Goodbye 2022: A Record Year!
A belated goodbye to a record breaking year with a poignant end.
2022 was the 30th year since David and Margaret Rogers Jones first opened the Colwyn Bay auction rooms, back in 1992, and for the second time in our history we auctioned over £3m in lots over the course of the year, surpassing the previous record from the previous year, 2021.
There were exciting moments on the rostrum throughout the year, but 2022 will always remembered for the sad death of David Rogers Jones on December 11th.
Below each of our valuers look back at 2022
Ben Rogers Jones
I will never forget 2022 as it was the year that we lost Dad. Dad was the driving force in establishing the company in the early years and he was, to the very end, a highly professional and important cog in the Rogers Jones machine. It is a stranger and lesser world for the Rogers Jones family but we have to move forward as a family and a business. Dad would not have wanted it any other way.
So, with that in mind, here are my most memorable auction highlights of 2022. There are two lots which I think will remember most and for similar reasons - both lots, I am proud to say, I identified as being rather exceptional despite them both being unknown quantities. I was confident that they would both sell well and so gave them the extra exposure that I thought they deserved. They sold very well indeed. Far better than expected, but it is good to see my hunches bear fruit.
Ben's Favourite Lots
The first Welsh Sale of the year in March commenced with a fascinating fresh to the market collection of over 30 paintings relating to the Neath Valley.
This single owner collection was from a deceased estate in Neath-Port Talbot and brought together some highly regarded names in topographical painting. But it was a diminutive oil painting by a relatively unknown artist which took the headlines.
The picture was by an artist who's work has existed under the radar, but the oil painting smacked of quality, and as per our description, it had an 'Italian Grand Tour' style even though the scene was located in south Wales. Two bidders agreed emphatically and a see-saw battle between a saleroom bidder and an online bidder ensued, climaxing at £12,000. The price a hefty one considering it was set against our very conservative £200-400 estimate (based on the lack of track record for the artist). It was one of those exciting moments in the saleroom that The Welsh Sale is becoming increasingly known for. A cracking start to the year!
GEORGE ORLEANS DE LA MOTTE
Fine scene of four figures and dog surveying an estuary landscape in the Grand Tour style, title on plaque to mount, 'Mouth of the Neath River from Britton Ferry, 1820' 19x 28cms
The other lot which stands out above others for me personally was in the final Welsh Sale of the year.
Ewenny pottery has been a feature of The Welsh Sale ever since we opened our second saleroom in Cardiff. Ewenny items can usually be purchased for under £100 but the most collectable examples can do much better. A name associated with the more valuable Ewenny pots is Horace Elliott (1880-1934), a well-known London Arts and Crafts potter who had relationships with various factories in England, Scotland, Wales and Germany. Most notably Ewenny.
The initial enquiry to value and sell this particular example came to me by email from the United States around 12 months before I was finally able to handle the item. I suggested on my email that the jug was very rare and because of this it would be difficult to value accurately, but I suggested an estimate of £700-1000.
I did not hear back from the client for many months until they emailed to say that they were touring the UK from Kansas City in the summer of last year. They asked whether they could bring the jug with them so that it could be auctioned. So, I met them in their hotel in Bath and saw that they had expertly packed the jug in a foamed flight-case, we exchanged paperwork and jug, and then the lovely couple from Kansas were off to see the Cotswolds! There was a church over the road from the hotel and so I took the jug inside the church to take a very effective photograph of the jug seeing as it had a handle in the form of an angel! These are the auctioneering moments that stay with you.
On the sale day, there was an old fashioned ding-dong between a telephone bidder and a room bidder. The telephone bidder was victorious at £6,500 a new record for a Horace Elliott pot.
AN IMPORTANT ARTS & CRAFTS SLIPWARE POTTERY JUG BY HORACE ELLIOTT,
With yellow glaze and brown slip, of baluster form tapering to a circular spreading foot, with angel wing-form handle and wide curved spout, sgraffito feathers to wing and to the body 'Here is a mixture, of Earth and Heaven, An Angel's wing to a pitcher given, Take hold of the wing, for a handle, pray! Or the vessel of earth may fly away'. signed at foot 'Copyright Horace Elliott' and at base 'Elliott, London 1893'
Thirdly, I cannot sign off without recalling a painting by our favourite artistic son, Sir Kyffin Williams. My late father had a great relationship with Kyffin and was privileged to have been the valuer of the artist's estate. Kyffin's work continues to be an audience pleaser and the following painting was extremely desirable for collectors, but the final price of £52,000 against an estimate of £25,000-35,000, was still a shock. One of only four Kyffin's to achieve a hammer price of over £50,000 - three of which were from the Rogers Jones rostrum.
