Offered at David Duggleby’s (20% buyer’s premium) sale at Scarborough on May 20 was an imposing armchair, on turned walnut feet with castors stamped Howard & Sons Ltd London and back leg stamped 16414 7299.
Howard & Sons originally established a reputation as the best upholsterer in Victorian England but soon went on to become a noted manufacturer. Today its products are much in demand, to the extent that two or three years back there were warnings of forgeries coming on to the market. No such fears about this 3ft (90cm) wide chair with its bolster cushion – estimated at £1000-1500, it sold to the English south coast trade at £3200.
Cautiously catalogued as ‘attributed to Epstein’, a 5ft 7in (1.70m) wide sofa, along with accompanying two armchairs, were the real thing in the judgment of bidders at Nesbits’ (19% buyer’s premium) auction in Portsmouth on May 17.
The iconic Art Deco ‘Cloud Suite’ was designed and made by the London firm run by brothers Harry and Lou Epstein who produced Deco pieces from the 1930s to the ‘50s, often to bespoke orders, but unfortunately never signed. The Nesbits suite, with the billowing curved frames in burr walnut veneer (the suite was also made in burr maple and sycamore) dated from the 1930s. Estimated at £1000-1500, it sold to the trade at £4100.