Published 9th January 2014
The January 2014 Fine Art Auction at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood offers an exciting and diverse range of furniture.
A good 'traditional' lot is the early 18th Century walnut and feather banded kneehole desk (FS21/875) estimated at £1,500-£2,000, whilst at the other end of the spectrum is an oak 'Quicksey' kitchen cabinet from the 20th Century (FS21/968), with a fitted interior to rival a 'Smallbone' kitchen – and considerable cheaper with an estimate of £400-£600. These two lots illustrate the huge change that has occurred in the furniture market over the past fifteen years. Back then, the kneehole desk would have carried an estimate of £4,000-£6,000 and the 'Quicksey' would have only made it into an antiques and collectables auction, where it would have been offered at no reserve.
There are some good examples of 20th Century furniture to be offered in this auction, notably an Australian blackbean wood dining table by Edward Barnsley (FS21/966) estimated at £1,500-£2,000, a very stylish Liberty & Co oak dresser (FS21/967), which carries an estimate of £2,000-£3,000 and an oak dress making table made by Charles Voysey (FS21/971) as part of the furnishings for the White Cottage, Lyford Road, Wandsworth, London.
Staying in the 20th Century, a Louis Vuitton trunk (FS21/973) with a paper label number 210310 is offered with a pre-sale estimate of £500-£700.
If you thought that the furniture market was now only about the 20th Century only, fear not, because for the traditionalists among us there is a pair of George III carved mahogany pier tables (FS21/ 901) . Whilst the tops have been replaced, the originals probably being marble, they represent examples of English or possibly Irish 18th Century cabinet making at its best. The modest estimate of £4,000-£6,000 will comfortably be exceeded.
Of equal quality is a pair of Regency mahogany bergere library armchairs (FS21/907). Consigned form a Devon country mansion, they personify English elegance of the early 19th Century and carry an estimate of £3,000-£4,000.
There is a unique opportunity in this auction to buy a stunning Irish shell cabinet (FS21/914). Constructed by Elizabeth Penrose, circa 1800, the fantasy grotto was made using shells from the beaches around Tramore and along the tidal reaches of the River Suir. The cabinet has remained in the same family since it was made; the family having direct links to the Waterford Glass Works. The pre-sale estimate is £8,000-£10,000.
Finally, a cabinet makers dream, or nightmare is a Victorian parquetry circular occasional table (FS21/928). The piece is absolutely smothered with inlay to create an amazing effect. The table is estimated at £2,000-£3,000.