An encouraging eagerness amongst collectors to buy at Lawrences’ recent sale of silver and vertu ensured a string of high prices, in many cases confounding all reasonable expectations.
A massive iron bound oak chest, specially strengthened to withstand the rigours of a sea voyage to Australia in the 1860’s, contained over 360 ounces of silver. This comprised a full complement of additional tableware such as entree dishes and covers, salvers, a cake basket, decanter stand, candelabra and candlesticks.
In addition, there were place settings for as many as two dozen diners in the attractive Queen’s Pattern design. Estimated at £3000-4000, this made £10730. A single ladle almost exceeded even this remarkable price: a 38cm (15in) soup ladle by George Moore of Limerick with a large fluted bowl and a hooked end to stop it slipping into the tureen dated from c.1770 and was chased by Irish collectors to £10000.
Elsewhere, Irish interest showed its strength again when a small (16cm/6in) pair of cast candlesticks by Joseph Walker of Dublin, made in 1696, met a blaze of bids to take £14640. It is possible that the strength of the Euro against Sterling encouraged more determined bidding.
A small portrait miniature of Francis Skeete by the esteemed John Smart dated from 1778 and made £3900, whilst Australian interest helped once again to conclude the sale as eight gold sovereigns from Sydney, dated 1858-1865 in consecutive years, rolled to £9580 against hopes of £3000.