The Beedham Collection 21 Mar 2023 News Norfolk News Suffolk News

Excellence as Standard

Bishop & Miller Auctioneers are delighted to be auctioning the most outstanding collection of early furniture in a specialist auction at its Stowmarket saleroom on 29th March, the collection is from the Beedham Family. The lots featuring in this auction has been amassed since the 1950s/1960s where the family started to deal across Derbyshire and over the years, they purchased a great number of pieces.

The collection was started by Herbert and Norma Beedham who had a passion for early antiques and specifically Tudor and Elizabethan Oak Furniture. Their passion quickly became a business and in 1974 Beedham Antiques was established. Since then, the Beedham family have specialised in 15th Century, 16th Century, and 17th Century furniture and associated objects and works of art. Here we take a look at some of the outstanding pieces that feature in this auction and their interesting provenance behind them.

First up is a rare Henry VIII oak joined and boarded livery cupboard, circa 1520-40. This cupboard is made up of two boards over an early 16th Century arrangement of two cupboards centred by drawers. This piece of furniture was from a private collection in Winchester and what makes this cupboard so rare is because of the presence of drawers. Drawers are seldom found on early 16th Century English furniture, and when present their construction could be comparatively crude, with the drawer simply running on its bottom, supported by the carcass rails and/or a simple underside bearer/board. The boards to this cupboard were supported not only by the frame, but also originally by the baseboard side edges, which extended beyond the drawer linings and engaged with grooved rails joined to the frame of the cupboard. This allowed for smooth operation of the drawers. It is a fine piece of furniture and is has an auction estimate of £20,000 – £30,000.

Another piece of important furniture in this collection is a documented, Elizabeth I oak and inlaid overmantle, from Gloucestershire, circa 1580. This very early piece which is in outstanding condition is designed in three-tiers. The piece was removed from Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire in 1953. After the dissolution of the Monasteries, Prinknash Abbey was rented from the crown by Sir Anthony Kingston and used as a hunting lodge. In 1544, Henry VIII granted the Abbey to Edmund Brydges (d.1573). In 1557 Edmund succeeded his father as Lord Chandos of Sudeley, and Sudeley Castle become the families’ principal residence, however, Prinknash continued to be used by the family until c.1628. During a period of remodelling at Prinknash the overmantle was probably installed by either Giles Brydges, 3rd Baron Chandos (1548-1594) or William Brydges, the 4th Baron Chandos, (1552-1602) so the provenance is well documented. It is expected to achieve between £10,000 – £15,000 at auction.

Another more unique piece we have in this auction, isn’t something that you would associate with the look and feel of what our children have today. In today’s toy market you would expect a doll to be a soft and a cuddly character, however, it wasn’t like that in the 1580s!. This very early Elizabeth I oak and polychrome-decorated child’s doll, is carved out of the solid wood. It has been designed as a two-sided well-dressed standing lady, hands drawn across her waist, one face smiling, the other sad, its auction estimate is £3,000 -£4,000.

There is a number of fine pieces of furniture and early oak examples in this outstanding collection, including an unusual walnut pipe rack that is of Anglo-American form and from circa 1800-50, that is expected to attract interest between £600 – £800. An interesting and fine mid-16th century small elm and beech casket, circa 1550 that is expected to attract interest between £1,500 – £2,000 and a good Elizabeth I needlework valance panel, circa 1580 designed with Virtues. This needlework is depicted as females in contemporary dress, including Hope, Charity and Temperance, all standing within an idyllic landscape, with buildings, streams and duck pond, later velvet mount and frame and is expected to attract interest at around £2,000 – £3,000. So if hearing about these lots interests you and you would like to come and take a look at these pieces and all the lots featuring in this auction, you can come and view the pieces at our Stowmarket saleroom weekdays from Monday 21 March 9am until 4pm and 9am – 1pm Saturday 25 March and 9am – 3pm on Sunday 26 March with the auction taking place on Wednesday 29 March at 1pm.

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