A Chinese porcelain censer from Doucai sold for £130,000 (all figures excluding buyer’s premium) at Tennants Auctioneers’ autumn sale on November 11-12, following a heated battle between one online bidder and eight phone lines. The thurible, which bears the hallmark of Qianlong’s reign, was consigned by a seller in North Yorkshire and reputedly had been in the family for three generations. Once part of an altar garnish, the thurible is decorated in the Doucai style, in which parts of the design are painted in underglaze blue, before the vessel is glazed, fired and then colored, overglaze enamels are used to paint the rest of the decoration. The censer was decorated with auspicious Buddhist emblems, including the fish, the endless knot, the wheel of law, the conch, and the canopy. Another highlight of the Asian Art section of the sale was a transitional-style Chinese porcelain vase, which sold, together with a similar vase, for £10,000.
High prices were seen throughout the Furniture section of the sale, with reasonable estimates and fresh-to-market items tempting many bidders. Provenance was also key, with fine pieces from the estate of Nancy Sutton, of Ballachrink, Isle of Man, selling very well. The majority of the furniture on the estate had been beautifully cared for and sold with original receipts from leading antique dealers in the 1970s and 1980s. Highlights included a George III mahogany serpentine chest of drawers (sold for £5,000) and a period George III Sheraton mahogany drum table (sold for £3,800), both with original Charles Lumb & Sons invoices from Harrogate. Small accent pieces also sold well, such as a Manx-style circular George III mahogany tripod table, with realistically modeled supports as legs with buckled shoes that sold for £3,500. However, one of the best lots in the furniture section was an impressive Victorian twenty-seater oak extending dining table, which sold for £7,800, and a Regency rosewood and gilt metal sideboard, which sold for £7,800. is being sold for £5,500.
Elsewhere in the sale, notable lots selling well above estimate included a Beilby enamelled wine glass, circa 1770 (sold for £5,500), an Ushak carpet from mid-western Anatolia circa 1900 (sold for £7,500), a walnut and marquetry mirror. , circa 1690 (sold for £7,800), and an unusually large 19th century stained wood artist’s lay figurine (sold for £6,500). Other highlights from the clock section of the sale included a Victorian walnut chime clock by George Hammond of Manchester (sold for £2,800) and a French gilt bronze mantel clock by Estienne LeNoir of Paris (sold for £2,200).
The extraordinary two-day tell was opened with the sale of select content from Knavesmire Lodge, york from the estate of Mr. Darrell Buttery MBE (1941-2022). Buttery was an inspirational teacher, writer, and civic heritage champion of york, and this eclectic sale attracted buyers to achieve a 100% sell-through rate and double the highest pre-sale estimate. Highlights of the sale included a Portrait of a Gentleman in a Sumptuous Red and Gold Cloak by the Circle of Charles Jervas (sold for £15,000), a carved oak bust of Saint James, probably 17th century French (sold for £3,500), a Portrait of Lady Gertrude Pierpoint attributed to Sir Peter Lely and Studio (sold for £8,500), and an early 19th century oak and brass rum cask (sold for £2,000).
The sale achieved a total hammer price of £594,840 with a 91% sale rate for 543 lots.
The full results of the sale are available on our website: www.tennants.co.uk