Sir Kyffin WIlliams RA
SIR KYFFIN WILLIAMS RA oil on canvas - entitled verso 'Lleyn', 1976, signed with initialsDimensions: 49.5 x 110cmsProvenance:private collection Gwynedd, by descent, consigned via our Colwyn Bay office, label verso for 1987 National Museum of Wales Kyffin Williams Exhibition stating 'not in catalogue', 1977 label verso for Thackeray Gallery from where the vendor's parents purchased the paintingCondition Report:in excellent fresh condition, framed, ready to hang, tiny pin-holes at edge of canvas which imply that the painting was done en plein airP
2022 proved to be another record-breaking year for Rogers Jones & Co surpassing 2021 for total hammer price. A big part of this is down to teamwork, work ethic and expertise. Last year also saw us further develop our calendar of auctions introducing new, specialist sales catering for different markets resulting in an increase in quality lots arriving at our three different venues.
Charles' Favourite Lots
There have been so many highlights in the past twelve months and things got off to a flier following a house visit in Gower. Amongst some fairly ordinary household items an early Chinese blue and white bottle vase was presented to me. The quality and age jumped out at me as did the lovely garlic neck detail. After a conversation with Philip Keith (our Asian Arts Specialist) the piece was dated to the middle of the 17th century with an estimate of £8000-12,000 and was entered in our March Selections & Collections auction. The beautiful bottle vase garnered global interest and sailed above estimate with my gavel falling at £15,000 + BP.
The excellent price was a result of our global reach, expert cataloguing by our specialist team and great teamwork which is very much part of the fabric of Rogers Jones & Co
Chinese Bottle Vase
CHINESE BLUE & WHITE PORCELAIN BOTTLE VASE, Transitional, mid 17th Century, painted to the globular lower section with figures in courtly and military costume outside a pavilion in an ornamental garden, surmounted by a tall cylindrical garlic neck decorated with stylised tulip stems and precious objects41cms highProvenance: deceased estate, LondonAuctioneer's Note: This type of globular vase, with a long neck featuring a swollen middle, was made in China only during the High Transitional period, in direct imitation of sixteenth century Turkish faience and specifically for the Dutch export market. In particular, the tulips on the neck imitate Iznik style ceramics and cater to the 'mania' for tulips in Holland at the time.
Our July ‘Selections & Collections’ auction was once again crammed with quality objects including examples from Rolex, Glashutte, Hannah Barlow and Baccarat to name a few. But most memorable for me at the sale was an outstanding single-owner collection of fine wine and champagne featuring expressions from Krug, Dom Perignon, Fonseca, Louis Roederer Cristal and Romanee-Conti. The whole process from the original house visit to the active temperature-controlled cellar to the cataloguing and selling was a real joy. Pre-sale expectations were of £20,000+ and with all but one lot selling, the total fizzed all the way up to a hammer total of £38,650. If ever there was a time to celebrate with a bottle of bubbly!
Wine & Champagnes
Collection of fine wine & Champagnes including Krug, Dom Perignon, Foncesca, Louis Roeder, Cristal and Romanee-Conti
Finally...when I locked eyes with this charming chap at the top of the stairs, I was captivated! I am referring to a Black Forest bear that featured in our final Selections & Collections auction of 2022. Black Forest carvings are not from the Bavarian Schwarzwald in the Rhine valley, but originated in the Swiss Bernese Highland village of Brienz. There are fiercely coveted items and to no surprise at all blood was spilt come auction day. Against a pre-sale estimate of £1500-2500 the hammer eventually dropped at £5500 + BP to a west Wales collector. I know where he has gone so if ever I need to visit him I know where to go!
Black Forest Bear
SWISS 'BLACK FOREST' LINDENWOOD BEAR, seated with open mouth revealing painted details, painted nose, glass inset eyes, and well defined fur detailing
The end of the year saw the extremely sad passing of The Boss, David Rogers Jones. I was lucky enough to know and work with him for nearly 5 years, in which he taught me a great deal and was always at the end of the phone if I needed some advice or expertise. He truly was a class act both on and off the rostrum with a wonderful sense of humour. He will be greatly missed.
