George II table takes £17,500 and Churchill letters get away

George II occasional table – £17,500 at Dawson’s.

As a reminder of the days when a piece of quality furniture could be expected to top a wide-ranging provincial sale, a George II giltwood and gesso occasional table led the way at Dawson’s (20% buyer’s premium) 550-lot event in Maidenhead.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Terence Ryle

Standing 2ft 5in (74cm) high, it was very much in the style of James Moore or Elizabeth Gumley.

Moore (c.1670-1726), cabinet maker to George I, married Elizabeth, one of a renowned family of cabinetmakers. A talented craftswoman in her own right, she took over the appointment of royal cabinetmaker on her husband’s death.

Both she and Moore were particularly well known for their gilt gesso furniture and the table was a classic of the era. Its inherent fragility and age had brought losses throughout but there was no obvious warping and, against a £1500-2000 estimate, it sold to a private buyer at £17,500.

Bulldog spirit

The June 22 sale also added to auctioneer Peter Mason’s reputation for Winston Churchill memorabilia. In April, a cigar half smoked by the great man which was offered along with various letters and invitations sold at £700 in the Buckinghamshire rooms.

At the June sale a Churchill handwritten letter dated January 1906 had the extra rarity of coming from the years 1904-22 during which he was a Liberal Party MP. On Colonial Office headed paper – Churchill had just become under secretary for the colonies – it was entered by descendants of the recipient, the Rev William Turner. He had backed Churchill’s campaign to become Liberal MP for Manchester North West.

It sold to a collector of Churchilliana at £1000.