Gilbert Collection sale highlights

The collection of British film director, producer, and screen writer, Lewis Gilbert and his wife, Hylda, sold recently in a sale at Bellmans in West Sussex.

The Lewis & Hylda Gilbert Collection included some examples of outstanding works of art. Hylda Gilbert, who was born into a family of antiques dealers, had a wonderful collection of miniatures and they proved to be the highlights of the sale.

One of them also was the top lot of the auction – a portrait miniature of a lady in an ermine bordered lilac coat with pearls by one of the finest miniaturists John Smart (1742-1811). Created in 1781 it was estimated at £4,000-6,000, but the hammer eventually came down at £11,000. Another Smart miniature sold for £6,000 against an estimate of £3,000-5,000, while a 19th century miniature of Queen Victoria from the same collection sold for £3,200, three times its low estimate.

Miniature portrait of a lady by John Smart
Miniature portrait of a lady by John Smart

Among the Asian works of art collection was a Chinese jade double snuff bottle , formed as two conjoined rounded rectangular bottles carved with scrolls, it was estimated at £1,200-1,800, but sold for £3,000. A beautiful Chinese embroidered panel from a robe from the 19th century carried the same estimate but the hammer went down at £5,000, while a pair of Chinese famille-rose eggshell porcelain bowls from the 20th century made £2,000 against an estimate of £400-600 and a pair of Chinese cloisonné barrel shaped garden seats sold for £2,600.

Not part of the collection, but from other consignors, a late 19th-century Chinese porcelain famille-rose brush pot had been estimated at £200-300, but sold for £1,100 and a Chinese porcelain dish from the 18th century, which carried an estimate of £1,000-1,500 and sold for £1,900.

An Italian micro-mosaic inlaid tortoiseshell snuff box from the second quarter of the 19th century, estimated at £300-500, sold for £4,000 to an Italian collector, while a George III silver-gilt mounted tortoiseshell tea-caddy sold for nine times its low estimate for £4,500. Other works from the collection that did well was a Vienna Historismus rock crystal and polychrome enamel pocket watch from 1900, although in the 17th century style, had been estimated at £80-120, but achieved £650 and a pair of gilt-framed sofas in the manner of Gillows from circa 1840 sold for top estimate at £5,000.

Highlights of the picture auction included three lots with works by the British women artist Winifred Strangman (1874-1955), sold by descendants of the artist. Each lot had been estimated at £200-300 and included three paintings each. One sold for £2,800 and the other two for £3,200 each.

An oil on canvas of geese by Peter Markham Scott (1909 – 1989) sold for £4,200 against an estimate of £1,500-2,500 and an abstract still life by Claude Venard (French, 1913-1999) had been estimated at £1,000-1,500 and made £3,500.

Clocks did very well with the top lots both selling for £7,500. A fine and rare Rhodium-plated Atmos du Millenaire Atlantic model with 1,000-year calendar and moon phases by Jaeger-LeCoultre from circa 1999 had been estimated at £5,000-8,000 and an unusual early Victorian Mahogany Regulator by Barraud, London had carried an estimate of £2,000-3,500.

A 19th-century Continental tankard and cover was one of the highlights in the silver auction when it sold for £1,400, estimated at £500-800. It was beautifully decorated with a country scene, with a horse, a cow and sheep, two figures and with buildings beyond, the handle with a merry-making figure terminal, the finial to the lid modelled as a prancing goat.

Among the jewellery a Victorian carbuncle garnet pendant in a Holbeinesque design sold for almost 13 times its high estimate at £3,800 and a stunning 1920s platinum and diamond double clip brooch in a geometric design achieved £4,500, against its estimate of £2,500-3,000.


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