Charity Shop Find is Rare Theatre Souvenir of Artic Explorers   

Charity Shop Find is Rare Theatre Souvenir of Artic Explorers  

A fairly unassuming playbill bought in an Epping charity shop for £5 sold for £4,750 in our auction of Fine Interiors on Wednesday 30 June after it was discovered to be a rare theatrical advertisement printed on the H.M.S Resolute during its Arctic expedition in the 1850s.

The unnamed buyer took a liking to the framed piece after seeing another shopper inspect it and put it down again. Thinking that the silk looked to have some age and intrigued by its charm, they conducted some research of their own and found a similar example had sold at Christie’s in 2004 for over £2,000. Excited by its prospects, they brought it in to us and entered it for sale in our June Fine Interiors auction.

 

 

HMS Resolute Playbill

 

 

The playbill, advertising performances of ‘The Taming the Shrew’ and ‘The Two Bonnycastles’, is a fascinating insight into the lives of the ship's crew. To alleviate their boredom during the winter months berthed at Dealy Island off the south shore of Melville Island, Canada, the men would put on performances complete with costumes and advertising playbills such as this one. After the 1853 season advertised on this playbill, the HMS Resolute became stuck in ice and had to be abandoned, later to be found by American whalers and sailed back to Britain to be presented to Queen Victoria in 1856. As a gesture of thanks, timbers from the ship were gifted to US President, Rutherford B Hayes in 1880, who used them to make the Resolute Desk which is still located in the White House's Oval Office today.

After significant interest from the UK and America, a successful UK trade buyer secured the lot for £4,750 including fees.

"It's remarkable what still turns up in Charity shops. They really would be better taking professional advice before selling their art and antiques. However, this was a great find for our vendor who knew we have a good track record selling items from the so-called Heroic Age of Polar exploration," said Sworders Chairman Guy Schooling.

 

VIEW LOT

 

 

 

 


 

Recent News

 

The Diverse Female Representations in Old Master Paintings

As the gavel readies to strike at Sworders' upcoming Old Masters, British and European art auction, the canvases tell tales of feminine divinity, sanctity, virtue, elegance, and natural beauty. This collection offers a fascinating journey through the multifaceted representations of women, each portrayal a reflection of societal values and artistic sensibilities of the time.

21 June 2024

John Savident | A Theatrical Life Beyond Coronation Street

Our 26 June Homes and Interiors includes a fine collection of theatrically themed works with a celebrity provenance. They come for sale from the family of the much-loved British actor John Savident (1937-2024) who played the character of Fred Elliot in Coronation Street for 12 years. 

20 June 2024

The Estate of Max Clendinning & Ralph Adron

Sworders Design department is delighted to present the extraordinary collection of Messrs Max Clendinning and Ralph Adron. Throughout their remarkable life together, they were both pivotal contributors to their respective fields of architecture, design and theatre. 

20 June 2024

 


 

Get Sworders News