Hansons next Decorative Arts auction in October will feature a collection of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson items, including a rare pair of bookends, a table lamp, bowl, coffee table and work box. All from a local private collector, the items are expected to generate significant interest. The craft based tradition of using hand production methods and tools, as well as the quirky use of the mouse, sometimes incorporated as decoration, makes each item individual and desirable.
A pair of bookends such as the ones which will feature in Hansons auction in Etwall have been known to fetch up to, and in some cases over, £1000 at auction. With a particularly novel use of the famous mouse motif, the bookends, probably made in the second quarter of the 20th century, appeal because of their workmanship as well as classic design.
Other features of mouseman furniture include adzed surfaces, in tables, sideboards and stools, as well as chamfered legs. The firm is still in existence today in Kilburn, but the most desirable and expensive pieces are from the original production. However, even pieces produced in the 1970s and 1980s still attract interest and realise high figures at auction. Specially commissioned items such as bedroom suites, chairs and tables with extra carving or more unusual design features are similarly more desirable in today’s market.
Although Mouseman furniture does turn up from time to time, it is often in individual pieces. The collection at Hansons, especially the smaller pieces, such as book troughs and lamps, is unusual and should attract collectors to the sale.
Hansons said that whilst well designed retro 1960s and 70s furniture continues to be exceptionally popular at auction with private buyers, there is a similarly strong current trend for the Arts and Crafts, in particular the Cotswold School.