John Hobbs is a name well known to the antiques trade in Cumbria. Victorian dining chairs with Chippendale-style leanings were among 16 lots withdrawn from a Bonham’s auction in November, following a tip-off that several pieces had been substantially “embellished” or otherwise misrepresented to increase their saleable value.
The whistleblower was Hobbs’ ex-employee, master furniture restorer Dennis Buggins, who was then embroiled in a legal battle with Hobbs (since settled out-of-court). This was old news to auctioneers in Cumbria. Antique desks and tables entered by Hobbs had already been withdrawn by Christie’s and Sotheby’s, following Buggins astounding revelations in 2008 that many of Hobbs’ “priceless” antiques were created by (more…)
Prestigious auction house Dreweatt’s made sure their last sale of the season was one to remember, with a special sale of contents from John Hobbs Fine Art Ltd. John Hobbs’ antique desks and early Victorian dining chairs , as Preston dealers will know, became national news following a searing Sunday Times report casting doubts on their authenticity, two years ago.
To most people in Preston, the antique desks and Georgian bookcases in John Hobbs’ prestigious shop in Pimlico, London, were an unattainable dream. He built a reputation dealing in (more…)
In the run up to Christmas, antique dealers in Cumbria expect sales of antique desks and Victorian dining chairs to be overtaken by more festive lines – for example antique decanters which, in their boxes make superb Christmas gifts. On 6th December, one dealer in Norfolk parted with £17,500 for an 18th century mahogany decanter box and two cut glass decanters, originally estimated at £3,000- £4,000.
The auction took place at (more…)
In between selling Victorian dining chairs and antique desks, Cumbria antique dealers like to browse the auction news – especially the big London sales, where five-figure sums are not unusual for Victorian dining chairs. Preston dealers will have been spluttering over their coffee cups on 13th December, when Sotheby’s of Bond Street sold an 18th century marquetry commode for a record £3.35m. This beat the previous record set by Christie’s two years ago, when £2.4m was paid for a (more…)
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 (more…)
Lancashire antiques collectors have a special affection for Tatton Park, and not just because this beautiful stately home features regularly on their favourite antiques programmes. The house is a shrine to Gillows of Lancaster , the illustrious cabinetmaking company which is part of the heritage of Lancashire.
The Victorian dining chairs , antique cabinets and Adams-style bookcases can currently be seen in a distinctly seasonal setting, as during December, the National Trust is bringing the Hall alive with its Victorian Christmas Mansion event, dressing the house and laying on events which recreate Tatton Park Hall as it would have been 150 years ago. A wander round the Music Room, with its (more…)
Many Victorian dining chairs in Lancashire carry the county name. But the spindle-backed, square-set Lancashire chair, like its close relative the Windsor, isn’t limited to Bolton and Preston. These Victorian dining chairs, with their rustic Arts and Crafts charm, are found wherever there are dining rooms, the same style still being widely made today.
Antiques expert Christopher Proudlove writes of seeing a woman piling 10 Lancashire antique dining chairs into (more…)
Gillows of Lancaster Victorian dining chairs and antique desks are Lancashire born and bred. The news is, they’re just as popular down South – with those “in the style of” Gillows selling for almost as much as the originals.
This was the message at Sworders auction rooms in Stansted, anyway, when they had a small collection of Gillows furniture on November 30th. Part of a larger sale, it included antique desks, cabinets, dining tables and Victorian dining chairs, some from Lancashire, and others made in London. Gillows Victorian dining chairs may have Lancashire origins, but it was London where they (more…)
Although English antique desks from Preston often end up being shipped abroad, they aren’t particularly collectible in Asia. However, something associated with them is – rare antique stamps. Following the sale of Britain’s rarest and most expensive stamp to an Asian collector in May, Stanley Gibbons has reported a massive increase in philately sales – primarily to investors in Japan and Asia.
Rarities like this are often displayed on the antique desks of Lancashire showrooms – an interesting and profitable hook to draw the buyer in. Now, rare stamps and documents signed by (more…)
When it comes to variety in Victorian dining chairs, Lancashire and Preston are spoilt for choice. Take a wander round the showrooms and auctions, and you will see early 18th century Regency-style chairs by Gillows, the most famous name in antique furniture in Lancashire . Victorian dining chairs with elaborate carvings and marquetry inlays by the Aesthetic designers. Gothic and Chippendale Revival styles, and simple vernacular styles by (more…)