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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.
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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.

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Review Entries for Day Sunday, 30 June 2013

Among an interesting collection of Antique Firearms and Antique Arms & Armour consigned for Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s forthcoming Sporting & Collectors sale of 18th September 2013 is a fine example of an early 18th Century North European sporting crossbow.

 

an early 18th century north european inlaid sporting crossbow

An early 18th century North European inlaid sporting crossbow

Retaining the original string and waxed brindle of chord, the shape and inlaid decoration is typical of sporting bows used during the 18th century in shooting and hunting competitions.

First invented in Ancient China, the crossbow became more popular in Europe due to ability of novice bowmen to quickly become accurate and on target, relative to the long bow which required years of use and experience.

In excellent condition, collectors of Antique Arms & Armour will no doubt be interested in acquiring this item with a pre-sale estimate of £1,500-£2,000.

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Sunday, 30 June 2013 14:23:46 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Antique Guns & Firearms | Collectors | Honiton | Medals & Militaria | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Thursday, 06 June 2013

It had often been thought that Victorian sailors who were miles away from loved ones and feeling homesick, would while away the hours of solitude by producing shellwork valentines as a present for their betrothed upon their return.

 

a 19th century bermudan shellwork valentine

A 19th century Bermudan shellwork valentine (MA12/212)

In truth it is difficult to imagine that a burly man aboard a rolling ship would have the time and patience to sort and stick hundreds of shells in the delicate patterns that we see today at auction. The complex patterns of flowers and compass designs are increasingly popular with collectors. Usually in on octagonal case and in two sections, they can make up to £7,000 for a good example.

No doubt these valentines were gratefully received by WAGS waiting on the beach for the return of their bow. However, research has since shown that the majority of 19th shellwork valentines were in actual fact bought by sailors visiting Barbados, and were made by local women on the island. Despite the truth having been uncovered, the romantic notion of these pieces having been made aboard ship by a love struck sailor survives, as does their demand at auction. The Bermudan shellwork valentine example seen here in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s forthcoming Maritime sale of 12th June 2013 is expected to achieve £350-£450. 

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Thursday, 06 June 2013 09:49:12 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Honiton | Maritime | Scrimshaw & Sailors Art | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Wednesday, 05 June 2013

When Herman Melville (1819-1891) wrote Moby Dick (1851), he produced not only one of the greatest works of literature, but also an important historical record of the Nantucket whaling industry in the 19th century. Included within one of Ishmael’s narratives is a reference to the art of scrimshaw or ‘scrimshander’ that is as popular today, as it was at the time of Melville’s writing. 

 

a 19th century scrimshaw decorated tooth with britannia decoration

A 19th century scrimshaw decorated tooth with Britannia decoration (MA13/227)
Estimate £200-£300

The design and decoration varies a great deal depending upon the age of the piece and of course the skill of the artist. Simple ship portraits and whaling scenes are the most common to be found for a few hundred pounds at auction, the value increasing with better detail and naming of known ships. Of course being at sea for months at a time inevitably led to more erotic scenes being produced (some even dispelling the myth that the Victorian’s were prudish!) and these can make up to several thousand pounds in a Maritime sale

Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s Maritime sale of 12th June 2013, Dowell Street, Honiton has a number of pieces of scrimshaw included in the sale with varying degrees of decoration. The 19th century scrimshaw shown here (MA13/227) is a good example with an interesting interpretation of Britannia to one side and should easily surpass its pre-sale estimate of £200-£300.
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Wednesday, 05 June 2013 08:34:53 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Honiton | Maritime | Scrimshaw & Sailors Art | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, 03 June 2013

The fate of the Titanic would appear to have signalled the end of an era of the great Ocean Liners and of The White Star Line in particular. However, the company survived and moved forward into the 20th century, continuing to provide a high level of service that has now become known as ‘White Star Service’. 

 

  a white star line earthenware bouillon stand

 A White Star Line earthenware bouillon stand (MA13/16)

Though the company has been through several phases since the era of the Olympic class ships by merging with its greatest rival Cunard in 1936 and remains as part of the Carnival Corporation today, collectors are still mesmerised by the majesty and beauty of some of the most famous (and infamous) ships of the White Star Fleet.

The decadence of the late Edwardian period was taken to extremes to provide the most lavish service and comfort aboard ship. Everything from the cabin fixtures and fittings, even down to a simple bouillon stand seen here (MA13/16), were chosen to remind the passengers of the sparing of no expense.

While only a few of the ships of the White Star Line remain today such as the Nomadic in Belfast, collectors are able to acquire small reminders from specialist sales such as Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s Maritime sale of 12th June 2013, Dowell Street , Honiton.

Even such a small piece with the iconic flag logo has the power today to evoke the power of the decadence and tragedy of a period over 100 years ago. 
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Monday, 03 June 2013 15:17:51 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Ceramics & Glassware | Honiton | Maritime | Trackback

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