Mouseman reading chair starts new chapter

New house records were set for furniture by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson in a recent sale at a North Yorkshire auctioneer.

Tennants Auctioneers’ 20th Century Design Sale saw an English oak reading chair made by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson sell for a hammer £8,500. Made in the 1930s, the chair was carved with two trademark mice, and beat the previous house record for a Mouseman reading chair of £7,200, which was set in 2014.

An oak reading chair by Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson

Two more house records were achieved for a Mouseman burr oak octagonal coffee table, again from the 1930s, which sold for £8,000, and a pair of carved English oak red squirrel bookends, which fetched £4,200. 

The popularity of Arts and Crafts furniture continued with the sale of a private collection of furniture by Stanley Webb Davies, commissioned in the 1940s and 1950s by Mrs Annie Winifred Philipson of Flookburgh, Cumbria and which had passed down through her descendants. The collection, which comprised six lots, sold for well above estimate for £6,550, and included a chestnut bookcase, selling for £1,800, and two English oak occasional tables, which sold for £1,300.

From another vendor came a 1950s walnut nest of three tables, which sold for £1,100. Elsewhere, an English oak cross banded chest of drawersmade by an unknown maker in 1981 attracted much interest, selling for £1,100 against an estimate of £250-350. Also selling well was a walnut rocking chair designed by Cassina Technical Group circa 1955, which sold for £1,900. The chair showed points of similarity with known designs by Gio Ponti, who designed several chairs for Cassina during his career. 

A jug by Jim Malone

The Michael Claxton Collection of British Studio Pottery, which was put together over the course of fifty years and comprised over 350 pieces, attracted interest from collectors around the country, and sold for a total hammer price of £16,520 for the 93 lots. The top lots of the collection were a tall stoneware faced jug by Jim Malone, which sold for £850, and a stoneware teapot and cover by Richard Batterham, which sold for £600. Indeed, all the pieces on offer by Batterham were much in demand; he is regarded as one of the most important potters of the last fifty years, and a master of his craft who quietly dedicated himself to produce an outstanding body of thrown stoneware posts from his Dorset studio. 

An engraved glass vase by Ronald Pennell

Further notable results included a charming wheel-engraved glass by Ronald Pennell entitled “In Between”, depicting a crocodile as the embodiment of the forces of nature fighting an everyman figure, which sold for £1,700, and two Swedish Art Nouveau patinated bronze vases by Hugo Elmqvist, which garnered international interest before selling for £1,900 and £950.