An important single-owner collection will be sold at auction by Toovey’s, at their Washington salerooms, on Tuesday 14th June 2016. This exceptional private collection reflects the diverse interests of a very private gentleman collector. The collection has never been seen by the public.
The connoisseur’s eye of this gifted antiquarian is apparent in the quality and breadth of an eclectic group of fine collectors’ items, needleworks, ceramics, furniture and silver dating from the 16th century to the present day.
All good collections, however varied, must reflect the personality of their collector. The objects in this collection clearly represents a lifetime of delighting in the aesthetic value, and narratives bound up with the history that objects represent.
Take, for example, the Elizabeth I indenture on vellum, hung with the second Great Wax Seal, designed by Nicholas Hilliard, which was used between 1586 and 1603. Nicholas Hilliard was a goldsmith and limner. He painted remarkable portrait miniatures, with a very English voice, of members of the courts of Elizabeth I and James I. His paintings provide a remarkable window into the Tudor world.
The seal dates from the time of the Babington Plot of 1586 which sought to assassinate Elizabeth I and replace her with the imprisoned, Catholic, Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary wrote from captivity in support of the plot but her letter was intercepted. Elizabeth is said to have initially resisted calls for, her cousin, Mary’s death. But these events would result not only in Mary’s execution but also the death of her suitor, the Duke of Norfolk.
This historical narrative is united with the exquisite 16th Century ebonized and verre églomisé table chest which is reputed to have belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots. The drawer fronts and sides are inset with glass panels and ebonized astragals, backed with coloured papers decorated with birds, leaves and flowers, mirrored hearts and stars.
The needleworks and textiles are amongst the earliest and finest pieces in the collection.
The 17th Century and later silkwork and rosewood banded table cabinet’s hinged lid and sides are finely worked in coloured silks on an ivory silk ground. The figures and landscapes are joyful. So, too, are the small, fine needlework panel and purse. One is decorated with figures delighting in a garden and the other with birds, flowers and lemons.
This gifted collector’s love and eye for textiles is echoed in the pair of wing back armchairs in late 17th Century taste. The verdure tapestry panel upholstery is complimented by the gilded bases.
The 17th Century stumpwork rectangular panel, depicting an allegorical group of five ladies representing the senses, is set against the backdrop of a delightful hillocky landscape with citadel. It is a particularly fine example of needlework of the period.
Accompanying passionate collectors in their pursuit of acquiring new acquisitions and sharing their collections with them remains one of the great privileges of my life as an auctioneer.
This exceptional private collection reflects the diverse interests of a very private gentleman, a collector whose friendship I have valued for more than thirty-three years. Estimates range from a hundred or two into the thousands of pounds. The sale provides a remarkable opportunity to view and acquire objects rarely seen at auction today. I hope to see you at the sale!
For more information on the sale visit www.tooveys.com or telephone 01903 891955.