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November 2018 - news and gleanings

Posted on | By Thornton Kay
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London West, UK - November news from London, Sussex, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Norfolk, Essex, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Ireland, Australia, France, South Seas and USA (numbers in brackets below relate to the numbers in the photo montage above)

Antique lighting Sitch clearance in Soho (1)
The new owner of the Berwick Street, Soho, shop and premises of Wm Sitch, the ancient family of fine art metalworkers, finishers and latterly lighting restorers, is looking for trade buyers (see the main SalvoNEWS story) to thin out some of its massive stock of antique lighting accumulated since 1770. Eventually he hopes to use part of the building as a kind of museum to record its history for posterity.

Antique Bulletwood in Dublin (2)
Bulletwood (aka balata, massaranduba, manilkara bidentata) comes from a tree milked by the Aztecs and Mayans for a latex gum known as chicle, similar to gutta percha, which was a main ingredient of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum. The wood grows in the central Americas, is similar to greenheart and was traditionally used for roof shingles which apparently lasted 100 years and structural timbers. Adams of Dublin sold a famed table made from elements of 16thC and later woods reputedly from a Spanish galleon, which included four large carved bulletwood lion supports (in the Alfred Stevens pose) at each corner (2). The Armada table, formerly at Bunratty Castle sold for €360,000 on 16 October.

Reclaimed Dinesen douglas fir flooring (8)
Douglas Fir flooring, made by the Dinesen family for a hundred years originally in Danish forests, is not commonly found in UK salvage yards so it was interesting to find Retrouvius posting some on IG the other day (see pic 8). The extreme width and lengths of these non-engineered lye-soap-covered boards, when new supplied unplaned for finishing in-situ, are much loved by Holland Park interior designers. Jack Calnan wrote an informative blog about fitting and maintaining. The planks were reclaimed from the offices of Marc Newson and are likely to be reused on an in-house design project Adam Hills wrote on IG. For Dinesen floors, ‘Trade Secrets: Dinesen - In Timber We Trust’ see linkedin.com/pulse/trade-secrets-dinesen-timber-we-trust-jack-calnan/

Lowther Castle in Country Life (9)
Country Life have been Britain’s foremost recorders of halls, castles and mansions, and now some can be read free on the web. Lowther Castle (see pic 9 cc Richard Szwejkowski), formerly Lowther Hall, is a partial ruin in the picturesque style, the subject of a gargantuan sale in 1947, before the roof was removed in 1957. CL writes, ‘After inheriting in 1953, the 7th Earl explored the possibility of letting the place as a police college, forestry school or institution without success and the Historic Buildings Council was unable to grant financial aid. The reluctant decision was therefore taken to demolish the interior and sell the materials, but to retain the outer walls ‘as a familiar and well-loved feature of the beautiful parkland in which it stands’. The demolition was done by Thomas Oakley of Luton, a firm which specialised in recycling materials from such houses. The 7th Earl concentrated successfully on reviving the estates and Lowther forestry, in particular, became a national leader. Read more at countrylife.co.uk/architecture/lowther-castle-incredible-transformation-ruins-one-britains-greatest-regency-castle-185665

Reclaimed and antique stone sale by Abacus (3)
Abacus Stone had a massive two day sale on two sites in October with many stone items, from sets of tall sandstone columns to bags of walling stone up for grabs. The large carved stone Arms of Huddersfield (3), the town nearest to Abacus, may not have sold. Contact Allan Pogson for this and any other unsold lots.

Upcycled lighting at Gaze, and James I sitting on the Devil (4, 7)
In September, Gaze held a sale of Provincial Furniture with Lighting & Industrial Furniture at which this (4) upcycled Eumig P26 projector recrafted into a lamp with four bulbs operated by the onboard switches fetched a modest £65. See twgaze.co.uk/auctions/catalogues-and-auctions/auction-archives/provincial-furniture-with-lighting-and-industrial-furniture. The Robert Barley Sale held the following week had this (7) 17th Century oak carving of King James I sitting on the head of the Devil, 51cm x 10cm, which struck a chord at £1,700 hammer.

