Black marble to go under auction hammer
A CLUE as to the value of a rare mineral, which has been discovered in large raw amounts in Derby, could be given by the sale of a table.
Several large blocks of unworked Ashford Black marble were found behind the Severn Stars pub in King Street, Derby, during excavation work for a new link road.
rare find: The blocks of Ashford Black marble.
It is considered a rare mineral and Derby City Council is currently considering what to do with the blocks.
Meanwhile, Bamfords Auctions is preparing to sell a table incorporating the black marble at their fine art sale, which takes place on Monday and Tuesday at its Chequers Road auction rooms.
The table's top is a substantial tablet of polished Ashford Black marble inlaid with a mosaic of specimen marble and semi-precious stones.
And, as a rare item, it is expecting to fetch between £5,000 to £8,000.
The piece is a George IV console, or pier table, three feet high and just over three feet wide, with the typical lotus leaf decoration of the period around the top and scrolling supports ending in carved claw feet.
A spokesman for Bamfords said: "The table itself was probably once one of a pair and may well have stood in a local stately home beneath a mirror. The piece is of the very best quality and it is only a pity that it has proved impossible to identify the maker of the table itself."
Once, fashionable Ashford Black marble was made into clocks, candlesticks, book-ends and all manner of goods.
The main source of black marble was Arrock Quarry, on the Sheldon road from Ashford.
Historian Maxwell Craven said the blocks which were found in King Street were almost certainly the only surviving resource of unworked Ashford Black in existence and were probably part of the works stockpile, abandoned when the firm moved in around 1880.