Sale of the week: The brown stuff

Listen to this article


Sale: English furniture and works of art

Location: Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street, London W1

Date: Wednesday (March 2) at 2pm. On view Sunday, 11am-3pm; Monday and Tuesday 9am-4.30pm; day of sale 9am-noon. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7447 7447

Need to know: Mahogany tables, Windsor armchairs and Georgian bookcases – known as “brown furniture” – make up this sale. Although still officially regarded as unfashionable, it nevertheless remains the default choice of furnishing for most period homes in Europe and the US. From a quality perspective alone, it still seems surprising that prices have merely remained stable while other categories have rocketed. Should we be buying now while the buying’s good?

Highlights: An impressive George II console table commissioned for Brightling Park, Sussex, in around 1747 by an ironmaster named John Fuller. Research suggests that the white painted table with marble top could have been the work of leading London cabinetmaker William Hallett. If potential buyers agree, the £40,000-£60,000 estimate is likely to be eclipsed. The other significant offering is a George II carved mahogany tea table bought by the current vendor’s father for £682 in 1948 but which is now tipped to realise up to £120,000. Aside from an interesting marquetry-inlaid centre table at £10,000-£15,000, the remaining offerings fall into the sub-£10,000.

The auction will also see the dispersal of an exceptional needlework collection formed by the late Sir Frederick Richmond. The 63 pieces include a 1660 needlework mirror marking the founding of the province of Carolina (£30,000-£40,000) and a 17th-century panel showing Charles II as Mars and Queen Catherine of Braganza as Venus (£15,000-£20,000). Below: a pair of lady’s embroidered shoes, mid-17th century. The collection could fetch £250,000-plus.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.