Antique stone in France (6)
Origines of Houdan held one of its periodic auctions which included a spectacular mid-19th limestone baroque belvedere (6 right) catalogued as a ’fabrique de parc, dite folly’ from Cowbridge House in Malmesbury designed by John Shaw Jr. (1803-70) sold for a mid-estimate €130,000. A more modest ‘pavilion d’entrée de château, epoque Louis XV’ (6 left) sold for €52,000. The 24th September sale was held by Artcurial and raised €1.2m.

Decorative, garden and architectural antiques at Summers Place (5)
Summers Place Auction's 26th/28th September Garden Natural History and Tribal Art outing had, in a collection of model steam engines, a Stuart Half Beam (Thomas Newcomen or James Watt?) 1ins diameter by 2ins stroke, 32cm wide number which sold for £400. A set of six recent pass-boule hand-painted boards estimated individually at £200-£400 raised considerably more, with a French dandy (5 left) scoring the highest at £1,200. Passe-boule was a fairground game in 19thC France. The six traditional characters were painted by John Dupret on antique reclaimed wood whose work can be seen in the Musem de Musique Mechanique in Lesgets. There are antique passe-boule boards are in the Musee des Arts Forains, Paris. An extraordinary (auctioneer James Rylands agreed with the description ‘mind-boggling’) detached spiral carved Bath stone column with accompanying urn (5 right) sold for £5,500. This tour de force of unknown provenance came to SPA a few years ago when it sold at a similar price. An oxymoronically magnificently rustic barrel-roofed corrugated iron shepherd’s hut predating 1879 with maker’s plaque for Parker & Co of Alton, Hants, sold to Norway after the auction for £6,000. Walter Mantell Parker, of the Wey Iron Works, Alton, and the Abbey Foundry, Winchester, was trading under the style of Parker and Co (and as Hetherington & Parker Ltd) from 1873 until he was declared bankrupt in November 1880. A 37ft (11.2m) run of H1 19thC fat baluster Bath stone balustrade with moulded base, top rail, pedestals and volute ends, from Witley Court sold for £4,600 (£125/ftrun). A pair of Kentian urns and pedestals (5 right), modern 255cms high, made an above-estimate £6,165. James Rylands said that Summers Place was seeking “more of the usual” for the first sale of 2019 to be held in March.

Antique analemmatics (8)
A number of sundial plates were sold at Bonhams INSTRUMENTS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY auction in Knightsbridge on 19 September including an 18thC brass horizontal analemmatic dial (8) with hinged gnomon engraved with a putto and winged hourglass, the gnomon moving over a calendar and zodiac scale, provenanced to Claude Basil Fry (1868-1942) and by descent. It sold for £1,687. See www.bonhams.com/auctions/24670/lot/51 and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analemmatic_sundial.

Ashwells reclaimed timber yard appeared on BBC1
On 9 September Debbie and Janine graced the airwaves on BBC’s Countryfile with a tour of Ashwell’s Essex yard by presenter Anita Rani ‘who hears how timber that has travelled around the world from the tropics to the UK is being up-cycled and repurposed’

Reclaimed flooring in east London
Encore Reclamation posted an IG pic of David Gandy standing on one of its reclaimed floors at the converted Spratts dog food factory in London's east end, where the family-run business now has its offices. Encore supplies reclaimed flooring to a client list including Fat Face, Turner Contemporary, BoxPark Shoreditch, Cath Kidston and a reach which stretches as far as Bahrain for a Scottish distillery-themed bar. ‘Reclaimed floorboards are by far our biggest selling item. The timber in these old boards is slow grown and of a quality that you would never find in new timber,’ states Encore on its website at encorereclamation.co.uk

Mongers launches web and soaps
Mongers of Hingham has launched a new website with online shopping. ‘Not so much a new website, more of an evolution … with the capability of selling hundreds of products … more items will be added every week … we hope you enjoy browsing all our stock.’ See mongersofhingham.co.uk.

