A life led by design
Design has been perhaps the greatest influence on my life – from collecting as a young man, to becoming a clothing designer with my own shop on London’s Fulham Road in the late 1960s and early 70s. Following my career in the fashion business, requests from friends and contacts to decorate their homes led to several substantial interior commissions and later to my subsequent and current chosen profession as a specialist antiques dealer focussing on the best of British design of the last two centuries.
This sale, inspired by Charles Eastlake’s 1868 book of the same name, is my latest collaboration with Lyon & Turnbull and brings together items by Eastlake and his contemporaries, who championed simplicity and quality, as well as works by subsequent generations sharing the same passion.
Highlights from the June auction include pieces by designers such as Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo, Selwyn Image, George Washington Jack, Philip Webb, E.W. Godwin, Ernest Gimson, William Morris, Ambrose Heal, A.W.N. Pugin, May Morris and from my own private collection, a group of ‘fabric mosaics’ by Mary Ireland.
Paul Reeves. June 2022
Working with Lyon & Turnbull for a live online auction in Edinburgh
Online Auction Date: 28th June 2022
Below, a selection of lots from the sale, to see all visit – Lyon & Turnbull website
GODFREY SYKES AND JAMES GAMBLE
RENAISSANCE REVIVAL CABINET-ON-STAND, CIRCA 1860
Oak and elm, decorated with penwork, of architectural form, the doors to the front cupboard painted in black with putti, one titled ‘PAINTING’, the other ‘SCULPTURE’, the side doors with monogram ‘SA’ entwined with the national plants of Great Britain & Ireland, and surrounded by a laurel wreath, the whole decorated with bands of neo-renaissance ornament in red and black
Lot 6 – See full details on the Lyon & Turnbull website
Note: The style of the cabinet is unusual within the context of British cabinet making, in that it is painted in a neo-renaissance manner, in red and black on light wood. This is a feature that was also employed on a piano designed by James Gamble and made for Henry Cole, now in the collection of the V&A in London.
It is likely that the entwined ‘SA’ monogram stands for ‘Science and Art’ – a feature repeated several times on the West staircase of the V&A building. The staircase was designed by Francis Wollaston Moody, a member of the Museum’s design studio, who was notably influenced by Geoffrey Sykes who had been the first decorative designer of the Museum.
ENGLISH GOTHIC REVIVAL THREE-FOLD SCREEN, CIRCA 1890
Oak, with silk damask panels and glazed silkwork and metal thread embroidery, carved inscription to frame THE QUIRE INVISIBLE, WHOSE MUSIC IS THE GLADNESS OF THE WORLD
ENGLISH, MANNER OF SIR NINIAN COMPER
RARE SET OF FOUR ARTS & CRAFTS ‘FEATHERED ANGEL’ CANDLE HOLDERS, CIRCA 1900
Carved and painted oak, brass, with gilt embellishments – each one 43cm high
Note: These candle holders depict feathered angels holding aloft candle holders. The iconography is thought to derive from medieval mystery plays. These vernacular dramas, which enacted biblical tales such as the Creation and the story of Adam and Eve, were performed all over Europe in the Middle Ages. In England, guilds of performers toured the countryside with their pageant wagons and the actors playing angels would wear – in addition to wings – feathers that covered the body, ending neatly at neck and ankle. These costumes are variously described as ‘feather tights’ or feather-covered ‘pyjama suits’. This representation of angels is particularly associated with medieval carved roof angels, still found in many Norfolk churches.
CHARLES LOCKE EASTLAKE (1836-1906)
AESTHETIC MOVEMENT CHEST OF DRAWERS, CIRCA 1870
Oak, with brass handles.
Literature: Eastlake, Charles L. Hints on Household Taste, Longmans, Green & Co., 1878, p 215 where a similar chest is illustrated. Cooper, Jeremy Victorian & Edwardian Furniture & Interiors, Thames & Hudson 1998, pp.108-9, pl. 240
Note: Eastlake was not a commercial designer and earned his living as Keeper of the National Gallery. Most of his designs were variants based on his published designs, as in the present example.
Lot 168 – See full details on the Lyon & Turnbull website
SWEDISH – ARTS & CRAFTS SETTLE, CIRCA 1900
Pine, with chip-carved decoration, embroidered cotton hanging, bears paper label verso UTSTÄLLNINGEN HELSINGBORG (Exhibition Helsingborg)
Exhibited: Helsingborg Industry and Craft Exhibition, 1903
Note: The Helsingborg Industry and Craft Exhibition of 1903 was an exhibition set up to highlight products from the south of Sweden. The exhibition was very ambitious and included a wide range of different industrial and craft activities. By the time the exhibition closed on September 10th 1903 over 300,000 visitors had seen the exhibition.
AMBROSE HEAL (1872-1959) FOR HEAL & SON, LONDON
RARE “THE COTTAGERS CHEST”, CIRCA 1898
Pine, with original painted finish
Literature: Whiteway, Michael and Gere, Charlotte Nineteenth Century Design: From Pugin to Mackintosh, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1993, p.235, pl. 298 illus.
Aslin E. 19th Century English Furniture, Faber & Faber 1962, pl. 114, illus.
Cooper, Jeremy Victorian and Edwardian Furniture and Interiors: From the Gothic Revival to Art Nouveau, Abbeville Press, 1987, pl. 420.
Note: The influence of Ford Madox Brown’s stained joiner furniture in simple shapes, which he designed for William Morris in 1887, is evident in this early piece by Heal.
Lot 263 – See full details on the Lyon & Turnbull website
Click below to review the online PDF catalogue