Inaugural Sale Hits The Ground Running

A painted wooden shop sign, Gunmaker, that hung for many years from a store in Norwich sold for £850
Brass pocket ‘Butterfield’ sundial and compass c.1700
Brass pocket ‘Butterfield’ sundial and compass c.1700. It is typical of the work of the Anglo-French maker Michael Butterfield (1635-1724) who worked for much of his life in in Paris, cornering the market for travelling dials, each made with a hinged gnomon crafted as a bird. It sold for £1150.
Colin Burns’ (b.1944) scene of game birds and heather on the Scottish moors titled Balintore - Red Grouse sold for £3200
Colin Burns’ (b.1944) scene of game birds and heather on the Scottish moors titled Balintore - Red Grouse sold for £3200

A painted wooden shop sign that hung for many years from a store in Norwich sold for £850 at Norfolk’s newest auction house earlier this month.


Black and white photographs of the gunsmiths Darlow & Company, once located at number 8 Orford Hill in the Mancroft area of the city, show the 2.7m sign still in situ, positioned below the imposing carved stone stag that still sits atop of the Grade II listed Georgian building. The early 20th century sign with 44cm high capital letters reading simply Gunmaker came for sale as part of the inaugural auction held by The Rostrum Fine Art Auctioneers over two days in Thorpe Market, Roughton on August 19-20. As a small but significant example of local history it brought £850.


The team at The Rostrum were delighted with the response to their first sale that comprised more than 700 lots across a range of different collecting and furnishing disciplines. “We really hit the ground running with this sale that had been several months in the making” said director Olly Webb. “Vendors put their faith in us as a new firm and many were rewarded with strong prices. We are particularly pleased with the response we are having from clients who are keen to consign to our next auction in October.”


At the August sale a rare Herend porcelain coffee set in the Cornucopia Tupini pattern c.1890 sold for £1200. This particular pattern with its glittering in enamel colours was inspired by Arabian ceramics and appealed to customers in the Middle East. Famously the Shah of Persia ordered a set from Herend.


There was also plenty of interest in a brass pocket ‘Butterfield’ sundial and compass c.1700. It is typical of the work of the Anglo-French maker Michael Butterfield (1635-1724) who worked for much of his life in Paris, cornering the market for travelling dials, each made with a hinged gnomon crafted as a bird. It was guided at £600-800 but sold for £1150.


Although new to the Norfolk auction scene, the firm brings together a strong team and consultants familiar with both the East Anglia and the national and international market.


Silver specialist Mark Nelson-Griffiths assembled a strong array of pieces from functional Georgian and Victorian tea wares to smaller collectables. Popular lots included a pair of Regency bucket-form goblets by Thomas Robins (London 1808) sold well above expectations for £2200 and a George III tea caddy by Charles Aldridge and Henry Green (London 1780) that brought £1100. With marks for Philip Gordon, London 1742, a heavy pair of silver candlesticks were hammered for £1800.


“The Georgian silver sold particularly well” commented Mark Nelson-Griffiths. “Some people say it is out of fashion but I think we still enjoy the fine dining experience here in Norfolk.”


Experienced gemmologist and head of the jewellery department Olly Webb offered some of the most valuable lots in the sale on behalf of a London vendor. An 18ct gold, platinum and diamond trilogy ring with stones of approximately 3ct was among them selling at £3000.


Traditional pictures also sold well with a pair of still lives of fruit by Victorian favourite Oliver Clare (1852-1927) bringing £1150 and Colin Burns’ (b.1944) scene of game birds and heather on the Scottish moors titled Balintore – Red Grouse sold for £3200. Local artist Geoffrey Chatten (b.1938) also proved popular with a view of the beach at his home town of Gorleston selling for £850.


A selection of original artist-signed prints included four works by LS Lowry (1887-1976) that came for sale from a Norwich seller. Both signed in pencil, An Industrial Town, numbered 42 from an edition of 500 brought £1400 while, from an edition of 300, the monochromatic St Simon’s Church, Salford made £1050.

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