Sworders 2020 Annual Review

Page 1



johnblack@sworder.co.uk | 01279 817778



Guy Schooling CHAIRMAN elcome to Sworders’ review of a year like no other. I clearly remember a board meeting on March 18 when we took the decision to send vulnerable members of staff home, but otherwise to proceed as normally as possible.

Five days later, on the 23rd, we took the unprecedented decision to send everyone home and close the business. It felt unreal and surreal and will be etched on my memory for some time to come. The remainder of March and April we spent driving down costs and organising our furlough scheme. I never thought running a closed business would be so stressful or time-consuming. Our principle aim was to ensure the company’s survival and keep our wonderful and carefully-compiled team together. During May and June we undertook a season of auctions to sell items already consigned for sale, these were online only, some timed, some ‘live’. Extraordinarily, they were hugely successful with exceptional prices and high selling rates. It appears people were at home, unable to go out and thus turned their attention to the walls and interiors around them. Furthermore, as fewer auctions were taking place, the field was open and receptive to our offerings. Fewer sales earlier in the year resulted in a concertina effect during the autumn. September to December has been amongst the busiest periods I can remember, with many large and varied auctions. Throughout the year we have handled and sold many extraordinary items, a selection of which appear within these pages. What have we learned during the year? The migration of business online has accelerated rapidly. Perhaps two to three years’ worth of change happened in two to three months. Our internal systems have been developed and strengthened. Everything takes longer when catering to a digital audience, the rewards, however, are apparent for both buyers and sellers. We have a great and hard-working team. We knew this already, however, they have to a man and woman risen to the extraordinary tasks we have all been set. We have survived and even flourished during difficult circumastances in 2020, our Autumn season was an extraordinary success with record breaking Fine Interiors and Asian Art Auctions. And next year, well who knows? We have survived 2020 and even flourished, I am confident we can continue to prosper in 2021. We will continue to be brave in our decision making and adaptable to changing circumstances. Finally a huge thank you to our team, here in Stansted, in Hertford and in London who have been magnificent and an equally big thank you to you, our wonderful customers, without whose support we are nothing.



t is hard to sum up 2020 without mentioning the shadow of Covid 19. That said, the Fine Interiors Sale has provided us with numerous, wonderful distractions.

Against a backdrop of uncertainty, we have produced a full calendar of sales, which by the year’s end will have seen us offer 3000 lots with a hammer total of £3m. Notable highlights within their number include: Two Old Master drawings by Jacob de Gheyn II (1565-1629), produced as part of his Wapenhandelinge series of works - a kind of practical guide for the Dutch army. After a great deal of pre-sale interest, they sold to an International buyer for £163,800. A taxidermy penguin collected and preserved on Scott’s illfated Terra Nova expedition in 1913 made £13,650. Sold with a full history, it was bought by the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand and will form part of its collection relating to the ‘heroic’ era of Polar exploration. Another lot of Polar interest came in the form of a pen, ink and watercolour preparatory study by John Charles Dollman (1851-1931), entitled ‘A Very Gallant Gentleman’. The sketch, for the finished work which now hangs in the Cavalry Club, depicts Captain Oates walking out of camp for the final time. Again, bidding was hotly contested with the hammer eventually falling at £33,800. We have been honoured to handle the sale of several private collections across the year, notable amongst them: The Trevor Barton collection of Pipes totalling £91,000 The principal contents of an East Anglian estate £130,000 A single owner collection of walking sticks £58,500 Handling collections always brings great pleasure. As they are so often the product of a lifetime of work and study, we go to great lengths to present them in such a way that buyers can share in that passion. It is a real privilege to bring them to market. We look forward to growing the Fine Interiors sales further in 2021. The March sale closes for entries on Friday 16 January.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Head of Fine Interiors James Pickup and specialist Alexander Hallet, A vingnette from the December Fine Interiors sale, Two Old Master drawings by Jascob de Gheyn II (1565-1629) (£163,800), an ink and watercolour preparatory study by John Charles Dollman (18511931) (£33,800) Taxidermy penguin collected on Terra Nova expedition in 1913 (£13,650)

