auctioneers and valuers
Brian Goodison-Blanks
On this page....
<February 2016>

RSS 2.0     Atom 1.0     CDF

Blog Roll
About Brian Goodison-Blanks
Brian Goodison-Blanks is the Head of the Maritime and Sporting Department at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood. He is based at Honiton in Devon.
Contact Mr Goodison-Blanks
 EMail Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Email Me
Sign In
The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

Home | The Fine Art Bloggers | About Blogging | About Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood | Our Salerooms | Future Sales | Contact Us

Review Entries for Day Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The basic principle of a diving helmet is relatively simple, so much so that over the years many budding explorers have made their own diving helmets and used them to great effect. Most of these homemade helmets, such as the one seen here made from a gas cylinder with a single air supply, have been for use in shallow water. 

 a homemade diving helmet constructed from a gas cylinder.

A homemade diving helmet constructed from a gas cylinder.

These have copied the basic designs of shallow water helmets like the Miller Dunn ‘Divinhood’ style one, in which the air escapes from under the shoulders of the diver (though it looks incredibly like a Minion character!) In order to go deeper, the more common standard diving dress is required such as those supplied by Siebe Gorman & Co and CE Heinke & Co.

 a miller dunn divinhood style helmet.

A Miller Dunn Divinhood style helmet.

But what if you look at this equipment and think ‘I know, I’ll make my own diving gear’?

In cataloguing the Tony and Yvonne Pardoe Collection of Diving Helmets and Equipment, there is one particular homemade diving helmet that has quite a remarkable story to its creation. Though the book does not provide any names or details, the images show a Swedish farmer who had lost his tractor through the ice, diving into the cold water using a helmet and equipment he had made himself.

The red painted helmet has clear weld marks to the domed section and is fitted with an engine drain tap in place of a spitcock. His ingenuity does not stop there as he even made his own diving weights using canvas and lead as well as using an old car headlamp as a diving lamp. 

As well as these pieces, he constructed his own diving knife and by using and old suitcase and speaker, made his own diver telephone with which to communicate to his friends on the surface.

 a set of homemade standard diving equipment made by a swedish farmer.

A set of homemade standard diving equipment made by a Swedish farmer.

Certainly comparing this homemade diving helmet to those made by Siebe Gorman, Heinke and Morse the extent of the farmer’s skills is evident in the quality of his work in producing a practical and functional diving helmet.  He was certainly brave enough to trust his own work and was even successful at locating the tractor beneath the ice and recovering it.

A truly remarkable man and an unusual provenance to this diving helmet should raise considerable interest when it comes up for auction on the 15th June 2016.


sweidsh farmer who made his own diving equipment

sweidsh farmer using his hoemmade diving equipment

swedish farmer and diving support team

Various shots of the Swedish farmer using his home made
diving equipment, which he used to recover a tractor.

More about Brian Goodison-Blanks

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 8:55:02 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Maritime | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, February 01, 2016

If any auctioneer ever says to you ‘seen one, you’ve seen them all’ then politely ask them to finish their cup of tea and leave.  If there is one thing that cataloguing the Tony and Yvonne Pardoe Collection of Diving Helmets and Equipment has taught me, it is that there are a vast number of variations of a single item that means, as an auctioneer, you can never stop learning.


 an early 12 bolt sqaure corselet diving helmet by ce heinke & co ltd

An early 12 bolt sqaure corselet diving helmet by CE Heinke & Co Ltd.

Diving helmets are instantly recognisable from their basic shape, which has essentially remained unchanged for over 100 years.  Even today you can still buy a figure in a diving helmet and suit for your fish tank at home! The large copper bonnet with small windows, the weighted chest plate and the umbilical cord airline remains the basic principal behind its use, but seeing such a collection of diving helmets together in preparation for an auction  later on in the year, shows how solutions to the development of diving helmets and technology have produced various results.


 a us navy mark v helium re-breather diving helmet by morse (front).

A US Navy Mark V Helium Re-Breather Diving Helmet by Morse (front).

