Posted on: 28 October 2020
Made in Chelsea : 18th century porcelain proves popular in our October auction
Following the success of their sparkling September sale, Trevanion & Dean’s October auction proved there’s no slowing down for the Whitchurch based auction house in the lead up to Christmas – the sale, held on Saturday 24th October, proved to be their second most successful since the Whitchurch based auction house opened in 2014.
Featuring an impressive collection of antiques and furniture from a fine house in the Newport area, and a selection of top-quality time pieces, the sale also had a few pleasant surprises on the day. Reflecting on the success of the sale, Auctioneer Ashley Jones said “The tremendous results from our latest fine art and antique auction only proved how collections which have been carefully curated by their owners to contain items of calibre are ever popular in today’s market. An important thing to remember is that many of these pieces are fresh to the market – and thus highly sought after by both private individuals and trade buyers.”
The top price of the day was taken by an 18th century Chelsea red anchor period vine leaf dish dating to the 1750’s. Despite its humble appearance, the dish caught the attention of eagle-eyed early porcelain collectors across Europe, resulting in a ferocious bidding war, culminating in the plate selling to an English collector for the incredible sum of £7000. Reflecting on the price achieved on the day, ceramics valuer Simon Grover said ‘this plate is an early example of ‘Hans Sloane’ porcelain – a range of plates and tableware decorated with botanical subjects, first produced by the Chelsea factory in the mid 1750’s. Though Chelsea was not the first factory to produce pieces decorated with flowers and fruits, theirs were noted for their lively naturalism, which reflected the broadening public interest for science and the natural world in the era of the Enlightenment. Many of the designs were copied from the botanical illustrations of Phillip Miller, a botanist and director of the Chelsea Physic Garden, of which Sloane was a patron. Though Sloane had passed away before these designs appeared on Chelsea porcelain, his legacy and influence in the local botanical community created a lasting impact, and his memory lives on in these designs. Today, so called ‘Sloane’ pieces can fetch a premium at auction. This Chelsea piece is quite unusual, however – apples are not a subject I’ve come across in a Sloane piece before and the shape was a very rare example’.
Elsewhere in the sale, many of the top results of the day came from a collection of furniture consigned from an impressive house in the Newport area; highlights included a Louis XVI style walnut and gilt metal embellished five-piece bedroom suite, which sold for £3200, a Louis XVI style burr yew and walnut bonheur du jour which took £2000, and a Queen Anne style walnut dining table which sold for £1200. Of the collection, furniture specialist Ian Woodward said “Many of the prices achieved on sale day were unlike anything I’ve seen since the 1990’s – some pieces were making two to three times the price you would of expected them to make at the same time last year.
“There are many contributing factors towards this – the furniture market in general is experiencing a bit of a boom since lockdown, with many people revamping their homes with the extra time and expendable income that would previously have gone towards holidays and days out – we’ve seen an influx of first time bidders shopping at auction over the last six months. However, the quality and condition of these pieces can’t be underestimated – this consignment had some of the best pieces that I have seen in the saleroom this year.”
The collection also boasted two impressive longcase clocks, one an 18th century style walnut and mahogany eight-day long case clock by Lowe & Sons, and the other a Chippendale style mahogany grandmother clock. Both examples garnered a tremendous amount pre-sale interest, and on sale day bids flew in from prospective buyers up and down the country on the phones and online. Both clocks sold to an English collector for the sum of £5000 + Buyer’s Premium. “Both clocks were in exceptional condition – they were in working order, and needed very little attention, and I think that was a big part of the appeal for bidders” says Ian. “The cases were also clean and slender, and more suitable for the modern-day day home.”
With first-time buyer’s discovering the world of online auctions, it seems that many are looking to diversify their portfolios by investing in jewellery and watches – or are simply looking to treat themselves to pieces they’ve long desired and can finally afford! In the run up to Christmas, the market shows no signs of slowing down. My advice to anyone who has pieces they have been holding onto for a while, is to act sooner rather than later, and take advantage of this boom while it lasts.”