The Cardiff saleroom put through an enormous number of lots last year with many really super quality objects and pictures and increasingly, Rogers Jones & Co are being chosen to offer entire collections.. Most memorably for me a fine collection of modern British paintings from Monmouthshire which included the rare portrait of Ceri Richard’s sister, Esther (£14000) and the exceptional portrait of the Bardsey Boy by Brenda Chamberlain (sold by private treaty).
Charles Hampshire in our Carmarthen office brought to sale the St John Perrott Stimpson Collection of Treen and Folk Art, which has been offered over a number of sales, and then I was delighted to arrange the sale of the contents of Machen House near Newport, which was placed in our Fine Art & Interiors and in our Jewellery & Collectibles auctions.
But overall, I think I’ll remember 2022 as a very sculptural year....
Philip's Favourite Lots
March kicked off with a large set of four bronze sculptured plaques after the Renaissance artist Luca Della Robbia, cast by the Barbedienne foundry. They were 19thC copies of the figure panels in the Cantoria in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence. and realised £8500.
Following in July, was a large garden statue of Mercury after Giambologna. Impressively standing at 210cms high it would be a striking focal point in any garden. It sold for 6,200.
Then in November we offered five lots of sculpture. A French bronze of a couple skating by Adrien-Gaudez (£1500), a pair of Grand Tour bronze figures of the Farnese Antinous and Narcissus (£2000), a carved marble portrait plaque by the Australian sculptor, Achille Simonetti (£3400), a large bronze library bust of a Greek warrior by the rarely found sculptress Mary Pownall Bromet (£3800) and a delightful 18th Century bronze group of the Laocoon (£8000).
For me personally, the bronze Laocoon group stands out for its dynamism. A superb antique.
AFTER THE ANTIQUE: 18/19TH CENTURY BRONZE GROUP OF THE LAOCOÖN
AFTER THE ANTIQUE: 18/19TH CENTURY BRONZE GROUP OF THE LAOCOÖN, depicting the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being attacked by the sea serpent, on integral shaped base, raised on an rouge marble rectangular plinthDimensions: the bronze 16.8cms high, including plinth 25.3cms
Most memorable of all and a joy to handle was something on a totally different scale to the sculpture items of 20222.
The Tiffany Arts & Crafts silver pepperette stood at only 9.2cms high but it had giant provenance to King Edward VII and Alexandra (when Prince and Princess of Wales).
The pepperette was delivered to our North Wales saleroom and came with the all important documents from the Tiffany Archive in New York, with entries in their manufacturing ledger and 1879 order book. No other example had ever come to auction before, so it was cautiously estimated at around £2000, which proved too tempting in the end for two bidders who took it to £8000 on the day. I have a feeling it will be returning home.
DOCUMENTARY VICTORIAN TIFFANY SILVER PEPPERETTE WITH ROYAL PROVENANCE
DOCUMENTARY VICTORIAN TIFFANY SILVER PEPPERETTE WITH ROYAL PROVENANCE, 1879, in the Aesthetic taste, from the 'Harlequin' set, tapering quatre-lobed form with lateral rib, engraved with foliage, pierced push-on cover with copper knop, strap handle with foliate pierced copper grille, raised on four short bracket feet, the base stamped 'Tiffany & Co Sterling Silver and Other Metals', pattern no. 5141, order no. 9720, etching design no. 153, also engraved presentation inscription 'GIVEN BY T.R.H. PRINCE & PRINCESS OF WALES, XMAS 1879'
Having only started working at Rogers Jones & Co. since early in October 2022 I don’t have a plethora of memories to share but it has been an absorbing and interesting three months or so. My role is regional valuer for North Wales, North – West England and The Borders, and auctioneer at the Colwyn Bay saleroom.
It’s great to be part of the highly professional and experienced team at Rogers Jones & Co. I have been really impressed by the high standard of cataloguing, and the quality of lots in the auctions.
Early on I spent four days with Charles working from the Carmarthen office, getting an insight into the South Wales operation, and also seeing a part of Wales which I am not too familiar with.
I am looking forward to 2023, and can hopefully bring in some exciting lots for us to sell.
