Garden Urns Designed for the Palace of Versailles Fiercely Contested at Mallams’ House & Garden Sale

Garden Urns Designed for the Palace of Versailles Fiercely Contested at Mallams’ House & Garden Sale


Mallams’ 3 & 4 April House & Garden Sale was packed to the rafters with a range of wonderful and eclectic items for the discerning interior designer and landscape gardener.


A pair of large 18th or 19th century bronze urns (lot 1137), designed by Claude Ballin (1615-1678), were of particular interest to bidders. Not surprising, as they followed the same design as those made for Louis XIV at the Palace of Versailles in the last part of the 17th century, with satyr masks either side of an icicle rim, acanthus leaf moulded bands and circular fluted bases with a band of ribbon tied reeds and a shaped square plinth. These urns were expected to be highly contested and had a strong £2000-£4000 estimate, but bidding was fierce, pushing the final price to £18,000, with a delighted phone bidder sealing the deal.

Another item that appealed to garden enthusiasts was a Japanese granite temple lantern (lot 1113) which stood an imposing 2 metres high. This sold for £2200, 10% over top estimate.

Also performing particularly well was a large, Queen Anne mirror (lot 392), featuring gilded and decorative curved edging. Estimated at £800-£1200, it eventually sold to a phone bidder for a staggering £12,000. From the same century was lot 1141, a grand, grey-veined marble chimneypiece which had been acquired by the vendor's parents and was reputedly originally from Kirtlington Park, Oxfordshire. This sold to a phone bidder for £5400 against an estimate of £3000-£5000.

Two Russian porcelain military plates (lot 586) by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersberg, from the time of Alexander II (1855-1881), clearly piqued interest amongst bidders, selling online for £11,000, well above their £1000-£2000 estimate.

Featuring in the sale were a number of collections from private estates and the first 40 lots came from the estate of Woodleys, Woodstock, Oxfordshire. One lot from this estate which saw strong bidding was a late 19th/early 20th century Turkish green ground rug which sold to an online bidder for £1500 against a conservative £80-£150 estimate.

Other rugs which performed well included lot 1040, a Persian light brown ground carpet with a polychrome multiple banded border which sold for 10 times low estimate at £8000, and lot 1066, a Heritz blue ground carpet, estimated at £300-£500, which sold for £7800 to a phone bidder.

A good selection of wines and spirits featured in day two of the sale and one particular highlight was a bottle of Glenlivet Specially Selected 1959 Pure Single Malt Scotch Whisky, complete with original box (lot 1029), which sold for its low estimate of £1000.

Henry Cooke, Mallams Director and Head of House & Garden Sales, Sculptures & Works of Art said “A curated private collection from a number of estates helped to make for an interesting sale. There was excited bidding both in the saleroom and online throughout the entire two days of sale. I was particularly delighted with the result of the bronze urns and the Queen Anne mirror. We are looking forward to the next House and Garden Sale in July.”

If you have any interesting items that may be suitable for the July sale, please email  for a free, informal valuation. 

All prices are subject to a 30% buyers' premium (VAT inclusive). 

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