Dreweatts' sale of renowned John Hobbs furniture raises £0.5m for legal fees

Even before Dreweatts' last day of sales for 2010 had begun, all the telephone lines were booked. The saleroom had been buzzing over the preview weekend as local and national newspapers, television and radio had been quick to cover the John Hobbs sale of 118 lots of furniture on December 15.

Dreweatts at Donnington Priory offered the stock of the renowned international furniture dealer, with a client list straight out of Who's Who.  The famous 'Hobbs look' consisted of 'embellished' bespoke pieces of beautifully made furniture which had boasted six figure price tags in his shop in the Pimlico Road, London.

Dreweatts' sale catalogue carried a prominent 'caveat emptor' page and each piece had a specially designed 'John Hobbs' stamp; the stock was offered at vastly reduced prices to help Hobbs pay for dizzying legal fees and, although the long-running High Court case has been settled, the story of this colourful episode will run and run with the furniture undoubtedly having its own collector's appeal.

An Italian style centre table, detail;(top), and a 19th
century giltwood and ebonised ten branch chandelier

Stephan Ludwig, the Executive Chairman of Dreweatts, said "We are now serving a truly international audience; telephone and online bidding from private and trade buyers came from as far afield as Russia and the United States as well as most of Europe and of course Britain."

He went on to add, "John set us a challenge with this sale and we are delighted with its outcome."

Several lots were withdrawn prior to the sale, however it made a resounding £480,000 including premium.  There was also enormous interest from international interior decorators and it is interesting that the better the quality of the pieces offered, the more the bidding is either on the telephone or online, leaving the middle of the road items to sell in the saleroom. 

A late 18th century North Italian marble topped commode

Amongst the highlights was the giltwood and ebonised ten branch chandelier in the early 19th century Viennese style of Josef Danhauser.

Estimated at £4,000-6,000 this made £26,840 while the late 18th century North Italian marble topped commode (painted with acanthus, leaf scrolls and flowers) aroused great interest especially from Italian bidders, and this went for £12,200 - double the higher estimate.

One of the Italian style centre tables with winged griffins was snapped up by a Russian collector for £10,980 while the grey and gilt architectural open bookcase sold to an online bidder for £9150, over three times the lower estimate.


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