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Christopher Hampton
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About Christopher Hampton
Christopher Hampton is the Managing Director of Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood and the Head of the Furniture Department. He is based at Exeter in Devon.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, June 25, 2013

George Bullock was a cabinet maker who came to prominence in the late 18th and early 19th century. Born in Birmingham, Bullock settled in Liverpool and was in partnership with a mirror manufacturer, selling their wares from premises known as ‘The Grecian Rooms’. This gives a clue to Bullock’s style which is very much associated with the Classical forms associated with the Regency period.


Bullock owned marble quarries and this material was much used in his furnishings, not least in fireplaces.


In 1813 he moved to London and became well-established as a furniture designer with several important commissions.

  a pair of regency pollard oak rectangular card tables in the manner of george bullock (sf18/1005)

 A pair of Regency pollard oak rectangular card tables in the manner of George Bullock (SF18/1005)


Although not directly attributed to him, this pair of card tables (SF18/1005) very much reflect the neo-classical style associated with Bullock. They have rectangular baize lined hinged tops with reel turned edges and moulded panel friezes and are raised on taperinmg moulded panel columns and bevelled stepped rectangular plinths. Measuring 3ft 2in wide (97cm), this super pair of card tables carry a pre-sale estimate of £6,000-£8,000 and are being offered as part of the Nye Furniture Collection, the first part of which is to be sold in a special fine sale on Friday, 5th July 2013 at Dowell Street, Honiton, Devon

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013 9:18:38 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Georgian and Regency | Trackback

Campaign furniture is a curious area of collecting, as the reason for its existence has long since passed. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Officer class were extracted from the landed gentry. They would often have purchased their commissions and expected a high degree of creature comforts whether they were in action or not. Long military campaigns and extended overland travel were the order of the day and there were plenty of people in the lower orders to fetch and carry. Thus a market developed for furnishings specifically adapted for ease of transportation.

 a 19th century teak and brass mounted campaign chest (fs19/770)

A 19th Century teak and brass mounted campaign chest (FS19/770)

The best known of these is probably the campaign chest which was manufactured in two sections with brass carrying handles at the ends of each section, drawer handles which folded flush against the carcase and brass corner mouldings to strengthen and protect the edges of the piece. As in this example (FS19/770), they would often have secretaire drawers so they could double as a desk. Some examples still appear on the market with their original outer carrying cases which gave greater protection still. They are sought after today as attractive and well-designed pieces of furniture.

The above campaign chest (FS19/770) is being offered for sale in the forthcoming quarterly fine furniture auction on 4th July 2013 as part of our Summer Fine Sale and is expected to fetch £1,000-£1,500.

The furniture department is actually involved in two days of consecutive selling. The first of these is at our Exeter Salerooms on 4th July 2013 as part of ou regularr Fine Art Sale and then the second day comprises the first special sale of the Nye Furniture Collection that is being sold on 5th July 2013 at the Honiton Saleroom in Dowell Street.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013 9:06:10 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Victorian and Edwardian | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Production of aesthetic style furniture was pretty much limited to the late 19th Century and therefore, as it was not produced for that long a period, there is only a small amount remaining today.

Aesthetic style furniture is characterised by various traits – in particular its Far Eastern Influence, ebonised wood often with gilt highlights, a use of motifs from nature such as flowers, birds and peacock feathers, the use of blue and white porcelain. Nature was the driving force behind this style of furniture. Coloured paintings of birds, flowers and other motifs from nature are regularly used.


an aesthetic movement bedroom suite (fs19/793)


An Aesthetic Movement Bedroom Suite (FS19/793)  


The forthcoming quarterly fine furniture sale on 4th July 2013 includes a bedroom suite with typical aesthetic movement qualities (FS19/793). It is ebonised and gilt line inlaid, typical of the Aesthetic Movement. It comprises a triple section wardrobe, which has a mirror panel door surmounted by four square pottery tiles depicting various birds amidst lilies. It also comprises a dressing table and a pedestal cupboard and is expected to fetch between £500-£1,000.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013 12:57:50 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Victorian and Edwardian | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Friday, April 26, 2013

The pair of George III mahogany pedestal urns  (FS18/813) that I recently blogged about exceeded all expectations when they went under the hammer in the fine furniture auction.

a detail of one of the george iii pedestal urns (fs18/813)

A detail of one of the George III pedestal urns (FS18/813)

These George III urns were  zinc lined and ormolu mounted, the detachable covers with beaded and paterae decorated handles and beaded finials, the half reeded bodies with fluted and beaded paterae. The pedestals below had fluted friezes, one was lead lined and the other fitted with three short drawers.


the pair of george iii mahogany urns (fs18/813)

The pair of George III mahogany urns (FS18/813)