2021 March Tuesday 8 & Wednesday 9 June Tuesday 29 & Wednesday 30 September Tuesday 14 & Wednesday 15 December Tuesday 7 & Wednesday 8 for more information or to discuss potential consignments please contact fineinteriors@sworder.co.uk


oth of our Asian art sales this year were held during ‘lockdown’ conditions - both were hugely successful. It does seem that, if we provide good quality images, extensive catalogue descriptions and detailed condition reports, the buying community is comfortable viewing and bidding online.

Yexue Li Head of Asian Art yexueli@sworder.co.uk

Leading the way in November was a Qing ‘splashed’ gilt-bronze incense burner with a four-character Shiji Guzhi mark to base. Which sold to a buyer based in Hong Kong for £136,500 (fig.4). A Jiaqing (1796-1820) famille rose bowl (pictured below), that had generated great excitement when briefly listed on eBay earlier in the year, sold £37,180. The vendor, delighted with the result, expressed his relief that he had chosen to seek professional advice. The market for good Japanese works of art shows signs of renewed strength.

In May a woodcut print by the great Katsushika Hokusai from the series Shokoku Taki Meguri (Going Around Waterfalls in Various Provinces) sold to a US buyer at £7,540 (fig.3) while Homage, a 2009 ink painting by Toko Shinoda which married the tradition of ancient calligraphy with modern abstraction went to a London client at £14,300 (fig.1). This was the first work by Shinoda Sworders have offered for sale, we hope it will not be the last. Works by important Asian post-war artists sold in the West in the 1960s, 70s and 80s are now coming to the re-sale market with great results. The November auction included a work by the father of modern Chinese ink paintings, Liu Kuo-Sung ‘And There Was Light’, signed and dated 1968, it came for sale from a private collection in London to sell at £12,350 (fig.2). As interest in this niche market grows, next year we plan to expand our focus on Chinese contemporary art.

2021 May Friday 14 entries close 12 March November Friday 5 entries close 3 September




10 minutes with Yexue Your most surprising find of 2020? The two beaded rosaries we sold in the November Asian Art auction. These were in a sealed pewter box, which we considered returning to the vendor as, after many attempts, we were unable to open it and couldn’t tell if it contained anything at all. Based on experience, these boxes usually contain similar items, thus we decided to give it another go and discovered the aloeswood beads and the compressed aloeswood powder beads (pictured right). The lot made £4,940 (Inc BP). What has been your most rewarding piece of research? I wrote an essay for Antique Collecting magazine about a yellow-ground famille rose medallion bowl, explaining what a specialist would look for when identifying Chinese imperial porcelain. It was a good experience spelling this out as I learned a lot in researching and looking at similar items in museums and in auction records. What was the strangest request you received? No request is strange as we are already in the strangest year! In the run up to the November Asian Art auction we provided condition reports and an average of 10-20 detailed images for every lot, we also answered every video request. I conducted video calls with buyers to walk through our auction room and get closer to the lots they were in interested in. They often ended up finding lots they missed from viewing the catalogue online.


The London Gallery We are fast approaching our second year in the London Gallery and the office continues to grow exponentially. Number 15 Cecil Court has proved the perfect setting to meet both existing and new clients in the capital city. Consignments in 2020 included a collection of over 200 modern and contemporary paintings from a Mayfair town house that provided the core of the Modern British and 20th Century Art auction in June. Many of these pictures had been purchased directly from The Royal Academy or from top West End galleries and occasionally the results were spectacular. ‘Roses’ (pictured left) by the painter and sculptor Bryan Kneale (b.1930), originally bought for £200, was estimated at £1000-£1500 but went on to achieve £10,500. The London Gallery is also an excellent exhibition space. In the coming year we are showing pieces from The Pearson Silver Collection - the largest archive of post-war and contemporary British designer silver in private hands. Britain’s Best Kept Secret – The Art of the Modern Silversmith - will be the first time The Pearson collection has been shown in London. london@sworder.co.uk


