Professionals in Winchester since 1793


Bowled Over Smith & Son



The highlight of the recent Fine Art Antiques & Decorative furnishings auction at the Winchester salerooms of Andrew Smith & Son was an unusually large 16th century Wassail bowl measuring 15 inches diameter and standing 11 inches high. Discovered during a routine house visit, this was the latest in a string of rare finds for this well established firm of Chartered Surveyors and Fine Art Auctioneers. More unusual then, that this was the second such bowl to discovered and sold by this auctioneer in recent months, both having been discovered locally by same valuer. ‘This bowl was being used to store pinecones in a disused fireplace and the vendor had no idea what it was’, said Gary Loftus, the valuer making the discovery. 


       Wassail bowl sold for £4,900


These bowls are rarely as large as this West Country example and were used as a vessel for a type of punch known as wassail , made from a mixture of anything from cider and brandy to herbs and spices, these bowls were used as a communal vessel into which individual cups would be dipped during various festivities and ceremonies. Needless to say the punch or ‘wassail’ was nearly always of the alcoholic variety.


With much pre-sale interest and with bidders present both in the room and on a variety of telephones, the bidding rapidly rose from its £500-700 pre sale estimate to finally sell for £4.900 to the specialist trade.


Andrew Smith & Son are now accepting entries for their next Fine Art & Antiques auction. Their saleroom can be contacted on 01962 735988 for further advice on selling at auction or email