Bidding for a wider audience

As many auction houses put their catalogues online, Ruth Darby takes a look at some of what's on offer
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The Independent Online

As well as selling top-end items to collectors, galleries and museums, furniture auctions have always been good news for the ordinary man in the street looking to buy some dining room furniture. Now, the introduction of live internet participation is opening up auction sales to a wider audience as the auction houses start to put their catalogues online, enabling people worldwide to join the bidding. The following selection of November furniture sales in the UK gives you an idea of the variety on offer.

In Edinburgh, Lyon and Turnbull are holding a Decorative Arts sale on 2 November, which includes 50 lots of furniture, with a set of eight oak Y chairs by the collectable Danish designer Hans J Wegner, manufactured by Carl Hansen and Son, Denmark, with a guide price of £800-£1,200. Lyon and Turnbull are also selling a Wylie and Lochhead mahogany and inlaid armchair, the back of which is decorated with inlaid specimen woods and mother of pearl, with a stylised flowerhead and further inlaid motifs on the open arms and seat (estimate: £300-£500).

At Bonhams, the Knowle Decorative Arts sale on 23 November features some stunning and simple English country furniture from the workshops of the Cotswold School. Look out for an early Edward Barnsley oak chest of four long drawers estimated at £300-£500 and an oak hanging wall shelf and cupboard of plank and peg construction by Malcolm Corrie Powell from the workshop of Edward Gimson and Sidney Barnsley, estimated at £80-£120.

From Liberty and Co there's a large art nouveau oak sideboard with triple mirror panel back and stylised copper finish handles stamped L & C and estimated at £400-£600. In contrast, there is a mahogany and rosewood sideboard from the postwar firm of Gordon Russell, a maker whose work is now increasingly collectable. This piece was designed by W H Russell in 1954 and has two frieze drawers faced with rosewood, decorated with a row of eight dissecting circles over doors similarly faced and decorated with vertical elongated oblongs (estimate: £200-£400).

Items from the collection of the distinguished architect Peter Inskip come up for grabs at Cheffins on 10 November in Cambridge. They range from highly decorative furnishing pieces, to library busts of Newton, Shelley and the Duke of Wellington, to an 1817 miniature cast of the Parthenon frieze and Basil Champneys chimney-pieces. There is a 19th-century painted pine washstand with single drawer on ring-turned legs estimated at £200-£300, and a pretty 19th-century painted side-table on faux bamboo legs at £150-£250.

In London, Christie's is holding a sale of oak, country furniture and folk art on 8 November at the South Kensington branch. This includes west country and Thames Valley Windsor armchairs, whose designs varied according to their place of manufacture, Irish stick-back chairs, and Welsh oak tables, armchairs and chests. A late 19th-century Thames Valley birch and mahogany Windsor armchair is estimated at £400-£600.

Finally, on 8 November the Godalming branch of auctioneers Dreweatt Neate are selling the contents of Beckhams, a lovely Georgian house in Chiddingfold. Among the lots is an imposing George IV mahogany linen press estimated at £500-£800, and a handsome Arts and Crafts walnut and embossed leather fire screen in the manner of George Jack of Morris and Co (£600-£800).

Auction guidelines

Try to see the item you wish to buy and check it over before bidding. Sometimes items are marked 'as found' or a/f in the catalogue which could indicate some damage. It is not necessary to attend the sale, as a bid can be left beforehand with the auctioneer but, if your bid is successful, don't forget that there's a buyer's premium of between 15-20 per cent to pay on top of the hammer price and VAT to pay on this premium, too.

Lyon and Turnbull, 0131 557 8844 www.lyonandturnbull.com

Bonhams, Knowle, 01564 776151, www.bonhams.com

Cheffins 01223 213343 www.cheffins.co.uk

Christie's, South Kensington 020-7930 6074 www.christies.com

Dreweatt Neate, Godalming 01483 423567 www.dfna.com

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