A Private Collection from a Philip Webb designed Farmhouse 7 Feb 2024 News Auctions Norfolk News

At both our Stowmarket and Norfolk salerooms we see a number of private collections that form part of our auctions. These types of collections are fascinating as they show off peoples tastes and styles. At our February Collector auction at Glandford there was an outstanding collection from the Norwich School of Artists and the contents from a Manor Farm in Suffolk forming part of the auction – two great private collections going under the hammer!

The farmhouse itself was designed by Philip Webb who is widely acknowledged to be the ‘father of arts and crafts architecture’. He was also one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts movement which was a decorative and fine arts trend that developed earliest and most fully in the British Isles before spreading across the British Empire and the rest of Europe and America in the 19th Century. Webb was a very talented person who made not only designs for buildings, but also furniture, tapestries, wallpaper, stained glass and tableware – to name but a few. He truly showcased a revolutionary approach to the design and aesthetics to a home. His most famous drawing of a home which was designed in 1857 was called ‘Red House’ and was built in Bexleyheath in Kent and it was a designed as a home for William Morris and his wife. The concept he achieved with this property was a practical home for everyday use, but also host to an impeccably designed studio space. It was in this house he also helped create the look and feel of the inside with use of furniture, tiles, metalwork and tableware. This was the only property that had such an impact after this he designed a number of other non-residential buildings including a church, a school but not with the same architectural wow!

The property that the contents came from in Suffolk is very much Webb’s look and feel featuring red bricks, sash windows and steep roofs. The objects that were housed inside and are included in the auction very much reflects the look and feel of the outside of the building. So here are some of the stand out lots from this collection to show you how they work in a home setting.

First thing I wanted to mention was that the house was decorated beautifully with Morris’s style wallpaper in most rooms, giving all the pieces of furniture and paintings hung on the walls a stunning backdrop. Last week we spoke about the collection from this house of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson furniture which worked fantastically in this setting. This week I thought I would look at other decorative pieces from the collection that would work in the home setting.

Adorning the walls of the property were some outstanding pieces of artwork. Such as a Walter Richard Sickert (British 1860-1942) black chalk and pen and ink signed picture titled ‘Study of a Girl’. This simplistic, yet detailed piece of work would make a charming addition to a collection of the home and has an auction estimate of £2,000 – £3,000. Other artists that are part of the collection are British artist Arthur Hopkins (1848-1930) with a signed watercolour titled ‘The Cabbage Patch’ that has an auction estimate of £300 – £500 or a oil on canvas attributed to Nicholas Berchem (1620-1683) which is a landscape with Ruin, Figures and Animals that has an auction estimate of £300 – £500 both very decorative and also conversational pieces for any room.

Other attractive pieces from the contents include a Benson type art nouveau desk lamp that had a green shade above sinuous supports and shaped legs, that has an auction estimate of £80-£120, a range of 19th century standard lamps with various feet designs from scroll to shell feet, Regency style standard lamps with reeded columns and scroll supports and floral bandings which have auction estimates between £200 – £300. All would look fantastic in a living room setting of any home. They are unique and very well made pieces.

When it comes to furniture it’s not only ‘Mouseman’ pieces featuring in this collection there is also other pieces of furniture such as a Howard and Sons type armchair upholstered in a blue floral fabric that has an auction estimate of £400-£600 or a George III oak East Anglian geometric chest of drawers that have an auction estimate of £500 – £700 again both would look great in any home setting – not just a farmhouse!

This was just a small part of the collection in this auction and one of three collections within the Collector auction itself. The full auction catalogue is available to view online through our website.

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