Published 17th July 2012
The furniture section of the Summer 2012 quarterly sale of fine art and antiques held on 12th July 2012 produced some exciting results.
The top price of £20,000 was brought by a Mid 18th Century mahogany 'Pepys' bookcase (lot 806). Based on a design originally made for the diarist Samuel Pepys, the antique bookcase had been in single ownership for the past sixty years. Its rarity brought considerable interest from telephone and internet bidders, but it eventually came down to a bidding battle in the auction room.
The rarity of the piece and the resulting price can be contrasted with the George IV mahogany breakfront library bookcase (FS15/807), which was the following lot. Of similar quality, but not of rarity, it sold at and above estimate at £6,600.
The other outstanding lot in the section came from the early 20th Century furniture designer Peter van der Waals in the shape of a solid English walnut extending dining table with additional leaf on hayrake stretcher base (lot 793a). It had been cautiously estimated at £4,000-£6,000, but in the event sold for £14,500 after protracted bidding.
Peter van der Waals was born in the Hague and trained as a cabinet maker in Holland. He spent three years working in Brussels, Berlin and Vienna before moving to London, where in 1901, he met Ernest Gimson, the Cotswold School designer of furniture and metalwork and joined him in his Deneway workshop until Gimson's death in 1919. The table had been made for Alfred James of Edgeworth Manor, Stroud, Gloucestershire, who was himself a talented craftsman and supporter of Waals. There is an entry in Peter Van der Waals clients ledger stating the original purchase price in February 1929 of £63-10-0.
Decorative furniture continues to excel with a French gilt brass mounted tulipwood and parquetry Bonheur du jour in the Louis XVI manner (FS15/775) selling towards the upper estimate at £2,850 and a George IV brass mounted rosewood octagonal games table with inlaid marble chess board (FS15/741) realising £1,500.
'Brown' furniture continues to represent exceptional value for money, although anything slightly unusual will generate the sort of interest last seen in the boom years of Antique furniture. This was the case with the George III mahogany estate cabinet (FS15/740). Consigned form a solicitors office it was modestly estimated at £300-£400, but was sold at £4,200.