Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Terence Ryle
A classic souvenir for Grand Tourists across the years, this pair of 19th century models of the temples of Vespasian and Castor and Pollux below was one of the stand-out lots at the Wallis & Wallis (20% buyer’s premium) four-day sale at Lewes.
Carved in Marmo Giallo Sienna marble, the 20in (51cm) models were estimated at £1000-1500 and sold to a private London buyer at £7400.
A very different eye-catcher at the October 15-18 auction was a1920s French wood and plaster advertising automaton.
It was designed by Gustave Vichy (1839-1904), one of the great names in French automata makers, and produced by the firm Vichy-Triboulet. After Vichy’s death in 1904 his widow had sold the business to his foreman Auguste Triboulet.
Lacking his outer case, the toper had condition problems: he was legless and had spilled his innards. However, the legs could be reattached and much of the wire and lever mechanism remained.
The necessary restoration kept the estimate down to £200-300 but bidders were up to the challenge – the automaton went at £3300 to a Californian enthusiast who intends to restore it himself.