Christie's to Sell Exemplary English Walnut, Oak & Yew Furniture

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Christie's to Sell Exemplary English Walnut, Oak & Yew Furniture
An early 18th Century Queen Anne walnut kneehole bachelor's chest. Estimate: £100,000-150,000. Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd., 2010.

LONDON.- Christie’s announce the sale of stellar English furniture from the John Parry collection on Thursday, March 25. An internationally renowned collector in the field, Parry’s passionate connoisseurship, his eye for detail, rare design and his commitment to quality, is showcased by exemplary walnut, oak and yew furniture dating from the 17th Century to the 18th Century. This group of 120 works is a tour de force, celebrating the warmth and character of the veneers, their beautiful patination and colour, superb craftsmanship and the great charm of large oak pieces and small examples of treen from the period. With estimates ranging from £500 to £100,000, the sale is expected to realise in excess of £1.2million.

Leading the sale is a graceful early 18th Century Queen Anne walnut kneehole bachelor's chest (estimate: £100,000-150,000). This chest perfectly illustrates the observation made by Peter Holmes, Managing Director of Arlington Conservation, that “at its best, the honey colours, the golden toffee, treacly hues of a veneered walnut surface that has borne the use and abuse, the sun and the candle wax of the last two hundred and fifty years or so is sublime, even for a brief moment life enhancing.”

Rufus Bird, Head of Sale: “This auction follows the record-breaking sale of John Parry's first collection of walnut and oak at Christie's in April 1997, which was 98% sold by lot and realised £1.9 million; establishing a new benchmark in the market for walnut and oak furniture. Subsequently the Parrys have continued to focus on wonderful examples of English furniture, extending their highly developed taste to include furniture crafted in yew. This collection is a joyful celebration of the richness, variety and quality found in these magnificent pieces, showing the brilliance of late 17th and early 18th century English cabinet-making.”

Further highlights range from an impressive early 18th century George I burrwalnut writing-chest (estimate: £60,000-90,000), to a George I burr-walnut bachelor’s chest (estimate: £70,000-£100,000), and a stunning late 17th Century Charles II silkwork casket, known as The Wilby House Casket, which is in remarkable condition (estimate: £40,000-60,000).

Parry places importance not only on the aesthetic beauty and quality of craftsmanship of the furniture he has collected, but also the usefulness of pieces which has enabled them to be used and enjoyed as part of the home. This is demonstrated by a Welsh oak dresser from the early 18th century (estimate: £10,000-15,000); a George II walnut and elm Windsor armchair, circa 1740 (estimate: £10,000-15,000) and also a George III brown oak and oak tripod table, circa 1760 (estimate: £3,000- 5,000).

Smaller, delightfully quirky lots include 15 fruit-shaped tea-caddies from the late 18th century with estimates ranging from £3,000 to £9,000, examples illustrated right, and a charming late 19th century model of a Fisherman's Cottage (estimate: £1,000-2,000).

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