Please note the updated buyers premium on our terms and conditions.

Antique Objects, Antique Values

Every day the environment is becoming a hotter topic, no pun intended, global warming and our throwaway culture, single-use plastics, and carbon emissions are all regular headline features. But is there more we can do to halt or at least slow this process when it comes to furnishing our homes and businesses. We at Wilkinsons Auctioneers would like to think so.

Antiques are a beautiful and high-quality way of helping the planet, as they are the easiest way to recycle. Made to last, frequently in pre-industrial periods, when manufacture was an involved and personal process. Furniture and sculpture were produced with certain qualities in mind, making the most of materials and specialized craftsmanship. Naturally, most antique pieces of fine furniture, period oak and sculpture in our, and other antiques auctions will typically be free of plastics, have offset their carbon footprint over the years and will have been produced in a much more sustainable way than their modern counterparts.

The very fact that such objects have made it through to the modern-day, frequently having already experienced many centuries of love and use, only highlights the durability, high quality and workmanship that has gone into a beautiful period oak table or highly decorative cupboard. How many modern-day pieces will be around in 100 years, or even 50 years?

It is an underrated fact that the antiques trade is effectively a mechanism for something we all need to be doing more of: recycling.

As much as we all love a change around, to revamp an area of our home or office, why not do it with a period piece of furniture instead of heading off to an out of town depot or superstore? Taking home a piece with a history represents a moment of turning away from today’s heavy emphasis on now, new, and next, which encourages a disregard for the impact of low-cost mass-manufacture and disposal. By contrast, it is rare that somebody buys an antique with the intention of getting rid in a couple of years.

So, considering antiques isn’t just interesting, it is in our interest, and investing in the past represents a desirable way to protect the future.

To sell or not to sell…

This may seem a little late, to be putting up a blog about entering items in an auction when you’ve already found our website and presumably answered a lot of these questions yourself…but there’s no harm in running over them again just in case, right? So here’s a little round up of the most commonly asked questions and assumptions people make about an auction house, or at least our auction house.

Do you buy items?

No, we don’t buy and then sell items, that would make us dealers. We do take your items, photograph, catalogue and advertise them in one of our sales to hopefully attract a number of bidders which will get you the best price possible for the item.

How do I go about entering something into a sale?

The best place to start is to either send in a few photographs or pop in with the piece, if small enough to be manageable. That way the auctioneer or one of our colleagues will be able to tell you if its suitable for our saleroom, as we do specialise in certain periods etc, and will also likely be able to give you a rough estimate as to what we think it would bring.

Once this has happened and you’ve decided to sell the piece with us, you can take a step back and let us do the work. We will catalogue, photograph and lot the item, entering it into an appropriate sale (period oak or fine furniture etc) and start advertising the piece/sale. The details and image (s) go into a hard copy catalogue which is sold to interested parties as well as being sent to current subscribers and interested parties. Adverts are taken out in a number of publications, as well as through social media and the internet.

The sale will take place on a Sunday, you will have been sent details of this as well as a catalogue as soon as they are available, approx. 2 weeks prior to the sale date. Estimates, reserves etc will have all been agreed prior to the catalogue being published, but can be adjusted online etc afterwards if necessary.

Fingers crossed the sale goes well, the item will be sold, paid for and two weeks (approx.) after this date you will be sent a statement and your bank will receive a BACS payment for the hammer price, minus any appropriate fees.

The sales in 2 weeks, why cant you still take my item?

This is often something that occurs, people see the advertising for the next sale in the aforementioned magazines and think they have something suitable, wanting us to enter the piece as a last minute entry. Although this is possible, in some instances, its not something we recommend as the piece would miss the hard copy catalogue which a lot of our customers rely on. It would also mean the cataloguing and photography was rushed and would likely not be up to our normal high standards.

When do pieces have to be in by?

Generally 5-6 weeks before the next Period Oak or Fine Furniture sale, earlier is better. This allows us to research the piece, contact relevant parties who might be interested and really give your piece the best possible shot at achieving a great price.

What happens after a sale? Or if my item doesn’t sell?

Once the sale is over we’ll get in touch and discuss the next steps, whether you would like the piece back or if you’d rather enter it again in future with a lower reserve etc.

We hope this makes things a little clearer but if you have any specific questions please feel free to contact us and we will endeavour to help.

Lydia Corbett/ Sylvette David: ‘Stories in Paint’


Lydia Corbett was born Sylvette David, but to Pablo Picasso, she was simply ‘Sylvette’. Having caught his eye in the French town of Vallauris at the age of nineteen, ‘the girl with the ponytail’ would sit for Picasso over the course of several months between 1953 and 1954. As his muse and model, she is the inspiration behind, and subject of, over sixty iconic portrait sketches, paintings and sculptures – Picasso’s ‘Sylvette’ series. While sitting for these portraits, she would often sketch to while away the time, and though she did not return to art again until later in her life, today Lydia Corbett is herself a celebrated artist working from her studio in the south-west of England.

It has been said that Picasso found in his teenage muse ‘le secret de la jeunesse’. It would seem that Lydia Corbett, and her art, with its distinctively free and ‘childlike’ style, remains permeated by this rare quality.

Corbett utilises multiple mediums including inks, watercolours, acrylics and oils, and also produces beautiful ceramics influenced by her time with Picasso. Her colourful paintings are predominantly still-life works, taking inspiration from the natural world, her family and friends, and literary subjects. They are often filled with an abundance of beautiful fresh flowers, and frequently also feature human figures in charming, ethereal compositions that sit somewhere on the border between fantasy and reality.

The paintings have been noted for this characteristically dreamlike quality, and Corbett’s gently playful use of figures in particular has been compared to the work of Marc Chagall, while her free, confident lines are said to recall Jean Cocteau. Corbett has described how her liberal upbringing in particular enabled the spontaneous and emotionally honest nature of her artworks – her ‘stories in paint’.