From this early 12 bolt diving helmet with square corselet by CE Heinke with breast plate air outlet through to the rather Steampunk looking Mark V helium re-breather by Morse, the variations in the Tony and Yvonne Pardoe collection are quite simply fascinating. Taking time cataloguing the collection has been an interesting and educational experience.


a us navy mark v helium re-breather diving helmet by morse (side).

A US Navy Mark V Helium Re-Breather Diving Helmet by Morse (front).

More about Brian Goodison-Blanks

Monday, February 01, 2016 6:22:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Maritime | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Tuesday, June 09, 2015

A historic piece of Royal Navy history has been consigned to Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s forthcoming Maritime Auction of 1st July 2015 in the form of a Royal Navy Life preserver from HMS Hood (MA15/290)


a war department issue life preserver for hms hood

A War Department issue life preserver for HMS Hood 

Inscribed in black text to the front with the ship’s name, the reverse has War Department markings, that though faded are a good indication of the origins of this piece.  It was acquired by the vendor’s father while on holiday in Scotland in the 1930s who bought it at auction and it has remained within the family ever since. It is most likely possible that it was taken from the ship during her major refit May 1929-March 1931 and sold as a souvenir by an enterprising sailor. As well as the pride of the Royal Navy the Hood also attracted a great deal of public support and following during her showing the flag exercises in the 1920s, her sinking having a dramatic affect worldwide.
Souvenirs from the Hood were taken by visitors to the ship in the 1920s and 1930s, like the brass Dolphin fitting (MA13/124A) and the rowing blade trophy (SC19/644).  These pieces are very few and far between as many remain within private collections.
For further information please contact Brian Goodison-Blanks
More about Brian Goodison-Blanks

Tuesday, June 09, 2015 2:07:18 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Collectors | Maritime | Medals & Militaria | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Thursday, May 07, 2015

Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood continue to hold valuation mornings every Thursday (10:00am-1:00pm) at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Dowell Street, Honiton and are currently sponsoring the current 'Drop Me A Line Part I' exhibition until the 16th May 2015.  Our good friends at the gallery are now in the running for an opportunity to continue their successful winning run this year with a unique opportunity that everyone can spend some time getting involved with!



Artist Luke Jerram has selected Thelma Hulbert Gallery as one of the top five museums/galleries in the United Kingdom to work with for the Museums At Night event in October.

It’s now down to a public vote!

His plan is to install over a thousand clocks throughout the gallery and garden. Donated by visitors, local businesses, community groups, school children and families, these timepieces will transform the space visually and aurally, reviving the familial environment of the gallery's 200 year old building.

Not only will the gallery run a late night event during the installation but it will keep the exhibition open for several days and run a series of accompanying events and workshops.

Nick Stockman, Culture24Campaigns Manager said: “This year the Connect! competition is more exciting than ever with voting taking place during the May Museums at Night festival and the artist-led events in October. All of the competing venues have wonderfully creative ideas for what they’d like their chosen artist to do if they win. Now every venue will be trying their hardest to get people to vote for them: we’d like to wish all the museums, galleries and heritage sites the best of luck!”

More about Brian Goodison-Blanks

Thursday, May 07, 2015 2:27:08 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Honiton | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s forthcoming Maritime Auction on 1st July 2015 has a touch of Royalty with the inclusion of several pieces of tableware from the Royal Service of the Royal Yacht Victoria & Albert III. Decorated with the Royal cypher and entwined within a maritime themed decoration, the service was made by Spode and supplied by the prestigious firm of Thomas Goode of London.



An ice bucket and coffee can from the Royal Service of HMY Victoria & Albert III

HRY Albert & Victoria III was launched in 1899 and finally ready for service in 1901. Expenditure for her was increased as it was pointed out that both the Russian Tzar and German Kaiser had larger yachts than Great Britain. Her launch was delayed as the consistent updating of her fittings led to redevelopment of her hull and the addition of extra ballast. This extra weight caused her to fall while in dry dock, delaying her launch even further whilst repairs were carried out. Serving four sovereigns, she was finally decommissioned in 1939 and served as a depot ship during WWII.

