“We are near enough to his base on Broadway to see a lot of his material in the rooms and it sells both to collectors and specialist dealers,” said auctioneer Max Fisher.
Russell (1892-1980) was among the most renowned of 20th century British designers but his vast output during his long life ensures that most prices remain in the three-figure or low four-figure range, as was the case at Cheltenham. A pair of Cotswold School oak tub chairs with tan leather seats made a mid-estimate £280.
They sold to a collector, as did three similar chairs which made £360. A comparable, but labelled, chair took a premiuminclusive £950 at Christie’s South Kensington in November 2000.
Single to Sutton Coldfield
Provenanced material from the 1930s is, naturally, the most sought after and two similar oak single bed frames from the period topped the Russell pieces.
They were bought directly from Russell in Broadway by a Mrs Hart of Sutton Coldfield c.1930 as a wedding present for her daughter. Single beds as wedding presents seem a rather odd choice, but plainly were no bar to Mrs Hart’s daughter’s happiness as these came to the saleroom by direct descent.
Estimated at £400-600, they sold to a private bidder at £2200.
Later material can also sell well, particularly the pieces made for Russell by Martin Hall in the 1960s and early ’70s. Two such pieces at Cheltenham were from the 1973 Marwood Room range. A dining table with two extra leaves extending to 10ft (3.06m) wide made a lower-estimate £1500, while a 7ft (2.13m) wide sideboard estimated at £200-400 sold at £1400.
“Marwood Room pieces are usually in rosewood but these were in English walnut, which was an extra attraction,” said Fisher.