Beauty by the Dozen in our April Sale!


Rare opportunity to acquire charming Charles Vyse street seller figurines in our next three-day fine art and antiques sale, Saturday April 9th and Sunday April 10th - *Monday April 11th will offer the A.E. Halliwell Studio Collection of poster art*


Charles Vyse’s figurines modelled on London’s 19th century street vendors rarely come onto the market but thanks to the lifelong efforts of one discerning Kent collector, now deceased, the three-day sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries on April 9-11 features no fewer than 12 examples of the intricately detailed and beautifully painted pottery sculptures. Each is expected to sell for prices ranging from £600-1,500.


Vyse was born in 1882 and apprenticed to the Doulton factory in Burslem at the age of 14. Gifted and encouraged by the farsighted Henry Doulton, the boy enrolled at Hanley Art School and won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art to study sculpture from 1905 to 1910, gaining a travelling scholarship which took him to Italy in1909. He was elected as a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors in 1911 and studied at the Camberwell School of Art in 1912.

During his time at Doulton, Vyse had trained as a modeller, coming under the tutelage of Art Director Charles Noke, the man instrumental in launching Doulton's HN range of figures in 1913. Vyse was among an elite group of Doulton designers he picked to produce them.

In 1911, Vyse married and moved to Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, and in 1919, he and his wife, Nell, and a few helpers began making the figures in a small studio. However, it was destroyed in an air raid during the Blitz of 1940.

Vyse subsequently taught pottery at Farnham School of Art and continued to produce his figure groups with the assistance of Barbara Waller, a Farnham student. He retired to Deal, where he died in 1971 aged 91.

The 12 figures in the sale were each acquired at auctions in London, Sussex and from The Canterbury Auction Galleries where they will give other collectors the opportunity to create a collection of their own or to fill gaps in an existing collection.


Among the most valuable are a group titled "The Dancing Gypsies", introduced in 1936, modelled as a dancing man and woman, he playing a squeeze box; “In Petticoat Lane", also known as  "The Pedestrian Bazaar", modelled as a standing Arab carrying ties, scarves and shawls and "The Daffodil Woman", circa 1925, modelled as a standing woman holding a bunch of daffodils in her right hand, a basket of flowers by her left side, each of which is estimated at £1,000-1,500.



The same collector also had a passion for salt-glazed stoneware produced by Doulton Lambeth and Denby Pottery, notably politically motivated so-called reform bottles and other spirit flasks modelled as percussion cap pistols. Estimates range from £60-300.

 Fine quality London clocks were another element of his collection, pick of which is a mid 18th century walnut table clock by William Poulton, the 6.5ins arched brass dial with wide silvered chapter ring, Roman and Arabic numerals, strike/silent dial to the arch, mock and date apertures and an eight-day, two-train movement striking and repeating on seven bells.


It is estimated at £4,000-6,000, while an early Victorian mantle clock by George and Walter Yonge, of The Strand, has a 7in silvered dial with Roman numerals to the eight-day, two-train trip repeating movement, striking on a single bell, contained in a Gothic rosewood and gilt metal case with lancet top, estimated at £1,500-2,000.

An early 18th century brass lantern clock, by Henry Jackson of Lavington, Wiltshire, with pierced steel single hand, the dial centre engraved with a Tudor Rose, the brass and iron-framed movement with crown wheel and verge escapement striking on a bell, contained in case with pierced and engraved dolphin crestings is estimated at £1,800-2,200.

Four rare 1930s Dinky 28 Series diecast model delivery vans illustrate the deceased collector’s whimsical side: "Ensign Cameras" and "Sharp's Toffee Maidstone" are each estimated at £1,000-1,500, followed closely by "Palethorpe's Royal Cambridge" and “Crawford’’s Biscuits”, at £500-700 each.


Elsewhere, the sale includes property from a deceased titled gentleman, among which is a good early 18th century longcase clock by London maker James Clowes, contained in an imposing ebonised and walnut case decorated elaborately with floral marquetry, the hood with split spiral turned columns. It is estimated at £4,000-6,000, while pick of furniture from the estate is an equally elaborate 19th century Dutch ebonised and marquetry rectangular centre table, the top inlaid with various woods and mother of pearl with floral sprays, serpents and leaf scroll ornament, It stands on a base with two frieze drawers, spiral reeded legs and a shaped stretcher carved with leaf scroll ornament, estimate £3,000-4,000.



Consigned by a local collector who is moving house is a large and well-painted oil 50ins x 70ins, by British artist Alexander Mark Rossi (1840-1960) titled “Theatre Wars” showing a father remonstrating with his daughter in an interior, while her male companion sleeps. It is estimated at £3,000-5,000.

 Fine Art Trade coloured lithographs signed by Northern artist L.S. Lowry have shown remarkable increases in value, much to the delight of one man who inherited one of two that his grandfather purchased many years ago. He has now decided to sell it to raise funds towards buying a camper van. “The Pond”, an imagined industrial scene showing a boating lake set in a panoramic industrial landscape, 17ins x 22.75ins, is estimated at £4,000-6,000.

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 Elsewhere in 20th century pictures, John Piper (1903-1992) is represented by the coloured screen print "Death in Venice VII", number 33/70, 31ins x 27ins, (£1,200-1,600), while a work in mixed media by Terry Frost (1915-2003), titled "Red 2000", 18ins x 14.5ins, is estimated at £1,000-1,500.

 Arguably the most remarkable single lot in the sale, however, is a miniature portrait, titled “Aunt Ames, Music Teacher” painted by Sarah Biffin (1784-1850), who was born without arms.


Born in East Quantoxhead, near Bridgewater in Somerset, the middle of five children of a poor farm labourer and his wife, Sarah showed an early aptitude as an artist, teaching herself to draw and paint holding a brush in her mouth. However, she was subsequently apprenticed to a Mr Dukes, who proceeded to tour the country with her, exhibiting her as both a freak, but also an artistic genius.

 She was seen at a Bartholomew Fair in London by the Earl of Morton and, alarmed at the way she was being exploited, he sponsored her and showed her work to George III. The king decreed that she should be taught miniature painting by the court miniaturist, William Craig and she was awarded a medal by the Society of Artists. She exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1821-1850 and received several commissions from the royal family. Queen Victoria later awarded her a Civil List pension and she retired to Liverpool, where she died aged 66.

 Inscribed "Painted by Miss Biffin without hands. 1844", the miniature, 9ins x 7ins, is contained in its original rosewood frame with gilt slip and is estimated at £1,500-2,000.

Elsewhere, the sale includes a strong entry of militaria, notably pairs of flintlock pistols, and the traditional selection of quality pre-loved antique and modern jewellery led by a four-carat diamond solitaire ring set in platinum, which is estimated at £17,000-19,000.

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The 1,000-plus entries will be available for public viewing on Wednesday April 6th (12pm to 5pm), Thursday April 7th (12pm to 7pm) and Friday April 8th (12pm to 5pm) with no viewing on sale days.

The sale will be conducted online only, with auctioneers on the rostrum executing absentee bids and taking other bids from registered bidders on the telephone and over the internet in real-time,  starting at 10am. Printed catalogues are available from the auctioneer and can also be seen online at (, the saleroom’s own free to use in-house bidding platform and at

 For further information, please contact the auctioneers, telephone 01227 763337.




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