The quality of the service indicates that at the time that no expense was spared in fitting out and providing for Royalty and dignitaries, a fashion that continued as Ocean Liners became the height of fashionable travel during the first half of the 20th century.

Further entries are currently invited for the sale. For further information, please contact Brian Goodison-Blanks

More about Brian Goodison-Blanks

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 4:55:01 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Maritime | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Thursday, April 09, 2015

A recent consignment to Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s forthcoming auction of Maritime and Nautical Antiques on 1st July 2015, this scale model of the RMS Queen Mary made for Hamley's of London, still brings out the child in all collectors. It is fitting that the one of the world’s greatest Ocean Liners of the early 20th century should have had a scale model version being sold in Hamley's, perhaps the world’s greatest toy shop. The detailing of the model is in keeping with the RMS Queen Mary herself, with elegant decking and detail to attention in her funnels and masts. 


a scale model of rms queen mary made for hamleys of london

A scale model of RMS Queen Mary made for Hamley's of London 

Pond yachts and model boats were a popular pastime with many children and adults in the late 19th and early 20th century, many parks still have a small boating pond even to this day. Collectors will certainly be enthralled by the original condition of this model made for Hamley's, even despite showing signs of perhaps a few unsuccessful voyages, with a pre-sale estimate of £300-£400.

Further entries are currently invited for the sale. For further information, please contact Brian Goodison-Blanks
More about Brian Goodison-Blanks

Thursday, April 09, 2015 4:41:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Collectable Toys | Collectors | Maritime | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Saturday, March 07, 2015

With the recent solar eclipse, it is a reminder of man’s fascination with the stars and planets and his endeavours to comprehend them. Astrology has been an important and practical part of history for centuries, and a consignment to the Scientific Instrument section of the forthcoming Maritime Auction of 1st July 2015, reminds us of this. This late 18th century orrery by W Jones of London has a delicate system of gears that rotate an ivory earth with moon around a central gilt sun with an indicator pointing to the seasons, month and star signs. (Estimate £3,000-£4,000) 


 A late 18th century orrery by W Jones of London 

Understanding the planets and stars has helped mariners navigate around the globe with sextant and compass for centuries and the Maritime Auction is in part a celebration of the ‘Golden Age of Sail’. Along with the many navigational and scientific Instruments already consigned to the auction, are a number of other maritime and nautical themed antiques that make the auction a popular event on Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s calendar at their West Country Salerooms.  
Further entries are currently invited for the sale. For further information, please contact Brian Goodison-Blanks
More about Brian Goodison-Blanks

Saturday, March 07, 2015 3:13:36 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Maritime | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's next Sporting & Collectors Auction on 25th/26th February 2015 has a good selection of antique firearms, arms and armour for all collectors. Included within the sale is a large single owner collection that has produced a few surprises along the way. Perhaps one of the most interesting is a rare Kolibri 2.7mm semi-automatic pistol, produced by Franz Pfanni, an Austrian watch maker.


a rare kolibri semi automatic pistol. 

A rare Kolibri semi automatic pistol.

Introduced in 1914, it was the world's smallest commercially available semi-automatic pistol, firing a centre fire 0.2g bullet. Only around 1,000 were ever produced as the pistol and round proved ineffective and it soon became obsolete.

American collectors still seek good examples and this piece numbered '15' will still be an attractive item despite suffering some rusting, with an estimate of £200-£300.

Also within the collection is another favourite for all antique firearms collectors, a .41calbre Remington Derringer over and under pistol. Even more enticing is the original leather holster that has the gun retailer's stamp. Estimated at £300-£600, it should certainly gain great interest with collectors on both sides of the Atlantic, eager to acquire one for their antique firearm collection.


a remington double barrel over and under derringer.

A Remington double barrel over and under Derringer.

More about Brian Goodison-Blanks

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 2:57:33 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Antique Guns & Firearms | Collectors | Trackback

RSS 2.0 Feed

If you enjoyed reading an article on this blog, why not subscribe to the RSS 2.0 feed to receive future articles?
Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Logo Visit the Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Web Site if you want to learn more about this fine art auction house and valuers.