Early Mouseman suite linked to Everest campaign resurfaces at Bonhams

Furniture commissioned by man who provided mountaineering shoes for the Everest expeditions, from his friend, Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson

Chiparus, Lalique and the Decorative Arts
14 Nov 2012
London, New Bond Street

An extensive suite of early Robert "Mouseman" Thompson furniture, some of it commissioned by his friend Robert Lawrie, a keen mountaineer with links to the Everest expeditions, has resurfaced at Bonhams in London .

The suite of furniture is estimated to sell for a total of £20,000 to £30,000 at Bonhams sale of 20th Century Decorative Arts auction on 14th November at Bonhams New Bond Street, entitled "Chiparus, Lalique and the Decorative Arts".

Robert Lawrie (1903-1982) was a notable British alpine and polar equipment specialist and racing car driver. The suite of 'Mouseman' furniture includes handsome examples of bedroom and dining room furniture in Mouseman's trademark adzed oak and pollard oak. With estimates ranging from £600-£800 for a single bed to £2,500-£3,000 for a panelled wardrobe, buyers have a unique opportunity to furnish their home with scarce pieces of early Mouseman furniture that has remained in excellent condition.

Robert Lawrie was a personal friend to Thompson, and is believed to have commissioned these pieces for his family home around 1940. Lawrie's financial success came from his range of mountaineering shoes and equipment which he personally developed having become a keen mountaineer himself in the late 1920s. His shoes were worn in the 1933 Everest expedition led by Hugh Ruttledge, as well as John Hunt's 1953 Everest campaign. The Lawrie Glacier in Antarctica is named in his honour.

"Pieces from this period of Thompson's workshop appear infrequently at auction, and so to see this many pieces come to the market at the same time is very exciting," comments Will Gilding, 20th Century Decorative Arts furniture specialist. "It provides established collectors the opportunity to add to their own collections, and it also gives new buyers of Thompson's work the chance to furnish their home with a range of pieces from sideboards, dinner table and a bookcase, to a bed and iconic pieces such as joint stools and Monk's chairs. The quality of the workmanship, it goes without saying, is second to none. It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to offer such a wonderful collection after it passed."

The current vendors added sympathetically to the pieces acquired from the collection of Robert Lawrie, selecting pieces of a good colour from the same period.

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