News & Insights

Part II - A Fresh Perspective on Antiques, with Interior Designer Lizzy Mills

10th October 2018.

There was certainly plenty of beautiful objects to catch the eye of interior designer Lizzy Mills of Tennant Mills, when she spent a day collaborating with Tennants. Here are a few of her favourite pieces and explains what attracted her to them.

“Choosing things just because you like the look of them, without any other particular consideration, really is a lot of fun.  My five picks are all items I personally would absolutely love to own.  All the objects are very different from one another, but what they share is that they all have something quirky or remarkable about them, and they are all visually and decoratively striking, and could be a great addition to your home.”

Two Giant Fossilised Half Clam Shell (Tridacna gigantea), dated to 180-240,000 years old excavated from an inland mine in Kenya, including a large spherical 'pearl' made from a broken piece of shell

Natural History & Taxidermy Sale, 5th October 2018

Estimates: £700-1,000 & £1,500-2,500 plus buyer’s premium

“These are beautiful.  I've always loved clam shells.  In fact, I really love all shells, so these couldn't really fail to win me over.  And on top of that, when you know the origin and age of them, they become even more extraordinary.  I would love to have a bathroom big enough to accommodate just one half.  Or what a fabulous table centrepiece one would make, overflowing with flowers, fruit or party favours”.


Bryan Kneale RA (b.1930) ‘Crawfish’

Modern Living: Art & Design, 20th October 2018

Estimate: £400-600 plus buyer’s premium

“This little fellow is just such good fun.  He is quirky and interesting.  He makes you want to take a closer look.  And I believe he really would be at home just about anywhere, whether the setting was contemporary or more classic - a very versatile piece of relatively affordable art”.

An early 20th century carved wooden Noah's Ark and models/figures

The Country House Sale, 21st & 22nd September

Estimate: £400-600 plus buyer’s premium

“Another smile-maker here.  I just love the way the animals have been carved, with a sort of accomplished naivety; and the colours are fantastic too, warm yet muted.  It really is just such a sweet thing. The giraffes are my very favourites. It’s shouldn’t be consigned to the nursery either. It would look fantastic laid out on a drawing room side table or console. What a talking point!”

A Collection of Original Watercolour Designs Circa 1930-1950 for Wallpaper, lino or fabric by Jean Gossein of Gossein Brothers, Laces, Plain and Fancy Nets Manufacturers

Textiles, Costume & Fashion Sale, 24th November 2018

Estimate: £100-150 plus buyer’s premium for a group lot

“These are so wonderful they pretty much make my eyes water. The detail and precision, not to mention the vibrancy of the colours, are exquisite.  As a designer, I love colour and pattern, and I’m also very interested in the history of design and how it evolves, so these tick every box for me. Mounted in simple frames and hung on the wall - wow!”

An Italian Novelty Silver and White Metal Pear Ice Bucket, maker's mark indistinct, the finial and cover stamped 800, 2nd half 20th century

Jewellery, Watches & Silver Sale, 8th September

Sold for: £1050 plus buyer’s premium

“Drinks trolleys, cocktail cabinets and even home bars have been very much back in vogue for a few years now. And what an addition this would make. It’s such great fun. Fruit-shaped things are always so popular, and this makes a change from all the pineapples that have saturated the interiors market. Who needs a bucket when you can have a pear!”

About Lizzy Mills

Lizzy runs Tennant Mills, a residential interior design studio in Surrey. Interior Design had always been a dream of Lizzy’s; after having her two daughters, she left her career in Law and has trained at KLC School of Design in London.

The collaboration with Tennants brings Lizzy full circle. Her father is John Tennant, who built the company from its early days in Middleham alongside his brother, Rodney, the current chairman. Having worked in the salerooms as a child, the immersive experience at a young age continues to influence her work; she enjoys combining different styles and periods in her designs from antique to modern, be it art, furniture, or decorative touches.


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