Monumental sculptures at Summers Place

A wide variety of monumental sculptures that have appeared on television and in films, alongside other works of art will go under the hammer at a West Sussex auction next month.

Summers Place Auctions will hold its next live auction on September 27, followed by a sealed bid auction on September 28, with sculptural TV and film props created by Rod and Louis Vass of Armordillo Ltd some of the highlights.

Rod’s work has appeared in BBC programmes such as Dr Who and Black Adder, alongside work for filmmakers Warner Bros, Disney, Marvel and DC. Over the last year he has been joined in the business by his son, Louis, who has added his sophisticated digital sculpting skills to Armordillo’s portfolio.

Resin head made for the TV show Beowulf

Among the examples of their work in the sale are three monumental polyurethane resin heads, which were made for the TV series Beowulf. They are each almost two and a half metres high and are estimated at £3,000 – £5,000 each, with one of the heads designed to fit around a tree.

Other sculptural props include a monumental hand, estimated at £2,000 – £4,000; an almost 3-metre high cobra, created for an Indian circus, estimated at £3,000 – £5,000; and another head in three sections and with wall hanging features, which is 185cm high and estimated to fetch £2,500 – £4,000.

Designed for the film Tomb Raider, a horse head (almost one metre high) is expected to fetch £500-£800, while a 2.3 metre long and equally high resin stallion on an iron frame base carries an estimate of £2,000-£4,000.

Further lots included in this auction are a lead cistern fountain, which was part of this year’s gold medal winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. The garden had been designed by Chris Beardshaw, well-known from his long broadcasting career, which includes BBC 2’s hit series Gardeners’ World, Hidden Gardens and The Flying Gardener, and is another award in a line of many won by Chris Beardshaw Design. This garden was designed for the RNLI and the cistern is estimated at £3,500-£5,000.

Members of the Royal Automobile Club on London’s historic Pall Mall, London, may also recognise an impressive bronze fountain figure of Ondine by popular sculptor Alexandra Beale, which is now becoming available for sale due to the redesigning of the gardens. The fountain was commissioned and installed in 2008 by the RAC, which opened in 1911 and had been built by the fashionable architects Charles Mewès and Arthur Davis, who had already been lauded for the recently constructed Ritz hotels in Paris and London, and the interiors of some of the great ocean-going liners of the day.Ondine, a mythological figure of European tradition, was a water nymph or sprite who could become human only when she fell in love with a mortal man. However, if the mortal was unfaithful to her, he was destined to forfeit his life. It is estimated at £5,000-£8,000.

A phenomenal sculpture of dancers by Jane K Jones (born 1936) made of bronze and 175cm high and almost one metre wide and deep is estimated at £30,000-£40,000.

A fine and rare lead figure of a mower by John Cheere (1709-1787), which used to belong to the President of the Royal Academy (1954-56), Professor Sir Albert Richardson P.R.A (1880-1964) is expected to sell for £15,000-£20,000.

There are several 19th century sculptures included in the auction, among them a mid 19th century suite of three carved white marble plaques, the largest 50cm high by 55cm wide carries an estimate of £20,000-£40,000. A carved white marble figure of a Neapolitan fisher boy from the late 19th century and made in Florence by Pietro Bazzanti, 1825-1895 is another lot in the sale. Bazzanti was one of a family of sculptors working in Florence during the 19th century, selling largely to rich patrons doing the Grand Tour. His workshop later became the Gallery Bazzanti based in an historic site next to the Arno river (est. £5,000-£8,000).

A charming, mid 19th century carved white marble group of an Arcadian shepherd youth with a dog gazing wistfully up at his master was made by Holme Cardwell in Rome and is estimated at £15,000-£25,000. It is a fine example of sculptures made for the same Grand Tourist market.

An impressive and entirely unique sculpture of a Harley Davidson, Freedom, created in bronze by Steve Wood and Clive Morris is 3m high and 6m wide and the sculptors are hoping the sculpture will make Harley Davidson fans’ hearts beat faster and a prospective buyer is looking at an estimate of £200,000-£400,000.

A selection of sculptures of children playing by Eneri Prosperi will also be available with the higher end estimates around the £6,000 – £10,000 price range.

Among the natural history lots a very rare Cave Lion (panthera spelaea) skull stands out. Originally from Siberia, it was radiocarbon dated to the Pleistocene period. The extinct Cave Lion inhabited Europe until around 10,000 years ago. It is very rare to find a skull in such good condition and it carries an estimate of £15,000-£25,000.

But there are natural history lots for every pocket and at the lower end is a really stunning fossilised crab specimen, found in Italy and from the Eocene period (45 million years ago). Only 13cm wide it is expected to fetch £1,100-£1,500.

Another fine example of the fact that nature is art is a framed copper ‘splash’, made from Glacial copper from Michigan, which is said to be the purest form of copper in the earth, estimated at £1,100-£1,500.

An unusual suite of table, throne and chairs, made of wrought iron but enhanced with natural minerals is a unique work combining natural history and bespoke furniture. Shelley Thomas, a graduate of the Sir John Cass School of Art, designs and makes jewellery and flamboyant furniture from her studio at the London Museum of Water & Steam in Brentford. This suite was commissioned and made in 2003. Applied with script in Latin, French and English, the different elements have been enhanced with amethyst, iron pyrites, and quartz crystals and it is expected to fetch £25,000-£35,000.

Summers Place Auctions is also delighted to be offering a small selection of sculptures by Misti, who famously won Channel 4’s Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker reality TV show in 2021. Part of the selection will be included in the next live auction on September 27, among them the sculpture, I Weep for Nature, proceeds of which will go to charity. A group of 12 sculptures will be sold online, in a timed auction from September 23 to October 3.