AS POOR AS A CHURCH MOUSE

. November 12, 2009

If you have ever said the phrase ‘as poor as a church mouse’, then you would have something in common with one of our greatest furniture craftsmen Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson (1876-1955).

MousemanThompson was a British furniture maker working in English oak. Based in Kilburn North Yorkshire, he is credited as an important part of the 1920’s revival of craftsmanship inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement led by William Morris. The carved mouse signature on his pieces is claimed to have come about from a conversation in 1919 about being as poor as a church mouse. From then on to this day, the famous mouse adorns every piece of Thompson furniture and accessory.

Thompson undertook many private commissions, notably for the church and Ampleforth College. Indeed a large number of items of furniture and accessories were commissioned specially for St Joseph’s Convent at Haunton near Tamworth in the 1930’s. The Convent is downsizing and the remaining contents including Mouseman furniture is being auctioned by Richard Winterton Auctioneers of Lichfield on 7th January.

The collection includes an ‘adzed’ octagonal table, chairs carved with the Convent’s star symbol, a fabulous hall settle and pair of bookends – all carved with the world famous mouse. Estimates range from £700 into the thousands.

All of Thompson’s work is highly prized for the timeless designs, robust quality and the oak which actually enhances with age. Descendants still run the family business in Kilburn using the traditional tools so loved by founder Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson.

Final entries for this special Fine Art & Jewellery sale are currently being invited. Contact the Auctioneers on 01543 251081 (email lichfield@richardwinterton.co.uk) for any further information and details of the free valuation events held throughout the region.

www.richardwinterton.co.uk

Category: Auction News

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