At just under 600 lots, the auction showcased the Goodbrey’s expert eye for the quirky, interesting and fine quality, with a particular focus on folk art; ranging from decoy ducks and rare marbles, through to sailor’s woolworks and Grand Tour tables. Every lot sold, most for well above estimate, and there were several surprise results amongst the collection.
Possibly the biggest surprises of the day were for the smallest items. Two lots of rare “naked” solid core swirls 19th century marbles sold for £2,700 and £4,400 – and probably spurred everyone in the room to search through their drawers and under sofas!
Elsewhere, a scarce circa 1848 Staffordshire figure group of a lion with a lamb, which was supposedly inspired by a visit to the UK by the American lion tamer Isaac Van Amburgh, sold for £1,900, and two 19th century pine artist’s lay figures sold for £1,800 and £1,200.
Amongst a beautiful selection of Victorian sailor’s woolworks, a depiction of a three-masted frigate titled 'M. SHIP RALEIGH. 50. GUNS' and annotated 'By George Smith 1846', sold in the room for £1,300. H.M.S. Raleigh was built at Chatham in 1845 and served around China and South America before being wrecked upon rocks off the coast of Hong Kong in 1857. Alongside scrimshaw and other carvings, woolworks became a popular pastime amongst naval men from the 19th century onwards and, in a time before photography, were often their only visual reminder of the ships they had served in.
Animal art works proved their enduring popularity amongst the paintings section, with a James Scraggs oil on canvas of a prize bull selling for £2,500 and a naive but lovely study of a spaniel and puppies achieving £1,450. The bird world was also well represented by an unsigned 19th century study of a barn owl, which two telephone bidders battled up to £2,100.
As a welcome break from the norm for recent years, some of the highest prices were amongst the furniture section. The renowned quality and desirability of Howard & Sons helped a Victorian mahogany three-seater sofa sell for £6,600, while a selection of specimen inlaid tables included two which sold for £1,800 each.
The final section of the sale comprised stunning wrought iron garden furniture including a Coalbrookdale style bench which made £1,250, and enamelled metal advertising signs. In a fitting homage to the Goodbrey’s place of home and work for so many years, an enamel on metal advertising sign for ‘Pratts Framlingham Depot’ sold for £1000.
Aside from the excellent prices achieved, we were really happy to have a lot of ‘old school’ dealers and collectors attend the view and auction, and particularly the opportunity to talk to so many of the Goodbrey’s former clients and friends. We were particularly delighted to hear from the Goodbrey’s children how happy they were with the auction.
The full results can be viewed here.