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Perhaps this is why Russell was keen to carefully write labels for early, handmade pieces such as this oak boot cupboard, right, which would otherwise almost certainly have been sold by its Saffron Walden owner on face value. A local dealer had turned up to his garage clearance and offered £80 for it, but curiosity about the label, right, prompted a call to the local auction room.

“This piece,” said the label, “...was designed by Gordon Russell and constructed by hand by G. Cooke in the workshop of Russell & Sons, Broadway, Worcestershire, England in June 1923.” Russell’s name was enough to bring collectors all the way from the Cotswolds to the Essex salerooms of Sworders where the boot cupboard was sold on September 18, but other details on the label, the cryptic ‘Lygon’ and the date, ‘June 1923’, excited further interest.

This evidence suggested that this boot cupboard was one of the first pieces Russell produced in his career, which started in a make-shift workshop set up in his father’s hotel in Broadway, The Lygon Arms.

Along with Claridges, the Lygon Arms is now a luxury component of the Savoy Group, complete with a far from austere Gordon Russell suite at £500 per night. You could have got two Russell boot cupboards for that price, if the estimate of £200-300 was to be followed, but two Cotswolds collectors disagreed, contesting the piece to £800 (plus 15 per cent premium).