This fantastic pair of George III mahogany pedestal urns were highly sought after and with six phone bidders and interest from the Internet, they sold for an amazing £350,000 in the quarterly fine art sale on 25th April 2013.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 2:41:58 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
18th Century Furniture | Georgian and Regency | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Friday, April 19, 2013

Chests of drawers as we know them are the direct descendants of the simple coffer, which furnished many homes from the 17th century and before.  Oak coffers and plank chests are regular features of Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's auctions and can be purchased for relatively modest amounts considering their age and quality. The introduction of drawers to the base of the simple coffer produced what is now known as a mule chest. Then the logical progression was a chest entirely  fitted with drawers. Antique chests of drawers are of course now more widespread and valuable because of their continued usefulness in the modern home and, although simpler Victorian ones have suffered in value recently due to fashion,  decorative and high quality pieces still attract attention. One style which remains popular is the serpentine fronted chest of drawers, such as FS18/889 in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's Fine Furniture Auction on the 25th April 2013

a george iii mahogany serpentine fronted chest (fs18/889)

A George III mahogany serpentine fronted chest (FS18/889)

 These chests have always been considered more desireable than their flat or bow-fronted equivalents and examples in good original condition, especially if of modest size, can fetch several thousands of pounds. This particular example is not of the smallest type, but still has attractive proportions and very little alteration or restoration (apart from replaced handles on the bottom drawer). With very little further attention it would be a stunning piece of fine furniture due to its attractive design and well-figured mahogany. It carries a pre-sale estimate of £1,500-£2,000.

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Friday, April 19, 2013 10:03:39 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Georgian and Regency | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Art Nouveau is a style of design which retains its popularity, though originating from the late 19th century. It flowered across Europe from around 1890 and found its home in Britain in the famous Liberty & Co store in London.


Its associated swirling designs and bright colours can be see most especially in the inset ceramic panels  in this lot (FS18/856), though the rest almost veers towards the Arts and Crafts movement, which overlapped it in period and, to some degree, in style.

 a shapland and petter late victorian/edwardian oak wardrobe (fs18/856)

A Shapland and Petter late Victorian/Edwardian oak wardrobe (FS18/856) 


The Barnstaple firm of Shapland and Petter were also great proponants of Art Nouveau in their day and produced many stylish pieces like this splendid wardrobe (FS18/856).


Being crafted from oak in the Art Nouveau taste, it is applied throughout with beaten patinated metal strap hinges and knobs. The arched mirrored door is flanked by two panelled doors each inset with a tile picture depicting a peacock. The tiles are marked Flaxman to the reverse. It really is a wonderful example of the quality produced by Shapland and Petter during the late Victorian/Edwardian period. The pre-sale estimate is £1,500-£2,000 and it is being offered in the Quarterly Fine Sale on 25th April 2013 in Okehampton Street, Exeter, Devon.


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Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:09:15 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Victorian and Edwardian | Trackback

This 19th century Indian carved padouk wood table (FS18/863) is typical of a lot of furniture made in the time of Empire.


 a 19th century indian carved padouk wood table (fs18/863)



A 19th Century Indian carved padouk wood table (FS18/863)


Its design follows closely that of many a Victorian breakfast or centre table with a circular top, shaped pedestal and platform, but there the similarity ends. The first clue to its rather more exotic origin is the wood from which it is made: The Padouk tree is most commonly found in Africa (although versions do also occur in Burma and elsewhere). Its timber resembles rosewood, to which it is related, but the figuring in somewhat coarser. It is a very dense wood, which gives great weight and physical presence to pieces made from it. Beyond the material is the fact of the rather carving, which is rather more intense than you would normally find on an English piece. The quality of this piece will attract a lot of interest and bids of £1,000 to £1,500 are expected when it is offered as part of the furniture auction in our Fine Art Sale on 25th April 2013 at the Okehampton Street Saleroom in Exeter.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013 3:23:03 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Continental Furniture | Trackback

These splendid pedestal urns (FS18/813) were an early idea of practical storage for the dining room, being a precursor of the sideboard. They might stand elegantly flanking a sideboard and were produced in the finest furniture workshops including those of Thomas Chippendale. In fact, a very similar pair to those being offered at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s Fine Sale are to be found at Paxton House in Berwickshire, which are certainly the work of Chippendale.


 a pair of george iii mahogany pedestal urns


A pair of George III mahogany pedestal urns (FS18/813)


Eventually the logic of joining the serving table to the storage cupboards in the pedestals became inescapable and the sideboard was born.


Nevertheless fine examples of these early pedestals are highly sought-after and this pair, being of exceptional quality, is expected to fetch £120,000-£160,000 when offered for auction in the fine sale at Okehampton Street, Exeter, Devon on 25th April 2013. I look forward to reporting back on their hammer price after they have been sold.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013 12:25:57 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Georgian and Regency | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Christopher Hampton will start blogging shortly.

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