A Chinese Doucai Porcelain Censer sold for £130,000 (all figures exclude buyer’s premium) in Tennants Auctioneers’ Autumn Sale on 11th and 12th November, following a heated battle between an online bidder and eight telephone lines.
The censer, which bears the Qianlong reign mark, was consigned by a North Yorkshire vendor, and by repute had been in the family for three generations. Once part of an altar garniture, the censer is decorated in the Doucai style, in which parts of the design are painted on in blue underglaze, before the vessel is glazed, fired and then coloured overglaze enamels are used to paint the rest of the decoration. The censer was decorated with auspicious Buddhist emblems including the fish, the endless knot, the wheel of law, the conch shell, and the canopy.
A further highlight of the Asian Art section of the sale was a Transitional style Chinese Porcelain Vase, which sold, together with a similar vase, for £10,000.
Strong prices were seen throughout the Furniture section of the sale, with sensible estimates and fresh-to-market items tempting numerous bidders. Provenance was key, too, with fine pieces from the Estate of Nancy Sutton, of Ballachrink, Isle of Man selling very well. The majority of the furniture from the estate had been beautifully looked after and was sold with original receipts from leading antiques dealers in the 1970s and 1980s. Highlights included A George III Mahogany Serpentine Shape Commode (sold for £5,000), and a George III Sheraton Period Mahogany Drum Table (sold for £3,800), both with original invoices from Charles Lumb & Sons of Harrogate.
Small occasional furniture sold well, too, with the likes of a George III Mahogany Circular Manx-Style Tripod Table, with the supports realistically modelled as legs with buckled shoes selling for £3,500. However, one of the top lots of the furniture section was an impressive Victorian Twenty-Seater Oak Extending Dining Table, which sold for £7,800, and a Regency Rosewood and Gilt Metal-Mounted Sideboard, which sold for £5,500.
Elsewhere in the sale, notable lots selling well above estimate included a Beilby Enamelled Wine Glass, circa 1770 (sold for £5,500), a circa 1900 Ushak Carpet from West Central Anatolia (sold for £7,500), a Walnut and Marquetry-Inlaid Mirror, circa 1690 (sold for £7,800), and an unusually large 19th Century Stained Wood Artist’s Lay Figure (sold for £6,500). Further highlights in the clock section of the sale included A Victorian Walnut Quarter Chiming Bracket Clock by George Hammond of Manchester (sold for £2,800), and a French Bronze Ormolu Striking Mantel Clock by Estienne LeNoir of Paris (sold for £2,200).
The extraordinary two day say was opened with the sale of the Select Contents of Knavesmire Lodge, York from the Estate of Mr Darrell Buttery MBE (1941-2022). Buttery was an inspiring teacher, a writer, and a champion of the civic heritage of York, and this eclectic sale drew in the buyers to achieve a 100% sold rate and double the top pre-sale estimate. Highlights of the sale included a Portrait of a Gentleman in sumptuous red and gold coat by the Circle of Charles Jervas (sold for £15,000), a Carved Oak Bust of St. James, probably French 17th Century (sold for £3,500), a Portrait of Lady Gertrude Pierpoint attributed to Sir Peter Lely and Studio (sold for £8,500), and an Early 19th Century Staved oak and Brass-Bound Rum Barrel (sold for £2,000).
The sale achieved a total hammer price of £594,840 with an 91% sold rate for 543 lots.