**Just arrived, from a deceased estate, a Volvo XC60 D4 estate car, registration MR14 NCS, in blue.
I guess it might be 50 years ago that I stood proudly outside the sale room I had just finished smartening up for an opening party. I was the young manager of West London Auctions and we had moved into fabulous premises in Sandringham Mews, High Street, Ealing. It was an old Lamertons warehouse on three clear floors with a goods lift. We had had the exterior painted to highlight the Art Deco features and pots of flowers flanked the double doors. The fact that the flower pots were stolen, as was the Doulton hand-pull in the loo, did not distract from the expansionist view of the eccentric owner, Bill Boyd. On a cheerier note, it was there that I met a charming young man, a smoker, who knew where he was going. He was John Clay, furniture restorer, and he ran John Clay Antiques, at 263 New Kings Road, Chelsea. And there he still is today.
However, he has now retired and generously asked us to dispose of his remaining stock in about 300 lots. In all my years of visiting antique shops and emporia it’s very rare that I have been excited from the moment I have passed over the threshold. John has a lively imagination and his window displays have entertained the locals for over 40 years. Today, ready for the sale, the front window has two larger than life figures of naked men, sculpted from wax and marble powder. They are by Virgile Ittah, 2013, an artist supported by the Saatchi Gallery. They stand 184 cm high. John was a master restorer so nothing was impossible and if it was beyond bringing back then it would be developed as something else and always to a high standard. The sale includes lots of his stock of leather, cane, and upholstery decorations and equipment. We also will sell boxes of waxes. One lot you might not expect amongst the furniture, which includes a fabulous 18th century Continental cylinder bureau, lighting, and decorative items, comprises 10 archive boxes full of the photographic negatives of Doug Burns, society photographer and employed by The Daily Sketch. It comes with copyright.
The contents will be offered as the first part of our auction on the 10th March and will be sold online and in the saleroom in the order of his stock book, so silver for example, might be the filling between carved wood moulding blocks and an Oriental egg pot. VIEWING his lots – as well as online – is at the shop on Tuesday 8th March between 11 am and 1 pm, and on Wednesday 9th between 1 pm and 7 pm. The shop telephone number is 020 7731 5677. Clearance of lots will obviously take place from the shop, post-payment, by appointment.
Getting to the shop is easy. Parsons Green station is on the green District line that goes to Wimbledon. Out of the station take the right hand side of the Green, perhaps dallying at one of the 30 coffee shops, and, at the end of the road , cross and go right for about 6 shops and voila you’ve arrived, in about 10 minutes.
DON’T FORGET that the rest of the auction – the items in the sale room – will then be sold in our usual manner. We’ve restricted the lot count so we can conclude the day around 9pm. For example, there are only about 50 lots of PICTURES, PRINTS, MAPS, PHOTOGRAPHS etc., by or attributed to artists including Toulouse Lautrec, Edward Ardizzone, Frank Hodgkinson, Marc Chagall, Yuan Peng, Richard Beer, Annabel Findlay, Alastair Gray, Pierre Brisson, Leo Gibbons Smith, Louis Wain, John Ogilby, Evelyn Ballantine, Bramell Smith, E. Breham, Arnsbury Brown, George Stanfield Waters, Rowlandson, N.W. Williams, Peter Gastham, George Stanfield Walters, Bryan Pearce, Robert Batty, Urbain Huchet, Jorg Dickmann, etc.
A small entry of SILVER includes some Scottish provincial flatware, Georgian and later, and only a small number of FURNITURE lots but to include some interesting pieces such as a George III mahogany dining chair on cluster column legs, a Victorian rosewood Wellington chest, a George III mahogany serpentine dressing chest, from the 1960s a Bornholm Mobler teak chest, a 1950s bar styled as a ship’s prow in cream fabric and brown Formica.
What we do have that’s special is a group of MIRRORS that were purchased from the Keith Skeel Private Collection sale at Loudham Hall Suffolk in June 2007. One, with a charming floral pediment, is circa 1800, and a pair, catalogued as 19th century French, gilt moulded in the Neoclassical style, sold for a huge £5500 against an estimate of £800-£1200. We also have an 18th century Anglo-Dutch wall mirror. And, from the same estate, we have a very smart period Swedish settee with moulded frame. From a Hampstead home we have a set of six Regency dining chairs and a George lll breakfast table.
We have shelves full of period metal, mainly copper jam pans, metal vases, huge metal trays and a bust as well as shelves full of china and ornamental items in our traditional way. And if that’s all too dull for you, how about a Brompton folding cycle I doubt has ever seen tarmac, and probably just as fast, a Quickie Puma 20 electric wheelchair with Sedeo, new in 2017 at a cost of £6000 and almost unused, a drum set, and three good electric guitars: an Ovation Celebrity, a Squire jazz bass by Fender and an Aria Pro II Exel Series numbered 0024762, and each looks unused. Etc. etc.
DETAILS: Viewing the shop items at the shop is by appointment on Tuesday the 8th between 10am and 1pm and on Wednesday the 9th between 1 and 7pm without appointment. The shop phone number is 020 7731 5677. Viewing the catalogue online from Sunday evening the 6th and bidding online is via ukauctioneers.com or the-saleroom.com.
Viewing the auction room lots is on Wednesday the 9th from 1 to 7pm without appointment and, at last, you are welcome into the saleroom on sale day from 9.30am. The sale begins at 11am with the shop lots being offered first. That will take us to 2pm at the earliest.
Our own website will also have the catalogue and photographs. We look forward to seeing you once more.