Fraser Island turpentine wood and more
Prince Harry and Meghan’s trip to the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand included Fraser Island for the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopies - a project conceived by the Frank Field MP, launched in Malta in 2015, and involving 42 of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth. The antipodean chapter preserves native bush and the water-hardy satinay trees, also known as the Fraser Island turpentines, the timber from which was used in the London docks and the construction of the Suez Canal. Chewing resin from satinay sap has apparently cured ulcers. In his speech on K’gari, the native name for Fraser Island, Harry said, “The programme is committed to raising awareness of the value of indigenous forests and to saving them for future generations.  Put simply, without trees and forests, we don’t survive. It is a symbiotic relationship, and one that so many people still fail to realise. As you all know too well, K’gari means ‘paradise’, and that is certainly what we’ve experienced today surrounded by the towering Kauri pines, 1000 year-old satinay trees and ancient giant ferns.”

Solomon Islands rainforest destruction
Salvo received a press release from Global Witness in October about South Pacific rainforest destruction. ‘Timber harvested in the Solomon Islands is wildly unsustainable: 2017’s log exports were 19 times higher than sustainable production. Much of the logging is at high risk of being illegal, partly because landowners’ permission was not legally sought, environmental impact assessments were not carried out and, because companies log in prohibited places and fell more trees than allowed. Logging roads on this small group of islands now cover a distance twice the length of Yangtze river – one of the longest in the world. Once roads have been built, forests rarely/never return to an intact state. The fate of these once pristine islands lies in the hands of China, the destination for about two-thirds of all tropical logs globally, and the destination of virtually all of the Solomon Islands’ timber. Few US or EU companies import timber direct from the Solomon Islands. However, companies importing timber products made in China (think fake reclaimed wood) are at risk of driving this destruction unless China heeds calls and steps up to protect this fast-disappearing paradise.’ globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/forests/paradise-lost/

Raunchy goings-on in Bristol
Back in Blighty, Karl Horler of Frome Rec was taken aback by the startling discovery of some old magazines in a Bristol house clearance. He came across a lifetime collection of old porn and girlie mags stuffed into a compartment under a double bed. He said it looked like the owner had been putting the publications - some of which were in pristine condition - into the private hidey-hole for years. Most were from the late 70s and early 80s, some still in their wrappers. See a picture of Karl and the booty on somersetlive.co.uk.

Salvages of Madison County
In Madison, Wisconsin, Mark Raszewski opened DeConstruction Inc. in the spring of 2015. “I’ve always had a passion for architecture, buildings and antiques,” Raszewski said on newsite isthmus.com. DeConstruction Inc. has a 6,000sqft warehouse and a lumber yard next to the building. Raszewski helped to take places apart, recently Mautz Paint, Marling Lumber, UW-Madison’s Agronomy research lab, and Oscar Mayer, salvaging many materials. See dcisalvage.com

