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Mouseman Furniture from Marco Pierre White's Rudloe Arms Hotel up for Auction

9th September 2021.

A collection of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson furniture and furnishings from legendary chef Marco Pierre White’s hotel the Rudloe Arms in Wiltshire, is coming under the hammer at Tennants Auctioneers in North Yorkshire. The 65 lots, which includes an array of classic Mouseman pieces, will be sold in the 20th Century Design Sale on 9th October.

Marco Pierre White, who was born in Leeds, says of the collection:

“As a boy growing up in West Yorkshire, I used to go fishing in Otley where I often walked past Chippendale’s House, who I knew was a furniture-maker. I remember thinking that Chippendale signed his furniture with a mouse - I suppose I had heard talk of ‘Mouseman furniture’ and put two and two together.

 Years later I saw a Squirrelman candelabra and read of his link with Mouseman furniture. Investigating further, I soon discovered the real author of the mouse signature – Robert Thompson.

 I began collecting pieces to furnish the Rudloe Arms Hotel on the edge of the Cotswolds; not only is Mouseman incredibly practical and durable – perfect for a busy hotel – but it is beautiful and so tactile, especially the adzed surfaces. English oak is a fantastic material.

 Now, having found myself with pieces of Mouseman furniture surplus to the current needs of the hotel, I am delighted to return a selection to Yorkshire where they will find new homes. “

Highlights of the collection on offer include an impressive 10 foot oak refectory table, made in 1955 for the boardroom at John Smith’s Brewery, Tadcaster (estimate: £4,000-6,000 plus buyer’s premium), a pair of oak hallway benches commissioned by William Rees-Mogg for Ston Easton Park, near Bath, in the 1960s (estimate: £3,000-5,000), and a rare oak carving of the North Shields Wooden Dolly (estimate: £5,000-7,000). The Wooden Dolly is a copy of the large scale version made by the Mouseman workshop in 1958 of a fishwife carrying a basket that sits on Liddell Street, North Shields; it is one of a series of such carvings that has been on the same site for over 200 years, inspired by an old ship’s figurehead erected by shipowner and brewer Alexander Bartleman, to celebrate the town’s maritime heritage.

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