A painting purchased as part of a collection in the 1950s provided an unexpected windfall for the Kent owner’s family when it sold at The Canterbury Auction Galleries.

“The Musician”, a Modernist pen, ink and watercolour of a Harlequin playing a mandolin, sold for £6,000. It was painted by Loudon Sainthill (1918-1969) an artist and stage and costume designer who worked with the Ballets Russe, the Kirsova Ballet and Ballet Rambert. Apparently unsigned, it was purchased by a London trade bidder prepared to pay a multiple of the guide price. The work measured 22 x 15 ins. and was framed and glazed.

Sainthill was born in Australia, but was invited to London by the Ballet Russe. He returned to Australia in the early 1940s and served with the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps, returning to London in 1949. He subsequently designed sets and costumes for almost 50 productions for opera, ballet, film, revue, pantomime, and musical performances, both in the UK and U.S. 


From the same collection, an abstract oil on canvas by London artist Martin Froy (born 1926) titled "Head and Shoulders", the canvas measuring 41ins x 31ins, sold for £1,750. It was purchased by the Devon trade.

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A watercolour of local interest showed a view of oast houses and kilns in a Kent landscape by Rowland Hilder (1905-1993) who was born in New York. On the outbreak of the First World War, Hider’s father decided to return to his native Kent home to enlist, bringing his family with him.

The artist studied at Goldsmith’s College in London and went on to draw and paint many works similar to the one sold, which was secured by a Kent private buyer on estimate for £1,000. It measured 14.5 x 21.5ins.


A good late 17th century embroidered sampler worked in coloured silks by Elisabeth Hargood, started life framed and glazed to be hung on the wall like any other picture. However, it was found in the estate of a local antiques dealer who had been using it as a runner on her dressing table. The design featured figures, flowers, fruits and stylised patterns, and a worked inscription reading “Elisabeth Hargood Royght (Wrought) this sampler in 1672”. It measured 34ins x 8.25ins and remained unframed, a fact that did not deter the Oxfordshire dealer who paid £2,000 for it against an estimate of £800-1,200.


Exotic Asian antiques brought home by intrepid 19th century travellers are always well received, which was certainly the case with mementos collected by Charles Auffret. He had served in the Royal Navy and travelled extensively in the area. He died in 1911 and the items passed through his family. In The Canterbury Auction Galleries’ June sale, his Japanese hardwood netsuke carved as a tiger sold for £10,500, despite measuring just an inch and a half by an inch.

Having tested the market, the family attended the auctioneer’s valuation day in Tenterden and consigned a Chinese blue and white porcelain figure of Shoulao, the god of longevity. The figure dated from the Ming-Wanli period (1368-1620) and was modelled seated atop a recumbent deer raised on an oval plinth painted with clouds and waves breaking against rocks. It sold for £2,700 to the London trade.


The same money was paid for a matched pair of Chinese porcelain "Famille Verte" bottle vases dating from the Kangxi period (1662-1722). Each had enamelled decoration of tear-shaped floral panels, alternating with pairs of floral sprays below bands of lappets and scrolls, and a green cracked-ice pattern on the garlic necks. They sold to a UK-based Chinese buyer bidding on the internet.


In contrast, the original owner of a collection of 20 ivory and boxwood okimono and netsuke had never actually visited the Far East, choosing instead to buy mainly through the London auction houses. He died in 1916 and the collection passed to his three great grandchildren.

Every lot sold, realising a total of £13,650, the most valuable piece being a carved and stained ivory okimono depicting the military commander Yoshitsune and the beak-faced demon Tengu. The former was clothed in an elaborate robe carved with dragons and flowers, holding aloft an egg from which a Tengu was hatching, his left foot resting on the back of another Tengu, his right foot standing on the staff being clutched by the creature. Standing 8.5ins inches, the figure had an incised signature and inscription in red to its base and dated form the Meiji period (1868-1912). It sold to the London trade for £2,600.

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Top priced clock in the sale was a good, late William and Mary olivewood and marquetry eight-day longcase by Jeremiah Johnson, of Exchange Alley, London, who was apprenticed in 1660 and a member of The Clockmakers’ Company in 1668-1697. He died 1709. The 11-inch square brass dial had subsidiary seconds dial and a date aperture the matted dial centre with engraved Tudor rose to centre, the borders with cast gilt spandrels in the form of winged angels heads and engraved leaf ornament. 

The case had ebonised spiral turned columns to its rising hood, while the trunk door had two panels depicting birds and leaf and floral ornament, an oval brass-framed lenticle, and a conforming marquetry panel to its base. From a West Kent home, it sold to a Norfolk private buyer for £5,500.


Most wanted among a strong selection of jewellery was an Edwardian gold and silver-mounted sapphire and diamond pendant, the oval sapphire of 4.4ct, contained within a bow and leafage diamond-set border. A diamond-set suspension loop secured a second, circular sapphire of 3.60ct, the whole on a fine 400mm chain necklet.

A recent Gemological Certification Services report confirmed both sapphires to be natural corundum of Ceylonese origin with no indication of heat treatment, factors which boosted the selling price to £7,000. It was consigned by a London collector and purchased by a private buyer from the capital.  

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Most valuable piece of silver, meanwhile, was a charming George IV silver "Castle Top" vinaigrette, the lid decorated with a view of St Peter’s Church, Brighton, which sold to an Australian internet bidder for £2,300. With assay marks for John Lawrence & Co, Birmingham, 1829, it measured 1.375ins x .625ins x .375ins high and weighed just 14.5 grammes. According to the underbidder, this was one of the first castle tops ever made.  


Elsewhere, an early 20th century Daum cameo glass baluster-shaped vase, cut and decorated in colours with flowering branches, standing just five inches high, sold to a London collector for £1,100, and in works of art, a Bergmann cold painted bronze figure of an Arab boy lying prone and making coffee was a mere two inches high, yet sold for £640. Both were twice their estimates.


Signs that strength has returned to the furniture market came with the £1,850 paid by a local private buyer for a Victorian figured mahogany piano-fronted harlequin Davenport inlaid with boxwood stringings and arabesques, even though its rising stationary rack was not working. Uniquely, however, the underside of the lid was fitted with a silver presentation plaque inscribed: "Presented to Mr Joseph Lowe on the Occasion of His Marriage, by the Employees of Messr. John Lowe & Son, March 25th 1880".  It had been estimated at £600-800.

 In the same section, a Victorian burr walnut wardrobe and two matching bow front bedside cabinets sold to the London trade for £1,500 against an estimate of £200-300, the same buyer paying £1,250 for a late 18th or early 19th century Dutch walnut and marquetry fall front bureau with fitted interior.

Iconic Ercol elm and beech period furniture designed by Lucian Ercolani (1888-1976), was also sought after. A studio settee on splayed legs with propeller back sold for £720 to a private buyer from Devon, while four further lots comprising armchairs, occasional tables and a dining table took the total to £2,050, all bought by different trade and private buyers.



The usual eclectic group of collectors’ items found ready buyers, but perhaps the most chilling lot was among a selection of militaria: a 1796 pattern light cavalry sabre, the blade with a small hole and heavily rusted. A typed label from a French collection read: “Musée Cotton, 1909” (Powell-Cotton Museum, Birchington) which gave the source for the weapon as the "Collection Jeanne Sully Fontainebleau”, while a certificate dated 30/04/2014 confirmed it as having been found on the battlefield at Waterloo. The sabre sold to an Australian internet bidder for £600.

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