Antique lead urns go west
A pair of 18thC lead urns by John van Nost adorned Marcus Dill's garden at Idlicote House, Shipston-on-Stour, before he sold them at auction in 2009 not realising until six years later that they and their limestone pedestals were listed. According to the Costwold Journal, the urns were sold to an ‘anonymous buyer’ and exported. Even if the new owner was found they could not be compelled to return the urns. Stratford-on-Avon District Council issued a planning enforcement notice, upheld by a High Court judge last year, so Dill is going to the Court of Appeal, insisting the urns are not 'buildings' and should not have been listed. Richard Harwood QC, said the consequences could be serious for Dill who could be fined or jailed. The planners argue that granting retrospective consent would set a dangerous precedent by potentially endangering the preservation of innumerable other designated heritage assets. Mr Harwood said the urns dated to about 1700 and were made for the Duke of Kent's estate at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, from where they later passed into Mr Dill's family - his great-great grandfather once owned Wrest Park - and his ancestors took them when they moved. His father brought them to Idlicote House in the early 1970s and they were listed in 1986. Mr Dill was unaware of the listing and sold them at auction for £55,000, the court heard. The council says the removal of the urns ‘equated to demolition’ and that ‘substantial harm had been caused’. Mr Dill's Appeal Court challenge is on whether the urns and pedestals were ‘buildings’ capable of being listed. Lords Justice McCombe, Hickinbottom and Coulson are expected to reserve judgment on his appeal and give their ruling at a later date. Cotswold Journal cotswoldjournal.co.uk/news/16962624.mansion-owner-marcus-dill-could-be-jailed-could-face-jail-after-historic-urns-he-sold

Reclaimed Bath stone ashlar from the demolition of Walcot Reclamation (11)
Beechfield Reclamation is in possession of Bath stone ashlar (11) of 12ins and 14ins course heights salvaged from the demolition of the old yard of Walcot Reclamation in Bath. “We have just salvaged it,” Mike Davis told Ruby Hazael.

Banksy, Picasso and Bakunin
Banksy’s painting of ‘Girl with a Balloon’ was recently sold at auction and instantly shredded into ‘Love is in the Bin’ which generated publicity and a windfall profit for its unwitting new owner. When asked why he built a shredder into the frame, Banksy reportedly wryly quoted Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge” which cannot be true if the urge to reclaim is not also a destructive urge. The man who Picasso was paraphrasing is Mikhail Bakunin, the 19thC Russian anarchist who said, “Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!”

Duck Duck Go
Salvo has been using the privacy-focused non-tracking search engine DuckDuckGo.com for a few years. The results seem to be the best in most respects for general web trawling. It only lacks Google’s mapping, streetview, news and books. DDG has just announced it has reached a milestone of 30m searches per day. This year SalvoWEB has been testing ads on DDG (see the ad on the right if you search for architectural salvage on a desktop) - it should be there! See duckduckgo.com

HS2 consultation on Phase 2b working draft Environmental Statement
HS2 Ltd is consulting on these documents from 11 October 2018 to 21 December 2018. The working draft ES describes the likely environmental impacts of building and operating Phase 2b of HS2; as well as proposed ways to avoid, reduce, mitigate and monitor the effects. It is based on a point-in-time assessment in the ongoing development of Phase 2b. Feedback will be taken into consideration as we further develop of our proposals and a final ES will be submitted to Parliament alongside the hybrid Bill. Salvo will submit a request that all buildings to be demolished for HS2 will undergo a reclamation audit, that HS2 will comply with the waste hierarchy ‘Reclamation before Recycling’ principle, and that procurement and reuse within all HS2 projects should be no worse than the national UK average of 2% by value, volume or mass. Please contact TK if you would like Salvo to add your pro-reclamation and reuse views. See www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hs2-phase-2b-working-draft-environmental-statement

Gaze salvage sale on Saturday
Tomorrow T W Gaze of Diss will hold its last salvage sale of the year with a bewildering miscellany which includes gates, beams, galvo, steel, troughs, garden, urns, concrete, terracotta, sinks, lanterns, granite, benches, tables, brackets, statuary, flower pots, chimneypots, railings, roof tiles, pamments, marble, sundials, boxes, doors, lamps, coppers, watering cans, cloches, fireplace tiles, grilles and flagstones. More at www.twgaze.co.uk

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SalvoNEWS was published every week until 2018, and has now decided to go monthly. This month we are launching a new monthly roundup story where all kinds of news snippets and miscellany may be found trawled by Team Salvo from web and print news, social media and even from talking to real people. Please contact us if you have some interesting or amusing (but not libellous) news to disseminate. Also, readers are welcome to contribute news stories themselves. Join in the conversation, as they say.

Story Type: News