The Collection of the Late Baroness Herries of Terregles

Angmering Park House, home to the Late Baroness Herries of Terregles
Angmering Park House, home to the Late Baroness Herries of Terregles

Toovey’s Fine Art Auctioneers are offering the principal contents of Angmering Park House, the home of the Late Baroness Herries of Terregles, as a single-owner collection at their Washington salerooms on Monday 7th December 2015.

Baroness Herries of Terregles (1938-2014) was the 14th holder of the barony. She inherited the title from her late father, the 16th Duke of Norfolk and 13th Lord Herries of Terregles, upon his death in 1975. Born Anne Elizabeth Fitzalan-Howard, she was the eldest of four daughters and grew up at Arundel Castle, the Norfolk’s family seat in West Sussex.

Lady Anne shared her family’s love of horses from a young age and would become a well-known racehorse trainer and the second wife of Colin Cowdrey, later Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge, one of England’s most celebrated cricketers.

In 1970 she moved to her paternal grandmother’s home, Everingham, in East Yorkshire. There she became Master of the Middleton Hounds. In 1979 she returned to Sussex, making her home at Angmering Park House on the Angmering Park Estate, close to her childhood roots at Arundel. Horse-racing was in Lady Anne’s blood and she set about training racehorses with notable success.

Lady Anne’s life was always rooted in the countryside and most especially in the folds of the Sussex Downs. Her home, too, reflected the best of traditional English country house taste.

Alfred Bennett – ‘Arundel Castle and the Arun Valley’, late 19th Century oil on canvas
Alfred Bennett – ‘Arundel Castle and the Arun Valley’, oil on canvas

The delightful oil painting by Alfred Bennett (1861-1923) is one of the lots entered from the collection. It captures a familiar view of Lady Anne’s childhood home, Arundel Castle, and is expected to realise £800-1200.

A set of four George II cast silver Rococo candlesticks by Alexander Johnston
A set of four George II cast silver Rococo candlesticks by Alexander Johnston

Amongst the silver is a beautiful set of four George II candlesticks by the London maker Alexander Johnston. They date from 1751 and 1752. The Rococo taste is reflected in their decoration with foliate nozzles, shell moulded sconces, waisted baluster stems and leaf scroll bases. They are estimated at £3000-5000.

A Regency rosewood writing table attributed to Gillows of Lancaster
A Regency rosewood writing table attributed to Gillows of Lancaster

The Regency rosewood and gilt metal mounted writing table has been attributed to the famous cabinet makers Gillows of Lancaster. The familiar anthemion key escutcheon and six-point star handles are to be found on other examples of Gillows furniture. It carries a pre-sale auction estimate of £1500-2500. It is one of several pieces of furniture which have been attributed to Gillows of Lancaster in this sale.

I have always held a fond admiration for Lady Anne and her family. They have made such a remarkable and generous contribution to our community in Sussex. It has been my privilege to accompany them over many years through their charitable activities and, like so many others, I have valued their friendship and support. I am, therefore, delighted that Toovey’s are offering the principal contents of Angmering Park House at our salerooms at Spring Gardens, Washington, West Sussex, RH20 3BS. The sale provides an extraordinary insight into the life of a remarkable family.

Viewing for the sale of the Collection of the Late Baroness Herries of Terregles, and Toovey’s series of other Christmas auctions, begins this Saturday morning, 28th November 2015. For more details and to preview the auction go to or telephone 01903 891955. I look forward to seeing you there!

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 25th November 2015 in the West Sussex Gazette.

Investing in British Antique Furniture Crosses Generations

A set of eight George III mahogany dining chairs
A set of eight George III mahogany dining chairs

It is remarkable to reflect that between 1968 and 2001 prices for British antique furniture grew pound for pound faster than property in the South East of England during the same period.

In 2001 British antique furniture suffered a correction in prices which set a trend of falling values in this market over more than a decade. But in more recent times I have witnessed not only a firming of prices for antique furniture at Toovey’s but the beginnings of growth.

