Bellmans | May in Review

23 May 2022

Bellmans' May Auctions, 10th to 13th May, commenced with the bi-annual Clocks auction in which a fine and rare George III clock by Stephen Rimbault of London from circa 1763, sold at top estimate for £15,000. Of Huguenot descent, Rimbault specialised in musical and automaton clocks, working in London from 1744-1785. When the artist, Johann Zoffany (1733-1810), first came to London, he worked closely with him and hence the painted scene on this clock may be attributable to him.

Zoffany was struggling to find work and living nearby when he was introduced to Rimbault, who employed Zoffany as a decorative assistant to paint dials and automaton figures. Rimbault later introduced Zoffany to the portrait painter, Benjamin Wilson and it wasn't long before his talent was recognised by David Garrick, for whom he painted pictures of actors on stage and by 1764, Zoffany was enjoying by the patronage of George III. As a founding member of the Royal Academy, he painted a portrait of Rimbault, which is held at The Tate, London, and was painted around 1764, no doubt as an homage in gratitude to Rimbault.

Another beautifully decorated George III parcel-gilt tavern timepiece by John Godden, from circa 1785, shows a charming scene of a man and a woman holding a fiddle with a dog at their feet. It sold for £3,800 against an estimate of £2,500 - £3,500. A fine and rare Edwardian longcase clock with an exceptionally rare, large Wedgwood ceramic dial by S. Smith & Son had been estimated to sell for £1,000 - £2,000, but bidding went up to £6,500.

As part of the medal sale, a 1937 George VI Coronation four coin gold proof set comprising of five pounds, two pounds, sovereign and half sovereign, with the original Royal Mint fitted case, sold for three times its low estimate at £9,000. A Charles I Civil War Siege of Newark half crown from 1646 made more than double its low estimate at £2,600, while an Oliver Cromwell Shilling from 1658 sold for £3,500.

The Modern British and Contemporary Art auction, which included the Darren Shan Collection, proved that Mary Fedden's work is still very much in demand. Among her works was this beautiful oil on canvas, Nasturtiums, from 1980, which sold for £7,000 against an estimate of £3,000 - £5,000. Several paintings by Marcel Dyf (French,1899-1985) did well with the top lot showing a scene in the Bretagne, which sold for three times its top estimate for £7,500 and a big studio scene by Ken Howard (British, b. 1932) sold for £9,000 (estimate £7,000 - £10,000). Top lot in the
Darren Shan Collection was the colourful oil on canvas 'The Big Wheel' by German-born, but Manchester School of Art trained artist, Karl Hagedorn (1889-1969), which sold at
top estimate for £5,000.

Works of Art saw strong results, among the highlights were a Derbyshire Blue John Tazza from the 19th Century selling for £6,500 against an estimate of £800 - £1,200, while a pair of Blue John vases sold for twice its top estimate at £2,400. A group of seven English relief carved boxwood portrait medallions from the 18th Century and later sold for three times its low estimate at £6,000.

Among the Asian Art lots, a Chinese Ming-style bronze Buddhist lion censer surprised when it sold for £2,200 against an estimate of £150 - £200. The hero lot was a Chinese blue and white dragon bowl from a private house in Old Windsor which made £3,800 against an estimate of £1,000 - £1,500. The hammer for a Chinese white jade belt buckle came down at £2,200 (estimate £1,000 - £1,500), while a Chinese export armorial gugglet from the Qianlong period made £1,100 (estimate £100 - £200). The top lot among the Japanese ceramics was a large Satsuma lobed bowl from the Meiji period with samurai warriors painted inside, which sold for £2,800 (estimate £1,000 - £1,500). The Friday 500 auction revealed a surprise lot when a mixed lot of Asian scrolls and
other calligraphy, which rose to £1,200.

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