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November 29, 2011, 04:54 PM

The right kind of crooks and a looker at Gaze's

By Thornton Kay

Lot 8082 A fine looker's sheep and lamb dual neck crook sold for 180 [photo Gaze

Lot 8080 rustic iron leg crook 32 [photo Gaze
Lot 8078 A late 19thC iron leg crook 55 [photo Gaze
A leg crook made of copper 2000BC, Cyprus [photo Metropolitan Museum

Norfolk, UK - A small section of shepherdalia at Gaze's rural and domestic bygones sale last Saturday had several lots of shepherd's crooks covering the gamut of 18th and 19th century types, the most expensive of which, an iron and wood looker's sheep and lamb neck crook, made 180. Since the 18th century crooks have been rated as neck or leg crooks depending on the loop size. Although crooks are recorded to have been around since ancient Egypt - Osiris carried a gold and copper neck crook symbolising 'rule' - they went out of fashion in medieval Europe, to be substituted by club or staff to attack wild animals, followed by a 'houlette' which was a staff with a carved spoon shape at one end, which the shepherd used to dig out a divot which was then thrown beyond a straying sheep to bring it back into the fold. Hooked iron crooks seem to have developed in the 18th century.

A looker was the name given to a shepherd working Kent's Romney marsh which during the 18th century had been amalgamated into several large estates. A looker was a self-employed marshman who might look after several hundred sheep belonging to several estates, living in a looker's hut during the lambing season and inclement weather. The last lookers died out in the 1950s, and of the several hundred Victorian looker's huts few are left.

The top lots at this bygones sale were both display cabinets. A Carr & Co three shelf biscuit cabinet with missing glazing was the top lot at 800 (est. 460-690), bought by a trade buyer on behalf of a Japanese client. A De La Rue 'Onoto the Pen' cabinet sold for a mid-estimate 380. Onoto was the first plunger filler fountain pen, produced by De La Rue from 1905.

Coming up in 2012 at Gaze's will be more sherpherdalia, a collection of 1,200 pieces of Kenrick cast ironware which will sell at both the architectural and the bygones sales, and a magnificent collection of bagatelle and frog games.

Next sales at Gaze: Rural & Domestic Bygones Saturday 21st January 2012; Architectural Salvage Saturday 18th February 2012.

T W Gaze Llp

T W Gaze: Rural & Domestic Bygones 26 November 2011 results

Story Type:  Auction Report

ID: 63364

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