The unreserved sale of more than 350 lots brings to an end one of London’s longest-running restoration firms.
Managing director Peter Holmes set up Arlington in Battersea in 2001, following a buy-out of the Spink restoration department from then parent company Christie’s.
“It is arguably the greatest stock of its kind to come to market in living memory
He had joined the Spink workshop in 1981 when it comprised a team of four restorers in a lock-up mews in Chelsea. At its peak, Arlington employed 12 restorers and handled some of the best English furniture on the market.
However, Holmes says “the market has contracted and I no longer consider such a highly geared business appropriate for today”. He now plans to set up a consultancy business, advising clients on the acquisition and care of English furniture.
The stock-in-trade has a lineage going back (from workshop to workshop) nearly 100 years.
Elements come from a series of historic London workshops including those of the Langhorne Brothers in Kew (restorers to the scholar RW Symonds), Stanley Block in the North End Road, Montagu Sainsbury and Baxter’s in the Fulham Road.
Holmes adds: “It is arguably the greatest stock of its kind to come to market in living memory and, although I wish it to sell well for commercial reasons, of more importance is the desire for each lot to go to a good home.”
Around 200 lots of timber and veneers (there is no Brazilian rosewood in the sale) are accompanied by tools, brass and ormolu furniture fittings, upholstery materials and machinery.
Estimates range from a few pounds to £1500 for a huge length of Cuban mahogany, with the sale expected to realise more than £50,000.