Rare Mouseman furniture carved by refugee fleeing the Nazis sold for high prices by Ryedale Auctioneers' TV expert Angus Ashworth

TV antiques expert Angus Ashworth has praised rare Mouseman items which he sold at a Ryedale Auctioneers sale this week.
A Mouseman oak carvingA Mouseman oak carving
A Mouseman oak carving

A country house sale at the auction house in Kirkbymoorside last week included 60 authentic Mouseman pieces along with other Yorkshire oak furnishings made by the craftsmen Robert Thompson trained at his Kilburn workshop.

Buyers from around the world bid for the Mouseman items, which are highly sought-after by collectors.

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Highlights of the Mouseman collection included rare biscuit barrels, one of which sold for £1,350, two turned oak bowls which each went for £2,600 and a chest of drawers that fetched £2,900.

A Mouseman oak gavelA Mouseman oak gavel
A Mouseman oak gavel

There was early Mouseman work available that was donated by a local family and which had been carved during the time Austrian refugee Joseph Heu, who fled the Nazis to work under Thompson, was in Kilburn. Heu died in 1952, only three years before Thompson passed away. Pieces made by former Thompson apprentices 'Wrenman' and 'Gnomeman' were also in the sale.

Auctioneer Angus Ashworth - who stars in the reality TV programme The Yorkshire Auction House - said: "The earlier Mouseman pieces in the sale had been owned by a local family from new and were carved during the time of Joseph Heu (1876-1952), an Austrian master carver who fled the Nazis and worked at the famous oak carving workshop in Kilburn under Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson. Yorkshire oak has always been popular with buyers, but we are seeing prices rise exponentially for the smaller decorative items, especially earlier pieces."

The total hammer price for the sale was Ryedale Auctioneers’ second highest to date.

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The KIlburn workshop is still operational today and owned by Thompson's descendants.

Several auction houses in the region have reported rising interest in Mouseman furniture, which is known for its durability and was often found in churches and schools. Many items now come from the estates of couples who married in the 1960s and furnished their first homes with Mouseman pieces.

Ryedale Auctioneers are currently inviting entries for their next country house including Yorkshire oak/Mouseman sale. To arrange a free valuation email [email protected]

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