More than 30 pieces by the Windermere craftsman come under the hammer – from table lamps and tea trays to bedroom furniture.
Trained in the Cotswolds but choosing to work in the Lake District, Webb Davies’ handmade pieces in indigenous timbers were a direct backlash against the mechanisation and automation of the 19th and 20th century.
When contributing to the debate on British industry in the 1940s he wrote to the Guardian newspaper describing “probably the chief evil of our present industrial age – the tyranny of the machine”. It was, he felt, “more important that industry should turn out excellent men and women than a flood of cheap and useful goods.”
Sworders’ specialist John Black believes the sale represents the largest number of works by Webb Davies offered at a single auction. Most were made in the 1930s and together they represent an important commission from a single patron.
“Stanley Webb Davies pieces are pretty rare to the market,” said Black. “He was resolute in never producing exactly the same design twice so each is unique. Most pieces are signed and dated with the names of the workshop craftsman who made the piece.”
Estimates will range from £100-150 for small furnishings to £4000-6000 for an oak sideboard dated 1933.