Richard's Favourite Lot
Lot 1 in the very first Interiors auction I took in Colwyn Bay was a super dining table and six chairs from the workshop of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson, selling for £6,600. What a wonderful star!
I love the dazzling quality of Mouseman furniture, and I am amazed at the carpenter's skills to adze - the ripple effect on the table top uniformly over 3.3 square metres. Just terrific!
The first time I came across ‘Mouseman’ furniture was on a school trip to the then newly opened Anglican Cathedral in about 1979! The pews, chairs and other furnishings were all from the Kilburn workshop. Didn’t cross my mind then that one day I would be auctioning a dining suite from the same maker, but obviously made a lasting impression on me to remember.
Mouseman Table & Chairs
WORKSHOP OF ROBERT `MOUSEMAN` THOMPSON (KILBURN) SUBSTANTIAL ADZED OAK 9FT REFECTORY DINING TABLE AND SIX (4 + 2) DINING CHAIRS highly unusual rounded end table top 4.5cms thick English oak with superb adze tool ripple on four facet/canted edge supports and central uniting stretcher, signature mouse carved to one support, 74cms H, 274.5cms L, 119.5cms W, the chairs consist of four open dining chairs and two carvers all having lattice backs, button edged tan leather seats on supports matching the table, each chair having a carved signature mouse to the front right support, dimensions for carver, 90cms H, 51cms W, 45cms seat depth
Like Richard, I will also remember 2022 as the year of the mouse!
I visited an old church in Conwy to see some very old painted decoration uncovered by restoration work being undertaken, it was wonderful to see but I was completely distracted by the pews installed by the Robert “Mouseman” Thompson workshops sometime in the 1950s. We have had just seven lots of “Mouseman” in our sales this year but together the total hammer prices added up to almost 20 thousand pounds, a strong indicator of the desire in the secondary market for items and furniture handmade by the company, we are always buzzing when we have the opportunity to offer them for sale
Stephen's Favourite Lots
We have in the auction world what we call sleepers - items which sit quietly in amongst until the sale day and then sell for way over estimate, one such item which springs to mind is lot 8 sold in the furniture sale held on April 12th. The mid-18th Anglo-Chinese huanghuali two-section bureau cabinet, probably made for an East India Company merchant in our Fine Art & Interiors auction in Colwyn Bay.
This type of furniture was commissioned by wealthy British merchants from local Chinese craftsmen, following the latest Chippendale fashions.
Using solid padouk or expensive huanghuali wood (a type of rosewood), and finished with sturdy paktong handles (a uniquely Chinese alloy of nickel, zinc and copper) these cabinets were insect resistant, and could be easily loaded on and off tea clippers, the short cabinet top allowing for the low cabin ceilings.
It was also memorable in terms of the circumstances which brought about the entry to sale. I assessed the bureau by email and watched the auction on holiday on my phone. So although it was 'my consignment' I did not get a chance to see the item in person. It was a digital consignment, demonstrating the power of technology at our disposal.
Mid 18th Century Padouk Bureau
Mid 18th Century Padouk Bureau with upper twin mirrored doors and carry handles, 156cms H, 82cms W, 55cms D
My other favourite items of 2022 auctioned, where both in the same sale held on November 19th::
Lot number 641 the silver plated toast rack designed by Dr Christopher Dresser was consigned to sale with an estimate of £600-800 and sold for a toasty £2,200, the vendor was still using it to bring the toast to the table at breakfast pretty much right up until we took it in!
CHRISTOPHER DRESSER FOR JAMES DIXON & SONS
CHRISTOPHER DRESSER FOR JAMES DIXON & SONS: electroplated toast rack, c. 1885, in the form of a double row of hexagons set on an openwork rectangular frame, the triangular handle rising from the centre to form a lozenge, 16w x 10d x 13.5cm high
The year was of course overshadowed by the death of David with whom I worked closely with for several years but have known personally for over 30. He will be greatly missed by everyone.
Please see our calendar of sales for 2023 on our website
Fine Art & Interiors
5 December 2023 10:00 AM
Colwyn Bay Saleroom, North Wales
The Charlie Pritchard Rugby Collection
7 December 2023 9:30 AM
Cardiff Saleroom, South Wales
The Christmas Sale: Jewellery, Watches, Coins & Collectables
8 December 2023 10:00 AM
Cardiff Saleroom, South Wales