The antique mahogany partners desks and other fine furniture seen in Cumbrian antique shops are often purchased from regional auction rooms, who in 2011 continued to weather the recession with aplomb.
A combination of high bullion prices and low interest rates helped make 2011 bearable for auctioneers – helped by an increased number of consignors needing to liquidate their assets. In 2011, everything from the antique oak partners desk in the boardroom to the family china went under the hammer.
Among buyers, the apathy towards English furniture such as Chippendale-style antique cabinets, and Lancashire dining chairs, at last seemed to be lifting, with the number of “no sales” markedly down, and sensible hammer prices realised. Oriental antique furniture made for export also proved popular – perhaps riding on the success of imperial artworks sales.
Looking at individual auction houses, Tennants of Leyburn – popular with dealers in the North West – matched their 2010 success with profits of £12m. In the South, Woolley and Wallis of Salisbury achieved profits of £17.44m – well ahead of the £11.65m they made in 2009. In 2010 their profits hit £23.36m, but it must be remembered £9m of this was down to the sale of oriental jades from Crichel House.
In 2011 the Asian art market continued to flourish, with £1.75m paid for a jade Imperial Qing dynasty teapot in May. But there was noted restraint and selectivity among Chinese buyers, especially in the November sales. The shortfall was picked up by healthy performances in the silver and jewellery departments.
Antique dealers in Lancashire and Cumbria will no doubt be keeping the auction houses busy in 2012, stocking their stores with Victorian dining chairs and other fine furniture.
No comments yet.