At a recent auction, a music cabinet was sold without reserve and fetched £36,000. The music cabinet was found to be a previously lost design of Charles Rennie Mackintosh , the respected Arts & Crafts furniture maker.
The local female owner of the music cabinet had kept it in storage in her garage. She revealed that it was purchased by her grandmother some time during the 1950s from another auction house, but the importance of the cabinet was not understood.
Following some research, a watercolour of the design was found in The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery’s collection in Glasgow. The watercolour is dated and signed 1898, and has the inscription: ‘Music Cabinet for Mrs Pickering, Braxfield, Lanark’.
Originally the shelves in the music cabinet would have been concealed under an embroidered or stencilled panel.
During the same year, Macintosh constructed cabinets for other clients that had the identical distinctive cornice. Among the clients who had one made was Alex Seggie, the well-known Edinburgh printer.
Bidding at the auction was brisk and the music cabinet was eventually purchased by someone in the trade for £36,000 – excluding the 15% buyer’s premium that also had to be paid. When purchasing at an auction, it pays to be aware that the hammer price when the gravel falls is not the final price payable by the purchaser.
If you contact a local reputable dealer in Preston, it may have the antique item you want or be able to source it for you, often at a price much lower than what you would pay at auction.
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