A family collection of rare early pieces of furniture by the famed Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson are set to go under the hammer at Tennants Auctioneers on 25th July as part of the 20th Century Design Sale.
Dating from the 1930s, the pieces were commissioned by the late William Becket Henderson, a wool merchant from Keighley and later Kettlewell, near Skipton. Robert Thompson’s original sales records held in the workshop archive at Kilburn, North Yorkshire, show that William Henderson began commissioning furniture as early as 1926, when the Mouseman made a table for him.
A selection of items commissioned by Henderson are now coming up for sale, which include fine bedroom furniture, a desk and two corner cupboards. Highlights of the collection include two impressive 1930s oak panelled double wardrobes, complete with original hand-wrought iron hinges and latches (estimate: £4,000-6,000 each plus b.p.). Two 1930s oak bedside cupboards, which are always highly sought-after at auction (estimate: £1,500-2,500 each plus b.p.), are joined by a pair of oak panelled 3-foot 6-inch bedsteads (estimate: £1,500-2,500 plus b.p.).
Of interest to serious collectors of Mouseman furniture is a Portrait of John Henderson, son of William Becket Henderson, in which the young boy is seated on a Mouseman stool (estimate: £300-500 plus b.p.). The portrait was painted in 1950 by Reginald Grange Brundrit, who was educated in Skipton and Bradford, and the painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy.
Aside from the Henderson Collection, other desirable pieces of Mouseman furniture in the sale include a 1930s oak mantle clock (estimate: £1,000-1,500 plus b.p.) and a pair of oak tall panelled cupboards (estimate: £1,500-2,000 plus b.p.), which were made in the 1940s or 1950s.