No sign of Mouseman demand tailing off

Never out of fashion, the best furniture by Robert Thompson is going through one of its periodic surges – as evident at Wilkinson’s Doncaster rooms last month (ATG No 2369) and at Sworders of Stansted Mountfichet (ATG No 2363) in October.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Terence Ryle

A c.1935 ‘Mouseman’ adzed oak wardrobe – £6800 at Hartleys.

In the Mouseman’s heartland, Ilkley auctioneer Hartleys (17.5% buyer’s premium) has long been an outlet for the adzed oak furniture made at the Kilburn workshop. The November 28 sale had some of the most desirable pre-war material to tempt private enthusiasts and the trade.

Top-seller was a 5ft 6in (1.68m) fitted wardrobe of multi-panelled form with half penny moulded cornice and wrought-iron latch and hinges on the two doors. Dated c.1935 and estimated at £3000-5000, it went to a private buyer at £6800.

Going to the trade, a 3ft (91cm) wide chest of two small and three long drawers with multi-panelled sides from the 1930s made £5400 (estimate £2500-3500) while two of Thompson’s famous c.1940 ‘Monk’s’ armchairs with curved bow rails each took top-estimate bids of £1500.

Rarity clocked

‘Mouseman’ post-war clock carved with elephants – £5600 at Hawleys.

A later – but altogether rarer – piece by the Thompson workshop appeared for sale at Hawleys (15% buyer’s premium) in Beverley on November 18. Estimated at £500-800, a post-war clock carved with a pair of elephants sold to a UK collector at £5600.

According to a London specialist Arts & Crafts dealer who six years ago sold very similar 17½in (44cm) wide clock for ‘a significantly lower sum’, this was a very strong price. The dealer said: “There appears to be a totally different breed of Mouseman collectors for such things as this clock and other small carved figures and animals. But this clock may well appeal to both camps. To the best of my knowledge there were perhaps only 20 of these clocks made in the 1950s.”