This rare Aesthetic movement design with ‘quarter wheel’ arms was probably made by William Watts to Godwin’s design c.1877.
Although its only marking was the number 8513 to the seat rail, other chairs of this type carry enamel trade labels for the London cabinetmaker and a Patent Office Design Registry mark for November 14, 1876.
Watts produced furniture by a number of leading designers of the time.
There is a line drawing of the model in the 1877 William Watt catalogue Art Furniture from Designs by E.W. Godwin, 1877 and a chair of this type was included in Watt’s display at the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Only a handful of other examples of the form has been recorded.
Back in March 1999, another example of this chair sold for £21,500 at Dreweatt Neate in Banbury, while the walnut version in the Gary Kemp collection sold by Sotheby’s in March 2008 took £44,000 (including premium).
Auctioneer Philip Allwood – who tweeted the former Spandau Ballet member on the off chance he might wish to own another – said the chair had been bought in by a local dealer who had acquired it recently and had a hunch it might be by Godwin.
The estimate of £3000-5000 was quickly surpassed by a bidding battle that progressed initially in increments of £5000. The winning bidder was from France.