s so often happens when there is economic uncertainly, prices for the best gemstones and precious metals spiked in 2020. At their peak this year, gold and silver bullion exceeded even the heady levels of 2011 and 2012 whilst coloured gemstones, particularly emeralds, rubies and sapphires were commanding exceptional prices. Colour, clarity and carats are still the defining factors but equally important is the origin of the stone (where it was mined) and the knowledge that it is natural stone with little evidence of chemical or heat treatment. For this reason, and to maximise results for our vendors, were are seeking to have more stones professionally certified before offering them for sale. Watches

- particularly vintage Swiss watches by the major brands - are another area of continued strength. Particular highlights this year have been a white gold single stone Colombian emerald ring with an estimated weight of 4.20ct which sold for ÂŁ42,900 (pictured above), the Suffrage League fob watch achieved ÂŁ940 (pictured right) and, a particular favourite, a black opal and diamond pear shaped cluster ring at ÂŁ2,470. Next year, alongside our biannual Fine Jewellery and Watch auctions, we will hold ten further Jewellery auctions. jewellery@sworder.co.uk


January JEWELLERY |Tuesday 27

August JEWELLERY | Wednesday 25

February JEWELLERY| Tuesday 23

September JEWELLERY | Wednesday 29

March JEWELLERY | Wednesday 31

October JEWELLERY | Wednesday 27

April JEWELLERY | Wednesday 28

November FINE JEWELLERY & WATCHES | Tuesday 16 JEWELLERY & GIFTS | Tuesday 30

May JEWELLERY | Wednesday 26 June FINE JEWELLERY & WATCHES | Tuesday 15 July JEWELLERY | Wednesday 28

for more information or to discuss potential consignments please contact jewellery@sworder.co.uk

10 minutes with the Jewellery Team What has been your favourite object of 2020? CS & CJ: One of our favourite pieces this year was a carved hardstone cameo by Giuseppe Girometti. The quality of cameos can vary hugely, from fairly crude shell carvings made for the tourist market to exceptionally carved hardstones which really are works of art – the Girometti cameo fell firmly in the latter camp. Cameos are also interesting things to look out for, as the subject matter is often incorrectly catalogued. What has been your most rewarding piece of research? CS & CJ: In our Fine Jewellery sale in November we had a little silver fob watch and chain, with what turned out to be a suffragette medal suspended from one end. The back of the medal was engraved ‘W.F.L., DIV. I, 1914’ and when cataloguing the piece our first thoughts were perhaps ‘Women’s Football League, division 1’. Some cursory research turned up no such league in 1914, upon closer inspection of the front of the medal the penny dropped that the enamel portcullis was one of the symbols of the suffragette movement. Further research determined that W.F.L. stands for the Women’s Freedom League, and Div. I to division 1 prisoners, a class of political prisoner. The medal was most likely given to an imprisoned suffragette. Similar fob watches with Albertina chains and plain medals regularly go for around £100; with the suffragette interest ours sold for £940.

Catriona Smith Head of Jewellery & Watches catrionasmith@sworder.co.uk

What would you love to collect? CJ: If money was no object I would collect early precious metal jewellery, from rare medieval pieces to the jewellery of the ancient world. One thing that I have always loved about jewellery is its universality – for almost as long as humans have lived in civilized society, we have adorned ourselves with jewellery. Jewellery has functioned as a display of wealth, but for much of history was also worn to protect the wearer from various ailments or malicious spirits. Whist I can’t endorse such claims, the social history is fascinating.

