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‘House of treasures’ worthy of Palace of Versailles uncovered in Derby | Auction July 2-3

Posted on 28/06/2020 in Press Coverage

An Aladdin’s cave of antique treasures worth tens of thousands of pounds has been uncovered in a home on the outskirts of Derby.

The rich array of around 250 antiques, set to be auctioned in July, were amassed over more than 30 years by a couple with an eye for high-quality finds. They carefully assembled the items, piece by piece, and put them on display in their Littleover home.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “As soon as I crossed the threshold, I was stunned by the contents within. It was like walking from Vernon Street in Derby into the Palace of Versailles, such was the quality of some of the objects and the grandeur they bestowed on the property..

Consultant valuer Alexander Clement cataloguing the finds; The grandeur of the Derby home.

“It truly was an Aladdin’s cave of fascinating finds – a veritable feast of furniture, clocks, works of art, paintings, silver, ceramics, rugs, Chinese art and more.For anyone who loves antiques, it was like finding a treasure trove.”

Such is the quality and quantity of the antiques the contents of the Derby home will make up the majority of lots in Hansons’ July 2-3 Fine Art Auction and the collection could fetch in excess of £60,000.

Highlights include a mid-18th Century Dutch marquetry lowboy, estimate of £1,500-£2,000; an English ‘feather banded’ kneehole desk, £2,000-£3,000, and a George III inlaid writing table which is expected to sell for more than £2,500.


Consultant valuer Alexander Clement, who has been cataloguing the finds, said: “This 250-lot collection has tastefully adorned a Derbyshire home for many years. The property has recently sold and now fellow antiques lovers have the opportunity to buy some truly wonderful objects.

“It’s very unusual to find such a great collection in one place. The quality and condition are just what the market wants right now. The items are not worn and tired but, equally, they’re also not over-restored.They are good, honest antiques with oodles of character and period style.”

The antiques, together with another important private collection, will be auctioned on July 2-3 at Hansons' Derbyshire saleroom, Heage Lane, Etwall, DE65 6LS. To book a viewing on Sun June 28, noon-4pm, or Mon June 29, 10am-5pm, please email Rachael Morley: [email protected]


5 Top Lots From Derby 'House of Treasures' chosen by Alexander Clement | View The Catalogue


George I feather-banded kneehole desk | Estimate £2,000-£3,000

It is rare enough to find a period mahogany desk from the reign of George I (1714-1727), rarer still to find one with ‘feather’ banding and in such original condition. The elegant diminutive proportions of kneehole desks have always appealed to me, even more so than the later Davenport type desk which has its own particular charms. For aesthetics, practicality and the ability to suit every size of home, the kneehole desk wins in all categories. This example benefits from original brass bale handles and a classic recessed arched cupboard. Above all, though, it has the patina and character redolent of its age. This is a true antique.



Elkington champleve enamel and gilt metal mantel clock | Estimate £600-800

The French were masters of enamelling, especially the art of champleve. Similar to cloisonne and equally inspired by Chinese ornament, champleve involved applying coloured enamel to pre-cast channels and cells in the metal object. This clock, retailed by Elkington & Co of Liverpool, was also cast with fine details such as the ‘caryatid’ columns to the front and acanthus finials to the top, all finished in gold. One might imagine that so much gilt metal and coloured enamel would be garish and ostentatious, but the refined French style keeps all of this under control and the result is elegance and refinement.


Mid-18th Century Futch marquetry lowboy | Estimate £1,500-£2,500

The Dutch were masters of marquetry and this lowboy is a fine example of the craft. With truly beautiful inlay of flowers and foliage, the serpentine front is further enhanced by pronounced rails above a delicate apron. As if the inlay itself were not enough, the cabriole supports are clasped at the top with intricately carved shell forms. There is so much for the eye to feast on with this object, I doubt its new owner will ever tire of looking at it.


George III mahogany serpentine writing table | Estimate £2,500-£3,500

The period of George III’s reign (1760-1820) is arguably the height of elegance in English furniture, and one of intense activity and creativity among cabinet makers. Exotic woods were favoured - mahogany, rosewood, walnut, coromandel, with their rich colour and pronounced grain. Chief among them and most prolifically used was mahogany and a finer example than this writing table would be hard to find. Most likely by a London maker or following a London pattern, this table is the zenith of understated elegance and superb proportions. It is rich in period detail from the sweeping serpentine shape, through the pentagonal front supports, the openwork spandrels down to the delicate engine turning on the handle escutcheons. It would have been a status symbol in its day and remains one two hundred years after it was made.




French gilt-metal mounted bureau plat by Maison Krieger | Estimate £1,200-1,800

The Paris cabinet maker Krieger was established in 1826 by Antoine Krieger and traded under various names well into the 20th Century. Often taking part in major exhibitions in Paris and London, the firm won countless awards for their work. This bureau plat, essentially a flat desk, bares the maker label to one of the draws and takes its styling from the reign of Louis XV (1715-1774), clearly seen in the flowing serpentine form and rich gilt-metal mouldings. Kingwood was often favoured by French cabinet makers for its pronounced straight grain which lent itself very well to veneering in panels where the grain would run at opposing angles. It is used to great effect in this piece, particularly in the drawer fronts. If one had to be tied to a desk all day, this would be the ideal one.