High hopes for Mouseman furniture in sale

Some impressive examples of furniture by the renowned Yorkshire craftsman Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson are to be included in Elstob Auctioneers’ Fine Art & Antiques Sale on November 8 in Yorkshire.

The items include pieces from the early days of the renowned Mouseman workshop that will be of great interest to collectors of Thompson’s work.

Central to the collection is an oak dressing chest, circa 1930-1940, which is expected to reach between £4,000 and £6,000. It has two short drawers over two long drawers and is topped with a moulded mirror. Both the mirror and chest carry the signature mouse carvings.

Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson dressing chest

From the same era is a stand-alone oak dressing table mirror of exceptional colour quality which carries a guide price of £1,000-£1,500. Another stand-out lot is a set of eight impressive oak panel-back dining chairs – each with the carved mouse signature – that has been valued between £2,000 and £3,000.

“The work of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson has always been popular, particularly in the North of England and we are lucky to have these highly sought after pieces from his workshop in this sale,” said the auction house’s director, David Elstob.

“Quality English oak furniture is widely seen as a good investment at the moment so we are hoping to see a great deal of interest in these pieces,” he added.

Robert Thompson (1876-1955) was part of the 1920’s revival of craftsmanship inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement led by William Morris, John Ruskin and William Carlyle. He set up his own furniture business in Kilburn, North Yorkshire that is still run today by his descendants.

His style became much sought after and was characterised by a carved mouse on almost every piece, thought to have come about following a conversation about “being as poor as a church mouse” with one of his colleagues. This tradition was adopted by his ‘disciples’ who followed his style of working in Yorkshire oak and gave rise to a host of makers such as Colin ‘Beaverman’ Almack and Derek ‘Lizardman’ Slater. Thompson’s work can be seen across the world, including local sites such as Ampleforth Abbey and St Mary’s Church in Beverley.

Elstob’s November Fine Art & Antiques Sale consists of over 700 lots which include many unique and valuable items. Other noteworthy items include a stunning Chinese huanghauli and hongmu ‘cracked-ice’ console table adorned with exquisite butterfly handles, a 19th-century bronze figure of Hercules, as well as a large number of pieces by French designer Rene Lalique.