Mid Century Modern chairs headed a healthy list of furniture lots at Ewbanks
on July 27 at a top-estimate £2,000. The pair of Danish teak Boomerang chairs with lacquered brass legs by Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard for France & Son were among a series of highlights from Scandinavian and British designers.
A beautifully patinated 7ft 5in wide rosewood Model 66 sideboard by the Danish designer Ib Kofod-Larsen (1921-2003) made £1,800.
Kofod-Larsen, a prize-winning glass artist, attracted the attention of manufacturer Faarup Møbelfabrik after scooping the annual award from the Danish Cabinetmakers Guild for his furniture. His work for them included the 1950s classic Model 66, an iconic piece of Mid Century Modern furniture.
Niels Moller (1920-82) is another Mid Century Danish designer who first learnt his craft in his fathers carpentry workshop before going on to set up his own factory and distribution business that still runs today. A set of ten model 75 teak dining chairs with rush seats by Moller, who designed them in 1954, went over estimate at £1,400.
One of the best performers was another teak sideboard, dating to the 1970s and probably Danish, but without the maker identified. A statement piece at 5ft 5in wide, it had been estimated at £250-350, but topped out at £1,000.
Finn Juhl (1912-89) was an architect and industrial designer who became one of the leading figures of Danish design in the 1940s with his sculptural furniture. The sale included an extending teak dining table he designed for France & Son, which measures around 9ft 7in at full stretch and went for £900.
Ercol, the British furniture brand which dates to 1920, is one of the most recognisable and popular names in Mid Century design today. The best piece in this sale was a light elm Windsor (363) Giraffe room divider bookcase with adjustable shelves over a pair of cupboards on turned legs. Standing 6ft 4in high, it was a marvellous statement piece of post-war design produced from 1957-70 and went for £800.
Gordon Russell (1892-1980) hand-crafted furniture himself in the 1920s in his workshops at Chipping Campden in The Cotswolds, one of the designers continuing the honest design tradition inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement. A gold medal winner at the Paris Exhibition in 1925, he went on to design stylish Utility furniture as chairman of the government panel for such work during the Second World War.
Russells early handmade pieces can sell for five-figure sums, but later designs put out by his factory are also popular. Ewbanks offered an example of the rare W.H. Russell Ellipses sideboard from the 1950s. The decorative design on the two doors gives the piece its name and it is more sought after than Russells better known and more commonly available Helix sideboard. With a width of 4ft and height of 3ft, the sideboard went for £600.
A Double Helix cabinet designed by David Booth for Gordon Russell, with birch veneer is also in the catalogue, took £500.
Other Mid Century Modern furniture in the sale that also did well included Norwegian Westnofa beech and leather armchairs, as well as pieces by Danish designers Niels Erik Gladam Jensen, Gunni Omann Jun and Saverin Hansen.
Mid Century Modern furniture is one of the strongest design fields today for collectors, especially pieces by Scandinavian designers, says Ewbanks partner Andrew Ewbank. The craftsmanship of these makers, together with the classic modern look and beautiful finishes mean that they complement any interior, mixing with the best of antiques and modern collectables.
We have been focusing on this period and discipline for some time and, as this auction shows, regularly offer a broad choice of the best designs. It shows that while prices may have fallen away for some of the more traditional furniture designs of the Victorian period, Mid Century Modern remains a strong area of the market.