Fine Finnish: Aalto in Hull

Alvar Aalto table and chairs sold at Spicers for £4100.

Rising in inverse ratio to the decline in classic English furniture has been the interest in 20th century design pieces such as the silver birch table and four chairs sold at Spicers (20% buyer’s premium) in Driffield on November 29.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Terence Ryle

Designed by one of the great names, Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), for Finmar, the 4t 2in (1.27m) diameter table with a ‘lazy susan’ and laminate legs and the matching chairs had an impeccable provenance.

The set came with the original sales brochure and price list (table, £6.10s, chairs £3 each) when bought in 1939 by the grandparents of the vendor when setting up their first home in Hull.

Pitched at £2000-3000, it attracted bids from Finland and Denmark before selling online to a London bidder at £4100.

The Alvar Aalto table and chairs sold at Spicers for £4100 shown in the vendor’s grandparents’ Hull home.

With the same provenance, an Aalto silver birch three-tier bookcase showed that even early Finmar material can be quite reasonably priced.

Stamped 733, it had cost the vendor’s grandparents £5 in 1939. At the East Yorkshire auction it was pitched at £200-300 and sold to a Finnish bidder at £600.