Collector mentored by some of the greats of antiques dealing

A single-owner collection which was amassed by Mike Handford over a period of over 40 years at his Cotswolds home will be offered by Cambridge saleroom Cheffins.

TSR Handford Casket

A Charles II stumpwork casket, worked in polychrome threads, the top depicting two figures, possibly King Charles II and Queen Henrietta, together with a courtly attendant, the front with a frieze of plants and animals above a scene with a musician and a shepherd in a rural landscape, the hinged lid opening to reveal a lift-out compartment divided into seven niches, raised on ball feet. Measuring 17.5 x 24 x 13.5cm, it was acquired from Catherine Christopher in the 1970s. Estimate £700-1000. To bid for the Charles II stumpwork casket visit

It comprises over 200 pieces, centred around 17th and 18th century decoration and early oak furniture.
Handford, who has been collecting antiques since his early teens, says: “I was mentored by some of the greats of antiques dealing of the time, such as Gerald Shaw, with one particular early purchase I remember being an 1812 square piano by Tomkison which I bought for ten bob, the equivalent of 50p today.
“I moved to London in the 1960s and spent some years at Goldsmith’s, while also teaching in south London. All the time I was also buying for my own collection from some of London’s most well-known dealers, such as Joanna Booth, Geoffrey Vann and Catherine Christophers, and I stuffed my wonderful Burford cottage, Hillsleigh, with my collection.”
After owning Hillsleigh for some 40 years, Handford has decided to sell the house and the antiques collection, and move to London full time.
Here are five suggestions on what to buy, including the Charles II stumpwork casket shown above from a group of 17th century stumpwork items.

The Handford items are part of The Fine Sale on March 22-23 at Cheffins.

Show me the way to albarello

TSR Handford Abarellos

Estimated at £200-400, on offer is an Italian albarello, c.1700, the blue ground body decorated with scrolling foliage and reserved with an oval panel painted with a soldier, 24cm high, together with two similar Italian albarellos, possibly Sienna, the waisted cylindrical bodies decorated with scrolling foliage, one decorated with the profile of a woman, 15cm and 13cm high. Visit to bid for these Italian albarellos.

Fittleworth by unknown hand


TSR Handford Fittleworth

Estimated at £100-150, this English Provincial School, 19th century, watercolour on paper in a maple veneer frame shows Fittleworth, Sussex. The watercolour unframed measures 17.5 x 23cm. To view the English Provincial School watercolour see

Saintly countenance


TSR Handford St Paul

Shown here is a Continental carved oak and polychrome painted figure of St Paul, probably 17th/18th century, enrobed and bearded, holding an open book in his left hand, with vestiges of original coloured detail remaining (refreshed), 71cm high. Estimate £400-600. Bid for the Continental carved oak and polychrome painted figure of St Paul via

Table a bid

TSR Handford Table

This small oak refectory table, 17th century, the three plank cleated top above a run-moulded frieze raised on turned legs united by stretchers on block feet, measures 75cm x 1.24m x 69cm. It is estimated at £300-500. To bid for the oak refectory table, 17th century view


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