Large ‘Mouseman’ collection to be sold

Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson dining hall tables and benchesA large collection of oak furniture by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson and Acorn Industries from the University of Hull, Scarborough Campus, commissioned by North Riding College, is to be sold next month.

The furniture, included in Tennants Auctioneers’ Summer Fine Art Sale, was commissioned between 1948 and 1970. The university’s Scarborough Campus was designed by notable Arts and Crafts architect Fred Rowntree, originally for Orleton Preparatory School, who occupied the site from 1910-1940.

Mouseman commissions

Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson chairsIt was from the late 1940s, when the campus was part of the then North Riding College, that the first commissions of Yorkshire oak furniture were given to Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson. Not only was his furniture local, but it was very well suited to the rigours of life in an institution – simply designed and constructed, and extremely durable. Alan ‘Acorn’ Grainger, who founded his own furniture company Acorn Industries, was one of a number of craftsmen inspired to follow in the footsteps of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson. Grainger was commissioned in the 60s and 70s to add to the college’s collection of oak furniture.

Mouseman furniture in sale

Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson signature mouse carvingThe collection up for sale includes refectory tables, benches, chairs, and a unique tea trolley made by Thompson to designs supplied by the College.

Linda Hockley, Campus Principal, said of the sale, “Thousands of staff and students have been part of the history of this campus since 1909 and we know that the beautiful and distinctive furniture has been used by them since the early 1950s. It was enjoyed by the college staff in the lounge for afternoon tea and was at the heart of the campus refectory.

“We hope that as the latest chapter in the history of this campus comes to an end with the University of Hull moving all programmes back to Hull, that this furniture will go on to be enjoyed and cherished as it has been on this campus for decades.”

The sale takes place on July 15.

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