The spring catalogue sale at Tennants of Leyburn closed with 14 pieces of furniture either by or in the manner of Gillows.
The top three sellers were all purchased by
The earliest - and academically most
interesting - Gillows piece was a c.1790-95, 2ft by 18in (60 x
46cm) mahogany cellaret-on-stand under a domed lid crossbanded in
tulipwood and strung with boxwood. It was stamped Gillows
Lancaster and had the original brass carrying handles and
a Bramah lock.
The original drawing for the cellaret, along
with the names of the various craftsmen the prices for each item
(for instance 1 pair of lifting handles - 2s 2d) are in
the Gillows archives.
Using the 1788 Gillows sketch, the work of a
former owner who had reduced the stand's height could be undone and
the piece raised to its original overall height of 2ft 7in (78cm).
Estimated at £3000-4000 for the sale on March 16-17, it sold to the
trade at £4800.
The other lots included a c.1878 carved
mahogany serpentine partners' desk, stamped to the middle drawer
with Gillows numbering system 55949.
Measuring 5ft 7in wide by 3ft 5in deep (1.70
x 1.05m) and featuring William Kent-style lion-mask and
acanthus-carved capitals and original brass handles, it required a
little work but sold on the lower estimate at £20,000.
Another pedestal desk, from the same year
but in oak in the Aesthetic taste and a more manageable 4ft 5in by
2ft 2in (1.36m x 67cm), was a trade buy at £3800 (estimate
Also going way over estimate were a mahogany
double-pedestal chest of 12 drawers and a mahogany jardinière
stand, both from the second quarter of the 19th century. The chest
by the listed Gillows cabinetmaker William Barrow Jnr had original
Bramah locks and key and doubled its mid estimate at £3000. The 2ft
6in (76cm) tall jardinière stand, with a tray on a fluted support,
was catalogued as 'manner of Gillows' and estimated at £300-500 but
sold at £2400.
Lacking famous names, but with the
all-important 'look', a number of traditional English and
French-style pieces bolstered the furniture section.
Most went at around fairly modest estimates,
but a pair of Louis XVI tulipwood, purpleheart and ormolu-mounted
meubles d'appui stood out. Carrying hopes of £2500-3500, the 3ft
6in (1.08m) tall cabinets, with later pink breccia marble tops
above cupboard doors with blue gilt oval Sèvres-style porcelain
mounts, had suffered a little wear and tear but eventually sold at
Overall, the Tennants sale made a hammer total of £2.63m and a
selling rate of 84%, with more than a third of the impressive total
provided by the Qianlong
Imperial bottle vase which took £950,000.