Look out for the mouse: Five pieces of Mouseman furniture to buy on thesaleroom.com03 August 2020 Mouseman furniture is named after Robert ‘Mousey’ Thompson (1876-1955) – a furniture maker based in Kilburn in North Yorkshire.
Inspired by the British vernacular tradition, his workshop produced (and still produces) quality hand crafted furniture in a unique style that has stood the test of time.
Most items are of solid oak construction and the workshop’s output features tables, chairs, desks and wardrobes as well as smaller items like ashtrays and cheeseboards. Plenty of examples appear regularly at sales on thesaleroom.com.
Don’t forget to look for Thompson’s ‘signature’ – a carved mouse incorporated into pieces since the early 1920s that became his trademark.
Here we pick out five pieces of Mouseman furniture offered or sold at recent auctions.
1. Oak bureau
This Mouseman oak bureau (shown above and below) has the trademark carved mice in a concealed place.
The front section hinges forward to reveal a fitted interior with six open shelves and two carved mice can be found on the vertical supports.
With two short and two long drawers, it is raised on four octagonal shaped supports and measures 3ft (91.5cm) wide.
It is estimated at £250-500 at Lindsay Burns on August 4-5.
View the catalogue entry for this Mouseman oak bureau on thesaleroom.com.
2. Occasional table
This Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson burnished oak occasional table has the traditional carved mouse trademark running up the pedestal.
It is estimated at £400-600 at Amersham Auctions Rooms on August 6.
View the catalogue entry for this Mouseman occasional table on thesaleroom.com.
3. Oak bowl
Not all Mouseman items are large pieces of furniture. Many of the smaller items the Kilburn maker produced like cheeseboards, trays, ashtrays and napkin rings are now very collectable.
This oak bowl measuring 6in (15.5cm) in diameter is offered at Bamfords on August 6-7 with a £120-180.
It features the trademark adzed carving as well as the mouse ‘signature’ to the rim.
View the catalogue entry for this Mouseman oak bowl on thesaleroom.com.
4. Oak table or desk
Tennants had a strong selection of Mouseman furniture at its auction on July 25 with around 60 pieces on offer in total.
Among those generating solid interest from bidders was this English oak table (or desk) from the 1940s-50s. Estimated at £3000-4000, it sold at £6500.
It had one long and two short drawers and its four octagonal legs were joined by a stretcher. It measured 4ft 6in (1.38m) wide.
The carved mouse trademark of Robert Thompson could be found on the front-left leg.
5. 1930s wardrobe
Wardrobes were an important part of Robert Thompson’s output and the Tennants sale included two prime examples from the 1930s – one fetching £9800 and the other £9200.
Measuring 6ft 1in (1.86m) high, the English oak panelled double wardrobe shown above featured half penny moulding, wrought iron hinges and latch and, of course, a recessed carved mouse. Inside was a full width oak hanging rail.