At an otherwise unprepossessing general sale of antique and modern household goods, one lot stood out above the rest – a set of Arts and Crafts furniture made in the Peter Waals workshop.
Consisting of an extending antique dining table in the style of Ernest Gimson, and eight dining chairs in the style of CFA Voysey, the set sold as a single lot for £31,000. This made it the highest selling lot in the sale by a large margin and a house record for the Scarborough auction house involved.
The furniture was part of a consignment from a rented cottage on a North Yorkshire estate, in which the remaining items had a value of less than £600. However, it was not the only 20th century Arts & Crafts furniture in the room, as the sale also included two Thomas ‘Gnomeman’ Whittaker lots – a drop-leaf dining table and chairs, and an oak cabinet, which did well. Good Victorian furniture also proved its worth, with one burr walnut antique cabinet going under the hammer for £2,400.
Peter Waals (1870 – 1937) was a Dutch cabinetmaker who was introduced to Ernest Gimson (1864 – 1919) in 1901, and promptly offered the job of foreman and chief cabinetmaker at his Gloucestershire workshops. This was where the chamfered antique dining table in the Scarborough sale was made, to a Gimson design of the early 20th Century. The chairs, however, were to a later design by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941), made around 1921.
For good quality Arts and Crafts furniture, Ribble Valley collectors should visit a local antique dealer. The Peter Waals set went to ‘someone in the trade’, who fought off heavy competition but still had further commission to pay.
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