Auction House of the Mouse

Over the last few years Tennants Auctioneers have expanded their sales of Decorative Arts and 20th Century Design to meet the demands of the current market.

Diane Sinnott heads a busy department dealing with design from the late 19th century to the present day and, as an increasing part of these eclectic sales, Tennants always offers a strong selection of solid English Oak Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson furniture from Kilburn.

178_000.thumbnail.jpgThis was evident on 1st December at their Decorative Arts Sale when a pair of beautifully patinated ‘Mouseman’ Triple Mice Bookends (lot 178) sold for £1,400. These were probably carved by Stan Dodds in the early 1960’s. Also from the same home came a Trinket Box (lot 179) of equal colour which sold for £620 (to buy this new today would cost £134).

Lots 170, 171, 172, 173 and 174 all came from the same client, were dated to the 1950’s and had started to age extremely well. Lot 170 a Panelled Wardrobe sold for £3,000, lot 171 a Tallboy sold for £2,100, Lot 172 a Dressing Chest sold for £2,600, lot 173 a Double Bedstead sold for £950 and lot 174 a Panelled Bedside Cupboard sold for £1,000. Lot 184 was a modern Chest of Drawers bought for £2,700 as a practical and useful piece of furniture with the quintessential mouse carved on it.

“There is a very loyal following in Yorkshire for this hand crafted English Oak furniture and we achieve enormous prices as demand is currently very strong” said Diane Sinnott. “The world record price for a piece of Mouseman furniture is £46,000, achieved in the United States. However in recent times Tennants has sold pieces in excess of £20,000.”

Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson was born in 1876 in Kilburn, North Yorkshire and served an engineering apprenticeship in Cleckheaton before returning to work in the family business at the age of 20.

The now familiar mouse appears as a trademark signature after 1920 and is still being used today by the craftsman at Kilburn, which is only at hour’s drive from Tennants in Leyburn.

Tennants are now accepting entries for their next Decorative Arts and Modern Design Sale in Spring 2008 and already have a wonderful selection of Mouseman furniture including a pair of open bookcases, a wardrobe, a blanket box, a dresser, a table and six chairs. For more details visit