Pair of 19th c. candlesticks

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An impressive pair of 19th c. brass candlesticks in the 18th c. style; probably originally for ecclesiastical use. Good condition, some faults.

Height 24 inches


Chinese Lacquered Leather Document Box, Shanxi Province, ...

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This handsome Qing Dynasty document box, from the Shanxi region of China, has an aesthetically outstanding form. The domed rectangular shape has almost architectural characteristics defined by its refinement of line, proportion and curvilinear shaping.

This beautifully worn patination of the tightly stretched lacquered leather domed top has an elegant refinement. The vellum interior remains well preserved. After about 150 years of use inevitably there are some small damages to the leather top and one corner (both illustrated). The box remains completely unrestored in original state.

The stitching and metal ware are pared to a decorative and functional minimum, to enhance the elegantly simple lines. On the front is a cloud shaped lock with pin sets on a round metal plate.
Functionality is an imperative in Chinese antiques: these boxes were practical and decorative pieces for storage of valuables and documents, and they are equally suited for this today, being displayed on desks, mantelpieces and tables. Their simplicity of shape and lustre of mellowed leather finish complements both Asian and Western interior design.
The box also represents a good example of how lacquer finish was used to preserve and decorate accessories. Most Qing dynasty lacquered antiques were either red, which was made by adding cinnabar to the almost transparent lacquer, or black , made by the addition of iron oxide to lacquer.

These type of boxes have their origins with the pillow boxes: unlike the West hard pillows were used...over time Chinese pillows have been made of wood, jade porcelain, bamboo and lacquered-leather, and were originally concave or dome shaped. This shape both cradled the neck and protected the elaborate arrangements of hair in both men and women of high rank. As an added benefit they could contain small valuables while their owner slept, providing an element of peace of mind regarding security.

SIZE: 16.5 wide x 5 tall x 5.5 inches deep.
PROVENANCE: From a deceased Hampshire collection, brought from China by the collector in person about 20 years ago.


Fine carved oak pew end 16th century ...

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A fine and rare carved oak pew end dating from the 1500s; the poppy head finial has been damaged over the centuries, but the main body of carving is in good order. The decoration consists of carved sunken tracery of slender lights and quatrefoil with a carved stiff leaf.
Such medieval carvings are few on the market.

DIMENSIONS: 44 x 9 x 2.5 inches.
PROVENANCE: Probably an Oxfordshire church.
Private Collection, Burford, Oxfordshire.

Art Nouveau statue in Alabaster of a ...

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An alabaster sculpture of a young woman in a loosely fitting robe standing in water; Art Nouveau c.1990. She holds her robe to keep it from the water, depicted as the marble base.

This beautiful statue is in patinated alabaster and in generally good condition; there are some abrasions and small losses, as can be seen in the images, but nothing that detracts from its beauty. The hands are especially well executed.

SIZE: 23.5 inches tall. Base 9 inches square.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, London.

18th c. carved and giltwood candlestick.

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An impressive Italian Baroque carved and giltwood candlestick in good unrestored condition.

Size: 28 inches tall


Oak 'poppy head', c1580/1630.

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This is a rare item, removed from a church pew, beautifully carved on both sides.
Poppy head is a generic term applied to the carved finial of a wooden pew end. Although an actual carving of a poppy head was frequently used, in practice poppy-heads might be carved to represent practically anything. The term comes from the French 'poupee' meaning doll.
Some of these carvings were intentionally damaged by iconoclasts during the Reformation, or later by Puritan fanatics, and in some churches you can clearly see where poppy-heads have been lopped off or defaced.

DIMENSIONS: 12 x 7 x 2.5 inches.
PROVENANCE: Probably an Oxfordshire church.
Private Collection, Burford, Oxfordshire. (see last image)

Pencil/pen holder made from the woodwork of ...

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This is an extremely evocative maritime item.
RMS MAURETANIA is a magical name for collectors of maritime memorabilia. Mauretania was an ocean liner designed by Leonard Peskett and built by Wigham Richardson and Swan Hunter for the Cunard Line, launched on the afternoon of 20 September 1906. She was the world's largest ship until the completion of RMS Olympic in 1911. Mauretania became a favourite among her passengers. She captured the Eastbound Blue Riband on her maiden return voyage in December 1907, then claimed the Westbound Blue Riband for the fastest transatlantic crossing during her 1909 season. She held both speed records for 20 years.
Mauretania was scrapped in 1935; she arrived at Rosyth in Scotland at about 6 am on 4 July 1935 during a half-gale, passing under Forth Bridge. By 6:30 am she passed the entrance to the Metal Industries yards under the command of Pilot Captain Whince. A lone kilted piper was present at the quayside, playing a funeral lament for the popular vessel. It was reported to author and historian John Maxtone-Graham that upon the final shut-down of her great engines, she gave a dark "final shudder...". Mauretania had her last public inspection on 8 July, a Sunday with 20,000 in attendance, with the monies raised going to local charities. Scrapping began shortly after and with great rapidity. Unusually, she was cut up afloat in drydock, with a complex system of wooden battens and pencil marks to monitor her balance. In a month her funnels were gone. By 1936 she was little more than a hulk, and she was beached at the tidal basin at Metal Industries and her remaining structure was scrapped by 1937.
The demise of the beloved Mauretania was protested by many of her loyal passengers, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wrote a private letter against the scrapping.
SIZE: 3 inches tall.
PROVENANCE: in one family since purchased in 1935.
Images of the vessel from Wikipedia.


Indian casket, 19th century.

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A 19th century Indian casket, brass bound and finely decorated with 'pen-work', probably a Rajasthan dowry box. A superior example of the type.
Size: 8 inches tall, 12 inches wide, 9 inches deep.


William and Mary gilt etui c.1700.

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An etui was a small case to contain implements for writing, manicure or sewing, and so-named after the French word estuier meaning to keep. They were usually designed to be hung from a lady's belt. It is in the form of a little pavilion or tent.

This lovely little item was found in the Thames mud in 1985 after, presumably, nearly 300 years.
The gilding is onto what is almost is certainly silver as it shows no sign of corrosion, unlike the steel lid on the base which has utterly vanished.

SIZE: 3 inches tall.
PROVENANCE: Discovered in the Thames in 1985.
A private Yorkshire collection since 1996,