th century armour and edged weapons.
Pictured here (from left to right) are: an English rapier with backsword blade c.1630, estimate £2000-3000; an English dish hilted rapier c.1650, estimate £1400-1800; an English mortuary hilted backsword, second quarter of the 17th century, estimate £2000- 2500; an English mortuary hilted backsword, second quarter of the 17th century, estimate £1600-2000.