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You get the flavour of Mr Dann’s mode of dealing when he explains: “Hatherleigh Antiques sell Gothic and Renaissance furniture and works of art from their gallery in a small medieval manor house furnished and decorated as it might have been in the 17th century.”

His new exhibition at 15 Bridge Street is singularly entitled Wooden Books, a reference to an observation by Sir Roy Strong in his recent book on British Art The Spirit of Britain that specifically 16th century British art was literary, images which were abstract, diagrammatic, either patterns or symbols which called for reading.

So the idea of ‘wooden books’ was taken up in the sense that a partially literate society might “read” visual images in the decoration of furniture and learn about owners, makers and other aspects of society. The core of the exhibition is three four-poster beds dating from 1580-1600 and an important chest, one of the finest pieces of high-style Elizabethan furniture Mr Dann has encountered.
To complement these there will be other four-posters plus an extensive collection of furniture and decorative items dating from 1400 to 1700. Prices for the beds start around £7500 and for the Elizabethan chest Mr Dann will expect a six-figure sum, although not as much as the £315,000 bid by a collector in late June at the Sotheby’s Thornton Manor sale for a James I 1604 walnut and marquetry chest.
Everyone agreed that the huge price may have owed something to the ‘country house fever’ factor and that the highly decorative chest was seriously flawed. So Mr Dann is very probably right when he says his chest is “better than the one at the Leverhulme sale.”
At far lower prices there are wood carvings, alms dishes, candlesticks and pottery. Phone Michael Dann on 01837 810159 for a catalogue.