Friday, 26 September 2014

Auction Results - Sept 2014

A factual and very short posting with some the results from this months "around the houses" review of wood block prints for sale as high-lighted in recent posts.

Bresslern-Roth - £396 inc premium
Gertrude Hermes - £169 inc
Hesketh-Hubbards - £88 inc
Hall-Thorpe (pair) - £303 inc
Frank brothers - £505 inc

The other results has not been posted by the auctioneers !! Some still like to keep such information secret, presumably to hide their poor results !! if they were all good they would promote them !!

Any comments from readers ?? are these results high, low or a fair reflection of current collecting habits ??

Monday, 22 September 2014

Leo Frank comes to Auction

Exciting news for the collector of German woodblock prints; a small collection of works by the Frank brothers come up for sale at auction this week !!

the catalogue description is
Leo Frank (Austrian 1884-1961)
Before the Storm; View of the Mondsee; An Eagle’s Nest
Three all signed
All woodcuts in colour
22.5 x 35cm; 8¾ x 13¾ and similar
With a further woodcut by Hans Frank of ducks by a river dated 1927 (4)

For sale at the Salisbury based auctioneers
Woolley & Wallis on 24th Sept 2014 

As Lot 718 With an estimate of £300-500

Personal opinion !! about these ??

I like the Hans Frank ducks at the bottom , reminds me of the landscapes of Oscar Droege (1898-1982); very similar use of the light on the trees and water. "An Eagle's Nest" by Leo is also a favourite and is reminisant of a composition by James Alphege-Brewer that I featured in a earlier post.

Alphege-Brewer and Droege

Oscar Droege.
lots of light and lots of water - just love it !!

The auction estimate of £300-500, seems fair. Paramount Fine Art has several for sale at $500-900 each; so these are a bargain -- get bidding and good luck.

Monday, 8 September 2014

John Hall Thorpe - How Much !!

... the tale of two lots.

In this day and age of instant knowledge I am relieved to find an auction that doesn't know everthing. The lot below containing 5 Hall Thorpe flower print is proof that there is a chance of finding a bargain at auction as these are estimated at only £30-50 !! They are hardly "sleeper" as they are correctly catalogue and not doubt will be found by those who need to know, but at least if you decide to bid you will not be bidding against and un-realistically high reserve price.

A more correct estimate in the right sale would be £250-300 and even that is a little low.

John Hall Thorpe (1874-1947)
A group of 5  woodblock prints
Lot 635 - Knowle Auction Rooms - 10th Sept 2014
Estimate - £30-50 !!!
Although nothing unusual in this group I think this might be a conservative estimate
£10 each would be a steal !!

Yet more Hall Thorpe; with this pair of woodblock prints up for auction at Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury. Clearly they have had more experience in selling this artist as the estimate (£150-250) is fair and realistic. These are lotted in their picture sale rather than the Applied Design specialist sale. I don't know whether that will have a significant  effect on the hammer price, but they often sell very well when with the art & crafts or art deco funishings that they originally went with.

Lot 727 - Woolley & Wallis - 24th Sept
Estimate - £150-250

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Around The Houses - Sept 2014

I have not posted one of these summaries of auction lots for sometime - sadly not enough woodblock prints have come up for sale recently, to justify any posts. Here are just a few that are lotted to sell at auction this month.

Eric Hesketh Hubbard ROI RBA ARWA (1892-1957)
On The Road (Gypsy Caravan)
Lot 1491 - Woolley & Wallis - 10th Sept 2014
Estimate - £100-150
These two are being sold in one lot. I have always liked Eric's prints, they are often unsophisticated simply constructed images, not too arty but very easy to live with. The estimate is very fair and I expect them to sell towards the lower end of the estimate. A fews years ago I would have been bidding and the high estimate would have been more probable.

Also in this sale is and lot 529
containing an striking print, which seems to be titled "The Pool" and signed Tom Clark ??

'Sunbather' - Frank Martin (1921-2005)
An artist that I am very familiar with; but not this image.
It is a linocut that was published in 1950 in a small but unrecorded number.
A very early work for the artist and listed as his 9th published work.
Lot 636 - Andrew Smith Auctioneers - 9th Sept 2014
Estimate - £100-150 (low, very fair)

also there is
'Dancer' - Frank Martin (1921-2005)
This one dates to 1952 with edition size unrecorded.
Lot 671 - Estimate £100-150

 Lot 694 - "The Stream" by Ethelbert White (1891-1972)
A powerful image - a linocut signed in pencil.
Estimate - £150-200

Gertrude Hermes OBE RA (1901-1983) - Spring Trees,
woodcut, signed, dated 1957
Lot 216 - Lacy Scott & Knight - 12th Sept
Estimate - £80-120
a little too arty for my taste, lacks the draughtmanship of others.
Still very good value.

