25th Jan, 2024 10:00

Dick Turpin | The Legend Lives On

Lot 30


A pair of George III Derbyshire Blue John and ormolu 'Cleopatra' candle vases

A pair of George III Derbyshire Blue John and ormolu 'Cleopatra' candle vases,
c.1771, attributed to Matthew Boulton, each of neoclassical urn form, with a rectangular plinth set with portrait roundels, raised on a stepped square base terminating in ball feet, with restorations,
11cm wide
11cm deep
24cm high (2)

Provenance: Maurice 'Dick' Turpin, Barons Keep, London W14.

Literature: For similar examples, see N Goodison, 'Ormolu: The Work of Matthew Boulton', 1974, pl. 111 and 113.

Take advantage of our Sworders Delivery Service. Please see 'Shipping estimate' below.

Derbyshire Blue John

Derbyshire Blue John, is a semi-precious stone that was first discovered over two thousand years ago by the Romans. Blue John is a rare and highly prized variety of fluorspar (calcium fluorite), with distinctive banding of purple, blue and golden yellow. This rare natural stone originates from the Treak Cliff and Blue John Caverns, located in the shadow of the ‘Shivering Mountain’ of Mam Tor in the village of Castleton, the Peak District, Derbyshire. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Blue John was a highly coveted mineral used to produce exquisite and very collectable vases, column, eggs, bowls and goblets, some of which are now housed in Buckingham Palace and Chatsworth House. Blue John today is a rare occurrence as unfortunately, during the First World War the rising need for supplies and machinery meant the majority was unearthed for the war effort. In the 21st century, only a very small amount is now mined, and tends to be only suitable for small jewellery pieces.

Sold for £26,000

Condition Report

Evidence of repair and restoration, with likely alteration to the blue john columns, which appear to have been possibly cut down or reconstructed. Some splits and small holes to metal, with knocks and wear throughout. Some small knocks, cracks and fractures to fluorite. One wobbles a little on a flat surface. General surface wear and rubbing. Both structurally stable. Please see additional photos for reference to condition.

Rectangular plinths, height of blue john visible between mounts - 4.9cm
Rectangular plinths, width of blue john - 4cm



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Auction: Dick Turpin | The Legend Lives On, 25th Jan, 2024


We are extremely excited to present the catalogue for Dick Turpin | The Legend Lives On, available online to browse and bid.

Maurice, known to all as ‘Dick’, was one of the foremost antique dealers of the second half of the 20th century, who in his fifty-year career achieved truly iconic status. The enduring memories of the quality and calibre of the pieces that he dealt in only surpassed by those of his persona; a giant of a man with a large walrus moustache, scarcely seen without his trademark thick glasses, Harris tweed trilby and pipe, all of which accentuated by the curiously high-pitched voice that those who knew him cannot fail to affectionately imitate.

'He was larger than life, captivating his clients and fellow dealers for more than half a century. He had extraordinary knowledge and extraordinary energy.' - Chris Jussel

The contents of his Barons Keep residence comprises hundreds of spectacular, rare and meticulously chosen pieces of furniture, works of art and paintings from Europe and Asia, many of which have now found their way to the Sworders saleroom.



London Viewing | Highlights

A selection of lots will be on view Saturday 6 - Saturday 13 January at our London Gallery, 15 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ, as follows:

Monday-Friday, 11.30am - 5.30pm 

Saturday, 1pm - 5pm

Sunday - Closed



Stansted Viewing | Auction

Viewing will be held at our Stansted Auction Rooms, Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet CM24 8GE, as follows:

Saturday 20 January, 10am - 1pm

Sunday 21 January, 10am - 1pm

Monday 22 January, 10am - 5pm 

Tuesday 23 January, 10am - 5pm 

Wednesday 24 January, 10am - 5pm 

Thursday 25 January, 9am - 10am 

All lots are, however, extensively illustrated and carry detailed condition reports - see 'Condition report' at the foot of each lot description. 

The auction will take place at our Stansted Auction Rooms, Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet CM24 8GE. 

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Buying a pre-loved, antique, or vintage item not only provides you with unique style and value for money but it also helps to reduce landfill, and the annual emissions of an antique or vintage piece can be as little as one sixteenth of those of its new equivalent!

Sworders is proud to be supporting the work of Antiques are Green - the movement that was founded in 2009 to promote “a greener future created from the past”. Read their fascinating carbon footprint study of a Georgian chest of drawers versus a modern equivalent here


Antiques are Green


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