Top chef Marco Pierre White to auction off part of his excellent Mouseman collection29 September 2021 A collection of Mouseman furniture and furnishings from chef Marco Pierre White’s hotel, the Rudloe Arms in Wiltshire, is coming under the hammer at Tennants in North Yorkshire.
The 65 lots, which include an array of classic Mouseman pieces, will be sold in the 20th Century Design Sale on October 9.
White, who was born in Leeds, says of the collection: “As a boy growing up in West Yorkshire, I used to go fishing in Otley where I often walked past Chippendale’s House, who I knew was a furniture-maker. I remember thinking that Chippendale signed his furniture with a mouse – I suppose I had heard talk of ‘Mouseman furniture’ and put two and two together.
“Years later I saw a Squirrelman candelabra and read of his link with Mouseman furniture. Investigating further, I soon discovered the real author of the mouse signature, Robert Thompson.
“I began collecting pieces to furnish the Rudloe Arms Hotel on the edge of the Cotswolds; not only is Mouseman incredibly practical and durable – perfect for a busy hotel – but it is beautiful and so tactile, especially the adzed surfaces. English oak is a fantastic material.”
Having found himself with pieces of Mouseman furniture surplus to the current needs of the hotel, the chef says he is “delighted to return a selection to Yorkshire where they will find new homes”.
Members of the public will be able to view the collection when it goes on public view in the Tennants' North Yorkshire salerooms on October 7-8.
Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson died in 1955 but the workshop continues this day.
Here are five ideas on what to buy.
Highlights include an impressive 10-foot oak refectory table (pictured above), made in 1955 for the boardroom at John Smith’s Brewery, Tadcaster, estimated at £4000-6000.
It is described as having a four-plank dowelled top, on four octagonal legs, joined by a floor stretcher, with two carved mice trademarks, 3.05m x 1.21m x 73cm, top 6.5cm thick.
Bid for the Mouseman 10-foot oak refectory table via thesaleroom.com.
A rare oak carving of the North Shields Wooden Dolly is estimated at £5000-7000. The Wooden Dolly is a 41cm high copy of the large-scale version made by the Mouseman workshop in 1958 of a fishwife carrying a basket that sits on Liddell Street, North Shields.
North Shields is steeped in maritime heritage and a series of life-size wooden doll statues have inhabited the town for more than 200 years. The shipowner and brewer Alexander Bartleman erected the first doll, an old ship's figurehead, in 1814 on the town's Liddell Street.
The fifth was created by the Robert Thompson workshop in 1958 and recently restored in September 2020 and returned to Northumberland Park.
View the catalogue entry for this rare Mouseman oak carving of the North Shields Wooden Dolly on thesaleroom.com.
Somewhere to hang out
This Mouseman English burr oak panelled hanging corner cupboard dates from the 1930s. It features a castellated top, the door with wrought iron hinges and latch with square-head screws, with recessed carved mouse trademark, and measures 67cm wide x 45cm deep x 96cm high.
View the catalogue entry of the Mouseman English burr oak panelled hanging corner cupboard on thesaleroom.com.
Tales of tails
At a ‘more affordable’ level, this pair of workshop of Robert Mouseman Thompson English oak single mouse bookends, each with carved mouse trademark, each stamped 5, 15cm high, is estimated at £200-300.
Bid for the pair of Mouseman English oak single mouse bookends on thesaleroom.com.
Estimated at £250-350 is this Mouseman English oak cheeseboard, of standard form, with the carved mouse trademark on the board, 38cm wide.
Mouseman cheeseboards were first made in the 1930s. Early examples have the mouse carved on the board; in the 1960s the mouse was moved onto the handle.
View the catalogue entry for the Mouseman English oak cheese board on thesaleroom.com.