Online sale of decorative arts only offers a nostalgic glimpse of the past


South Africa’s leading auction house, Strauss & Co, is pleased to announce highlights from its online-only decorative arts sale in August 2022. The sale offers collectors an exciting selection of furniture and Cape objects, silverware, ceramics and jewellery.

“The sale includes a session titled ‘Cape Country Collection: 40 Years of Collecting’ and features pieces from a single Eastern Cape collector,” says Vanessa Phillips.

“Most of the pieces in the collection are all functional objects – the collector favored rustic, provincial furniture and utilitarian objects that were used daily by their owners. It offers us a nostalgic glimpse of another era – many might have been encountered in a grandparent’s or even relative’s home, depending on your age.

The collection includes items such as an old mandolin, an egg holder, butter churns, a jack and “voetstofies” or foot warmers – small cases that warmed the cold feet of generations past.

“One of the standout pieces from this session is a 19th century Cape teak barrow, with barrows and steel (est. R6,000 – 8,000). This handmade wheelbarrow was probably a first order from the carpenter who put incredible effort into its design, manufacture and functionality. It has a trellis back to lean against plants and a flat platform, so your plants won’t fall over. During our evaluation, we also declared it to be in perfect working order, says Phillips.

Another interesting item for sale is a teak ‘Shakespearian’ butter churn, from the Hathaway Maker family business in Chippenham, England. (est. R4,000 – 6,000). The British company has manufactured thousands of butter churns and many of their products have been exported overseas, particularly to South Africa and South America.

In a second session, Strauss and Co offers a collection of one-owner pieces assembled by a Dutch collector. “Two outstanding pieces from this session are a fine early 19th century Dutch walnut and marquetry display cabinet (est. R20,000 – 30,000) and a 20e century oak wall hanging cabinet. (estimated R 4,000 – 6,000).

The session also features a small collection of Dutch silver “dragee boxes” which are fine, architectural pieces in their appearance, inspired by Dutch furniture and homes. “These pocket boxes were often inscribed with love mottoes. The sweets stored in them were known as kissing comfits – they were small scented lozenges that sweetened the breath – because dentistry was not particularly developed in the 18e and 19th centuries,” she notes.

“There are interesting lots of silverware that cover 250 years of craftsmanship – from George II to Elizabeth II,” she adds.

If you’re considering proposing, planning a wedding, or buying a gift for a special occasion, there’s also some exceptional jewelry at auction. One of the standout pieces is a bezel set 18k gold round brilliant cut diamond ring (est. R25,000 – 30,000) and two 18k gold bands from 1973 by the South African goldsmith and designer of distinction , Peter Cullman .

Included are pearl necklaces, a standout example being a two-row Baroque pearl necklace (R8,000 – 10,000) and a watch by Swiss luxury producer Ebel.

Strauss & Co’s August online auctions presented by its Decorative Arts, Wine and Art departments all open for auction on Monday, August 22 at 8:00 am. Auctions close on Monday, August 29 as follows:

Decorative arts at 6 p.m. (A Cape Country Collection, Silver, Furniture, Ceramics, Jewelry)
wine to 7 p.m. (Cape Town Heritage Wines)
The art to 8 p.m. (19th Century, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art – with a focus on artists linked to the Eastern Cape, plus a dedicated Welgemeend session with all proceeds going towards the preservation and conservation of the Welgemeend Mansion in Cape Town.

Browse the auctions and register to bid:



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