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Country Life Every Week - - Art Market -

Del Mar’s more usual of­fer­ings were headed by mid-16th-cen­tury South Ger­man field ar­mour at £29,760, closely fol­lowed by a rar­ity, a 60-bore wheel-lock car­bine made in the late 16th cen­tury a lit­tle to the north of Bavaria, at Suhl in Thuringia (above). This was an iron-min­ing and metal-pro­cess­ing cen­tre and, for sev­eral cen­turies, it was renowned for its can­non and gun­smithing. Just how this elab­o­rately dec­o­rated weapon, which has par­al­lels in the Dres­den ar­mouries, came into the pos­ses­sion of a Cheshire fam­ily, per­haps in the 1890s, is un­known. It was shown to Mark Lit­tler, a gen­eral val­uer based near Sand­bach, who recog­nised its qual­ity and con­tacted Del Mar. The bar­rel was dec­o­rated with al­le­gor­i­cal fig­ures, birds, an­i­mals, mon­sters and a dou­ble-headed ea­gle and car­ried a maker’s mark of HB over a bear or per­haps boar. The stock was in­laid with en­graved staghorn plaques and the op­u­lence of the whole cre­ation in­di­cated that it was a most im­por­tant com­mis­sion.

An­other un­usual item on of­fer was a sword cane (right) that had be­longed to the 1st Mar­quess of An­gle­sey (1768–1854), who fa­mously lost a leg at Water­loo. The blade was 17th cen­tury, but, from the coro­net and Garter on the gold finial, the cane was made up af­ter 1818 and per­haps be­fore 1827, when he went to Dublin as Lord Lieu­tenant. How­ever, as Del Mar pointed out, the Mar­quess ha­bit­u­ally walked with two sticks and he might as eas­ily have needed to de­fend him­self in Re­gency Lon­don as in Ire­land. I won­der if the black cord and tas­sels in­di­cated mourn­ing, per­haps one might fancy, for his old com­man­der Welling­ton. The cane sold for £8,060 against a £1,500 es­ti­mate.

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