When Sworders auctioneers held their Winter Country House Sale recently, the car park resembled a skating rink. Nonetheless, buyers were prepared to face the wintery weather, for this promised to be a sale of rare provenance. A pair of elaborate Chippendale Revival library chairs and two antique desks, by Lancashire’s famous Gillows, were just some of the items going under the hammer.
A familiar tale to collectors in Lancashire, one of the antique desks was a copy. Interestingly, this sold for £2,000, while the Gillows’ original never made its reserve price. The Rococo chairs were also “in the style of”, but went under the hammer at close on £8,000. However, the real excitement was reserved for the estate of Dr. Richard Hammond, late of Scaldbeck House, Norfolk. A handsome 18thcentury fruitwood chest realised over £5,000. A pretty painted Aesthetic corner cabinet realised £1,200, while another buyer paid £6,700 for a rare set of Windsor Victorian dining chairs . Preston academics may know Dr Hammond as a famous marine biologist who had several species of plankton named after him.
The estate of the late Lt. General Sir Christopher Wallace included a number of antique desks. Lancashire buyers could have bid for a George III mahogany kneehole desks, which achieved £1,500, or an elegant George II mahogany writing desk, which reached £2,000.
The star turns at the snowbound sale were a pair of Italian mosaic panels, which sold for £15,600, and – very aptly – a locally painted snow scene, which netted the vendor a seasonal £11,000. Respectable hammer prices were reported on Victorian dining chairs and antique desks, which Preston antique dealers have noted are selling well at the moment.
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