and finally

'White Cat', 1919 - Norbetine Bresslern-Roth (Austrian, 1891-1975).
Lot 108 - High Roads Auction W4 - 9th Sept 2014
Estimate £200-300

This not a complete review, just my initial selection. There are plenty of Japanese woodcuts and many more modern art editions but there are a few more interesting lots that I will feature over the next few days.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

De Porceleyne Fles - View Of Delft

Over many year I have bought and sold many decorative tiles marked on the back with a stylised pot and the word "Delft" -- but they weren't the tin glazed delft blue & white pottery that many old time antiques dealers used to sell; but brightly coloured 20th century patterns with a tubelined effect, a bit like Moorcroft.

... and here is an example that I have just bought.

....and here is the mark.

These tiles are not uncommon and are regularly seen on stalls at antiques markets in the UK. However, unless on a specialist applied art stand , they are always left unattributed or anounced as "they're delft, mate!!".

Even after the smallest of research you would established that they were made by the Dutch firm De Porceleyne Fles in the town of Delft in the Netherlands. This whole group of wares are refered to as "Cloisonné tiles" and were made from 1907 until as recently as 1977.

The view depicted on my tile is of Delft itself and the towers from the left are; The Oostpoort (Eastern gate), Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the Oude Kerk (Old church).... so I guess this is a view from the north?

Another famous Delft art connections is Johannes Vermmer (1632-1675) of the "Girl with pearl earing" fame. He lived, painted and died in Delft and remains there to this day as he is buried in the Oude Kerk. Here is his study of the Oostpoort and painting of the town.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Arts & Crafts Trivet Mystery ??

Here is a lovely copper arts and crafts tripod trivet -- although unmarked, it's shape and decoration mean that it's maker is obvious. Even though I know who made it, can I prove beyond doubt ???

Over many years trading I have bought and sold this type of stand many times, sometimes round and other time square or rectangular. Most of the time stamped with a makers mark and occassionally, like here, unmarked -- have you guessed yet ???

Here are two more examples of similar ---

The lower version is the same pattern as mine but the construction of the legs differs, only 2 rivets rather than 3. This design is inherently weak and most examples that survive are usually repaired where the rivets have pulled through the copper. Both these examples a signed with the stamped KSIA mark !!

.... proof that they are all made at the Keswick School of Industrial Art in Cumbria, England. Also a similar shaped trivet can be seen on page 39 of the book The Loving Eye and Skilful Hand: The Keswick School of Industrial Arts - Click on title to find a copy.

Not really a mystery to those who know - yet it is reassuring that I can prove the attribution.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Electra Zinn - Kallmeyer & Harjes

 "Electra Zinn" --  a maker that I was aware off but knew nothing about and had never owned anything by them !!! .... until I bought thi pair of silver plated beakers decorated with an extremely stylised foliate pattern -- pure "Austrian Secessionist" ... But who were Electra ???

 Actually not made by a firm called Electra but by the German firm Kallmeyer & Harjes of Gotha as part of their "Electra Zinn" range of art metalware and dating to c1900-10. Established by Philipp Harjes (1860-1933) and Hermann Kallmeyer in 1887; this large factory employed up to 500 people in 1909 making a diverse range of metal ware both industrial, domestic and decorative. Their decorative wares are scarce and are rarely seen in the UK.

The company marks seem to be an eagle with wing spread looking back over it's left shoulder, but it seems that only the pewter art wares are marked with "Electra". I have not been able to trace any of their copper or brass decoratives wares to confirm this.


Interestingly I found pictures of this ordinary pewter dish decorated with a weak art nouveau design marked "electra" but with a makers mark GKFAF ? which doesn't fit the name Kallmeyer & Harjes? From the pattern number, this dish is probably earlier; so I wonder if the Electra brand was bought by Kallmeyer & Harjes, thus acquiring an arty decorative line without the expense of development ??

Any information is welcome and these beakers are for sale (at the time of posting) on my website;

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Birmingham Guilds Tray

Here is another recent purchase, an unsigned arts and crafts copper tray decorated with a punched pattern on the outer rim. This caught my eye amongst a miriad of junk at a recent sale, It looked familiar but I couldn't quite recall the maker - for the money asked I just bought it. Attribution could wait, as I was sure that I would recall the name.

I could see from the construction that it was well made, planished with a hand rolled rim - all the hallmarks of a skilled maker - but no visable makers marks.

.... and then it came to  me !! it by The Birmingham Guild Ltd; of course it's obvious, those punched rim patterns and the crisp almost art deco forms are almost their signature. A few searchs of Google images quickly took me to a website selling a virtualy identical tray -- SEE below and theirs is signed with a stamped mark, which just confirmed the attribution.

