Live Auctions

Our Live Auctions take place on Tuesdays.  Auction Lots are available to view from the Sunday preceding the auction.  Viewing prior to this may be possible by private appointment.

The auction takes place in our purpose built gallery and saleroom with each lot displayed on a plasma screen as it is sold. Prospective purchasers are encouraged to attend the sale and must register their details with us beforehand.  Bidding is by numbered paddle.

Bidding in Person

To bid at auction you must register with us to obtain a bidding number and provide photographic ID. Before the auction, fill in the form at the registration desk, provide proof of identity, and you may be given a paddle showing your bidding number. This paddle should be used for bidding. The auctioneer will note this number when you purchase a lot.   

Auction speeds vary, and generally average between 50 and 120 lots per hour. The auctioneer will commence and advance the bidding at levels and in increments he considers appropriate (generally in increments of approximately 10% of the previous bid) and is entitled to place a bid or series of bids on behalf of the seller up to the reserve on the lots, without indicating he is doing so and whether or not other bids are placed. Please note Conditions 5 and 6 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers contain additional information on bidding. 

Absentee Bids

If you cannot attend the auction we will be happy to execute written bids on your behalf, so long as you have registered your details with us beforehand. Please e-mail or telephone 0044 (0)1403 331331 to register and to obtain a bidding form. A bidding form is also printed in the back of the catalogue. This service is confidential. Lots will always be bought as cheaply as is consistent with other bids, the reserves and other commission bids. To avoid confusion, the sale date, lot number and a brief description should be filled in and signed. Commission bids by email without a signature will not be accepted. In the event of identical bids, the earliest received will take precedence. Always indicate a top limit, i.e. the highest price you would bid if you were attending the auction. Don't forget that buyer’s premium and any VAT applicable will also be added onto your bid if you are successful. "Buy" and unlimited bids will not be accepted. Please refer to our Conditions of Business for Buyers available on our website and also printed in the catalogues. To ensure a satisfactory service please ensure that we receive your bids at least 24 hours beforehand.  

Telephone Bids

If you cannot attend the auction, it is usually possible to bid on the telephone on lots with a minimum low estimate of £1,000. You will need to have registered your details with us 5 days before the auction. As the number of telephones is limited, it is necessary to make arrangements on which lots you wish to bid on, at least 24 hours before the sale. We also suggest that you leave a maximum bid which we can execute on your behalf in the event we are unable to reach you by telephone. Please refer to our conditions of business for buyers’, which is also printed in the back of our catalogues. 

Bidding with

If you cannot attend the auction, you might also choose to bid using Using this service will incur an additional charge in the sum of 5% of the hammer price plus VAT at the rate imposed.



Sealed Bid Auctions

Our Sealed Bid Auctions close at 4.00pm on the relevant published date. Clients wishing to leave bids should contact or telephone 0044 (0)1403 331331 to register and for further information and a bidding form.  A printed Sealed Bidding form can also be found at the back of any of our catalogues. The signed form detailing lot numbers, brief description and the bid(s) which you wish to leave can then be returned either by e-mail to our closed mailbox please clearly state on your email subject the sale date that your bids refer to or send by post to The Walled Garden, Stane Street, Billingshurst, West Sussex RH14 9AB marked "Sealed Bid".  Sealed bids, when placed by telephone, are accepted only at the caller's risk and must be confirmed by letter or e-mail to Bids will not be opened until after the close of the sale and sale results will be sent on the next working day after the bids have been processed.  

We strongly recommend that if you have not viewed the sale in person, that you ask for condition reports on any lots you are thinking of leaving bids on prior to submitting your bids.

How It Works

Sealed bid auctions differ from established auctions in that the bid left is the bid that will be exercised in full.  Therefore if you decide to leave a bid of say £900 on the lot estimated at £800 - £1000 and there is no higher bid, (where two identical bids are received, the earliest received bid will take precedence), £900 will secure the lot subject to buyer’s premium and VAT on the premium.

