Country House Antiques, Asian Art & Napoleona | July Sale Preview

Chorley’s summer sale not only includes the contents of Paxford House, near Chipping Campden, but also the contents of a flat in Hurlingham and a Bath townhouse.  With a wide range of categories and price-points this sale will include plenty to delight the eye.  Lot 881 is a finely observed still life by Edward Ladell (British 1821-1886) an artist who achieved enormous success and recognition in his own lifetime and is rightly considered the leading still-life painter of his generation.  The present example includes a silver tazza, a glass rummer and a variety of fruit on a ledge and asks £6,000-8,000.

Lot 915 would suit a follower of horse racing who wants to bring a slice of the glamour of the Sport of Kings into their own home.  This pair of racehorse portraits by Alfred Wheeler (British 1851-1932) can be identified from the inscriptions as Ladas and Diamond Jubilee – Ladas with jockey in the colours of the Earl of Rosebery while Diamond Jubilees is on the Queens colours. Diamond Jubilee won the coveted Triple Crown in 1900, estimate a sporting £1,500-2,000.

One of the most charming lots on offer is lot 1014 a collection of sailors’ valentines.  These love tokens were brought back by sailors from their travels and produced as souvenirs in coastal towns both in Britain and abroad.  The present group of 20 examples has many with printed backgrounds depicting harbour towns and would look fantastic if hung together as a group, as they were in the Cotswold farmhouse from which they were consigned, estimate £600-800.

Lot 1027 is a group of lace collars, one of which is a fine late 18th Century Brussels lace collar reputed to have been worn by Marie Antoinette.  While the provenance cannot be proved, at £150-200 it is certainly worth taking a closer look. 

Asian Art

The auction will attract collectors of Asian art from across the globe.  Highlights of the 100 lot section include Meiji era bronzes from Japan and Chinese and Japanese porcelain and pottery including pieces from the Song and Tang dynasties.  One of the earliest lots in the sale is Lot 219 a Tang dynasty equestrian figure in a rare sancai and blue glaze.  This was in the collection of Irene and Earl Morse sold at Sotheby's New York, in 1986 and was also in the exhibition A Thousand Years of Chinese Tomb Sculpture in Orlando, 1983.  A rare and decorative item with good provenance it is estimated at £10,000-15,000.

A more recent item is Lot 248 a fine Japanese bronze which dates to the Meiji era (1868-1912).  This Tokyo School ‘table group’ by Udagawa Kazuo depicts a mother seated on a bench holding her child and eating from a rice box, it measures an impressive 57cm high.  This is of museum quality and indeed an example of this group can be found in the Ashmolean Museum, estimate £5000-8000.

Chinese porcelain is one of the most exciting collecting areas and Lot 254, a pair of bottle vases will be sure to attract attention.  Dating to the Kangxi period (1654-1722) the pair were spotted on a routine valuation in London and are expected to achieve £1000-1500. They are part of a group of related ceramics bearing what looks like a ‘G’ to the underside.  It is the subject of conjecture whether the G is the initial of a western client who commissioned the items, a D copied erroneously from Delftwares or (when turned through 90 degrees) the Persian letter ye. The design of these vases could well suggest that they were made for a Persian or Mughal Indian patron.

Among the Japanese ceramics the standout lot is a Kakiemon water dropper modelled as a Chinese boy sitting on a drum.  Related water droppers modelled as boys can be found in museums and important collections including the Avery Brundage Collection at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.  This charming piece, Lot 259, asks £1500–2000.


It is fair to say that Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington were two of the most significant figures of the 19th century.  Their successes, failures and battles have been the subject of thousands of books, paintings and opinions.  To this day there are devoted collectors of items relating to both men although perhaps it is Napoleon that has the greater share of the collectors market, if not the spoils of victory. 

A private collection of Napoleona will give collectors something to get their teeth into from fine bronzes and ceramics to books and prints.  Lot 992 is a bronze depicting the young Napoleon while at military school.  It was here that he developed an interest in arithmetic, geometry and history and he is depicted standing by a globe and holding a book in one hand, estimate £1200-1500. Lot 988 is a less flattering item, an English pearlware jug with a scene of ‘John Bull Shewing the Corsican Monkey’ here Napoleon is depicted as a fierce monkey astride a bear led by a corpulent John Bull, a piece of grotesque period satire it is estimated at £300-500.  From another source an interesting coquilla nut cup is carved with the letter N, a portrait and eagle, this bears a plaque in French which translates as ‘Napoleon used this as a drinking cup during the Battle of the Pyramids’ estimate £600-800.

Items of Wellington interest can be found elsewhere in the sale.  Lot 489 is a 17th Century curiosity cabinet with panelled lapis front that was last offered by Christies in their sale of items from the estate of Brigadier Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington, K.G, (1915-2014) and Diana Ruth, Nee McConnel, Duchess of Wellington, (1922-2010).  The cabinet was probably acquired by the 7th Duke during his time in Rome.  Estimated at £3,000-5,000 this is a rare item and with a provenance to match. The 1st Duke also gave his name to a piece of furniture, the Wellington Chest.  This is a popular form and lot 428 is a typical rosewood example with secretaire drawer, estimate £500-700. The furniture section also includes a fine dressing table attributed to George Bullock, Lot 496.  This example in mahogany with ebony lines is very similar in design to the furniture supplied by George Bullock to furnish Longwood House, St. Helena, Napoleon’s home in exile.  A restrained piece of top quality it should achieve £2000-3000.

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