For many years now the conversation around antiques has centred on the fall in value of ‘brown’ furniture and there is no doubt that traditional British antique furniture represents exceptional value. But this story has overshadowed the many areas of collecting which have continued to attract the attention of growing numbers of collectors and where prices are rising. Amongst these are the fields of Arts & Crafts and 20th Century Design. They cover not only furniture and fine art but also silver, metalwork, ceramics, glass, clocks and objets.
Collectors delight in being connected with the craftsmen and women through the pieces that they made or designed. The quality, clean lines, architectural forms and colours of Arts & Crafts and designer furniture and works of art speaks to our contemporary tastes.
Take for example the three pieces illustrated which are already entered for Toovey’s specialist auction of Arts & Crafts, Studio Pottery and 20th Century Design on Friday 8th September 2017.
The rosewood and brown patinated metal armchair, upholstered in suede, was designed by Jens Quistgaard around 1965. It has an extraordinary pivoting backrest and was manufactured by Richard Nissen in Denmark. Its design is sculptural and amazingly comfortable.
The Liberty Tudric clock was designed by Archibald Knox. Amongst the leading exponents of the Arts and Crafts taste was Liberty & Co. Its founder, Arthur Lazenby, built the Liberty brand by employing some of the country’s leading designers though he insisted that they work anonymously. Amongst these designers was Archibald Knox who joined Liberty & Co in 1899. Knox was the creative force behind Liberty’s Celtic Cymric and Tudric designs worked in silver and pewter.
The Arts and Crafts silver casket dates from 1890 and is perhaps the earliest known example of silverwork by the Keswick School of Industrial Art and therefore one of the earliest examples of Arts and Crafts silver. It is intricately repoussé decorated with birds, urns and leaf scrolls. The Keswick School of Industrial Art was founded in 1884 to alleviate unemployment by the Revd. Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley and his wife Edith. It began as an evening class in woodwork and repoussé metalwork at the Crosthwaite Parish Rooms in Keswick, Cumbria. Within ten years the numbers of men attending the classes had reached more than one hundred and a new school was built.
These objects carry estimates ranging from the high hundreds into the low thousands reflecting the strength of these collectors’ markets. Further entries for the auction are still being accepted.
Toovey’s specialists William Rowsell and Glen Charman are always delighted to meet with fellow connoisseurs of Arts and Crafts and 20th Century Design and can be contacted by telephoning 01903 891955.
By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.