Catrin Jones Jewellery Specialist catrinjones@sworder.co.uk

Picture Perfect

Pictures form the mainstay of many of our auctions, we look here at the department as a whole and their achievements throught 2020.


worders’ picture department has seen some extraordinary prices this year, 2020 has proved to be our most successful year so far. Whether selling in or out of lockdown, the demand for good quality works is undiminished. The two Modern British & 20th Century Art sales - in June and November - showed exceptional strength. Together they totalled more than £1m and included several new artist records. Highlights included Terence Cuneo’s ‘Evening Star at Full Steam’, a fabulous depiction of the famous steam engine, selling for £84,500 and Ken Howard’s masterful ‘Sarah Reflecting’, one of his desirable large studio interiors, which sold for £29,900. Our experience and expertise in the market for works by the East Anglian School continues to bear fruit for vendors: works by Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious and Cedric Morris all attracted heated competition. The £8,320 bid for a small Ravilious etching ‘Chanticleer’ was particularly notable. This year we also trialled a timed format for Modern British & 20th Century Art Part II sales to coincide with our live auctions, allowing clients a ten day period to bid online. It was hugely successful generating an additional £185,000 of sales. For the past three years Sworders has added an annual Sporting Art, Wildlife and Dogs sale to its calendar. Always an eclectic and fun sale to hold, this year it attracted over 300 entries, totalling a premium inclusive of over £275,000. Highlights included a fine oil painting by John Nost Sartorius of a bay and grey hunter in a landscape which sold for £9,100. Finishing the year in style with our December Fine Interiors sale, in which we were delighted to offer a newly discovered Constable sketch of Dedham Vale, depicting a windmill that belonged to Constable’s father. Dated circa 1805, the work had been in the same family since the 1940s. Having been dismissed by other auctioneers in the past, the painting had been largely forgotten by its owner until Sworders showed it to the Constable expert Annie Lyle who confirmed its authenticity. New works by artists of this calibre appear very rarely at auction and bidders were plentiful. The work sold for £91,000.

2021 Modern British & 20th Century Art TIMED | Friday 15 - Sunday 31 January LIVE Tuesday 20 April | TIMED Friday 9 - Sunday 25 April LIVE Tuesday 5 October | TIMED Friday 24 - Sunday 10 October Fine Interiors Tuesday 8 & Wednesday 9 March Tuesday 29 & Wednesday 30 June Tuesday 14 & Wednesday 15 September Tuesday 7 & Wednesday 8 December Sporting Art, Wildlife & Dogs Wednesday 2 June

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT John Constable, Dedham Vale with Brantam Mill, (£91,000), Sir Peter Blake RA (b.1932), Venice Suite, a collection of silk screen prints (£9,200), John Nost Sartorius, a grey hunter and a bay hunter (£9,000), Cedric Morris (1889-1982) French landscape (£23,000), Alfred Hitchens Corbould (1821-1874) 'Major Stayplton’s Phaeton Horses - putting to' (£18,200), Ken Howard RA (b.1932) 'Sarah Reflecting' (£29,900), Gertrude Harvey (1879-1966) 'Summer Bunch' (£10,600), Terence Cuneo (1907-1996), ‘Evening Star at full steam’ (£84,500)

for more information or to discuss potential consignments please contact janeoakley@sworder.co.uk

Hertford Office The Hertford office has been the source of some great consignments this year. The John Barnett Collection of Scales and Balances (fig.1) kick started the year. As with all areas of collecting, rarity is key and here a fine miniature steelyard made by John Joseph Merlin (1735-1803), c.1780 with original shagreen case exceeded all expectations selling at £8,710. The office’s strong relationships with many local solicitors has resulted in a large amount of probate work: a house in London that included two Caltagirone maiolica jars, one dated 1729 and decorated with Antonio Manoel de Vilhena’s coat of arms flew to £10,400 (fig.2) and a select number of lots from a castle in Ireland included a 17th century Circle of Van Dyck oil portrait of a lady, possibly Frances Howard, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox sold for £9,100 (fig.3).