An 18th century walnut bureau with cross and feather banded borders
An 18th century walnut bureau with cross and feather banded borders

The Antique Collectors’ Club Antique Furniture Annual Price Index for 2014 has just been published. According to this index many sectors of the British antique furniture market have held their position, with what they describe as a ‘stable set of [results for] Walnut, Georgian Mahogany, Regency and even Victorian indices’.

The extraordinary percentage growth over two generations to 2001 was partly due to the exceptional value for money that antique furniture represented in 1968. These relatively low prices did not last for long. Growth was underpinned by strong demand from the United States and a passion for English country house taste amongst domestic UK buyers.

The correction in the market began with the tragedy of 9/11 and the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York. After this Americans seemed to reassess their business overseas and their love affair with traditional British art and antiques, largely withdrawing from the market. The comfortable and timeless taste of the English country house fell victim to the success of companies like IKEA, whose famous marketing slogan ‘Chuck out that chintz today’ had begun in 1996. Furniture joined the ranks of the disposable commodity; something which still sits uncomfortably with my sense of the need for good stewardship of the world and its resources. Proper furniture became ‘brown’. The austerity of minimalism had arrived.

But fashion and international crises are not the only things which affect markets. Over my thirty years as an antique and fine art auctioneer I have observed that collectors’ markets are driven by our human associations with objects. I regularly hear people in the saleroom remark “Oh my Granny had one of those!” Often the things we most love will have come from, or have associations with, our grandparents or an older generation. After all grandparents are home grown heroes! Our tastes are frequently informed by these sentimental attachments. Objects and art provide the prompts to fond memories and stories, which make up the patch work quilt of our lives.

A George III mahogany chest-on-chest
A George III mahogany chest-on-chest

So what is underpinning a recovery of interest in British antique furniture? Overseas buyers have been returning via the internet. And there is growing interest from a large minority of UK buyers. It includes a younger television generation with eclectic tastes which include antiques. They, like me, find it hard to reconcile that a piece of flat-pack furniture can be thrown out and into the landfill to answer fashion. They understand the beauty and quality of an antique mahogany piece of furniture. They are generations whose grandparents have delighted in these pieces. In turn they are delighted that no new trees have been felled to answer their furnishing needs and they comprehend that these pieces will last beyond their grandchildren. These exciting individuals are passionate about history but delight in the new and are not afraid to mix antique and modern pieces. Like the post-war generation many of them are renting their homes. Unable to plan the ‘rosebuds’ over the door in the same way as the generations of home owners before them, they are turning to their interiors to give expression to their individuality and creativity. The uniqueness of antiques provides a vehicle for this expression. British antique furniture once again represents exceptional value for money.

Prices for good quality walnut, Georgian mahogany and Victorian furniture range from hundreds of pounds into the low thousands. Perhaps the market is set for the growth in prices witnessed from the late 1960s to 2001. It would be wonderful if antique furniture could once again prove to be a successful alternative investment. One thing is for sure, if you are investing in British antique furniture it will continue to delight you and successive generations of your family. It offers beauty, practicality and a pragmatic path to better stewardship of the world and its resources. Antique furniture is ‘green’ not ‘brown’.

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 18th March 2015 in the West Sussex Gazette.

The Delights of the Edwardian Display Cabinet

An Edwardian satinwood display cabinet
An Edwardian satinwood display cabinet, circa 1910

This week, as I have been visiting clients and friends along the foot of the Sussex Downs, I’ve been struck by the rich way that display cabinets and their contents give delight to their owners.

An Edwardian mahogany Art Nouveau display cabinet
An Edwardian mahogany Art Nouveau display cabinet, circa 1910

Display cabinets have been part of the English home since the 18th century. They provide the collector with the opportunity to display objects to delight the eye and our imaginations. Many of the cabinets you see at auction date from the Edwardian period. They often draw on the classical tastes of the late 18th century. The satinwood example illustrated recently sold at Toovey’s for £2000. It represents the finest craftsmanship and dates from around 1910. Painted with a scheme of rose and ribbon pendants, putti and scrolls, it is both beautiful and practical.

