Private Buyer Delights in Matchstick Men at Factory Gates

. December 16, 2007

With an average hammer price of almost £1,000 per lot, Tennants Autumn House Treasures Sale on 22-23 November 2007 was a spectacular success for both the firm and their clients. With just over 2,000 lots, the sale attracted a record number of viewers (including complete families keen to see the natural history exhibits) who filled not only the firm’s two huge auction halls but also their 600 space car park.

12771-1-0.jpgIllustrated on the cover of the sale catalogue was a charming small oil painting (lot 1991) by Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976) ‘Factory Gates’ with numerous figures (many in flat caps), signed and dated 1967. It was offered, together with a letter from the Lowry Centre certifying it as genuine, at a guide price of £60,000-£80,000. The painting eventually sold for £140,000 to a delighted private gentleman from West Yorkshire.

Now the hunting season is in full swing it was no surprise that a fine watercolour painting of red grouse on a moor in summer by Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935) signed and dated 1916 was pursued by many bidders. It sold for £38,000 against a guide price of £20,000-£30,000.

Submitted by a private vendor through Tennant’s Oakham office, was a stunning old cut diamond claw set Tiara Centre Piece, circa 1880. This sizable piece had languished in the darkness of a bank vault for more than 80 years and shone like a star in the sale room at £74,000.

The Natural History section of the sale was spectacularly displayed in the sale room and was admired by all the visitors over the viewing period. Top performers were a black rhinoceros head shot in Kenya in 1900 which sold for £22,000, a mid 19th century Javanese rhinoceros head which sold for £18,500 and a Snow Leopard (with CITES licence) at £3,500.

From Tyninghame House in East Lothian, the property of Sir Timothy and Lady Clifford, came a fine Egyptian Revival Coromandel Wood Table Clock No. 1594 by Thomas Cole, circa 1860 which eclipsed its estimate of £10,000-£15,000 and took a considerable £34,000.

It was check mate for one bidder who paid £15,000 for a club size Chess Set by J Jacques & Son, London, which had graced the competition venues of the Teesside Chess Association since October 1883. The various victories of clubs from the North East area were recorded both in a committee meeting book (sold with the lot) and on silver plaques which smothered the rosewood box.

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