Lockdown created a great opportunity to re-establish relationships with clients, with everyone being at home, making contact was easier, they were available on the end of the phone and not so much caught up in the demands of their working day. Our valuation days were extended to two days a week (every Wednesday and Thursday) with consignments including a single stone emerald ring which sold in July for an extraordinary £42,900. Next year already looks buoyant with an enormous collection of jewellery, found tucked away in every single drawer of a North London property, coming to auction, in addition to several exciting single owner collections on the horizon. hertford@sworder.co.uk




10 minutes with Daniel Daniel Webster Head of Hertford Office danielwebster@sworder.co.uk

What was the strangest request you received? I cleared a house for an elderly couple who were moving to Brighton. The majority of items were to go to auction with the couple keeping a few prize processions for their new home. Little did I know I would be asked to convey to the carriers to carefully wrap half a thick cut loaf and a half opened tin of baked beans along with Aunt Ida’s Wedgewood teapot and two tea bags. The couple thought this would be perfect for their supper on arrival to their new home! If money were no object what would you buy? In the good old days of the Grosvenor House Antiques fair I would often drool over a perfect example of William and Mary marquetry and oyster veneered chest of drawers. I currently have a Victorian marble topped washstand in my hall which would ideally be replaced by such a chest one day. A good example, however, even in today’s market can command a hammer of £10,000 plus, a rather extravagant item upon which to place one’s car keys after a hard day at Sworders. What would you love to collect? As a proud owner of a Rolex Submariner it would be great to grow my collection by acquiring more rare examples, such as the Military Submariner. This model was issued to SAS and SBS soldiers during the 1970’s and is often accompanied with the original owner’s military service history. Another to add to the collection would be the Comex Submariner, issued to divers of a French diving company and usually sold with the diver’s log, recording each dive he made using the watch. Both examples were produced in limited numbers and it is as much the thrill of the hunt in tracking down these watches intact with their social history as actually owning one. Although I must say it would be nice to have them to enjoy and watch increase in value at the same time.


e held four sales in the Design department across 2020. Whether in the relative normality of January or without full viewing as in June, all were well received.

We began the year with a collection of items from the homes of architects Mary Jane ‘MJ’ Long (1939-2018) and Colin ‘Sandy’ St John Wilson (1922-2007), the husband and wife team that designed the British Library, where a pair of rare Alvar Aalto A331 ‘Beehive’ lights that had hung in their office sold for £5,000. Sales in May and October both included ‘microgauze’ wall hangings by the British artist-weaver Peter Collingwood (1922-2008). Following the sale of a smaller weaving titled M.200. No.10 for £7,540 we received an email from the owner of a larger wall hanging in North Carolina. The vendor’s parents had bought it directly from Collingwood for $125 when he visited the USA in 1983. This second example, shipped across the Atlantic to Stansted, sold for £10,400. This year’s sales have been conducted under a number of different umbrella titles - some with an emphasis on periods and style. September, for example, was dedicated to Arts & Crafts and Art Deco with a fabulous fresh to the market collection of Stanley Webb Davies furniture achieving £45,500.

2021 Our vision for 2021 is a quartet of sales which will together incorporate the best in Design and Decorative Arts from the Edwardian to the post-war and contemporary eras. Each titled simply Design, these will allow collectors to compare, contrast and mix furnishings from across numerous avant-garde design movements. Our first ‘Design’ auction will take place on 26 January – with a collection from David Pocknell, a leading graphic and architectural designer, whose home and office are set in the rural idyll of Blackmore End. Selected items from his home and design studio are included in the sale. We also have an important group of furniture by the French designer Jules Leleu, a private commission for clients in the Mediterranean. Expect to see marquetry furniture from his fabulous ‘Feu d'Artifices’ (Fireworks) suite. 26 JANUARY | 13 JULY | 5 MAY | 19 OCTOBER