An early 18th century Chinese carved wood figure of Guanyin encased in a provincial display cabinet

Not all display cabinets from the Edwardian period draw on the inspiration of the past. Take, for example, this Art Nouveau mahogany display cabinet, which would almost certainly have been sold by the famous Liberty & Co in London. There is such confidence in its design. The flared canopy and central open shelf seem to allude to an earlier age of English vernacular furniture, and yet this piece embraces the fashion for the Art Nouveau in an uncompromising way. This is articulated in its stained glass and leaded panel door and the stylized floral motifs, inlaid in a variety of woods and mother-of-pearl. The block legs and pad feet are typical of the English Art Nouveau. Today at auction, a cabinet of this quality would realise in excess of £1500.

The contents of display cabinets reveal much about their owner’s passions and interests. Like a painting, each glazed pane of a display cabinet frames a composition. The light plays on the surface of the glass, especially where it is hand-blown and subtly textured, emphasising the layered three-dimensional qualities of the arranged objects. Colour, light and shade play their part in bringing these still-life vignettes to life.

A lively mind may collect a particular field or period. I found this early 18th century Chinese carved wood figure of Guanyin, with its rich blue, ivory and ochre pigment, framed against the gentle tin glaze of a European Delft charger, decorated after the Chinese Transitional taste. Both were nestling undisturbed in a large provincial cabinet.

Of course, others will be more eclectic in their tastes. I was delighted to discover Rupert Bear blowing his own trumpet in the company of a small Roman oil lamp, a piece of the Berlin Wall and a treen vessel, framed by the glass of a wonderful satinwood cabinet.

A Royal Doulton Rupert Bear in the eclectic company of a piece of the Berlin Wall and a small Roman oil lamp

The human activity of dwelling, being ‘rooted’, is important to our well-being. Where we live and our material possessions enable us to articulate who we are and ground us not only in the procession of our own lives but also in the broader procession of human history.

The display cabinet perfectly encases those things which tell the stories of our lives – prompts to both fond memories and knowledge, representing the patchwork quilt of our lives.

Display cabinets and their contents have the power to delight. Perhaps you need one in your life!

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 8th October 2014 in the West Sussex Gazette.

Five Lot Preview of the Toovey’s August Auction

Lot 2200
A pair of late 19th century Louis XV style kingwood marquetry and parquetry card tables at Toovey's August Auction
Lot 3023

Ahead of Toovey’s auction on the 12th, 13th, 14th & 15th August, we look at five lots that will feature in the summer sale.

The Specialist Sale of Paper Collectables is the largest to date and boasts some fantastic quality items, including the Great Britain 1882 5 shilling rose on blued paper Plate 4, used. Offered as Lot 3023, this single stamp carries a presale estimate of £500-600.

Lot 1025
Lot 1050

The Asian & Islamic Ceramics & Works of Art Specialist Auction includes two interesting highlights: Lot 1025 is a large Chinese archaistic bronze hu vase, in the Han style but 16th century, height 42.5cm, estimate £2000-3000. Lot 1050 is a Chinese white jade vase and cover, probably late Qing dynasty, height 15.8cm, estimate £800-1200.

Lot 1494

A Troika pottery two-face mask, Lot 1494, is one of the highlights of the British & Continental Ceramics & Glass auction. Each side is decorated with a relief mask motif and was produced circa 1970-1983. It carries a pre-sale estimate of £300-500.

The Furniture auction includes a pair of late 19th century Louis XV style kingwood marquetry and parquetry card tables. This pair, Lot 2200, is estimated at £2000-4000.

The catalogue for the auction will be available online by 7th August at

Viewing for the August Auction as follows:

Saturday 9th August: 10am to 4pm
Monday 11th August: 10am to 4pm
Tuesday 12th August: 10am to 4pm (10am to 1pm for the Paper Collectables)
Wednesday 13th to Friday 15th: 9am to the start of each session.

Order of sales for the August Auction as follows:

Sale of Paper Collectables

Tuesday 12th August
At 1.30pm Stamps. Postcards. Cigarette Cards.
Autographs, Photographs & Ephemera.