Seen at

 "The Birmingham Guild Ltd" were the last flourishings of the "Birmingham Guild of Handicraft"; a company established c1890 as part of the Birmingham Kyrle Society. With Arthur Dixon and Montague Fordham as directors. They remained active into the 1950's and were still shown in directories as "The Birmingham Guild Ltd., Architectural & Decorative Metalworkers" of Grosvenor Road West and Sherbourne St. .

At the time of posting my tray was forsale at

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Eduard Hueck Edelzinn - Art Nouveau

This recent purchase reminded me of another quality but largely unknown (to Anglo's) German company who produced some well made bold art nouveau design pewter in the period from c1890 to c1915.

Decorated with stylised leaves forming a cartouche on the front, which would be ideal for a monogram or dedication. This example was not signed with a makers mark, but I had just sold a similar item that was fully marked on the underside with a moulded circular mark. This confirms thats the range of ware were called "Edelzinn" and that the shape number is 1847.

Metallwarenfabrik Eduard Hueck, to give them there full title, was established c1814 in the German town of Ludenscheid and still exist today, but no longer produce decorative art wares. Their art nouveau and secessionist designed ware are in my opinion the most pleasing. Several leading and well know designers are associated with them and it is known that Albin Muller (1871-1941) produced several design, which are marked with his AM monogram (see below).  Peter Behrens (1868-1940) and Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867-1908) are thought to have also designed various pieces for the company.

Typical marks seen and in age order - left c1890 and right c1905

two more examples that I have recently sold.

At the time of posting the top ewer is forsale on my sales website

Monday, 7 July 2014

A H Williamson (1907-1994)

Following on from the previous post  ... here I am trying to discover the story behand the art of the woodcut of Caterham.Initially I thought that I was not going to find much but one lead had led to another and so on .. and with luck I will be able to put a spot light on the commercial works of A H Williamson.

A quick search through online auction results failed to reveal much other than a reference to "oil on canvas "Henfield Common" signed A H Williamson" having sold and another titled "Crofter's Cottage, Isle of Skye" (sold $49 in 2004) - the latter result suggested a fuller name of Alexander H Williamson - this somehow led to the work below ....

 A mid 20th Century Printed Nautical Wall Hanging by A H Williamson

Described by the gallery offering it as "A wonderful mid 20th century presentation printed wall hanging by A H Williamson (Printer and Designer, Henfield, W. Sussex) depicting the history of various ships and sailing vessels produced at Yarrow and Co, Glasgow.Brass plaque inscribed "Presented by Yarrow and Co Ltd, Stockstown, Glasgow." Offered with a price of £4250 by

Wow --- $49 to £4250 that is quite some range of values !!

... but Alexander wasn't known as Alexander to the art or commercial world but as "Hardie Williamson" and I now know that he was born in Hull, Yorkshire in 1907 (reference Artists in Britain Since 1945 ) but as a boy his family moved to Edinburgh where he later attended George Heriot's School followed by further study at the Royal College of Art, Design School, graduating in 1932. He went on to teach fabric design at the school, even after it's evacuation to the Ambleside in the Lake District during WWII.

Commercailly he was a prolific designer, apparently creating almost 1650 shapes for Ravenhead Glass ! From 1947, he was employed as consultant designer and during the 27 years he was with the company, he created designs that were produced in their millions for public houses and restaurants and included the Paris goblet, the Dimple beer mug and the Babycham-style Champagne glass. He also designed a range of tableware, the Kilner jar and a collectable range of decorated tumblers.

 .... and we have all drank from these, you have probably got one in the cupboard !!
but do you remember these ??

To best appeciate Hardie Williamson's glass designs, you must visit - 
 They have 100's of designs illustrated.

His design talents weren't limited to glass, he also created designs for the covers and endpaper of Dent Dutton's "the Childrens Illustrated Classic" produced between 1946 and 1974, a series which ran to over 90 titles. Below are 3 examples of covers with his border designs, Pinocchio also had end papers illustrated by him.

.... Woodcuts, oils, glass and commercial illustration !! what next ?? Royal Worcester fine porcelain !! Below is shown one of a series of botanical designs used on plates and marked with a special back stamp comfirming "Designed by A H Williamson". The R with 9 dots suggests a date of production as 1959, a time when he was also disgning for Dent and Ravenhead, a busy man!

A talented artist, who could apply his skills to so many media, but like so many commercial artist, largely foregotten and under-rated by the masses but highly appreciated by the a hardcore of collectors. He was married to the artist Susan Plowright in 1939 and they finally settled in Worthing, Sussex via the Lake District and Henfield. I wasn't able to find any pictures by her to complete the story, I would like to think taht they are still out there.

I hope I have got this correct and haven't attributed the works of another A H Williamson.