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By Citizen Reporter


Elegance, flair win the day

Sale of royal’s private collection far exceeded its total estimate.

Leading UK auctioneer Dreweatts is delighted to report the successful sale of the private collection of Serena, Countess of Snowdon, which took place this week.

With competitive bidding from around the globe, the sale achieved a total of £270 000 (about R6.3 million) which was over two-and-a-half times its pre-sale low estimate of £94 000.

Royal art auction

There was a high demand for the items which included sculpture, furniture, fine art and decorative objects from many of the UK’s celebrated design figures such as Robert Kime, David Mlinaric and Rita Konig.

Joe Robinson of Dreweatts said: “We are delighted with the result of the auction of the private collection.

“This high demand for works of exceptional provenance resulted in a 95% sellthrough rate and as a result, the sale far exceeded its total estimate.”

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Among the highlights were Princess Margaret’s bespoke brown leather riding boots made by royal equestrian boot makers, Maxwell of London.

Both Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth were keen riders all their lives, having started riding lessons very young with Horace and Sybil Smith at the internationally-renowned Cadogan Riding School in Belgravia, London.

The blocks were stamped: “HRH Princess Margaret” and were accompanied by cases and boot pulls, as well as a collection of riding crops.

The group lot sold to a private collector in the UK for a staggering £6 930 against an estimate of £300-£500 (lot 4). A watercolour and pencil study for the Coronation Chair sold for £1 512 against an estimate of £100-£150 (lot 55).

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Royal theme

There was a royal theme throughout the collection, including an interesting study in watercolour and pencil for the Coronation Chair, which is an ancient wooden chair that British monarchs are seated on during their coronations.

It was commissioned in 1296 by King Edward I to hold the Stone of Scone, which he had captured from the Scots. The chair was named after Edward the Confessor and until 1997 was held in his shrine at Westminster Abbey.

The study sold for £1 512 against an estimate of £100-£150 (lot 55). A decorative boomerang curtain commissioned by Lady Cutler, the wife of the governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler (1916-2002), for Princess Margaret also proved popular.

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The curtain was made by the members of the Embroiderers Guild of New South Wales in 1975 and comprises 54 individual panels by different members of the guild, all within ribbon borders.

A panel on the reverse described each embroidery with details of the embroiderer. It sold for over double its estimate realising £2 142 against an estimate of £800-£1 200 (lot 162).

Competitive bidding

There was competitive bidding for a preliminary sketch of Prince Augustus Frederick, the 8th Duke of Sussex, for an oil painting now in the Royal Collection.

The painting is hanging on the grand staircase at Buckingham Palace and was presented to Queen Victoria by the sitter. In pen and ink, the sketch in today’s sale sold for £2 772 – five times its pre-sale low estimate of £500 (lot 34).

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Among the sculpture in the sale was a maquette for the larger version of a work titled Still Water that was first installed at Marble Arch and is now housed at the Daylesford home of Lord and Lady Bamford, was a highlight of the sale.

The work was by the British sculptor Nic Fiddian-Green who specialises in creating realistic depictions of smaller and larger than life-sized models of horses’ heads.

In bronze on an oak plinth, it sold for over three times its presale estimate, achieving £23 940 against an estimate of £7 000-£10 000 (lot 32).

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Among the pieces by well-known designers was a cream, red and green floral carpet by Scottish interior designer Hugh Henry for interior decorator David Mlinaric, a partnership that has spanned decades and included projects around the globe.

The vibrant carpet featured a border of leaves around a trailing pink and dotted design and sold for £3 276 against an estimate of £800-£1 200 (lot 71).

Maquette for large-scale sculpture titled Still Water by British sculptor Nic Fiddian-Green sold for over three times its pre-sale estimate of £7 000-£10 000 (lot 32).

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