No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis
19 India Street, Edinburgh The property of a Gentleman After climbing the stone communal staircase of 19 India Street for the first time and pausing briefly on the tenemant landing whilst the gleaming black-painted front door was opened an astounding and spectacular contrast ambushed the senses! For an Aladdin's cave lay within: a cornucopia of delights, a particular and rich diversity of furniture, porcelain and glass, silver, pictures and curiosities that startled visitors into momentary silence and confusion. Such was the teeming galaxy of things to savour that it was impossible to concentrate on any single object. As soon as the eye alighted on anything something else equally interesting and diverting clamoured for attention! The first impression did not diminish as the flat was explored. Subsequent visits revealed other layers of a remarkable assemblage and it was tempting to wonder how so much could have been missed on early occasions.
The India Street collection evolved over some thirty years and spans decades when many of the great families of Scotland held sales. One of the first objects acquired was a George III mahogany rectangular tea caddy with brass loop handle to the domed cover; it cost 25 Pounds and came from an attic clearance at Keir in 1975. One of the last is the exotic 'gem-encrusted' gilt coffer-on-stand decorated in polychrome glass from the Bute Collection at Mount Stuart in 1996 (lot 271). In the intervening decades pieces were added from more than a dozen other significant provenances such as the Earls of Dalhousie and Haddington, the Marquess of Linlinthgow, Sir Fitzroy Maclean of Dunconnel and the late D.A. and Lady Helen Tod, an impressive roll call of old families in Scotland.
The author of the collection was a Chartered Surveyor in Edinburgh specialising in the sale of estates and farms with an intimate knowledge of Scotland's geography. This stimulated an interest in heritage and the fascination of attic sales reinfornced the significance of provenance. The chase, the focus on an object that felt right and the consequent acquisition - the exhilaration of the saleroom - overshadowed practical considerations of space. The sale is the testimony to the efficacy of this approach and it contains so much to divert and enchant. Boxes are a particular strength and include a fine Anglo-Indian ivory-inlaid teak casket (lot 510), a tantalising Royal ebonised casket inscribed Marie Louise (lot 370) and a lovely 18th Century Anglo-Portuguese tortoiseshell-veneered ivory table casket (lot 389).
Furniture ranges from a graceful Scottish George III mahogany cockpen armchair from Keir (lot 465) and a distinguished late Regency rosewood Davenport in the manner of Gillows of Lancaster (lot 498); to a gossip chair designed by Lorimer, made by the village carpenter Willie Wheeler in Arncroach (lot 371). Pictures include a pair of portraits by Gregor Urquhart of Charles and Elizabeth Stirling in outstanding Victorian gilt and red-painted frames emblazoned with Stirling arms (lots 353 and 354) and a watercolour of Crail Harbour at sunset - perhaps the prettiest harbour in Scotland (lot 379).
This collection was formed with limited resources and abounds in the whimsical, the quaint, the amusing and the fascinating. Unusual offerings include; a George V 'clerks' inkwell by Garrard of early 18th century style pierced with five quill pen apertures: it cost ten pounds in 1960 (lot 359); a stepped white-painted Regency style planter purchased at Lyon and Turnbull in George Street and carried back in triumph from the saleroom the whole way to India Street (lot 411); two miniature sedan chairs (lot 397); a late Victorian Christmas tree stand (lot 313); a Regency mezzotint under glass of 'Il Fiammingo' who died of a slow poison given him by his brother "who confessed the fact before he suffered" (lot 471); a collection of 1940'-1950's walnut-cased radios (lot 326); natural history specimens (lot 283-291); an historical group (rather than practical!) of kitchenalia (lot 538) and a rare pair of Regency brass and boulle inkstands, one premier-partie, the second contre-partie attributed to Thomas Parker (lot 461).
Following the sale of 19 India Street the majority of the contents are now being dispersed and it is hoped that the new purchasers will gain as much pleasure in the future from these 'things' as our client has enjoyed.