From an antique dining table by a Dublin craftsman, sold for £16,000, to an antique desk by Gillows of Lancaster with an upper estimate of £700, the summer sale at Tennants of Leyburn (July 22nd – 23rd) was full of surprises. Often, it was the less spectacular items that caused the most astonishment.
No doubt the £105,000 achieved for a Chinese porcelain bowl (estimate £1200 – 1500) will be making the antique news headlines any time soon. But the mark-up on Oriental artworks has become so commonplace they are now almost predictable. Perhaps of more interest were the prices achieved for Oriental furniture. A pair of Chinese hardwood and cane armchairs, with an upper estimate of £1200, sold for £6,500; while an 18th century Portuguese or Chinese export chair, estimated to be worth £200 – 300, realized £3200. This was on a par with the £2700 realised for a harlequin set of low Windsor Victorian dining chairs , carrying an estimate of £800 – 1100.
In Cumbria, Victorian dining chairs regularly come up at auction. They can be a bit of a mixed bag for the auctioneer, so it was reassuring to see them do so well at Tennants. While 18th century Louis XV Cabriolet chairs sold for less than their lower estimate, a set of Victorian balloon backed dining chairs , estimated at £600 – 800, realised £1700. A set of late Regency or early Victorian dining chairs realised £1100 against an upper limit of £700, while £4500 was realised for a harlequin set of Hepplewhite style Victorian dining chairs.
Lancashire antique dealers regularly visit sales like those at Tennants to buy antique balloon back dining chairs and other fine furniture.
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