By repute this 15oz silver chamber stick and snuffer with glass hurricane shade, above, was a gift from Queen Victoria to her personal attendant and favourite John Brown (1826-1883). Engraved From V R Xmas 1871 and initialled JB, it has marks for Robert Garrard & Co, London, 1871.
It has an estimate of £800-1200 in Catherine Southon’s two-day sale at Farleigh Court, Surrey, on May 10-11.
This silhouette portrait depicts the Royal Navy Captain George Robinson in naval uniform holding a telescope in his left hand, and with a wooden ‘peg-leg’.
A note verso records he served under Lords Rodney and Hood. Lost his leg in an engagement with 2 French men of war when in command of H.M. Ship Thames – taken prisoner was in a French Prison 2 years under Robespiere.
It comes for sale at Lawrences in Crewkerne on May 19 together with a similar silhouette of Robinson’s second wife plus two letters. One is a commission dated 1795 appointing Robinson in command of His Majesty’s Sloop the Wasp, the other a letter in French (dated the third year of the Republic – 1794) requesting permission to send the captain home from incarceration in Brest.
The estimate for the lot is £300-500.
James Maurice Harrison (1892-1971), pictured above in 1950, was one of the last great bird collectors, who gathered large numbers of specimens for ornithological study to document moult patterns, geographical distribution, and colour variation between individuals and species.
Specimen collecting, which had its heyday in the late 19th/early 20th century, provided the basis for much of today’s ornithological knowledge, and laid the foundations for the modern study of bird behaviour and ecology.
The James Harrison Collection of Birds, on offer at North Yorkshire auction house Tennants on May 20, comprises over 150 lots of cased and free-mount birds dating from the late Victorian era to the middle of the 20th century.
Highlights include this cased late Victorian passenger pigeon, supplied to Harrison by George Bristow of St Leonards-on-Sea, estimated at £7000-10,000.
The now extinct passenger pigeon was once endemic to North America, migrating in vast flocks across the continent. Deforestation and widespread hunting for meat saw the species decline rapidly during the 19th century, with the last wild bird though to have been shot in 1901 and the last captive bird, Martha, dying at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.
A three-day sale at Bamfords in Derby on May 5-6 and May 9 includes this set of George II silver tea caddies in a fitted shagreen box with silver mounts. The three rectangular bombe-shaped caddies with bird and fruit finials and shell feet are marked for Pierre Gillois, London 1755.
Exeter firm Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s Antiquarian Book Auction on May 24, an online-only sale, includes a copy of Henry Stubbe’s The Indian Nectar, or a Discourse Concerning Chocolata… estimated at £2000-3000.
Published in 1662, this is the earliest printed book on chocolate in the English language. It came from the Signet Library with its device in gilt on the upper cover.
The very long title adds: The Nature of the Cacao- Nut and the other Ingredients of that Composition, is examined, and states according to the Judgement and Experience of the Indians and Spanish writers, who lived in the Indies, and others; with sundry additional observations made in England, the ways of compounding and preparing chocolate are enquired into; its effects, as it is alimental and veneral quality, as well as medicinal (especially in hypochondriacal melancholy) are fully debated. Together with a spagyrical analysis of the cacao-nut, performed by that excellent chymist, Monsieur le Febure, chymist to His Majesty.
A Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed oak-stained dining suite created for ‘The House for an Art Lover’, commissioned by Bruce Hamilton, comes up at Wokingham Auctions in a timed online sale ending on May 5.
It comprises six oak dining chairs, matching carvers with stencilled design and fabric upholstered seats and an oblong table with carved motifs to the supports.
The House for an Art Lover or Haus eines Kunstfreundes was an international design competition set by the German design magazine Zeitschrift für Innendekoration in 1901, after which Mackintosh received a special award. The fruition of his designs were realised in 1996 with all interior rooms and landscaping to the original designs at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.
The first suite created by Hamilton was for this special project and this suite stamped Hamilton No. 3 was purchased new from Sculpt Art Creations in 2000 and comes with a guide price of £2000-4000.
This three-seater sofa, c.1949, designed by Finn Juhl (1912-89) and executed by master cabinetmaker Søren Willadsen, is on offer at the Spring Design Auction at Phillips in London on May 12, estimated at £20,000-30,000.
The auction also features a two-seater sofa designed by Nanna (1923-2005) and Jørgen Ditzel 1921-61, and executed by master cabinetmaker Knud Willadsen in 1949. Fewer than 10 sofas in this design were ever produced, of which one is the present work guided at £12,000-18,000.
The Bentley’s sale on May 7 includes this Fijian carved whale’s tooth double-figure offering hook, c.late 18th/early 19th century, approx 4½in (12cm) high.
The auction house in Cranbrook, Kent, says an almost identical example is held by the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and “a not dissimilar example in the University of Aberdeen with an interesting provenance”.
On May 14 Duke’s of Dorchester will be holding its second Militaria auction in association with The Tank Museum (staged live there on the day)
This ‘Jolly Roger’ comes from the submarine HMS Unbroken. The vessel conducted cloak and dagger operations involving members of the SOE under the command of Peter Churchill.
Under the command of Lieutenant Commander Alastair Campbell Gillespie Mars, DSO, DSC & Bar, Unbroken sank 14 merchant ships and two warships during the war. The stars and cannon represent four merchant vessels sunk with the deck gun. The white bars signify merchant ships and the red bars warships. The daggers show that Unbroken undertook four ‘Cloak and Dagger Operations’.
On June 26, 1944, Unbroken was loaned to the Soviet Navy; she was returned in 1949 and scrapped in 1950.
Estimated at £8000-10,000, the flag is from the estate of Petty Officer FC Sharp DSM, who served on Unbroken.
This rare 14ct rose golf tonneau-cased wristwatch by Longines is dated 1915. Retaining its original silver and blue enamel dial, the Longines heritage department have confirmed it was originally delivered to Longines agent Schwob in Russia.
It is expected to bring £2000-3000 as part of the sale of Modern, Vintage & Military timepieces at Watches of Knightsbridge on May 14.
The Mid-century Modern sale at Adam’s in Dublin on May 10 includes, estimated at €1000-1500, this 2ft 10in (85cm) leather kangaroo footstool by Omersa for Liberty, c.1960s.
Dimitri Omersa, a Yugoslav political prisoner incarcerated by Tito for 10 years after the Second World War, came to England in 1955. He and his wife Inge settled at Lavender Croft, a sanctuary for refugees in Hitchin, and found work in the leather trade.
He took over the supply of leather pigs to Liberty of London in 1958 and began introducing other animals to the range including the best-selling rhino.
A sale of Modern British and 20th Century Art at Bellmans in Wisborough Green on May 10 includes a small collection of works by Mary Fedden and her husband Julian Trevelyan.
This 20 x 16in (51 x 41cm) oil on canvas signed and dated Trevelyan 88 is titled Richmond Bridge. It follows the composition of a work of the same title painted by James Tissot a century earlier.