Bronze dancers to take centre stage at Selsdon auction

Some of the items up for auction at Farleigh Court last this month

Television antiques expert Catherine Southon is staging another auction of art works in Selsdon later this month, including a collection of 11 works by the noted Australian sculptor Tom Merrifield.

Estimates for the Merrifield auction items range from £120 to £700.

Merrifield’s bronze dancers are very collectible

Merrifield was born in 1932 and was trained as a ballet dancer in Australia. He came to Britain in the 1960s and appeared in many shows in the West End, including West Side Story. Injury ended his dancing career, however. During this time off, he went to see an exhibition and saw a sculpture of a dancer, and claimed he could do much better.

Starting by sculpting using coat hangers and wax, he eventually moved on to bronze. Merrifield’s early bronze work is much sought after. Two pieces of his early work will be up for sale at the Catherine Southon auction, which is being held at Fairleigh Court Golf Club on November 28.

Merrifield’s work as a sculptor includes a bronze of the Olympic gold medal-winning ice skater, John Curry, which was sold by Catherine Southon Auctioneers and Valuers for £3,200 plus premium in November 2013.

Merrifield also produced a bronze bust of Princess Diana commissioned by the Red Cross. Another Merrifield bronze statue stands outside the Epsom Playhouse theatre.

There is a selection of other interesting items in Southon’s Christmas auction.

The jewellery section, according to the auctioneer – a regular expert guest on programmes such as BBC’s Antiques Roadshow – “is undoubtedly one of the strongest of the year”.

There are more than 200 lots, ranging from Oriental jade and enamel through to dazzling diamond rings and with Georgian and Victorian jewels.

Pieces for sale with a local connection include a World War II propeller clock commemorating the Biggin Hill Wing’s 1,000th kill
. The centre section of the propeller inset with an aluminium plaque in the form of a clock dial with red hour markers, black hands and wings emblem, engraved “Biggin Hill May 15th 1943 René Mouchotte SQ 341 Edward Jack Charles SQ611 1000 God Bless All Who Fly For Us”.

Biggin Hill hero Commandant René Mouchotte

Commandant René Mouchotte DFC served with the French Air Force, Free French Forces and RAF during WWII, taking command of 341 Squadron in March 1943.

On May 15 that year, Squadron Leader Edward Charles of 611 Squadron and Mouchotte destroyed a Focke-Wulf 190, the 1,000th enemy aircraft downed by the Allied forces operating out of the airbase.

The clock to commemorate that event is estimated at 

Also up for sale are two albums of photographer Chas G Barber’s Travellers Samples of black and white postcards
 comprising of scenes and views from Croydon, Purley, Anerley Road, Upper Norwood, South Norwood, Streatham, Kent, Farleigh, Farnham, Caterham, Godstone, Haslemere, Kenley, East Riddlesdown, Leatherhead, Richmond, Cheam, Chipstead, Coulsdon, Farthing Downs, Sanderstead, Banstead, Beddington, Carshalton,and Sutton. The lot is estimated at £80-£120.

Viewings of all the items on sale are at Farleigh Court Golf Club, Selsdon, on Tuesday November 27 from 9am to 5.30pm, and on Wednesday November 28 from 9am to 10.30am. The auction begins at 11am.

For more information, click here.

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