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Mouseman Leads Strong Results for 20th Century Design

4th March 2024.

20th Century Design is becoming an increasingly important sector in the antiques and auction industry, as demonstrated by Tennants Auctioneers’ 20th Century Design Sale on 2nd March. The sale drew in crowds of bidders, and a packed saleroom led to strong bidding and a competitive atmosphere reflected in an impressive 97% sold rate with excellent results throughout.

Opening the sale was the Dr. John C. Yule Collection of Linthorpe and Middlesbrough Pottery, the result of a lifetime’s collecting by a Middlesbrough-born GP, which sold for a total hammer price of £11,090 for the 42 lots. With good levels of bidding from buyers from the North East, high prices were achieved for the likes of a Christopher Dresser for Linthorpe Pottery Sake Bottle, which sold for £1,400 (plus buyer’s premium) against an estimate of £500-800, and a group of Middlesbrough Pottery in Scottish themed patterns, which sold for £400.

Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson Furniture continues to dominate, with increasing numbers of bidders from outside the region seeking out the iconic Yorkshire ware. The Mouseman section achieved a total hammer price of £133,790 for 85 lots. A very good offering of early pieces included an English Oak Monk’s Chair made in circa 1932, with the Ampleforth Abbey Coat of Arms, which sold for £7,800, and an English Oak Blanket Chest made in 1928 for the wedding of John and Kathleen Brunton, which sold for £8,000. The chest is based on a 16th century example held in the collection of the V&A, and which was illustrated in Robert Thompson’s copy of Early English Furniture and Woodwork, a 1922 publication by Crescinsky and Gribble. Robert annotated the page next to the illustration with notes and working drawings, and the book is still in the possession of the Thompson family at Kilburn.

Also realising notably high prices was furniture by the Yorkshire Critter Carvers, ex-employees and followers of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson. Selling well above estimate were a group of bedroom furniture from Colin ‘Beaverman’ Almack that included an Oak Panelled Wardrobe (sold for £1,900), a Pair of English Oak Benches by Lyndon ‘Cat and Mouseman’ Hammell (sold for £2,000), and an Oak Sideboard by Don ‘Foxman’ Craven (sold for £2,200). Sculptural oak carvings included an English Oak Cougar by Stan ‘Woodpeckerman’ Dodds (sold for £4,000), and a Yorkshire School English Oak Pheasant (sold for £3,800).

Elsewhere in the sale, a fine Arts & Crafts Oak Writing Desk by Arthur W Simpson of Kendal sold for £3,800, and a William Moorcroft Hazeldene Landscape pattern vase more than doubled the top estimate to sell for £2,200.

The sale achieved a total hammer price of £233,840 for the 296 lots, and a 97% sold rate.


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