Intriguing to the somewhat macabre ~ £10,000 microscope slides

A selection of the slides that sold for £10,000
A selection of the slides that sold for £10,000

A collection of Victorian microscope slides made one of the more unusual lots passing under the hammer at Toovey’s Fine Art & Antique Auctioneers & Valuers Spring Gardens rooms in July. The lot was included in the specialist auction of Clocks, Watches and Scientific Instruments that Toovey’s hold every two months. The exceptional group of over a thousand biological and botanical slides was contained in a twenty-nine-drawer, tabletop cabinet. Subjects captured between glass ranged from the intriguing to the somewhat macabre, with specimens such as blow fly ovary, frog’s lung, flea’s gizzard and various human tissue samples, all neatly labelled and many in colourful, decorative mounts. Collections like this are sometimes referred to as ‘cabinets of curiosities’, a term first applied to the great curio rooms of Renaissance Europe. As interest in science and nature grew during Victoria’s reign and microscopes became increasingly sophisticated, viewing specimens like these became highly popular, not only with professionals but also with middle class families as a source of education and entertainment. A number of companies specialised in sourcing, preparing and mounting interesting samples from around the world to meet the demand. It is now unusual to find such a good collection of slides in near original condition like this, a specialist collector from Bristol travelled to the Sussex Auctioneers’ saleroom to secure the lot for £10,000 against six telephone bidders.

June Select Sale of Paintings

Lot 4: Henry Scott Tuke's 'Half Length Portrait of a Boy'
Lot 14: Frank Kelsey's View of Schooners at Anchor in a Cornish Estuary
Lot 76: Harald Pryn's 'Gandlose'

The June Sale of Selected Paintings and Prints will be held on 15th June 2011.  The sale starts with Lot 1, an important watercolour album compiled by the relatively little-known artist R.H. Manning as a present for his niece. The album hints towards Manning being a collector as well as an artist. He obviously asked a number of his contemporaries for a small watercolour for inclusion in the album and so it includes works by David Cox Junior, James Duffield Harding, Henry Gastineau, Henry Pilleau and William Leighton Leitch to name but a few. The works on paper have largely survived in excellent condition hidden from sunlight and dust in the pages of the album. The album carries a presale estimate of £3000-5000, click here to view the contents of the album and see a detailed collation of the contents.

The Select Sale continues with two watercolours and an oil on board by the highly collectable Cornish artist Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929). ‘Half Length Study of a Boy’ is a small oil on board (12 x 19cm) by Tuke highlights his mastery of capturing light. It is beautifully presented in a gilt frame which carries a David Messum gallery label to the reverse adding important provenance to this unsigned work. Lot 4 is offered with a presale estimate of £6000-10000.

Continuing with the Cornish theme is Lot 14, a beautiful painting of Schooners in a Cornish Estuary by the artist Frank Kelsey (1864-1932). In contrast with the Tuke, this oil on canvas is very large, measuring 89cm x 135cm excluding the wide gilt wood section frame. Showing size does not always dictate value it is offered with a presale estimate of £2000-3000.

Measuring 100 x 135cm, another large oil on canvas within the auction is Lot 76. A work by Danish artist Harald Pryn (1891-1968) titled ‘Gandløse’. This painting of a lane near Copenhagen glistens under the artist’s handling of snow. This lot is estimated at £1500-2500.

The auction also includes four original oils on canvas by David Shepherd (click here for more information). To view all the paintings, drawings and prints within the June auction please click here.  The June sale continues with Silver, Jewellery, Medals & Militaria, Oriental Ceramics & Works of Art, British & Continental Ceramics & Glass, Furniture, Metalwork and Collectors’ Items, Textiles and Rugs. In addition, on the 14th June Toovey’s hold their Specialist Sale of Toys, Dolls and Games. To view the free online catalogue please click here.

Lot 1 Watercolour Album

Lot 1 within Toovey’s sale of Selected Paintings and Prints on 15th June 2011 is an important album compiled by the artist R.H. Manning for his niece, containing fifty-six works on paper by various hands, thirteen related photographs and three prints, the majority mounted, circa 1860-1865, most inscribed below the work with artist’s name and title by Manning, all contained within a contemporary blue and gilt tooled leather binding.


