Gentleman’s collection in London sale

A sale of European Works of Art will take place at Olympia Auctions in London on May 24.

The auction house said that the property of a european collector was assembled over twenty-five years ago by a gentleman of exquisite taste, and adorned an 18th-century house of London’s Covent Garden. The varied and enticing collection of objects includes Delft ceramics of which a Dutch Delft plaque, circa 1730, painted with a depiction of the Last Supper is a highlight. The composition of the figures, table and floor are probably based on a print of the Last Supper, No. 2 in the ‘Passion of Christ’ series, first published by Philip Galle in about 1580 after Jan van der Straet. The plaque has an estimate of £2,500-£3,500.

A Dutch Delft plate circa 1730

Another highlight, a Dutch Delft tulip vase, de porceleyne Schotel, 1764–1772, has a provenance of the Counts Raben in Denmark and carries an estimate of £700- £1,000.   

Other beguiling ‘objets d’art’ from this same collection are a set of fifteen Japanned panels, late 17th/early 18th century, estimated at £300 – £400 and a pair of Italian silver-mounted Carte Gloria (altar card frames) from the mid-18th century, estimated at £800-£1200. An Arts and Crafts brass lantern with Medieval and later leaded glass, late 19th century, has an estimate of £800–£1,200 and a charming Italian micro mosaic panel of ‘Pliny’s Doves’ Rome, late 18th century, carries an estimate of £4,000-£6,000. Another unusual piece is a Mexican parquetry table chest from the 17th century, which is estimated at £1,500-£2,500. Asian ceramics as well as a large collection of Islamic tiles from the same collection were sold very successfully in previous sales at Olympia Auctions.

The collection of Louisa Service OBE which has also been split between sales includes a fascinating terracotta medallion by Jean-Baptiste Nini (1717-1786) made during his stay in Paris with Le Ray de Chaumont, a great supporter of the Americans against the British. This is pictured left and carries an estimate of £1,000-£2,000.

A group of Worcester porcelain from a private Swiss Collection of English porcelain includes a Chamberlain Worcester chocolate cup, cover and stand, circa 1810, estimated at £600-£900.   

There are also twenty-eight lots of 18th and 19th-century Russian and Greek icons from the estate of the late Dr Philip Shand, a passionate icon collector. Highlights include a folding 19th-century Russian iconostasis with four registers depicting: Old Testament Prophets, the Apostles, Archangels, various Church Fathers and Scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin, tempera and gesso on wood panels. It is estimated at £1,800-£2,200.

A folding iconostasis, Russian, 19th century. 

Another collection of interest is a large group of Scottish snuff mulls and ‘Pebble’ jewellery from the Bearn collection in New York. Professor Alexander Gordon Bearn (1923-2009) was a physician, scientist and author, renowned for his work in genetics and Wilson’s disease. He married Margaret Slocum in 1951 and after a very successful year in Cambridge as a distinguished visiting fellow at Christ’s College in 1996, the couple acquired a small house in Clarendon Street. In later years, during which the Bearn’s primarily lived in America, they enjoyed spending time collecting Scottish mulls and jewellery fascinated as they were by Professor Bearn’s Scottish antecedents.

A highlight among the 24 lots of mulls and other Scottish snuff boxes is a Victorian electroplate and double ram’s horn table snuff mull, probably Sheffield or Birmingham, third quarter of the 19th century, estimated at £600 – £800. The attractive group of 10 Scottish pebble brooches contains an eye-catching Victorian Scottish pebble brooch, 1860s of circular design framing a Celtic cross, estimate £250-£350. 

Elsewhere in the sale, from the selection of Meissen porcelain are the pair of splendid male and female Meissen large nodding Pagoda figures, later 19th century with articulated tongues, heads and hands, estimated at £8,000-£12,000. 

Within the ceramics section of the sale, among the Sèvres pieces are two ‘Dolphin’ salt cellars, circa 1820s, probably after a design by Alexandre-Evariste Fragonard (1780 – 1850), the son of the famous painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Estimates start at £400. 