If you have never bid in a sealed bid sale with us before, here are some things to be aware of as regards leaving bids for this auction:

  • Every lot in the sale has a fixed reserve, (the minimum price for which the lot can be sold) and this is never above the low estimate, it can be slightly below but in the vast majority of cases it is the low estimate.
  • The highest bid (as long as it is on or above the reserve) will be winning bid.  This is the “hammer price” that the lot will be sold for.
  • You should consider leaving a bid of an odd amount in pounds, for example, rather than bidding £1,000, try say £1,004, as many lots have been bought for the sake of the odd £1!
  • You can tailor your bid in ways that are impossible to do in a live auction.  For example if you really like three lots, but only need one, and the piece you like the most is later in the sale, simply mark your order of preference.  As long as your instructions are clear, having looked at any other bids left on the lots, we will do our best to comply with your preferences.
  • In the event of two identical highest bids, the earliest bid received will take precedence

An auction price is made up of different components:

  • The winning bid is called the “hammer” price;
  • A commission, which is in addition to the “hammer price”, is payable to the auctioneers. This is known as the buyer’s premium, on which VAT is also payable.
  • Lots marked with ▲ are subject to Artists Resale Right (ARR), which is 4% of the “hammer price”. All lots that have additional VAT are clearly marked in the catalogue with a †.



Sales by Private Treaty

Summers Place Auctions shall, from time to time, be offering some lots for sale by Private Treaty in our architectural portfolio. These will usually comprise larger pieces of an architectural nature, which will require a longer period of planning and consultation than an auction can provide.

Additionally if you are looking for a specific piece please let us know and we will use our worldwide network of trade and private clients to help source the most suitable item for you.



Buyer's Guide

Buyer's Premium Rates

The buyer's premium payable by the buyer of each lot is at a rate of 25% on the first £50,000, then 20% up to £250,000 and 12% on the amount by which the hammer price exceeds £250,000, plus an amount in respect of VAT thereon (see below).

VAT & Taxes

VAT on Hammer Price and Buyer's Premium and VAT Symbols in the Catalogue Property with no VAT symbol 

Where there is no VAT symbol, Summers Place Auctions Ltd are able to use the Auctioneer's Margin Scheme and VAT will not normally be charged on the hammer price.

Summers Place Auctions Ltd must bear VAT on the buyer's premium and hence will charge an amount in lieu of VAT at 20% on this premium, which will not be shown separately on the invoice.

Property with a @ symbol

It is assumed that items sold to buyers whose address is in the European Union (EU) will be remaining in the EU. The property will be invoiced as if it had no VAT symbol. It is assumed that items sold to buyers whose address is outside the EU, will be exported from the EU. The property will be invoiced under the normal VAT rules (see 'Property with a † symbol above).

Property sold with a ‡ or Ω symbol

These items have been imported from outside the EU to be sold at auction under temporary importation. When Summers Place Auctions Ltd release such property to buyers in the UK, the buyer will become the importer and must pay Summers Place Auctions Ltd import VAT at the following rates on the hammer price:
‡ @ 5%
Ω @ 20%

Summers Place Auctions Ltd must bear VAT on the buyer's premium and hence will charge an amount in lieu of VAT at 20% on this premium, which will not be shown separately on the invoice.

VAT Refunds

VAT may be cancelled or refunded on export if strict conditions are met. For advice, please contact +44 (0) 1403 331331. Refunds are subject to an administration charge.

Sales and Uses Taxes

Buyers from outside the UK should note that local sales taxes or use taxes may become payable upon import of items following purchase (for example, the Use Tax payable on import of purchased items to certain states of the USA). Buyers should obtain their own advice in this regard. 


All the relevant lots in the sales have been carefully vetted, mindful of current C.I.T.E.S. regulations, concerning the sale of endangered species. We are happy to provide advice on any lots, to overseas buyers concerning export restrictions; however, it is ultimately the buyers responsibility to satisfy themselves that the correct licences can be obtained from the relevant destination country’s authorities prior to bidding in the auction.

Artist's Resale Right

Purchase of lots marked with the following symbol ▲ will be subject to payment of the Artist's Resale Right, at a percentage of the hammer price calculated as follows: Portion of the hammer price (in €) Royalty Rate.

