Bridging the present gap
Tuesday 09 December 1997
Ideal for repelling party gatecrashers, this late 18th-century bronze mortar, less than nine inches long, estimated pounds 1,000-pounds 1,500 in Christie's South Kensington's arms and armour sale, Friday, 10.30am. It bears the Lowther crest and may have come from Lowther Castle - though there's no proof. Its original use is a mystery. Maybe playful adults fired it at family ceremonies and celebrations (0171-581 7611).
Sedately ticking towards the New Year celebrations - a rare and unusual 17th- century clock by the celebrated Joseph Knibb of London. Over 6ft tall, this, of all timepieces, you might expect to be called a long-case. It is, in fact, a wall clock. The owner added the long trunk to stop passers-by - servants, or perhaps the cat - from bumping the weights. Estimate pounds 7,000-pounds 10,000 in Phillips' clock sale, Tuesday16 December, 2pm. Inquiries: 0171-629 6602.
Arnold Schwarzenegger owes his career to this giant anaconda head - he beheaded the snake when playing the beefy Conan in the 1983 Dino de Laurentiis film Conan the Barbarian. The film was a box-office success, elevating Schwarzenegger to cult status. The head, more than 3ft long, conceals ingenious metal and plastic control cables created by automata wizard Nick Allder. It is estimated pounds 2,500-pounds 3,500 in Christie's South Kensington's film and entertainment sale, Thursday, 2pm - but if Schwarzenneger has bonded with the beast, he will outbid you (0171-581 7611).
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