Collation of Lot 1, in our forthcoming Sale of Selected Fine Art, on 15th June 2011:

R.H. Manning – ‘Bronze Statue of San Carlo Borromeo at Arona Lago Maggiore’, pencil heightened with white, titled, approx 13cm x 18cm.

R.H. Manning – ‘St Goarshausen on the Rhine’, pencil heightened with white, titled, approx 13cm x 18cm.

(The above two on one leaf and opposite an early photograph of the artist [Not illustrated])

Attributed to Henry Earp – ‘Landscape with Cattle’, watercolour, approx 12cm x 17.5cm.

David Cox Jnr – ‘In North Wales’, watercolour, signed, approx 10.5cm x 16.5cm.

William Leighton Leitch – ‘Lake of Garda’, watercolour, signed and dated 1861, approx 11.5cm x 17cm.

Attributed to Daniel Fowler – ‘On the Lake of Garda’, charcoal heightened with white, approx 13.5cm x 17.5cm.

R.H. Manning – ‘Minster Isle of Thanet’, watercolour, approx 13.5cm x 20.5cm.

James Duffield Harding – ‘A Study’, pencil heightened with white, signed with initials, approx 16.5cm x 25.5cm.

David Hall McKewan – ‘On the… Co Down, Ireland’, watercolour, signed, approx 10cm x 14cm.

A mid/late 19th Century engraving on india paper mounted, ‘From a Picture in the possession of R.H Manning’, approx 14cm x 17cm.

Cornelius Pearson – ‘Loch Adway Perthshire’, watercolour, signed and dated 1861, approx 10.5cm x 17.5cm.

K. Wicksteed – ‘May Day’, pen and ink heightened with white, signed and dated Dec’r 9th 1861, approx 15cm x 22.5cm.

Henry Gastineau – ‘View in Carmarthenshire’, watercolour with pencil traces, approx 10cm x 15cm.

A mid/late 19th Century hand-coloured lithograph, ‘Calesso di Resina ditto Carrigolo’, approx 15.5cm x 23cm.

A mid/late 19th Century watercolour over pencil, ‘Life in Naples’, approx 29cm x 19cm.

Attributed to B.E. Kennedy – ‘Coast of Genoa’, watercolour, approx 10.5cm x 18cm.

R.H. Manning – ‘St Lawrence’, pencil heightened with white, signed with initials, titled and dated 1861, approx 12.5cm x 20cm.

Thomas Charles Leeson Rowbotham – ‘Coast of Genoa’, watercolour, signed and dated 1861, approx 14.5cm x 24cm.

M. Robertson – Study of a Spray of Flowers, watercolour and pencil, signed and dated 1862, approx 24cm x 17cm.

Attributed to James Duffield Harding – ‘Ladram Bay, Devonshire’, charcoal heightened with white, approx 11cm x 16cm.

G.M. Robinson – ‘Metzingen’, pencil heightened in white, signed with initials, approx 25cm x 17.5cm.

Attributed to Fanny Blacksley – ‘Magdalen after Guido’, watercolour, image size approx 8cm x 9cm.

Attributed to H.A. Spitta – ‘Composition’, watercolour, approx 10cm x 15cm.

R.H. Manning – ‘Bellagio Lake of Como’, watercolour, approx 11cm x 21cm.

Attributed to ?Clara Montalba – Interior Scene, watercolour and pencil, inscribed below image ‘…cut out from a letter from Madlle Montalba aged 13 to her father in London, 1860.’, approx 12.5cm x 12.5cm.

(The above opposite two photographs of works of art [Not illustrated])

Attributed to John Smith – ‘Composition Italy’, watercolour, approx 14.5cm x 19.5cm.

C. Groves – ‘Garlinge near Margate’, watercolour, signed and dated 1861, approx 13.5cm x 21cm.

Mary Caroline Blacksley – Study of a Fallen Bird, watercolour, image size approx 10cm x 12cm.

(The above opposite a photograph of a work of art [Not illustrated])

Henry Pilleau – ‘The Lock’, watercolour, signed, approx 14cm x 20.5cm. Note: incorrectly captioned ‘Wm Pilleau’.

(The above opposite a photograph of an artist painting [Not illustrated])

Maria Gastineau – ‘Folkestone’, watercolour, signed and dated 1861, approx 13cm x 20cm.

