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However, it was out-of-county private buyers, principally from Yorkshire and Lancashire, who carried off the day’s major spoils, although their journey through Cumbria may have involved visiting antiques shops.

The temporary closure of markets in Cumbria appears to have yielded the auctioneers more lots to sell, and while the staple goods sold by the firm are 19th century (and some Georgian) mahogany furnishings (reflecting the coastal/urban, rather than inland/rural position of this saleroom), the auctioneers did receive a couple of superb pieces of 17th century oak vernacular furniture.

The wainscot chair which topped the furniture had fairly standard, but finely detailed carved decoration to the panel back of a scrolling arcade over a single, boldly petalled flower standing in a vase.

The distinguishing feature was the double scrolled pediment crest, a style attributed to craftsmen in the Yorkshire Dales, although the auctioneers also suggested a Lancashire origin for the chair.

There was no doubt, at least, about the quality and fine condition of this mid- to late-17th century chair, and these factors compelled the strong bidding that followed. Measuring 2ft (61cm) at its widest point, the 3ft 7in chair was purchased by a Lancashire collector, underbid by a Cumbrian dealer, at £5200.

The other top-rated vernacular item was also a piece of seating furniture – an early 17th century child’s joined high chair, almost certainly from a South Lancashire/North Cheshire workshop because of its horned crest and pyramid finials to the angled stiles.

Carved to the back panel with a stylised and tendril flower with further foliate scrollwork and the monogram initials IB, the chair also featured an arcaded front rail and was supported on slender turned front legs.

Measuring 15in (37cm) at its widest point with the seat positioned 2ft (61cm) off the ground, the chair was presented in good untouched condition other than a replaced foot support (a relatively superficial feature).

Estimated at £2000-3000, this was certainly a finer high chair than the mid-17th century lozenge carved example which had fetched £2500 at Phillips’ Chester oak sale on May 4 and it duly attracted stronger bidding.

Again the local trade were unlucky to be faced with such determined bidding from collectors; a Yorkshireman eventually paid the winning bid of £4600 against trade underbidding.

The local trade had more success with some of the low key but fairly elegant brown furniture such as a Regency mahogany tea table with moulded edge and rounded corners (over a deep frieze with tablet corners) on slender reeded legs, 2ft 10in wide by 16in deep (86 x 40cm).

This was kept in the county despite the attentions of the Northumbrian trade at a top-estimate cost of £1000.
Other local trade purchases included a George III oak dresser base with a twin plank top and four crossbanded frieze drawers at £1800 and a George III painted pine standing corner cupboard at £760.

A typical cross-Border raid by the Scottish trade accounted for a Victorian mahogany circular dining table on four massive scrolled legs, (missing the extra leaf which would enable an extension of 6ft 2in (1.88m) in length) at £2700, and an Edwardian mahogany writing desk on boxwood strung legs with a twin drawer and galleried superstructure on a bow fronted top with three satinwood banded frieze drawers, 3ft 6in wide by 2ft 1in deep (1.07m x 63cm) which sold at £1300.

There was more interest in other sections of the sale from the South of England trade, although it was a local private buyer who held off an Exeter dealer to secure an 18ct gold ring set with three diamonds totalling approximately 3.7cts at a cost of £9200 (top price of the sale).

Local privates accounted for most of the best jewellery, but the London trade swooped for a Moorcroft Claremont Toadstool</> pattern vase of squat form, 5in (13cm) high, paying the winning amount of £1500, and a pair of Hancock and Son’s Morris ware inverted baluster vases with tube-lined decoration of sinuous plants on a blue ground, each 81/4in high (21cm) high, for which a quadruple-estimate £900 was tendered.

The London trade also outbid a local collector for the highlight work of art, paying £4600 for a Fabergé silver enamel and rock crystal inkwell, 31/2in (9cm) high, featuring a translucent oyster enamelled domed cover.

Mitchells, Cockermouth, June 14-15
Number of lots offered: 1489
Number of lots sold: n/a
Sale total: n/a
Buyer’s premium: 12 per cent