On The Block: Into The Garden, As Only The British Can Do It


With a gallery and extensive gardens for exhibitions located just outside of London, Summers Place Auctions is the world’s leading specialist auctioneers of sculpture and design for the garden. About 60% of the lots sold actually go to overseas buyers. This week’s online sale ranges from traditional reproductions of the ancient Roman, urns and pots inspired by Tuscany, plus contemporary British sculpture with some natural history items.

We’ve chosen a selection of items that won’t cost a fortune to ship. And some that will. Like the massive and mossy stone balls (above). At 22 inches high, they’re actually finials but look just fine on the ground, and expected to bring between $1,100 and $1,700. Bidding can be done online, and we’ve taken the liberty of roughly converting pounds to dollars.

While we’re a pushover for lichen and the moss-covered, the really accessible lots are cast iron pieces like Coalbrookdale garden benches (above and below). Mass-produced in the 1870s, cast iron garden furniture was the height of outdoor and conservatory fashion for England’s rising middle classes. These two rare survivors of weather, neglect, shifting fashions, and wartime metal drives have pre-sale estmates that reflect their rarity. Lot 18 estimated at $5,800 to $8,800; Lot 19 (below) is expected to bring between $4,400 and $7,300. Some buyers may elect keep their purchases indoors.

Made about 50 years earlier, this simple Regency period bench wrought iron bench, Lot 482, is expected to sell for $1,100 to $1,700. The patina is priceless.

There are two of these early-20th century white-washed pine conservatory tables in the sale. Lot 12 and the identical Lot 13 are both over 11 feet long, and each is expected to bring between $2,200 and $3,600.

It’s not all shades of Downton Abbey. Lot 504 is a pair of Mid-century fiber cement seats designed by Swiss architect Willy Guhl. Still looking very current, just with more moss, and expected to bring between $1,700 and $2,600.

There are a number of modern teak pieces, but we love the massive scale of this 11-foot bench. Lot 473 is estimated at $1,100 to $1,700. 

If you’re still hankering for something really heavy, there’s this 19th century version of an ancient Roman trough. At just under 4×8 feet, Lot 34 is expected to sell for between $5,600 and $8,800 and would make a lovely planter if you don’t actually have horses.

Summers Place Auctions
Gardens and Natural History Auctions
April 14 – April 15, 2015

More news: