Florence Nightingale hair in sale

A lock of Florence Nightingale’s hair, the pioneering nurse and social reformer, is coming up for sale at Tennants Auctioneers on July 13 with an estimate of £2,000-3,000.

The lock of hair, which is thought to have been cut in 1883 when she was 63 years old, is sold alongside an example of her signature on a clipped piece of paper, a leather-bound copy of the Order for the Burial of the Dead published for her funeral in 1910, and a miniature copy of The Book of Job, inscribed “Harry Verney from Wm Nightingale [Florence’s father] Embley April 1862” . The items have descended through the Verney family from Sir Harry Verney (1801-1894), who married Florence Nightingale’s sister Frances Parthenope in 1858. They have since been passed down through the same family.

A lock of Florence Nightingale's hair and other documents

A collection of twenty-one 19th-century Terracotta Campana Garden Urns, with provenance from Raby Castle, County Durham, will be offered in six lots. The decorative urns carry estimates starting at £400-600 for a pair. 

A private collection of English pottery will be offered in twenty-three lots, including numerous Prattware and Creamware figures. Notable highlights include a rare circa 1800 Prattware equestrian group modelled as a gentleman riding a skewbald horse, estimated at £2,000-3,000, and a circa 1780 Whieldon-type creamware hare, estimated at £2,500-4,000.

A Prattware ceramic horse and rider

There are also an unusual number of ceramic stirrup cups in the sale, hailing from two private collections in the North of England. The stirrup cups are being offered in eleven lots, with highlights including a rare English porcelain hare’s head stirrup cup, estimated at £200-300; a Rockingham porcelain of mask stirrup cup, circa 1830, estimated at £200-300; and a Staffordshire pearlware hound’s head stirrup cup, early 19th century, estimated at £200-300. 

An antique ceramic hare stirrup cup

Among the Asian art is a pair of Chinese porcelain ‘dragon’ bowls with Guangxu marks, with provenance from Elizabeth Shield, who was a companion to Lucie Castleman, the daughter of one of the founders of the Rock Island Railroad, on her travels in the Far East in the late 1800s and early 1900s, estimated at £3,000-5,000. A Chinese porcelain vase with Chenghua reign mark but probably Kangxi period is offered with an estimate of £3,000-5,000. 

A rare late 18th-century Chinoiserie tavern wall timepiece, signed M Hill, leads the clock section of the sale. Offered with an estimate of £2,500-3,500, the black lacquered case is decorated with pagodas and Oriental figures. Notable, too, are a circa 1700 ebonised striking table clock, signed Jonathan Lowndes, Pall Mall, London, estimated at £2,000-3,000; a circa 1770 giltwood cartel wall timepiece, signed Wm Smith, London, estimated at £2,500-3,000, and a circa 1800 mahogany eight day longcase clock, signed Barwise, London, estimated at £2,500-3,000. 

Fine 19th-century furniture in the sale includes a Regency rosewood and brass-inlaid library or centre table, in the Manner of George Bullock. With provenance from the Otterington Hall Sale held at Tennants in 1990, the table is offered with an estimate of £3,000-5,000. Attributed to Holland & Sons is a fine Victorian burr-walnut, mahogany, rosewood-crossbanded and floral marquetry-inlaid library or centre table, estimated at £3,000-4,000. Good early oak and walnut highlights include a late 17th-century yew and walnut gateleg dining table, estimated at £2,000-3,000 and a joined oak standing livery cupboard from the early 17th century, estimated at £1,500-2,000. Also of interest is a George III carved mahogany dining table, from the third-quarter of the 18th  century and possibly made in Ireland, estimated at £1,500-2,000.