From 0 to 50,000 4%
From 50,000.01 to 200,000 3%
From 200,000.01 to 350,000 1%
From 350,000.01 to 500,000 0.5%
Exceeding 500,000 0.25%

The Artist's Resale Right payable will be the aggregate of the amounts payable under the above rate bands, subject to a maximum royalty payable of €12,500 for any single work each time it is sold. The maximum royalty payable of €12,500 applies to works sold for € million and above. Calculation of the artist's resale right will be based on the Pounds Sterling / Euro reference exchange rate quoted on the date of the sale by the European Central Bank.

Property with a ♠ symbol

Some of these items require specialist dismantling and may not be available for immediate collection after the sale. Intending purchasers should check the status of these lots before the sale.

Before The Auction

Pre-sale Estimates

Pre-sale estimates are intended as a guide for prospective buyers but all lots can realise prices above or below the pre-sale estimates. Seller's confidential reserves are set no higher than the low pre-sale estimates, except in the rare circumstance in which the reserve has been set in a foreign currency and the exchange rate has fluctuated.

It is advisable to consult us nearer the time of sale as estimates can be subject to revision. The estimates printed in the auction catalogue do not include the buyer's premium or VAT.


In certain circumstances, Summers Place Auctions Ltd may print in the catalogue the history of ownership of a work of art if such information contributes to scholarship or is otherwise well known and assists in distinguishing the work of art. However, the identity of the seller or previous owners may not be disclosed for a variety of reasons. For example, such information may be excluded to accommodate a seller's request for confidentiality or because the identity of prior owners is unknown given the age of the work of art.

Condition of Lots

All lots are available for inspection and Condition Reports are available on request. However, all lots are of an age and type which means that they may not be in perfect condition and should be viewed by prospective bidders; please refer to Condition 3 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers.

Summers Place Auctions Ltd is happy to provide an informal opinion as to the general condition of a lot, as a courtesy to our clients.  However, we must advise you that we are not professional restorers or conservators and we do not provide any guarantee or warranty as to a lot's condition.

All lots are offered for sale "as viewed" and subject to the applicable Conditions of Business for Buyer's condition, which are set out in the sale catalogue and are available on request. Accordingly it is recommended that prospective buyers inspect lots or have their advisors do so, and satisfy themselves as to condition and accuracy of description.

Electrical and Mechanical Goods

All electrical and mechanical goods are sold on the basis of their artistic and decorative value only, and should not be assumed to be operative. It is essential that any electrical system is checked and approved by a suitably qualified electrician, prior to use.


Payment is due in sterling immediately after the sale and before purchases can be released. Payments in person can be made in the saleroom on the day of the auction using mobile banking, debit cards or by cheque. Payments may also be made by post, debit card transactions by telephone or electronic transfer to our bank. Cash will not be accepted.

Summers Place Auctions Ltd welcome the following methods of payment: 

Bank Transfer

We would prefer payment by Bank Transfers which can be made directly to our Bank. Please contact us by telephone or e-mail for further details.

Debit Cards

We are pleased to accept all major personal debit cards (regrettably we are no longer able to accept credit cards).

Sterling Cheque

Please note that we require seven working days to clear sterling cheques, unless special arrangements have been made with the auctioneer in advance of the sale. Goods cannot be released until the cheque is cleared


We are happy to arrange shipping quotations and have extensive experience in working in conjunction with leading domestic and international shippers. There is no charge for arranging quotations. Please contact us on +44 (0) 1403 331331 or by e-mail to to discuss..

Collection and Storage

On receipt of cleared funds, lots can be collected from the Walled Garden, Summers Place, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 9AB, Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 12.30pm and 2.00pm and 4.00pm. Collection of lots is strictly by prior appointment and must be arranged at least 48 hours in advance. If Lots have not been collected within 3 months of the auction date then storage charges may be applied at a rate of £10 per Lot per day. Buyers are reminded that liability for loss and damage transfers to the buyer from the fall of the hammer. Whilst the majority of lots will remain in their location until collected, Summers Place Auctions accept no responsibility for any damage which may occur, even in the event of Summers Place Auction staff assisting carriers during collection.



Care and Installation

When installing heavy stone, marble or cast iron ornament it is highly recommendable to build permanent concrete footings to a minimum of 15cm./6" for the objects to sit on. This prevents contact with the freezing ground in winter and also provides stability - some vases on stands can end up leaning at alarming angles if placed on soft ground.

