On Thursday 2 December, Dreweatts is delighted to be offering the Phillip Lucas Collection, from Spitalfields House. Ahead of the auction Phillip Lucas introduces the collection.
Historically, I made my purchasing decisions based purely on the merits of the piece - without any consideration of practicality. In that way, I acquired multiples of similar pieces of furniture - each item was of interest to me in a different way.
As a teenager, my bedroom was filled with large pieces of Regency furniture. My Amstrad “Midi System” was concealed within an 18th century dining room pedestal. The centre of the room was dominated by a large giltwood column, decorated with gilt dolphins, in the manner of Marsh & Tatham (I do not know what happened to that piece, but I wish that I had kept it). My friends and I played computer games seated on a Thomas Hope dining chair. Such items were purchased at fairs and markets with the accumulated proceeds from my paper round and the residue of my dinner money. As a 14 year old it was frustrating to me that I was unable to replicate the beautiful interiors of Number 1 Royal Crescent.
Lot 583: A George II figured walnut and feather banded bachelor's chest of drawers, circa 1730 | Est. £800-1,200 (+ fees)
I arrived in Spitalfields with a walnut card table and a brass chamber stick. The light from the chamber stick cast shadows across the rooms and created the ambience of an Arthur Devis painting. The proportions of the card table were perfect for the panelled room into which it had been placed and it immediately seemed as if it had been there since the house was built in 1720. Small pieces of walnut furniture are ideally suited to 18th century interiors and you will find several such pieces within this sale, for example, the walnut bachelor’s chest of drawers (lot 583) and the walnut kneehole desk (lot 631).
Lot 631: A George II burr walnut, walnut and feather banded kneehole desk, circa 1735 | Est. £3,000-5,000 (+ fees)
When the rest of my furniture arrived at the house many of my earlier purchases did not fit and they were consigned to store, where they remained. Several years later I moved into a larger 18th century house on the same street. That building had been brutally converted into offices in the 1980s and required complete restoration. The remainder of my collection went into storage at that stage in order to allow the works to proceed. My builders could not be accused of proceeding with excessive haste and it has taken 10 years to reach the point where it could now be said that the house is (almost) complete. During that time the house slowly filled with more recent discoveries. The lockdown gave me an opportunity to rationalise and take stock.
Lot 500: A William & Mary black lacquer and gilt japanned over mantel mirror | Est. £1,500-2,500 (+ fees)
It quickly became apparent during the preparation of the catalogue of my first auction that there were simply too many items for a single sale. At that point it was agreed that we would proceed by instalments and the possibility of a second auction was discussed. This sale is a continuation of the process and it also includes several favourite pieces that I didn’t want to part with, but which stubbornly refuse to fit within the house. The wonderful kneehole desk (Lot 519) and the japanned over-mantel mirror (Lot 500) certainly fit within that category. It is time for all of these pieces to find new homes and hope that they will give pleasure to their new owners.
Lot 519: A Queen Anne walnut and feather banded kneehole desk, circa 1710 | Est. £6,000-8,000 (+ fees)
Thursday 2 December | 10.30am GMT
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
Browse the auction
View page turning catalogue
- Viewing in Newbury:
- Saturday 27 November: 10am-2pm
- Sunday 28 November: 10am-4pm
- Monday 29 November: 10am-5pm
- Tuesday 30 November: 10am-5pm
- Wednesday 31 November: 8.30am-5pm
- Day of sale: from 8.30am
- Condition reports can be provided upon request.
We ask that visitors wear a face covering when visiting our salerooms. We may need to restrict the number of visitors viewing at one time, so if you would prefer to book an appointment in advance, please contact us: +44 (0) 1635 553 553 | email@example.com
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