For contemporary designer tableware, a set of sixteen Rosenthal porcelain small bowls and saucers designed by Gianni Versace (1946-1997) are estimated at £200-£300. The sought-after Hungarian porcelain maker, Herend, features with two 20th-century five part-dinner services, the low estimate for the smaller service is £600.    

Interiors pieces in the sale include bronze tazze and covers, candelabra and candlesticks. A highlight is a pair of statuesque French ormolu and patinated bronze candelabra, Paris, early 19th century, after a design by Percier and Fontaine, each with winged Victory holding up a vase supporting five lights composed of four branches. This has an estimate of £2,000-£3,000. 

Fine bronzes follow, including a sculpture of Sir Robert Peel attributed to Matthew Noble (1817-1876). Noble’s marble of Peel for St George’s Hall in Liverpool of 1853 appears to be closest in composition to this bronze. ‘David’ after Antonin Mercie (1845-1916), the Bardedienne Foundry, Paris is posed sheathing his sword, one foot resting on the head of Goliath, inscribed A Mercia and is estimated at £1,800-£2,200. ‘Adriadne on the panther’ after Johann Heinrich von Dannecker (1758 – 1841) is another fine example, probably German or French, from the second quarter of the 19th century, and estimated at £3,000-£4,000.

In the sale’s silver section, an American silver water jug, Tiffany & Co, New York circa 1883 richly chased with dahlias on a ground of small matted triangles is one of the highlights. It has an estimate of £3,000-£4,000.

An American silver water jug, Tiffany & Co., New York, circa 1883

Another piece also boldly chased with flowers is a Victorian silver rosebowl , Lee & Wigfull , Sheffield, 1898, estimated at £500-£700. Two Scottish silver-gilt beakers by one the UK’s great living silversmiths Malcolm Appleby, Edinburgh 2005 and 2006, the decoration inspired by the overlapping bark of Scots pine trees, are both estimated at £1,000-£1,500. A George V silver equestrian figure of an officer of the Royal Horse Guard (Blues) by F Phillips of Aldershot, London 1927 is estimated at £3,000-£5,000. One of the earliest pieces in this section is a silver chocolate pot and cover, Henry Lyon London from circa 1700. Four George III silver candlesticks by Ebenezer Cocker, London 1762 are estimated at £4,000-£6,000. 

There are a number of pocket watches in the sale, a highlight of which is a George III gold quarter repeating pocket watch, John Holmes, London, circa 1818., estimated at £2,000-£3,000.  Among the selection of watches is a Chopard, Monte-Carlo diamond cocktail watch, estimated at £4,000-£6,000. 

The tantalising jewellery section begins with a diamond evening bag, 1960s of basket weave design, embellished with a line of single-cut diamonds, with an estimate of £14,000-£16,000.   

A pair of diamond pendant earrings with cushion and pear-shaped diamond drops from the 1880s have an estimate of £20,000- £30,000. There is also a pair of emerald and diamond pendant earrings, 1880s, each centring on a square emerald within a surround of cushion-shaped diamonds in floral settings. Estimated at £4,000-£6,000. 

A diamond bracelet from the 1930s is designed as three articulated geometric plaques, each millegrain set with circular and single cut diamonds, highlighted with calibre-cut synthetic sapphires. This carries an estimate of £12,000 – £18,000. A spectacular Art Deco sapphire and diamond bracelet, 1930s is set with five graduated rectangular, mixed-cut sapphires, each within a radiating surround of calibre-cut sapphires and circular cut diamonds carries an estimate of £30,000-£50,000.

An Art Deco, Sapphire and Diamond bracelet, 1930s

An Art Deco brooch also from the 1930s and another from 1920s both with open work millegrain plaques are estimated at £1,000-£1,500. There is also a striking claw set sapphire and diamond ring with an oval mixed-cut sapphire set between triangular-shaped diamond shoulders with an estimate of £10,000-£15,000. A natural pearl and diamond necklace composed of two graduated rows of pearls the eye and are estimated at £3,000-£5,000.   

An Etruscan revival demi-parure, a nod to the aesthetic of this historic civilisation comprises a necklace and pair of pendent earrings is a penultimate lot to the auction, the necklace supporting a detachable barrel shaped carnelian pendant.  It has an estimate of £6,000-£8000.