John Black Head of 20th Century Design johnblack@sworder.co.uk

FINE WINE & SPIRITS In an otherwise trying year, Fine Wine & Spirits continued to flourish. Following a successful trial of a timed auction during lockdown in May, we continued with the format for our November sale which saw an outstanding 94% of lots sold and some house record prices for individual bottles. Burgundy and Whisky continued to prove immensely popular with a 1984 bottle of Henri Jayer’s Richebourg and a rare Macallan, bottled and branded exclusively for Raffles Hotel in Singapore providing their category highlights at £7,434 and £4,140 respectively. Bordeaux remained as sought after as ever and provided a strong and varied backbone to our sales, as would be expected from the world’s largest wine growing region. A case of Chateau Margaux from the in-demand 1986 vintage selling particularly well at £4,779. With much to look forward to, 2021 looks to be another exciting year for Fine Wine and Spirits collectors .

2021 March Friday 5 - Sunday 14 Paul Fox Head of Fine Wine & Spirits paulfox@sworder.co.uk

THE CAPTAIN TOM FOUNDATION A collection of artworks given to Captain Sir Tom Moore in honour of this 100th birthday were sold at Sworders in a timed online auction earlier this year. Proceeds raised totalled £21,500. All funds were donated directly to The Captain Tom Foundation in order to support causes such as combatting loneliness, helping those facing bereavement and supporting education and equality. Captain Tom said: ‘I was overwhelmed to receive so many wonderful pictures, there are some very talented artists out there. We discussed how best to celebrate them all and felt that holding an auction would be a brilliant way to share these wonderful pieces with a wider audience whilst also raising valuable funds for causes close to our hearts. We are grateful to Sworders who have partnered with us to make all this possible.’ The pictures ranged from cheerful amateur sketches to works by professional artists. For more information about The Captain Tom Foundation visit www.captaintom.org

June Friday 4 - Sunday 13 October/November Friday 29 - Sunday 7


Bridget Riley (b.1931) Fragment 5 signed and dated '65 l.l., screenprint on perspex £15,000-20,000

entries close 5 March

amyscanlon@sworder.co.uk | 01279 817778

Homes & Interiors


nce bustling events with bidders shoulder-to-shoulder, Homes & Interiors auctions have become more intimate affairs. Just the auctioneer, a clerk and a webcam connecting us to the world outside. However, moving to an ‘online only’ format - something that began during lockdown - has brought a huge and positive reaction from buyers. We have been rewarded with a broadening audience and new buyer demographic. We learnt quickly how to provide our clientele with the information they require at the click of a button. Today we upload our catalogue with a full condition report for each lot, a multitude of images and videos, and an option to make a live video call to peruse the sale. The ethos of the H&I sales remains the provision of antiques, vintage

and decorative items for the home at affordable prices. However, we are always conscious of the need to move with fashion (more than ever, postwar and good contemporary design is flourishing) and cater to the onlinesavvy audience of collectors and furnishers who are particularly keen on quirky and unusual items. We will continue to curate the sales to appeal to these buyers but won’t forget the market for antiques and period items. Some of the top prices achieved in 2020 were for traditional chattels including a beautiful Royal Worcester twin handled vase and cover, painted with fruit by James Skerrett which sold for £4,290 and an early Grand Tour bronze achieving £7,280 (pictured right). In short, 2021 looks exciting for our Homes and Interiors department. We look forward to sharing it with you in the virtual world.

10 minutes with Briony If money were no object what would you collect? I have always been obsessed with the Pre-Raphaelite’s, their romantic notions and particularly their depictions of women. If I had all the money in the world my walls would be full of Rossetti’s and Millais’ fighting for space. I love the idea of sitting in the pub with the brotherhood, discussing how best to make an impact and have their voices heard - going against the grain and painting literature onto canvas. Quite simply, creating poetry through the paintbrush! What has been your most surprising find of the year? Enamel signs are certainly on trend at the moment and consistently command high hammer prices at auction. However, we were blown away by the Hill’s ‘Fine Shag’ enamel sign that sold earlier this year in our Homes and Interiors sale for an incredible £3,500. Not only was the sign a rare example, but it was in impeccable condition for its age. It formed part of the Trevor Barton Pipe Collection that proved to be a great success over lockdown. What has been your favourite object?

