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Feeling the Heat

The start of this heatwave, which coincided with the opening of Masterpiece, featured some truly spectacular downpours.  The thunderous drumming on the marquee roof and sound of waterfalls gushing down the sides caused some consternation.  But, in the event, only a few splashes got through - onto the Riva Yacht stand – the one place they would do no harm! 

On our ‘Jubilee’ stand we had more of a ‘slow burn’ with a steady flow of sales throughout the week, and others still being finalized as I write.  Some sold items have featured in our book, these newsletters and our monthly blogs.  They include the Winkfield oil of Greenwich, the giant clock with eight times zones, one of the Seddon and Morel tables, the Cowden Castle display cabinet and the ‘Fighting Temeraire’ chair’ (above). 

One person who is certainly overdressed for the weather is this dapper gentleman in a tailcoat, buttoned waistcoat and soft topper carved in walnut and set on an octagonal plinth.  We believe he is Mark Tapley from the novel ‘The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit’ by Charles Dickens’.


To make the best of the lightest breezes, why not sit by the window in one of these walnut settees re-upholstered in cool striped cotton (one of a pair shown)?

Meanwhile the heat is even more extreme in Europe.  Global warming is making an impact with fires and floods threatening homes and livelihoods, glaciers crumbling and rivers evaporating.  On a smaller scale we have this beautifully preserved pocket globe by Nicholas Lane.  The terrestrial globe is set in a shagreen case applied with the firmament. 

Not all extreme weathers are recent developments as shown by this barocyclonometer made in Hong Kong in 1910.  With one dial showing air pressure and the other a dramatic swirl of arrows representing the movement of a tropical storm, it is a vivid reminder of the power of nature. 


The final piece is the subject of our blog for this month and is rather grisly.  It is another sand picture made by Benjamin Zobel from powdered marble (see the battles scenes in the previous newsletter) and shows a boa constrictor coiled round its prey.  This is quite topical for us, as walkers in the New Forest have been warned to keep on high alert, since a young Labrador, very like ours, died from an adder bite at the weekend.  The oak woods full of deer could easily be on our regular route – but we most sincerely hope never to meet such a snake in them!

Probably one of a pair of “highly finished marble dust paintings” sold by the auctioneer William Seaman of Great Yarmouth on the 8th of October 1823 in successive lots. Lot 62 in the sale was described as “Zobel’s highly-finished marble dust painting-Boa constrictor. Framed and glazed” and was consigned by “Crow”. It sold for 1 Pound and 11 Shillings to “King”.

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