George II walnut and needlework Gainsborough chair – £29,000 at Locke & England.

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An example offered for sale by Locke & England (17.5% buyer’s premium) in Leamington Spa on January 28 was carved to the arms and cabriole legs with floral rosettes and acanthus and sits on muscular hairy paw feet. The English or French floral needlework is probably of the period c.1750.

Similar chairs are often linked to the London furniture designer-maker Giles Grendey (1693-1780) based on their close similarity to those supplied by his workshop to several grand country houses, including examples in the collection at Stourhead, Wiltshire.

Auctioneer Richard Gormley described it as “a rare, desirable and honest piece that came from a farmhouse clearance in Warwickshire. The vendor had been happy with the estimate of £3000- 5000. However, the interest before the sale made me believe the chair could far better.”

The bidding started at £8000 on commission and met further competition between phone lines before going to a UK private collector at £29,000.

Kidney-shape desk


Victorian burr walnut, tulipwood and ebonised kidney-shape desk – £14,000 at Semley.

Like Gainsborough chairs, Victorian kidney-shape desks remain hugely popular pieces of antique furniture.

The example offered by Semley Auctions (22% buyer’s premium) in Shaftesbury on January 23 as ‘the property of a lady’ was particularly fine. Made in burr walnut and tulipwood, it was mounted in ormolu and delicately inlaid to the drawer fronts with boxwood lines and to the drawer pulls with marquetry floral medallions.

It measured 4ft 4in (1.32m) wide. Offered with a very appealing guide of £1500-2500, the hammer price was £14,000.