Ernest Gimson on fire in auction

A pair of fire dogs by Ernest Gimson, one of the leading lights of the arts and crafts movement, has sold for an impressive £50,000 in an Oxfordshire saleroom.

Ernest Gimson fire dogs

The fire dogs, dating from 1904 to 1910, were highly contested in Mallams Auctioneers‘ Design and Modern Art recent two-day sale. Forged from steel by Alfred Bucknell in Gimson’s smithy at Sapperton they stand at approximately 70cm high and came to Mallams from the collection of Arthur Mitchell, a member of the successful, West Midlands-based Mitchell and Butler Brewery family.

A walnut sideboard, also designed by Gimson in 1915, sold well to reach a hammer price of £17,000. A typical example of Gimson’s work, with careful proportions and a clean outline, it was made by Peter Waals from Gimson’s design and also came to Mallams from the Arthur Mitchell collection.

Ernest Gimson sideboard

The Peter Dingley collection of ceramics and paintings made up a significant part of the sale, with the collection performing well. Highlights included two ceramic items by Hans Coper, achieving sales of £23,000 and £34,000 respectively. Two items by John Ward also out-performed estimates, with a vase with a matte white glaze and green lines, selling for £6500, and a graduated blue and ochre glaze vase, achieving £4600.

The second day of the sale featured modern British and post war art and results included:

  • A gouache and water colour painting entitled “Ibiza” by Frances Hodgkins, sold for £17,000. Considered to be one of New Zealand’s most influential artists, Hodgkins actually spent most of her working life in England and Europe and this painting, dating from 1934, came to the Peter Dingley Collection from the Ruskin Gallery in Stratford upon Avon.
  • A bronze statue  by Frederick Edward McWilliam (1909-1992), achieving a hammer price of £6600. Girl Sitting Down is one of a series of ‘Girls’ bronzes by the artist and dates from circa 1969.
  • A signed Geoffrey Key (b.1941) oil painting entitled “The Horse Race” (lot 737) dating from 1996, which eventually sold for £5,600.

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