Briony Harford Head of Homes & Interiors brionyharford@sworder.co.uk

My favourite object to sell was the yellow and white gold, single stone, 3ct fancy vivid yellow diamond ring in 2019. It was an absolute stunner and like no ring I have ever seen. The beauty of this job is getting to handle these incredible jewels that I would normally only ever get to see in Cartier shop windows! But this isn’t my favourite object just because of it’s beauty, it’s my favourite object because I remember selling it on the rostrum so vividly. The low estimate of £10,000 was far exceeded when it sold for £21,500. A room bidder and an internet bidder took it to these heights, and, it was so evident to me, how both bidders had fallen in love with it and couldn’t imagine going home without it.

Country House Collections


worders specialise in auctions of the entire contents of country houses and single owner collections amassed over many years. The stories that accompany the pieces, and the knowledge that they were chosen by a ‘good eye’ ensures that they garner extra interest. In 2020 Sworders were proud to offer the principal contents of Wood Hall in the village of Arkesden in the north of Essex, which included a fine collection of country house favourites from sculpture and textiles to furniture and silver. In particular the consignment included an array of 30 17th, 18th and 19th century portraits. Among the most arresting subjects was a three-quarter length oil of Mrs James Hoste (1710-1759) dressed in a blue dress and gold cloak. The granddaughter of Robert Walpole and sister to Robert, 1st Earl of Oxford, she married Major James Hoste of Sandringham. Painted c.1735 by an artist from the Circle of John Vanderbank the Younger (1694-1739), her portrait sold at £3,640. In December the property of the late Jillian Sinclair-Hill, of Horton Lodge, Horton, Nr. Old Windsor, Berkshire formed a large part of The Fine Interiors two day sale and included an eclectic mix of portraits, large landscape paintings, continental furniture and sculpture.

Jillian was a renowned antique dealer with shops in Eton high street, trading under the name of ‘John A Pearson Antiques’. The family business was originally run in the 1950s by Jillian’s great aunt, a redoubtable character known simply as Mrs Cox. An American lady who welcomed visits from the local Eton College students. One boy she inspired was the antiques dealer Christopher Gibbs, who recalled his visits to Pearson Antiques in an article he wrote for Vogue magazine. Mrs Cox would go on weekly buying trips in a van with a driver, enthroned beneath a plaid blanket in a generous gilded fauteuil anchored to the floor. She would typically return with a host of mouth-watering booty to enthral her Eton visitors. According to Christopher Gibbs article, her great love was for the 18th century and Regency, but also for the coloured lacquers of the Orient and paintings of people, places and animals. Jillian Sinclair-Hill’s collection of furniture, paintings and statuary echoed many of the influences of her great aunt - a decorative style that still enjoys great popularity today.

Coming up in 2021 The New Year calendar of sales will include important furniture, paintings and chandeliers from The Old Rectory, Sible Headingham, a Grade II listed Queen Anne house.

For further information on Country House Collections contact Luke Macdonald or Guy Schooling lukemacdonald@sworder.co.uk | guyschooling@sworder.co.uk


entries close 15 January

fineinteriors@sworder.co.uk | 01279 817778

Stansted Mountfitchet Auction Rooms Cambridge Road | Stansed Mountfitchet | Essex | CM24 8GE auctions@sworder.co.uk | 01279 817778 Hertford 42 St Andrew Street | Hertford | SG14 1JA hertford@sworder.co.uk | 01992 583508 London 15 Cecil Court | London | WC2N 4EZ london@sworder.co.uk | 0203 971 2500 Kent kent@sworder.co.uk | 01732 757675 @swordersfineart