Sept. Scott – ‘Bude, Ct of Cornwall’, watercolour, signed with initials, approx 8.5cm x 19.5cm.

(The above opposite three small photographs of works of art on one leaf [Not illustrated])

R.H. Manning – ‘Elizabeth Castle, Jersey’, watercolour, approx 9cm x 16.5cm.

A mid/late 19th Century pen and ink drawing, ‘A Study’, bears signature ‘B. Foster’, approx 8cm x 13.5cm. Note: incorrectly captioned ‘W. Pilleau’.

R.H. Manning – ‘The Thames near Goring’, watercolour, approx 10cm x 8.5cm.

(The above three on one leaf)

Attributed to T.I. Toper – ‘Landscape’, monochrome watercolour, approx 6.5cm x 10cm.

William Collingwood Smith – ‘Lake of Como near Bellagio’, watercolour, signed, approx 12.5cm x 18.5cm.

William Leighton Leitch – ‘Haywards Heath’, watercolour, signed, approx 11cm x 17cm.

R.H. Manning – ‘Coddenham Church, Suffolk’, watercolour, signed with initials and dated 1860, approx 17.5cm x 25cm.

James Duffield Harding – ‘Berwick on Tweed’, pencil heightened in white, approx 8.5cm x 13cm.

(The above opposite an oval photograph, possibly of Harding [Not illustrated])

Attributed to Henry Pilleau – ‘Hastings’, watercolour, approx 13.5cm x 21.5cm.

Attributed to Möller – ‘At Brieng Switz’d’, watercolour, approx 18.5cm x 27.5cm.

David Cox Jnr – ‘Evening’, watercolour, signed, approx 10cm x 15.5cm.

Attributed to William Leighton Leitch – ‘Aberystwith from a sketch by R.H.M.’, watercolour, approx 16cm x 24.5cm.

R.H. Manning – ‘Florence’, pencil heightened with white, titled, approx 13cm x 18.5cm.

R.H. Manning – ‘Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio Lake of Como’, pencil heightened with white, titled, approx 12.5cm x 18.5cm.

(The above two on one leaf)

R.H. Manning and J.D. Harding – ‘S. Goarshausen’, pencil heightened with white, approx 12.5cm x 17.5cm.

R.H. Manning – ‘On the Rhine’, pencil and charcoal heightened with white, approx 12.5cm x 17.5cm.

(The above two on one leaf and opposite a photograph of a related view [Not illustrated])

Attributed to H.A. Spitta – ‘Moonlight, a Composition’, watercolour, approx 16cm x 23cm.

(The above opposite an oval photograph of Spitta [Not illustrated])

Photographic reproduction of a work by R.H.M. of the Rhine [Not illustrated].

John Henry Mole – Coastal View, watercolour, signed and dated 1862, approx 10cm x 16.5cm.

Henry Pilleau – ‘The Thames at Wargrave’, watercolour, signed and dated 1862, approx 12.5cm x 20.5cm.

Attributed to B.E. Kennedy – Landscape, watercolour, approx 7.5cm x 13cm.

Attributed to Henry Pilleau – ‘My Daughter’, watercolour, pencil and ink, approx 4cm x 8cm.

(The above opposite a photograph of Pilleau [Not illustrated])

C.B. Young – ‘Captain Culpepper & the Master of Ravenswood’, watercolour, approx 18cm x 13cm.

Aster Corbauld – ‘Ferreting’, watercolour, indistinctly signed, approx 15.5cm x 19.5cm.

Henry Pilleau – ‘Suez’, watercolour with pencil, signed with initials and titled, approx 15.5cm x 24cm.

Aster Corbould – ‘Thro the Wood’, watercolour, signed and dated 1862, approx 19.5cm x 14cm.

M. Montague Lamb – ‘Croquet’, pen and ink, signed with initials, approx 15cm x 22.5cm.

Attributed to ‘Mrs Lydiard’ – ‘Sea Side’, watercolour, approx 13.5cm x 20.5cm.

Cutting from the Illustrated London News with a wood-engraving of a picture in the collection of R.H. Manning [Not illustrated].

