One of the finest offerings of early furniture made by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson is coming to auction in March.

The items will be sold in the 20th Century Design Sale at Tennants Auctioneers in Leyburn on March 2.

Thompson, who died in 1955, was a British furniture maker. He was born and lived in Kilburn, North Yorkshire, where he set up a business manufacturing oak furniture, which featured a carved mouse on almost every piece.

Tennants’ 20th Century Design Specialist Diane Sinnott said the items were drawn from several private collections, many of the pieces are sold with excellent provenance, and all date from the 1920s and 1930s.

She said: “We have been very privileged at Tennants to sell some wonderful pieces of Mouseman furniture over the years, but we have never had a sale with so many important early pieces with such excellent provenance. This really is an exceptional auction”.

"A fine group of bedroom furniture made for Kate Elwell, who was Robert Thompson’s secretary for several years, is led by an English Oak Tall Double Wardrobe, an unusually small English Oak Wardrobe , and an English Oak 3ft Bedstead. Also for sale are two fenders. In addition to her secretarial work, Kate helped paint any polychromed pieces that were commissioned, and she continued to work at the Mouseman workshop in Kilburn until she married in 1938.

Diane added: "Being sold from a deceased estate are two lots which were given by American businessman Paul Herrick Kelly to his son Captain Philip Paul Kelly on the occasion of his marriage to Mary Haselwood Porter in 1932. The lots comprise an English Oak Partner’s Desk, and an English Oak Monk’s Chair, made circa 1929 and bearing the Ampleforth Abbey coat-of-arms on gridiron panels Captain Philip Kelly, who attended Ampleforth College between 1919 and 1923, died in Myanmar during the Second World War having been mentioned in dispatches.

"From a further Private Collection is an elaborately carved English Oak Blanket Chest, made in 1928 for John and Kathleen Brunton to celebrate their marriage.The chest is based on a 16th century example held in the collection of the V&A, and which was illustrated in Robert Thompson’s copy of Early English Furniture and Woodwork, a 1922 publication by Crescinsky and Gribble. Robert annotated the page next to the illustration with notes and working drawings, and the book is still in the possession of the Thomson family at Kilburn.

A set of unique child’s nursery furniture is also on offer, which was commissioned by the Thompson-Schwab family of Kingfield House, Penton, Carlisle before later being purchased by the current vendor.

From the Collection of a North Yorkshire gentleman are two English Oak Monk’s Chairs, made for the Horlicks family of Berkshire. The Horlicks’ outfitted both their boardroom and their private house with Mouseman furniture, and the present lots were purchased directly from the family some years ago. Each chair is carved with monks’ heads and Yorkshire roses, with a carved ‘H’ to the back panel.

The sale will also offer a further 80 lots of Mouseman furniture and furnishings dating from the 1940s onwards.

A fully illustrated catalogue will be available on our website leading up to the sale.