Berwickshire wedding present fetches £156,000

A FABERGE clock given as a gift at a Berwickshire wedding more than 100 years ago has fetched £156,000 at auction.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 16th June 2011, 12:45 pm

The enamel timepiece was given to Laura Fordyce Buchan of Kelloe and Francis Stewart Hay of Duns Castle, in 1903.

The clock fetched nearly double its highest anticipated price at Bonhams Russian Sale in London.

Bonhams director Charles Graham-Campbell said such items were always “very keenly competed for”.

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The clock was designed in St Petersburg by Faberge workmaster Michael Perchin between 1898 and 1903.

It was given as a gift by the Honorable Lady Miller, daughter of the 4th Baron of Scarsdale.

Her husband Sir James Miller of Manderston is thought to have acquired the rare item as he made his fortune trading with Russia during the late 19th Century. His father served as British vice-consul in St Petersburg.

The clock had been expected to fetch between £60,000 and £80,000, but eventually went for a much higher price to a private collector.

Bonhams spokeswoman Alex Heffler said: “There is great demand for Faberge works of such high quality and craftsmanship as this clock - not only in Russia but all over the world.

“This special little clock also had a very interesting provenance, coming over to Scotland as it did more than a century ago.

“There were six different parties all bidding for it, some in the auction room and others on the phone, and we are delighted with the result, at almost double our top estimate.”

Mr Graham-Campbell said the clock would have been “a very generous wedding present at the society wedding of the year in 1903”.

“It was a clock of the very highest quality, for which Faberge was well known,” he said.

“Sir James Miller made his fortune trading biscuits in Russia and may have come across this exquisite item at that time.

“He and his wife, at Manderston, would have known the neighbouring families at Kelloe and Duns Castle very well indeed.”

The wedding list, with mention of the clock, was recorded in the local Berwickshire Journal at the time.

“Very few of these clocks appear today, particularly in Scotland, and they are very keenly competed for,” said Mr Graham-Campbell.

“Faberge is, of course, sought after around the world.”