Sale of Antiques, Fine Art & Collectors’ Items

Wednesday 13th August
At 10am Decorative Art.
At 1pm Silver & Plate. Jewellery. Objects of Virtu.

Thursday 14th August
At 10am Asian & Islamic Ceramics & Works of Art.
At 1pm British & Continental Ceramics & Glass.

Friday 15th August
At 10am
At 1.30pm Tea Caddies, Boxes & Diminuitive Furniture.
Collectors’ Items, Works of Art, Metalwork & Light Fittings.
Needleworks & Textiles. Rugs & Carpets.

The Delight of William and Mary Taste

William and Mary chest detail
A detail of the top of the chest of drawers, finely inlaid in various woods and stained ivory

Against the backdrop of revolution and religious conflict, 17th century England witnessed remarkable achievements in science, art and commerce. Among these were the scientific genius of Sir Isaac Newton, Samuel Pepys’ groundbreaking work with the Royal Navy, the architecture of Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren, and the publication of the King James’ Bible in 1611, often described as the finest work ever produced by committee.

17thC Dutch Delft dish
A late 17th century Dutch Delft moulded dish, auctioned at Toovey’s for £480
William and Mary chest
A fine William and Mary laburnum oyster-veneered and floral marquetry chest of drawers, auctioned at Toovey’s for £17,000

At the end of the 17th century, Charles II’s Catholic brother, James II, was replaced by the Protestants William and Mary during the Glorious Revolution of 1688. William of Orange and his wife Mary, James II’s son-in-law and daughter, invaded England with a Dutch army. Their actions had been encouraged by a group of Tory and Whig parliamentarians, who were fearful that the birth of James II’s son would establish a Roman Catholic dynasty in the British Isles. By Convention of Parliament, William and Mary were invited to sign the Bill of Rights of 1689, which passed the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland to them. They ruled jointly as William III and Mary II until Mary’s death in 1694. William continued his reign alone until he died in 1702. The bill limited the power of the crown, set out the rights of Parliament with rules for freedom of speech, including the right of Parliament to petition the monarch without fear of retribution, and the requirement for regular elections.

William brought with him Dutch artisans, who were joined by French Huguenot refugee craftsmen. The royal couple were painted by the finest artists of their age. However, you cannot help but delight in the naïve quality of the depiction of William III on this late 17th century Dutch Delft dish, painted in blue, green, yellow and black. The border of tulips and other flowers shows the Dutch influence.

William and Mary longcase clock
A William and Mary marquetry longcase clock by William Cattell, auctioned at Toovey’s for £26,000

The fashion for smaller more intimate rooms created demand for furniture of a more modest scale with an emphasis on comfort, in contrast to the opulence of Charles II’s Restoration period. There is a reliance on good proportion and simple lines in the finest examples of William and Mary case furniture, which is often finely decorated with marquetry inlay. Flowers, acanthus leaf and C-scrolls define the William and Mary taste. Take the William and Mary marquetry-veneered chest of drawers illustrated here. The top is finely inlaid. The central oval panel and four corner panels are filled with flower-charged vases, inhabited by birds, within a laburnum oyster-veneered border. The sides and drawer fronts have similarly inlaid floral panels. Exotic woods, like olive and laburnum, reached this country via new East-West trade routes.

The rare William and Mary longcase clock with its eight-day, five-pillar movement, striking on a bell, is by William Cattell of London. William Cattell was apprenticed in 1664/5 to Edward Stanton and was freed in April 1672. The walnut and laburnum oyster-veneered marquetry case is decorated with motifs of birds and flowers similar to those on the chest of drawers.

The quality and richness of decoration, combined with the intimate and fine proportion of William and Mary furniture and clocks, continue to delight connoisseurs today and prices remain strong.

Toovey’s next specialist auctions of clocks and furniture will be held on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th July 2014. If you are considering the sale of your clocks or furniture, please contact Toovey’s for free and confidential specialist advice.

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 2nd July 2014 in the West Sussex Gazette.