When deciding on where to site items it is worth considering the impact that the elements can have on an item of ornament. Nothing is impervious to the passage of time and the elements so a little thought as to what may be the most advantageous as well as damaging conditions will be well spent. In general frost and ice are the most damaging, but wind blown particles can also damage pieces. Trees will weather objects very quickly, the sap and leaves that drop from them is the ideal base for algae and lichen to grow on, by protecting items from the wind it can often be wetter under the tree meaning objects are at risk for longer. It is worth noting that bird droppings can be damaging, especially to marble as can some tree saps. High winds can also send branches flying.

Covering Garden Ornaments

Extreme winter weather can be damaging to garden ornament - acid rain, snow and ice can affect all materials, especially the more porous. In more Northern climates, it is worth covering up ornament, especially marble, for the winter period. It is important to do this correctly as wrapping something badly could cause more harm than it prevents.

As a general rule remember that air needs to circulate and the aim is to avoid condensation forming as this can freeze on the object negating the good practice of wrapping. The use of a breathable membrane and not ordinary plastic sheeting is recommended. The best solution is to wrap items and then to place wooden "sentry boxes"? over them. This adds further protection from a surprisingly common problem of statues etc, being hit by falling branches in high winds. 

Covering Garden Ornaments

Cast iron becomes brittle with age and this is exacerbated by freezing temperatures. Never drag cast iron seats to move them - the legs snap off surprisingly easily. Always lift them with adequate support to stop them flexing and snapping.

Cast iron is normally painted and the painted surfaces will inevitably deteriorate with time. The porosity of cast iron makes it virtually impossible to escape problems with rust. If these are superficial, simply wire brush over the problem area and apply a rust inhibiting primer (zinc or red oxide). Then recoat with the exterior metal paint colour of your choice. One of the most common questions to be asked is what colour should an object be painted, to this there is no right answer, taste is personal. The main foundries offered items in brown, green, white and bronzed. Usually also adding that special colours could be arranged if required. You can help repel the moisture which causes rust by also waxing the surface of cast iron ornament. This needs regular reapplication to have any lasting effect and must be done when the object is completely dry so as not to seal in any moisture.

If the painted surface or the actual metal surface is very distressed (beyond what some may consider an attractive antique look) then consult a professional restorer. Cast iron can be taken back to its original surface which can often reveal a previously hidden degree of cast detail. The likelihood of rust reoccurring is much reduced if this is done as all traces of it are initially removed, rather than just its surface manifestation. 


Terracotta as opposed to stoneware, which is fired to a higher temperature is susceptible to weather damage as it is extremely porous. Planters can crack in heavy frosts. Make sure that there are drainage holes in the bottom and it is worth mixing small pieces of polystyrene in with the earth since when the earth freezes and expands it will crush the polystyrene rather than cracking the pot. If terracotta has become friable and is crumbling due to frost damage, consult a restorer. It is possible to consolidate the surface and make good. 

Stone / Marble / Composite Stone

All are porous and subject to potential weather damage. A build up of green algae and lichens is to be expected, and on carved and composition stone will form an attractive patina. Some composition pieces have an internal iron armature and over a long period of time can deteriorate when the armature becomes rusty as it expands, cracking the stone around it. Most people consider that marble looks better if kept clean. It can be washed off by gently scrubbing with warm water. If more serious, especially if lichen has been given time to grow, always consult a restorer. The lichen roots into the object (visible as little black specks when cleaning marble).

Pollution can also cause patches of black staining in the undercut parts of marble statuary – If desired this can be removed but it needs to be done professionally.

Power hoses can be used but only with extreme caution - used at the wrong distance, and on an object which may have weathered more than is apparent, it can simply blast off the material to be cleaned (eg fingers on statues). NEVER use bleach or any caustic cleaning substance.

All these materials show weathering by becoming friable. Marble becomes sugary in texture and in turn becomes even more porous, and thus even more exposed to damage. It is important to protect the surface and consolidate if there are any cracks - this should be done by professional restorers.

Cracks in any material will be made worse by freezing/thawing and could break apart the object.

