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Martin McIlroy is the Head of the Works of Art and Silver Departments at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
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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 Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Anybody who has read my blogs or articles in Devon Life will know that my two great loves are Austrian cold painted bronzes and Swiss carved 'Black Forest'  wares. Imagine my delight when a client brought in an object that combines both areas of collecting.


A large Austrian cold painted bronze humidor modelled in the form of a carved wood 'Black Forest' bear's head. The head hinged to reveal a tobacco jar with interior weight and lid, a vesta dish and a strike pad on the bear's tongue. The head measures 23cm. high and 20cm. wide.


Having examined all the folds in the fur I cannot find a Bergman vase stamp or any other marks that you would expect on an Austrian cold painted bronze, but I will keep on looking. You can just imagine this jar sitting on a table in a Black Forest hunting lodge whilst hunters sit around smoking a pipe after the days exertions.


This cold painted bronze bear will be included in our Fine Sale early in the New Year on the 26th & 27th January 2011, and carries an estimate of £1500-2000.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:17:25 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Friday, March 19, 2010

Sometimes an article arrives in your department that simply just grabs your imagination. So it was when a rectangular walnut travelling decanter box was shown to me. Inset into the glazed door were a collection of ballooning medals dating from 1823, but most related to the Gordon Bennet Cup from the 1920's.

The three smaller medals are "Sparrow farthings" issued by Isaac Earlysman Sparrow, an ironmonger in Bishopsgate, London, who ascended in a balloon from Oxford in 1823 with near disastrous consequences.

The remain medals relate to The Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett (The Gordon Bennett Cup). Initiated by the newspaper tycoon Gordon Bennett in 1906 the first race took off from the Tuileries, Paris. Since then the race has taken place every year with the exception of two world wars and the odd cancelation.

The ballooning medals relate to races in 1923, 1924,1925 and 1926 and were awarded to Captain CW Berry.

As a point of interest, the 2010 Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett will take off from Ashton Court, Bristol on 24th September 2010.


The travelling case with the ballooning medals mounted to the glazed door, containing three clear glass decanters will be included in our Fine sale on the 21/22nd April 2010.

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Friday, March 19, 2010 9:30:55 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Friday, June 12, 2009

Following the succesful sale of the Bergman cold painted bronze elephant model in our recent Fine Sale for £6,600 (hammer price) you can imagine my delight when another Bergman cold painted bronze of a lizard arrived at my desk.



The lizard was  painted in greens and yellows with a greyish brown under surface. Produced in Austria in first quarter of the 20th century by Franz Bergman the leading founder of the is a fine example of the sculptors work. With its eyes slightly open and head raised as if  greeting the morning air. Its tail curling round and resting under its head.


To the underside of the lizard there is the usual Bergman vase stamp, with 'Geschutzt' and it's numbered 4133. From head to tip of the tail it measures 54cm.


The lizard will be included in or Fine Sale on the 7th/8th October.

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Friday, June 12, 2009 3:54:35 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Following the highly sucessful sale of the Faberge parasol handle for £17,500, another masterpiece from the Faberge workshops is to be offered in our quarterly Fine Sale on the 22nd April 2009.

This time the object to be offered is a pink enamelled gold and silver oval buckle. It is decorated with pink enamel over engine-turning within bright-cut and gadrooned gold bands, the gold rim stamped '56'.


To the back of the buckle there is the Faberge stamp together with the makers mark H.W for Henrik Wigstrom. As the silver mark shows the womans head facing to the right the piece can be dated between 1908 and 1917.


There is also a scratched 17237 which is probably the Faberge inventory number. The enamel buckle measures 68mm long overall. It will be interesting to see exactly how much this Faberge buckle fetches in the forthcoming sale. Thank you to all of you who contacted me regarding the Faberge parasol handle I hope this creates just as much interest.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009 6:45:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, March 03, 2009

One of my favourite forms of sculpture is Austrian cold painted bronzes. Possibly the greatest exponent of the art of miniature bronzes was Franz Bergman (1838-1894). His bronze subjects were wide ranging, from birds and animals, carpet sellers to American Indians, erotic semi-naked females to reptiles. This study of an elephant with a seated rider is a magnificant study of power and muscle.


Franz Bergman was very quick to seize on popular subjects of the day and model them in bronze. During the Egyptian revival period, scantily clad bronze nude females would rise up from spring loaded Egyptian sarcophagae.  Arab street sellers were modelled seated on carpets with their wares spread out before them. Cats modelled in the style of Louis Wain were extremely popular. This impressive bronze of an Asian (Indian) elephant with howdah strapped to its back draped with woven blankets shows the majesty of this beast of burden.

The model is stamped underneath the stomach with the Bergman vase stamp, serial or model number and 'Geschutzt' or Patent. This Bergman bronze model of an Indian elephant is to be included in our Fine Art Sale on the 22nd/23rd April with an estimate of  £1500 - 2000.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009 9:37:51 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, February 19, 2009

From the British firm of Bassett-Lowke comes this superb speedboat 'Iolanthe' . The iconic shape of the hull shouts 1930's and Sir Malcolm Campbell would have been proud of her. She has a painted wooden two-tone hull, engine compartment with cover enclosing a clockwork motor, and a cockpit protected by a windscreen. The rudder can be adjusted to give a wide or narrow  turning circle.


The inter-war years was the 'Golden Age' of speed with attempts on the land speed record, as well as the water speed record,the 'Bentley Boys' winning Le Mans 24 hour races and Britian winning the Schneider trophy, what boy could fail to want to go to the boating pond with this beauty?

Bassett-Lowke was founded in 1899 and went on to produce some ot the finest model railway locomotives, ships, traction engines and engineering models ever.  They produced models for museums as well as ship models for numerous shipping lines.

This Bassett-Lowke clockwork operated speedboat 'Iolanthe' will be included in our Maritime Sale to be held on 1st April, at our Alphin Brook Road saleroom.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009 4:51:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, January 29, 2009

Following my recent blog on the Faberge parasol handle I can now bring readers up to date. This handle made by the workmaster Michail Perchin for faberge was included in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood sale yesterday 28th January 2009. As with all pieces of Faberge, there was both national and international interest and all telephone lines were booked.


It wasn't long before the internet and telephone bids took over and after some intensive bidding the handle was finally sold for £17,500 (hammer price). The vendor who was present was delighted.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009 2:15:39 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Monday, January 12, 2009
A pair of continental silver grouse
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Monday, January 12, 2009 8:34:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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