A Victorian armchair sells for a staggering £44,000

25th April 2017

A Victorian armchair has sold for a staggering £44,000 at an antiques auction in the Cotswolds.

With its swept arms as quarter wheels’ Victorian aesthetic period ebonised framed armchair immediately caught the eye of auctioneer Philip Allwood, he shot a video espousing its virtues.

For Moore Allen & Innocent’s selected antiques sale in Cirencester on Friday, April 21 he estimated the lot at £3,000 to £6,000 suspecting it would make a little more.

But it was the auctioneer who needed to sit down after the chair – by William Watt in around 1877 after an original design by Edward William Godwin (1833-1886) – made £44,000.

It was a day of good results, with a late 18th or early 19th Century carved marble bath in the 2nd AD Roman manner achieving £11,000 against an estimate of £3,000 to £5,000.

The 177.5 cm wide x 73 cm deep x 65.5 cm high had slightly tapering sides and twin lion mask ring carved motifs at the front.

A beautiful sewing casket fashioned from ivory in mid-19th century China achieved the third highest lot price of the day – £7,000.

Decorated with a procession of figures, and the casket was raised on carved paw feet. Inside, a carved sandalwood tray contained accessories including sandalwood cotton reels. It carried an estimate of £4,000 and £6,000.

A signed oil on board by the celebrated English artist Mary Fedden OBE called Picking Apples was plucked by a collector for £6,800. Painted in 1989, it featured a figure picking apples from a tree with another figure on ladder and cottages in the background.

Elsewhere in the pictures section, Naval Engagement off Leghorn by John Thomas Serres (1759-1825) recalled the Dutch Navy’s victory over the English near the Italian port city of Livorno a century before the British maritime painter was born. The action-packed painting achieved £5,000.

In the Oriental section, 19th Century rhino horn walking stick with yellow metal foliate engraved band, measuring 88 cm long, sold for £6,500 against a £2,000 to £3,000 estimate, while a Chinese Kang Xi period blue and white cylindrical brush pot decorated with figures riding upon the backs of a kylin, an elephant and a lion made £4,800 against an estimate of £3,000 to £5,000.

The top lot in the extensive furniture section – reckoned to be the best ever seen at the saleroom – was a mid-17th century oak refectory table – one of the longest auctioneers have seen – with a two-section plank top reaching almost five metres in length. It achieved £4,800, as did a pair of Regency rosewood centre tables in the manner of William Trotter of Edinburgh.

A circa 1700 oyster walnut and laburnum chest on stand exceeded expectations, achieving a winning bid of £4,600 against an estimate of £500 to £800, while a satinwood and marquetry inlaid serpentine fronted side cabinet in the manner of John Cobb (1710–1778) with central painted Classical masks achieved £4,200; bang in the middle of the £3,000 to £5,000 estimate.

In all, £290,000 worth of antiques changed hands at the auction. For more information about buying or selling at auction, visit www.mooreallen.co.uk/auction-house

To watch the video of Philip waxing lyrical about the armchair, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-qDM-LS7pg&t=12s