Church gates lead to bidding battles in two salerooms

Bronze 7ft 4in (2.23) tall ecclesiastical gates – £25,000 at Summers Place Auctions.

In market terms, ecclesiastical gates are not the subject of mass appeal but examples by major 19th century designers certainly had their devotees at two June sales.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Terence Ryle

A pair of 7ft 4in (2.23m) tall bronze gates and three single gates were originally at St John the Baptist Church, Norwich, the largest Catholic parish church in Britain when it was designed c.1882 by George Gilbert Scott Jr (1839-97). In 1976 the church was consecrated as East Anglia Cathedral.

A few years earlier, following problems with thefts, it was decided to sell the gates, all stamped by maker Thos Potter & Sons Ltd, Putney Bridge Ironworks London, SW.

They resurfaced when consigned to Summers Place Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) in Billingshurst, West Sussex, on June 12.

The Church had expressed interest in buying them but it was an American collector who took them, bidding a top-estimate £25,000 on the pair and three above-estimates bids of £10,000 for each of the single gates.

Pugin production

Wrought-iron 3ft 11in (1.19m) tall ecclesiastical gates – £2200 at Woolley & Wallis.

The second set of gates were of wrought iron rather than bronze and smaller at 3ft 11in (1.19m) but were probably designed by EW Pugin.

They stood inside a church designed by his more famous father, Augustus NW Pugin (1812-52). With gold trefoil terminals and heraldic Ms below trefoil fleur de lys, they were cast by Hardman Powell & Co for St Mary’s Church in Derby, Pugin Senior’s first major church commission.

They were removed in the 1980s during refurbishment and offered by Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) at the 495-lot Arts & Crafts sale at Salisbury on June 19.

Pitched at £500-1000, the gates sold for £2200.