Published 17th June 2022
By Brian Goodison-Blanks View profile
Included in the next Maritime auction of the 21st June 2022 are a number of pieces of interesting historical and local significance.
At the beginning of the auction are thirty nine lots from the collection of Sir Harold Dudley Clayton, 10th Baronet of Clayton, Marden (1877-1951). As a boat designer and builder Harold Clayton opened a yard on the site near the Charles Cooper boatyard on the shingle beneath Penarth Head, south of the Marine Hotel. As a keen photographer he also took numerous images of various boats and locations whilst attending regattas and other notable events. Many of the photographs are very creative for the period, with images from atop the masts, on deck during races and relaxing as well as topographical views. There are numerous images of Henry Clayton and his own craft, in particular 'Crayfish' and 'Coquette'. A unique archive of the beginning of the 20th century and his WWI war service, the collection will no doubt bring a great deal of interest on the day
As a designer Harold Clayton also drew up a plan for the RNLI in 1888 in response to their request for a new design for a steam powered hydraulic lifeboat. Though his design was not chosen, he obtained a fine builder's model of the hydraulic steam boat 'City of Glasgow' built for The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, by R&H Green, Blackwall Yard, London, 1894 (MA21/39). A similar model is held in the Science Museum collection. As only five full size steam lifeboats were ever built, this model should attract a great deal of attention with a pre-sale estimate of £6,000-£8,000*.
As shown by the Francis Davies Collection in the previous Maritime auction, Polar exploration still inspires people today, as it did in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Included in the auction is a silver plated fork engraved 'Discovery 1901' formerly the property of Louis Charles Bernacchi from the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-04 (MA21/142). Louis Charles Bernacchi was born in Belgium in 1876 to Italian parents who subsequently emigrated to Australia. Attending Melbourne Observatory in 1895 he developed an interest in Antarctic exploration and joined Carsten's Borchgrevink's Southern Cross expedition (1898-1900) when he was just 22 years old. This was the first expedition to spend the winter on the Antarctic continent and the first to sledge towards the South Pole. Louis then joined Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery expedition (1901-1904) and was the only man on board the Discovery who had previously been to the Antarctic (in relative terms he was a "veteran" of the Antarctic). As one of the scientific officers on board his role was to collect geomagnetic data as they approached the South Pole, something that had not been studied to any extent before. Scott was Louis's best man at his wedding. He was awarded the Polar Medal and the French Legion d'honneur amongst other awards. With such provenance and history it certainly deserves its pre-sale estimate of £800-£1,000* and may even achieve above top estimate.
A little closer to home is the bronze ship's bell from the Mersey Ferries MV Egremont by John Roby Ltd, Rainhill, Liverpool (MA21/72). Built in Dartmouth in 1951 for Wallasey Corporation for use on the Seacome and New Brighton services and subsequently by Mersey Ferries, Liverpool. Egremont is perhaps most famously known as one of the fleet of ferries that inspired Gerry and The Pacemakers most famous hit 'Ferry Across The Mersey' and the actual ferry used in the 1965 film of the same name. In 1976, she was sold to Frederick Oldham Ltd of Liverpool for conversion into the headquarters of the Island Cruising Club at Salcombe. She is now in Sharpness Shipyard, Bristol undergoing maintenance. With an estimate of £400-£600* it will be something that both maritime and music enthusiasts will be keen to acquire.
The Maritime sale attracts attention not only because of the historical context of many of the items included, like the engine room telegraph from the wreck of the Italian cargo steamer SS Vittoria Claudia (MA21/97), estimate £400-£600* but also for their particular design and styles.
The early 20th century tinplate 'Cunard Line' advertising sign (MA21/158) with central polychrome lithograph of RMS 'Aquitania' has great interior design appeal. Estimated £800-£1,000*, it is a fabulous piece of period advertising that would not look out of place in a modern 21st century home.
For those with more traditional taste, then perhaps the watercolour of HMS Gypsy by Derek George Montague Gardner (1914-2007) (MA21/274), estimate £600-£900* + ARR or the 'Naval convoy in stormy seas' by Montague Dawson (1895-1973) (MA21/286), estimate £1000-£1,500*+ ARR may be more to your liking.
* (Plus buyer's premium of 30% incl. of VAT @ 20%)
ARR = Artist's Resale Rights