Lead / Bronze

These both acquire an attractive patina with age but also need protecting in winter. The effect of verdigris which turns any brown patinated bronze figure green with time is to be expected. The surface can be enhanced and protected by the application of wax - only when completely dry. Lead like composition stone can suffer from the rusting of internal steel armatures - look out for splitting, bulging and signs of rust and consult a restorer if found.

Lead / Bronze

Rust staining is notoriously difficult and sometimes impossible to fully remove. More alarmingly it can be a sign of problems in materials like marble and stone. Often old repairs have been carried out where steel pins have been used to attach broken elements, for example a head to a marble figure. Over time the steel pin has rusted internally. The rust staining is a sign of this rust having leached through the porous material. In time the expansion caused by the rust will break the head off again. Rusting repairs of this sort should be removed by a professional restorer and re-done using stainless steel.




Although gardens have been extensively written about over the last few centuries it wasn't until relatively recently that specialized books on garden ornament first appeared. Perhaps the best early one is Gertrude Jekyll's Garden Ornament first published in 1918 and reprinted by the Antique Collectors Guide in 1982, ISBN 0 907462 16 2. Compiled by the leading garden designer of the Edwardian age, it gives a valuable insight to some of the gardens of the great British country houses many of which have subsequently been demolished and had their statuary sold and dispersed.

George Plumptre's Garden Ornament: Five Hundred Years of History and Practice, published by Thames and Hudson in 1989 traces the history of garden ornament around the world and has a useful survey of antique garden pieces sold at auction in the early days of Sotheby's garden statuary sales by James Rylands.

Garden Ornament by John Davis published by the Antique Collectors Club in 1991, ISBN 1 85149 098 1, provides in depth research into many of the manufacturers from the 17th Century onwards.

Antiques from the Garden by Alistair Morris published by The Antique Collectors Club in 1996, ISBN 1 870673 17 4 and Garden Antiques by Rupert van der Werff and Jackie Rees published by Millers in 2003, ISBN 1 84000 713 3 ' both of Sotheby's Garden Statuary Department have a broader approach to the garden and include material on garden tools as well as good advice on how to source and identify pieces.

Barbara Israel's Antique Garden Ornament: Two Centuries of American Taste, published in 1999 by Harry N. Abrams, ISBN 0 8109 4203 8, is a definitive guide to the development of decoration in American gardens and has very useful sections on makers, foundries and maintenance and identification.
Other Useful Publications
Garden Furniture and Ornament: A Catalogue of the Pyghtle Works, Bedford, Reprint of a 1910 catalogue published by Apollo Books, ISBN 0 938290 08 8.
The Bromsgrove Guild: An Illustrated History, edited by Quintin Watt, Warwick Printing Co, ISBN 0 9509471 6 4.
English Leadwork, by Lawrence Weaver, first published in London in 1909 and reissued in 1972 by Benjamin Blom Inc, New York.
Archibald Knox and Mary Seton Watts: 'Modern Celtic Art' Garden Pottery, by Veronica Franklin Gould, Arrow Press, ISBN 0 9515811 4 7.
Watts Chapel, by Veronica Franklin Gould, Arrow Press, ISBN 0 951 5811 1 2.
Mrs Coade's Stone by Alison Kelly published in 1990 by SPA, ISBN 1 85421 055 6.
Cast Iron Furniture by Georg Himmelheber, published in 1996 by Philip Wilson, ISBN 0 85667 4621.
L'Age de la Fonte: Un Art, Une Industrie 1800-1914, by Jean-Claude Renard, published by Les Editions de l'Amateur in 1985, ISBN 2 85917 045 6.
Taste and the Antique, by Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, published by Yale University in 1981, ISBN 0 300 02913 6.
Other Useful Publications
Garden Sculpture by Michael Symes
A Glossary of Garden History by Michael Symes
Decorative Leadwork by P.M. Sutton Gould, No. 249
Sundials by Christopher St J.H. Daniel, No. 176
Cast Iron by Jacqeline Fearn
Wrought Iron by Richard Hayman
Ironworking by W.K.V. Gale, No. 64
Weathervanes by Patricia and Philip Mockridge, No. 291
Street Furniture by Henry Aaron, No. 47
Old Garden Tools by Kay N. Sanecki