Squirrel Bookends by Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson Feature in May Sale

8th May 2012

A pair of carved oak squirrel bookends by Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson will feature in the May sale at the Lincoln auction rooms.

The bookends, which feature Thompson's famous mouse trademark, will be one of the highlights of a sale of 'high quality items from East Midlands vendors' at auctioneers Golding Young & Thos. Mawer on Wednesday, May 16.

Auctioneer John Leatt said: "These bookends date from the earliest period of the Mouseman's work and were brought in to the auction room during one of our regular valuation days. "We are expecting a great deal of interest on sale day and estimate they will sell for between £400 and £600." Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson (1876-1955) developed an interest in traditional furniture making techniques when he worked as an apprentice in his father's joinery business in Kilburn, North Yorkshire.

By 1895, he had taken over the family firm and was producing items of furniture inspired by the medieval carvings in village churches and nearby York and Ripon Cathedrals. His carved mouse trademark signature began when one of his craftsmen commented that they were 'as poor as church mice'. He immediately carved a mouse on the church screen he was working on. Thompson dedicated his career to producing simple, well-made pieces in English oak using old-fashioned

tools such as the Adze, which is similar to an axe but with the blade set at a right angle to the shaft. This meant that much of his pieces have a rippled, uneven surface. In the same sale, a Crawford's biscuit tin shaped like an aeroplane is expected to sell for between £200 and £300. The highly collectable, novelty tin has pivotal wings, is gold in colour and marked with 'Crawford's Air Service. A-One. The Pride of London.' A collection of fishing tackle, including rods and reels, features a Charles Farlow and Co Patent Lever brass fishing reel from the turn of the last century which is estimated to sell for between £50 and £100.

A pair of good quality, unusually large late-19th century bronze two-handled urns cast with cherubs are expected to sell for between £400 and £600. In the furniture section, a pair of George IV bergere armchairs in the manner of Gillows of Lancaster have an estimate of between £700 and £900. There is also a part-18th century walnut chest on a stand, which is expected to sell for between £500 and £800, and two Victorian walnut pedestal desks with estimates ranging from £300 to £600. Elsewhere in the sale are collections of Mdina glass, including glasses, vases and paperweights, and Royal Doulton figures.

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