It is not often that you get the chance to bid for your very own circus. But auction house Roseberys is offering just that. A handmade model of a circus is among the remarkable circus-related items up at auction this autumn. Here ATG selects four highlights.
Silvers Model Circus in situ at Roseberys saleroom in West Norwood.
1. Silvers Model Circus
The hand-made Silvers Model Circus at Roseberys in West Norwood, south London.
In November Roseberys will offer Silvers Model Circus – a hand-made circus that took its creator David Hardie and his family nearly 70 years to make. Hardie, apprenticed to his family’s tent-making business in Sydney, Australia, started building the first part of the circus in 1931 when he was just 17. Later he moved to the UK and members of his family helped expand the circus. Hardie continued to create new items for the circus until shortly before his death in 2002.
It was first exhibited in 1982 when it toured the UK and in 1984 it formed the centrepiece of the Christmas display in Cheltenham which was officially opened by Earl Spencer, the father of Princess Diana.
The entire model is powered by one motor and is operated by a complicated system of belts and pulleys connected to a single drive-shaft. Every item in the model has been made by hand and is exactly 1:24 scale.
“Purest forms of entertainment”
Roseberys specialist Bill Forrest said: “Silvers model circus has an enviable quality in that every single person who lays eyes upon it cannot help but smile in wonder and amazement. The result of 70 years of passion, skill, patience, and sheer dedication, is surely one of the purest forms of entertainment around today, in an age dominated by electronic tablets, games consoles, television, and computers, and its importance should never be overlooked.”
Silvers Model Circus is available to view at Roseberys in West Norwood, south London, and will be offered in its Fine & Decorative auction on November 22 with an estimate of £10,000-20,000.
2. Laura Knight charcoal
Laura Knight charcoal of a balancing circus performer.
British artist Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970) often featured dancers and circus performers in her drawings and paintings. Tennants is offering this 15 x 9.5in (38 x 24.5cm) charcoal of a balancing circus performer. Inscribed ‘Olympia’, it is estimated at £400-600 in its October 20 sale in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.
3. Corgi Chipperfield’s Circus Mobile Booking Office
East Bristol Auctions is offering this diecast No 426 model of a Chipperfield’s Circus Mobile Booking Office with its original box.
Circus fans might be tempted by toys by Corgi which made a series of products of the real-life Chipperfield’s Circus – the long-running family circus dynasty. East Bristol Auctions is offering a handful of lots, including this diecast No 426 model of a Chipperfield’s Circus Mobile Booking Office with its original box. It is estimated at £40-60 in its October 20 sale.
4. Brüer Tidman’s circus scene
Norfolk-born artist Brüer Tidman’s watercolour and gouache on paper of a circus scene with clowns.
Norfolk-born artist Brüer Tidman (b. 1939) studied at Great Yarmouth College of Art and the Royal College of Art, of which he is an associate member. The semi-abstract painter began painting full-time in 1984 and has exhibited with the Royal Academy and in Switzerland and Finland, and also locally at Aldeburgh Gallery and Norwich Castle. A selection of his work is being offered at local auction house Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Norwich, including this watercolour and gouache on paper of a circus scene with clowns. It is signed and dated 85 and estimated at £1200-1500 in its October 26 sale.