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Randlord's furniture appears on market 65 years later


  5 October 2015     Archived


Items which emerged from the sale in 1942 of The Contents of Vergelegen, the property of Sir Lionel and Lady Phillips will be offered for sale at Strauss & Co, in Cape Town, on 12 October 2015. These include two 18th century aquatints of Cape Town, originally purchased for 3 guineas each (R4 000 - 6 000), and an ornate George III giltwood cartel clock (Edward Clarke, London) inscribed on the reverse ''Mrs L Phillips'' (R25 000 - 30 000). Also with the same provenance is a George III style linen press which bears an inventory label for Sir Lionel Phillips Bart, Tylney Hall, his former home in England (R15 000 - 20 000).

An impressive Régence ormolu-mounted rosewood commode (R180 000 - 240 000) which was also at one time housed at Vergelegen is the highlight of the Continental furniture. The Barlows purchased the property after Lady Phillips' death in 1940.

Lot 119

A Régence ormolu-mounted rosewood commode, 18th century

R180 000 - 200 000

Formerly the property of Punch and Cynthia Barlow, Vergelegen, S Somerset West, thence by descent

Prominent Cape furniture from the Rodwell House Collection that graced this landmark homestead in St James will also go under the hammer. Among the prized pieces is a 19th century West Coast cedarwood and stinkwood inlaid cupboard. It features an inlaid star motif on the panelled doors and has the initials 'J' and 'N' on the drawer below which pertain to the original owner, Jan Harmse Niewoudt of Clanwilliam. (Estimates R150 000 - 200 000). Cupboards from this area are highly sought after.

Further notable examples of Cape furniture include a handsome 18th century Colonial teak and brass-mounted kist (R60 000 - R80 000), an imposing late 18th century Cape stinkwood cabinet-on-stand (R100 000 - R120 000) and a fine 19th century Cape stinkwood and caned rusbank (R40 000 - 50 000). All are documented in Baraitser & Obholzer's definitive book, Town Furniture of the Cape, published in 1987.

An ideal anchor piece for any 21st century living room is the 18th century German rosewood and walnut parquetry bureau-cabinet with its elegant swan-neck pediment (R60 000 - 80 000), and perfect for any sophisticated winery or kitchen is a rustic 18th century walnut four-drawer centre table (R15 000 - 20 000) and a 17/18th century fruitwood refectory table (R20 000 - 25 000).

Two examples of rare Cape silver are on offer, both of which feature in Stephan Welz's books, Art at Action in South Africa, and were last seen at auction some 25 years ago. Firstly, an 18th century Cape silver sugar bowl and cover engraved with the initials 'SPVA' (R80 000 - 100 000), and, secondly, a late 18th/early 19th century silver teapot, by silversmith Willem Godfried Lotter (R40 000 - R60 000). (Stephan Welz is the Managing Director of Strauss & Co).

Also worth mentioning are ten lots of Cape silver cutlery by the well-known maker, Johannes Combrink, from the first half of the 19th century, collected by a single owner with loving commitment over a long period of time.

To complement the most elegant of dining room tables is a 1898 Sheffield Victorian silver and glass épergne centerpiece (R15 000 - 20 000), and a grand German silver wine cistern, possibly Wilkens & Sohne, post 1886, large enough to accommodate two or three bottles (R20 000 - 25 000).

Animal lovers will be amused by a set of three Zimbabwean silver helmeted guinea fowl (R40 000 - 60 000) from the contemporary silversmith, Patrick Mavros, a sterling silver cow creamer (R4 000 - 6 000), a French silver 'Panda' plate designed in 1974 by Bernard Buffet (R2 000 - 3 000) and a pair of Elizabeth II silver mustards, C J Vander Ltd, London, 1996, each modelled as an open-mouthed coiled dragon with its barbed tail forming the handle (R6 000 - 8 000).

Among the more unusual items is a Boer War prisoner of war violin, with an inscription bearing the prisoner's name, FA Truscott, the date 1899-1901, and the Eshowe Prison Camp (R10 000 - 15 000). This violin was built by prisoners from a book which they had ordered. It is recorded in the diary of JJA Prozesky that the inmates keep their spirits up by singing patriotic, philosophic and melancholic songs.

Young collectors will delight in the luminosity of the bright and colourful array of Italian glass from the 1950s and '60s on offer (estimates ranging from R20 000 - 80 000). These highly stylish ornaments are not only affordable but would enhance any contemporary home.

Strauss & Co is South Africa's leading fine art auction house and the global leader in the South African art market. With an average turnover per annum of over R155 million and an average sell-through rate of over 80%, Strauss & Co has sold 9, of the 10, most expensive paintings ever auctioned in South Africa and holds numerous artist's records. Strauss & Co is founded on exceptional expertise and prestigious presentation and is synonymous with top quality art, decorative arts and jewellery. Strauss & Co was established in 2008 by celebrated figures in the business world, Elisabeth Bradley and Dr Conrad Strauss, and art doyen Stephan Welz, with the purpose of placing auctioneering on a plane worthy of the best South Africa has to offer in both the fine and decorative arts.

Media contact:
Bina Genovese, bina@straussart.co.za 021 683 6560/083 680 9944


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