Doctor Who fans spark bidding tussle

29/03/2019     News Stories & Press Release, Works of Art, Sculpture & Clocks

LONDON: A diverse offering was key to the success of Fine & Decorative, a sale at Roseberys London that brought together an unlikely list of bedfellows including Doctor Who memorabilia, Jimi Hendrix posters, a 400-year old devotional ivory and rare pieces of English porcelain.

Anna Evans, head of department, commented: The diverse offering of the sale from Russian silver to sculpture and popular culture memorabilia ensured a tremendous amount of pre-sale interest which translated into competitive international bidding from a busy saleroom and via RoseberysLive. The top lots of the sale were all rare, fresh to the market consignments resulting in spirited bidding and hammer prices exceeding estimates.

Hispano Philippine ivory triptych of the Virgin of the Rosaryantique mirrorantique silver


A Doctor Who archive of photographs and copies of plans including those from The Power of the Daleks – the completely missing third serial of the fourth season – was hotly contested to £4,600, nearly four times pre-sale hopes (Lot 539)First broadcast in 1966 by the BBC in six weekly parts, the series has since been dubbed the ‘Holy Grail’ of lost Doctor Who episodes. The Power of the Daleks also marked the first time that the Doctor regenerated from the first actor to play him, William Hartnell, to the second, Patrick Troughton. The archive gave Doctor Who collectors a rare insight into the production with black and white photographs of the sets and copies of technical set plans for The Power of the Daleks and another later missing serial, The Wheel in Space. The group was owned by Derek Dodd (1937-2018), a BAFTA and EMMY nominated late production designer and art director, who made set designs on Doctor Who. Dodd worked with some of the most formative of writers and directors from the television age including Stephen Frears, Stephen Poliakoff and Dennis Potter.

One of the rarest pieces in the auction was a museum-quality portable Hispano Philippine ivory triptych of the Virgin of the Rosary, c.1600-1620. Its virtuoso carving, size, fine condition and fresh to the market status ensured this beautiful ivory triptych drew international bidders and it was eventually secured at £16,000 (Lot 333). It was estimated at £4,000-6,000. The triptych was almost certainly made for a member of the Franciscan order; two Franciscan saints are represented - Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua – alongside St Jerome and Saint John the Baptist. A similar carving resides in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Another strong seller at £10,500 was a Charles I mirror frame. Its performance proves there is still interest in buying period art of significant age (Lot 369). The mirror was a wonderful example of 17th century craftsmanship, with fine and intricate carved details of putti and foliate decoration, but most notable of all, given its age, was the remarkable original condition of both the frame and mirror plate. Competitive bidding emerged for two similar 18th century English porcelain shell form salts, possibly by the Bow porcelain factory (Lot 208). Each supported by dolphins spouting water and decorated with floral enamel work, the pair sold for £8,200.

While a similar salt with shell supports by Bow in blanc-de-chine (white Chinese porcelain) resides in the V&A, these salts are considerably more prized for their polychrome decoration. A popular vintage poster section was led by a job lot containing a well-preserved psychedelic Jimi Hendrix Experience poster advertising the single Burning of the Midnight Lamp. Designed by Photosida for Track Records and printed in 1968 with a rare silver foil back, it sold for £4,600 (Lot 546).

A market is emerging for collectable posters with psychedelic designs from the 1960’s and ‘70’s, with buyers competing from Europe, the US and Japan. An important piece of Australian history came in the form of a rare and important silver rectangular entree dish and cover bearing the arms of lawyer and politician John Hubert Plunkett, a great Australian reformer (Lot 1). Irish-born Plunkett (1802-1869) became solicitor-general of New South Wales upon his arrival in Sydney in 1832 and was the first Catholic appointed to high civil office in the colony.

The unmarked piece attracted strong interest from a number of determined Australian bidders and was knocked down at £2,600. The Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences in New South Wales holds the pair to this entree dish and cover, which carries an identical inscription. From Australian to Russian history and an impressive presentation piece given to an important military general was fiercely contested by two determined Russian bidders to £10,500 (Lot 85). Made by Grachev, St. Petersburg, 1899-1908, the silver presentation equestrian figure - sabre drawn and Mosin-Nagant rifle slung from his shoulder - was given to General Julian V Lyubovitsky. Lyubovitsky was responsible for much of the peacetime training of the Imperial army and likely played a prominent role in the selection of the Mosin-Nagant as the standard Russian service rifle.

In 1905, Lyubovitsky retired from the army to become a member of the State Council of Imperial Russia, the upper house to the State Duma following the October Manifesto. It is most likely the piece was given to him in that year to mark the culmination of an immensely successful military career and as such serves as a key insight to the figures behind the Russian Imperial political structure in the critical years before 1917. Nearly doubling its top guide to fetch £1,550 was a Victorian silver and enamel vesta case made by Sampson Mordan & Co, London c.1898 and enamelled with a mounted British Household Cavalry officer (Life Guards Regiment) (Lot 46). The combination of its fine condition, appealing subject matter and highly collectable maker ensured it achieved this impressive sum.

A well preserved late 19th or early 20th century doll’s house purchased from Christie’s South Kensington’s sale of the property of the Duke of Bedford in 1976, tipped over top estimate to sell for £3,400 (Lot 529). The six-room doll’s house included documentation and letters between a previous owner and the Duke, explaining that he built his collection of dolls houses and games in order to amuse the younger visitors to the family seat at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire. However, with the rise in value of his collection of Japanese porcelain which needed to be kept in the cases occupied by the toys, he consigned the dolls houses to auction.

The quality and condition of a beautiful, fully-working singing bird box made by the firm of Karl Griesbaum in c.1925, resulted in international competitive bidding to secure it for £1,900 (Lot 134). The case was finished in elaborate high relief decoration with turtle doves and floral and foliage motifs. The box’s ingenious engineering is activated by a small slide at the front, which reveals a small singing bird under a hinged flap on the cover.

For further information please contact Peigi Mackillop +44 (0) 20 8761 2522


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