Posted on: November 11, 2019

Time on our side! Clocks clean up at Trevanion & Dean’s November Auction

Trevanion & Dean’s penultimate auction of the year was an accumulation of worldly treasures from France to the Far East, garnering interest from both national and international collectors and achieving some fantastic prices.

Trevanion & Dean’s penultimate auction of the year was an accumulation of worldly treasures from France to the Far East, garnering interest from both national and international collectors and achieving some fantastic prices. One of the most sought after lots of the day was a magnificent 19th century French bronze mantle clock, which beat pre-sale estimates to achieve £6000. Auctioneer and valuer Ian Woodward oversaw competitive bidding from five eager telephone bidders, and eventually the clock sold to a collector in the South of England. Of the clock, Ian said ‘This is a really impressive piece designed to make a statement. We think it originated in Paris in the 1880’s, and it’s possible it could have been made for an exhibition it is of such exceptional quality. There’s a lot of classic elements of French style in here, but some aspects are quite unusual to find in a clock of this period, such as the full calendar dial showing the day, date and month, and also moon phases and moon age. It’s a rather fantastic example and it’s no wonder it caught the eye of so many bidders.’

Time certainly proved to be on Ian’s side on Saturday, as he later sold an 18th century oak longcase clock for an impressive £3400. As Ian explained ‘Not only is this clock beautifully made and in fantastic condition, but it is exceptionally rare and a real piece of horological history. The maker, Joseph Swinnerton, was based in Sutton, Lancashire and produced some exceptional long case clocks in the early 18th century. However, he only produced for a small window of time, roughly between 1730 – 1740. As a consequence, examples such as this are hard to find, let alone one in such good condition!’

Ian oversaw further success with the furniture section of the auction, as a stunning late 17th century Dutch walnut and marquetry chest on a later stand sold to a telephone bidder for £4000. As Managing Partner Christina Trevanion comments: ‘This really is something to behold. This piece was crafted by a Dutch maker as it is rich in continental influence. However, it’s highly likely that it originated in the UK – after the Great Fire of London in 1666 which decimated the homes of many wealthy residents, European furniture maker’s flocked to the UK where they were in high demand. This is a rare gem at over 350 years old and in such remarkable condition, you won’t see another one like it!’

Saturday’s auction also coincided with the closing day of Asian Art Week in London, which, as valuer and auctioneer Ashley Jones explains is ‘the busiest event in the calendar for collectors, dealers and auction houses who specialise in Asian Art. The annual event unites the leading authorities and specialists in the Asian Art world, celebrating the expertise and excellence of craft in Asia. However, the impact of Asian Art in London goes beyond the city itself and is celebrated in auction houses and museums up and down the country. Specialized auctions and collections of Asian Art are held around this week to accommodate for the thousands of enthusiasts and collectors flooding into the UK looking for a new addition to their collections.’ Ashley oversaw the Asian Art section of the auction which provided some shocks and excitement for bidders watching in the room and online. Some of the top prices came from an early Chinese bronze incense burner in the form of a goose which sold for £1800, a large giltwood model of a Buddha at £2000, and a Chinese porcelain flambé vase at £900. As Ashley commented ‘Asian art is always one of the most exciting sections of the sale as it’s always full of surprises!

Saturday was also a big day for Rupert the Bear, as an early edition of ‘The New Adventures of Rupert’ along with another ‘New Rupert’ book sold for an incredible £1000. Drumming up an incredible amount of pre-sale interest from avid book collectors, valuer Simon Grover commented ‘Really all eyes were on the 1936 edition of ‘The New Adventures of Rupert’ included in this lot. Early editions of Rupert the Bear and very collectable, and pre-war editions always generate tremendous interest as they are very rare. The book was re-issued in the 1980’s, so we do see them a lot, but to see an original example is quite unusual. This example achieved its price because the condition is so remarkable.’

Elsewhere in the sale, an impressive 19th century French Sevres porcelain twin handled urn with an equally impressive history garnered plenty of attention from bidders all over the world and was sold by auctioneer Elizabeth Oliver to a European ceramics collector for £3800. ‘I have been so excited about this piece since the day it came in!’ said Elizabeth. ‘It’s exquisitely decorated, any arts and antiques enthusiast can appreciate the craftsmanship that has gone into this piece. But what makes it even more remarkable in the paper label to the inside which reads “Given by His Majesty Louis Phillippe First, King of the French – to W M. Standish Standish, Esquire, September 1844” – the royal intrigue surrounding this piece made the sale all the more exciting!’

Other highlights of the day included an Arts & Crafts gold and turquoise collarette and a gold, turquoise and pearl set brooch by famed design duo Murrle Bennett, selling for £1000 and £320 respectively. ‘We are seeing consistently strong results from pieces of the late 19th and early 20th century’ said jewellery valuer Helena Waudby. ‘There were so many major artistic movements in this time period that are still popular in jewellery today, from the romance of the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts period to the strong clean lines of Art Deco. Interestingly, a lot of these pieces don’t necessarily incorporate the most luxurious materials, but nonetheless achieve the top prices – pieces of the Arts & Crafts movement and the Victorian era often incorporate so called ‘semi-precious’ gemstones, which were utilised to create more unique pieces of jewellery at a more accessible price point. Some of the most popular lots of the day comprised semi-precious materials, even without the weight of a name like Merle Bennett, including a pair of Victorian coral drop earrings which sold for £480, a turquoise set pendant which sold at £400, and a distinctive green malachite bracelet at £260. As we draw closer to Christmas, it will be interesting to see what will capture the interest of bidders looking for presents in the December auction!’

All prices shown exclude buyer’s premium and VAT. To view the full list of auction results click here. Entries for Trevanion & Dean’s December sale are being accepted until Friday 29th November. Valuation days are held every Monday and Friday between 9.00 – 17.00. To speak to a member of our team about consigning your items call 01948 800 202 or email