The Chapman Collection of Pewter 22 Apr 2023 News Norfolk News Suffolk News

Day in day out we see some fantastic objects and what we are finding more of is the number of private collections that are coming to us from individuals who have been collecting for years but now wishing to move the collection on. We have recently held, at our Stowmarket saleroom, a private collection of some of the earliest oak furniture, from very early pieces to some very rare pieces that have not been on the antique market for 50+ years. However, our next private collection to come to auction is once again something that has not come to the market for a number of years which was formed by a private collector who had an interest in pewter objects and especially very early pieces that are rare, all these pieces form the Chapman Collection. This week we take a look at some of those early and rare pieces that will be included in this auction.

One of the star lots of this auction is an exceptionally rare and fine Elizabeth I/James I pewter bell-based candlestick, circa 1580-1620. This is a very early piece and only a few are known to even exist. It has a straight-sided socket with plain flange, on a knopped stem, above a circular drip-tray and bell-shaped base, it is expected to achieve an auction estimate of £15,000 – £20,000. This example has been exhibited at the Reading Museum and Art Gallery in 1969 and it was annotated as ‘…the earliest English pewter candlesticks known, with only seven pewter examples of this form are recorded, and the whereabouts of only four of them are known’. It has also been at the Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln 1962 and at The Museum of London, ‘Pewter: A Celebration of the Craft 1200-1700’, May 1989-May 1990. There is a virtually identical pewter candlestick in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, that forms part of the Alfred Yeates Bequest (M.75-1945), dated to c.1600. It is such a wonderful piece!

Another rare piece in this auction where there are only 9 others known is a flat lid tankard with a portrait of William III. This once again remarkable and very rare pewter Royal portrait wriggle work flat-lid tankard is English and was from circa 1695-1700 (so another early piece). The drum of the tankard is designed with a portrait of William III, with sceptre, beneath a crown and flanked by the crowned initials ‘W’ and ‘R’, all within an oval the Royal supporters of a lion and unicorn to each side, together with a rose and a thistle. The stepped lid designed with a tulip stem of three flowers, and with front denticulations, ‘leafy’ rams’ horn thumbpiece and hollow handle with spade terminal, hallmarks on top of lid and touchmark in base of John Dunn, London, (fl.1683-1727), (PS35). There are believed to be only 9 recorded pewter flat lids with a portrait of William III alone so to have this one in this specialist private collection come to auction is very exciting indeed. This example has been exhibited at the Harvard House Museum, Stratford, ‘Pewter and British Monarchy’ and we are expecting it to achieve an auction estimate of between £12,000 – £18,000.

One of the lots featuring in this auction was excavated from a dry well, thirty feet below street level in Leeds in July 1955. It was discovered as Timpson footwear retailers carried out extensive demolition and rebuilding of their shop and when excavating this exceptional rare Queen Anne pewter pint gadrooned and punch-decorated mug, circa 1710 was discovered. This tulip-shaped pint has a beaded fillet below the upper handle attachment, with a band of punched flower sprays above and below with a further fillet to base. It has a ‘AR’ mark to rim, along with hallmarks and touchmark inside base of Jonathan Cotton I, London, (fl.1704-1750). This unusual pint mug is expected to attract auction estimates between £6,000 – £8,000, it is also an excellent addition to this lot to have a photograph of the gentleman who found the pint by descending down the well!

These are just a few of the rare, early and exciting lots that feature in this auction which is taking place on Thursday 27 April 2023 starting at 1pm at our Stowmarket saleroom, viewing is available both at our Stowmarket saleroom and online through our website.

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