Lydia Corbett/Sylvette David has been the subject of a 1993 BBC documentary film, which focused on her relationship with Pablo Picasso. Her artwork has been shown in the Tate, as well as other locations in London, Europe and Japan, and features in prominent collections.

The 28th April 2019 sale at Wilkinson’s Auctioneers will feature paintings and ceramic works by Lydia Corbett/ Sylvette David: Lots #103-138.

Online Antique and Costume Jewellery Sale

Please feel free to view, and bid on, the beautiful collection of private costume and antique jewellery now available online through the invaluable website,

The collection includes a number of attractive and unusual pieces including a black pearl rabbit brooch, diamond and sapphire art deco bracelet, jet beads, pearls and other very intricate pieces of enamelwork and beading.

The sale itself is online only, but viewiwing is available at the Wilkinsons Site, Friday 10th November 9-5pm and Saturday 11th November 10-2pm. Condition reports are available at request, with the first lot in the sale ending at 5pm on Sunday 12th November, and the rest following on at 1 minute intervals.

If there are any questions please feel free to get in touch and we will endeavour to help wherever possible.

Live Bidding now available through the Wilkinsons Website


We’re pleased to announce that through a joint endeavour with the website we are now offering live bidding direct through our own website.

Please see the live bidding section of our website for further details. All bidders will be required to register but then will be free to bid through the website live on saleday.

There is an additional surcharge for this service, as per using the other live bidding platforms.  If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact us and we will endeavour to help wherever possible.


A Little Insight Into Our Auctioneer

Here at Wilkinsons Auctioneers we try to keep the personal approach and hope that our customers, both vendors and buyers, feel like one of the family when dealing with us, but for all those new customers who dont know us that well yet, we thought we’d add a few notes about our staff, starting with Mr Wilkinson himself.

How long have you been in the business?
As an auctioneer of antiques and period furniture, over 30 years, including nearly 20 at the current site in Doncaster. In the antique business overall, around 40-45 years.

The first antique you ever bought?
I was 14 years old and I can still picture it. We were in Switzerland on a family holiday and I spotted an ancient Swiss army bag, I kept it for many years. But my fascination with antiques started even before this age, my parents liked ultramodern items so I was always interested in antiques whenever we went past an antique shop window because they were so different to what we had at home.

Favourite antique that you own?
A pair of two wooden egg cups passed down from my grandparents. They are simple things, but brilliant at what they are designed for- I still use them regularly. I do love things like that, which are designed well and great at what they do, however simple or complex.

Favourite item sold at an auction?
A Scipione Tadolini (1822-1892) white marble sculpture of a semi naked nymph, it was simply beautiful, hopefully it has remained so as that was many years ago.

An item you would like to sell?
A vintage Bugatti car, as I might get to test drive it before it was sold. Or a Ming vase, something I’d have probably sold in a job lot 20 years ago, that would be nice.

What are the best and worst aspects of being an auctioneer?
The best is easy, it’s that I (we) get to handle so many beautiful period artefacts and objects. Far more than any normal person would see, even though they dont belong to us, and the variety as well, it’s astonishing. The worst thing is a little harder, but I would probably say the fact that we have to work a lot of weekends, it can be kind of a disadvantage to your social life.

Any guilty pleasures?
I love shellfish, so a large plate of gambas always goes down well…especially accompanied by a larger glass of rose wine.

Have you noticed any trends in the marketplace?
I have actually, although I am sure a lot of people are aware of it too. The fact is that a lot of young people are getting into antiques, it might only be dipping their toe or starting with retro items, but eventually these people are moving into what we know as mainstream pieces. A Georgian chest of drawers for instance is very useful in a home, modestly priced, and will last generations- highlighted by the very fact it already has.

Any advice to anyone starting out?
I can think of three pieces of advice: Specialise, specialize, specialise is one! I can’t say it enough, find something you are interested in and the learn the most you can about it, it will pay dividends in the end. The two other things are to spot quality, you may not know which period a piece is from but if you can spot quality you won’t go too far wrong. Finally, listen to other people, no matter how much you think you know someone else might have the key piece of information that you have never heard before which changes everything.

I hope you’ve found this interesting and rest assured the rest of the staff aren’t getting off scot-free, their interviews will pop up shortly so you can get to know us all.


A Valuable Resource For All…

Here at Wilkinsons we have always tried to develop relationships with a variety of customers and vendors as well as trade and private resources of information. So it is my great delight to bring to the attention of some, and no doubt remind quite a number of others, about the useful information which is available in the Antique Collectors magazine.

We have been in partnership with the good people at the Antique Collectors magazine for many years, and have been lucky enough to be both included in editorial pieces as well as eductated on other subjects by them. The magazine, which is available at the following link, containss a wealth of knowledge for new starters just getting into the antiques industry no matter what your interest: 17th Century coffers, 18th Century oil paintings or more modern items such as Victoriana or Cramberry glass.
Seasoned traders will also find it interesting to identify new trends as well as new busisness which could both supply stock or sell their items.

The monthly magazine covers such a large array of topics its well worth subscribing, or just reviewing their fairs and events section to see if something new catches your eye.

If you want further informaton please see the link below which will take you directly to the Antique Collectors magazine website.

16th Century Pewter from the Punta Cana

As you may be aware we’ve recently been fortunate enough to secure a large amount of 16th Century Pewter from the Punta Cana Shipwreck off the coast of America. This material was sold in the last sale, in the latter half of last year and was a very impressive and controversial topic for many, including the English Pewter Society and many historians.

We were able to foster a large amount of publicity for the sale, due to its rare subject and interesting historical impacts, links to which can be viewed below.