David Shepherd Originals for Sale at Toovey’s Auction

Lot 58: David Shepherd's 'Rhinos in Namibia'
Lot 59: David Shepherd's Study of Three Hippos
Lot 60: David Shepherd's depiction of a Cougar

The Sale of Selected Oil Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings and Prints will be held on June 16th 2011. The sale includes four original works by David Shepherd (born 1931). Shepherd is a famous painter of animals and the offering in the auction includes depictions of a cougar, rhinoceros and hippopotami. Known for his limited edition colour prints, this is an opportunity to purchase an original work by the artist.

Lot 58 is titled ‘Rhinos in Namibia’ and has an adult rhinoceros and its calf in the African Landscape. The 33 x 51cm signed oil on canvas is dated 1999 to the reverse and is presented in a gilt frame. The pre-sale estimate is £6000-9000.

Lot 59 is an oil on canvas of three hippopotami in their natural habitat. This is the smallest of the four works included in the sale measuring 22 x 34cm excluding the swept gilt composition frame that surrounds the painting. This signed work is dated 2001 to the reverse and has a presale estimate of £3500-4500.

Lot 60 departs from the African theme with a snowy landscape and a beautifully executed cougar (or mountain lion) amongst trees.  Measuring 44 x 70cm, this signed oil on canvas is presented in a silvered frame echoing the tones in the painting. It is dated 1997 verso and is estimated at £8000-12000.

Lot 61: David Shepherd's 'Study for Oil "Muck" and Sunlight'

Completing the selection of original works by David Shepherd offered in the auction is Lot 61. It is a departure from his animal work and shows another facet of his output with a detail of a locomotive titled ‘Study for oil “muck” and Sunlight’.  In addition to being a vocal conservationist, David Shepherd is a steam locomotive enthusiast, owning many engines, most of which are displayed at museums around the world. It is therefore no surprise that in addition to painting animals locomotives often feature in his work. This sketch in oils on canvas measures 75 x 63cm and is sympathetically framed in a painted frame. This final work of the group is the largest and has a pre-sale estimate of £2000-3000.

All four works were consigned for sale by the same single-owner. They join a diverse selection of other works by fantastic names offered for sale at Toovey’s Auctioneers and Valuers this June.

Paul Scofield’s Books at Toovey’s Auction

TOOVEY’S specialist antiquarian & collectors’ book sale on May 17th 2011 includes part of the library of the late Paul Scofield, CH, CBE (1922-2008).  His fascinating library includes numerous volumes with presentation inscriptions to Paul and his wife Joy from the authors and his contemporaries.  Paul received an Academy Award and a BAFTA for his performance in the 1966 film ‘A Man for All Seasons’ and was a highly regarded actor on stage and screen.  Going under the gavel from his collection is a first edition copy of Marlene Dietrich’s ABC (Lot 3291) with a wonderful presentation inscription to Paul ‘Oh – how I wish I could write about you this morning! p.150 Marlene May 3. 1963’.  Page 150 in the book is an entry by her on Paul “I saw him at a time when most actors and stars affected the head-scratching, incoherent mumbling, embarrassed attitude on screen and stage… he had authority and elegance, he had perfect dictation…”.

Please click on images to see full version

Also included from the Scofield collection is a beautifully leather-bound 1943 version of the works of Shakespeare (Lot 3270).  The book was originally purchased from Truslove and Hanson, fashionable bookshops of the date operating in the West-End of London, this volume would have also been bound for them as they offered a bookbinding service.  What makes this copy so unique is a fascinating presentation inscription on the front-free endpaper ‘Terry L[ove] Chips’ dated November 2nd 1944.  ‘Terry’ refers to Terence Rattigan (1911-1977), a noted dramatist and friend and colleague of Scofield.  Numerous celebrations are planned for 2011 to mark the centenary of Rattigan’s birth.  ‘Chips’ refers to Henry “Chips” Channon (1897-1958), an American-born English politician and diarist, who had an affair with Rattigan.  This copy also has the bookplate of Terence Rattigan mounted on the inside cover.  Viewing for the sale is on Saturday 14 May 9.30 – 12.00, Monday 16th May 10.00 – 17.00, and on the sale day Tuesday 17th May 10.00 – 13.00 at Toovey’s Spring Gardens auction rooms, West Sussex.