Once again Yorkshire oak furniture by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson and the craftsmen who followed in his wake was in demand at Tennants Auctioneers’ 20th Century Design Sale on 17th October, with bidders pushing prices well above estimate across the sale.
Indeed, the sale saw the highest prices achieved at Tennants for a ‘Mouseman’ table, when a 1920s/30s 6-foot 6-inch refectory table sold for £7,800 (all figures exclude buyer’s premium). From the ‘Golden Age’ of Mouseman furniture, the table had a good, deep patina and was adorned with not one but two of Thompson’s signature mice – one running up a leg, and one down.
A collection of Mouseman furniture from Byland Abbey Inn, North Yorkshire saw impressive results for modern pieces, which were commissioned in 2008 from the Kilburn workshop. The collection had garnered much interest prior to the sale, with high numbers of bidders joining in the sale online and on the telephone lines. Highlights of the collection included a set of eight high lattice back dining chairs, which sold for £5,200, and a panelled chest of drawers, which sold for £4,600.
A selection of oak carvings made by Stan ‘Woodpeckerman’ Dodds, one of Robert Thompson’s carvers, also sold strongly, with prices for his fine animal carvings having grown steadily in recent years. The top lot was an English oak mantel clock, the movement flanked by two elephants. Selling for £5,000, the clock had a carved rabbit, which was the first incarnation of Dodd’s trademark before he switched to a woodpecker in the 1960s. A carved English Oak Owl with Woodpecker signature sold well, too, at £4,500.
Elsewhere in the sale, strong results were seen for good lots of Decorative Arts and Design. Highlights included a Daum Nancy Enamelled Cameo Landscape Vase, which sold for £2,200 against an estimate of £700-1,000, and an Art Nouveau Loetz Blue Iridescent Glass and Silver Mounted Vase made in Austria circa 1900, which sold for £2,200, more than double the bottom estimate. An unusual Victorian Astronomer’s Chair by W Callaghan of New Bond Street sold for £1,000, and a pair of rare 1960s Danish Easy Chairs by Illum Wikkelso beat the £300-500 estimate to sell for £1,100.
The sale achieved a total hammer price of £231,550 for 198 lots, with a 96% sold rate.