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Post auction highlights | Design For Living, 10 November 2020

Strong prices realised across all categories offered in The Pedestal’s new auction format

A pair of two-seater Howard & Sons ‘Portarlington’ sofas achieve double the pre-sale estimate

The private collection: Property from a Berkshire Residence appeals to local and international clients alike

Participation from novice and established collectors and decorators


The Pedestal’s recently introduced category – Design For Living – featured key pieces from the design movements of the late 19th to the mid-20th century offered alongside decorative items from the antique to contemporary. This innovative auction format was formulated to attract interest from a wide group of clients to a broad range of collecting areas; prices achieved on 10 November confirmed the success of The Pedestal’s new approach.

Sofas by Howard & Sons Ltd have been described as possibly amongst ‘the most luxurious’ ever made and the ‘Portarlington’ design is not often seen at auction. This distinctive pair of late Victorian two-seater sofas in eye-catching red velvet with gold fringing, both stamped ‘HOWARD & SONS LTD, BERNERS ST’, sold for £11,250 – the final price settled after a telephone bidding battle demonstrating that furniture by this maker continues to be in high  demand at auction.

Gino Sarfatti might not be a familiar name but amongst lighting cognoscenti he is considered a visionary moderniser. He founded the firm Arteluce in Milan just before World War II and the business thrived in Italy’s post war boom and revitalisation through its retail outlets and several major ground-breaking lighting commissions. Today his designs look as fresh and striking as when first created. Model 534/B designed by Sarfatti for Arteluce in 1951 is a rare table lamp comprising three polychrome lacquered shades stemming from a marble base. The use of colour and the combination of materials make this piece both practical and whimsical, and it sold for £6,875. Read more about Gino Sarfatti and model 534/B here

The tansu, a traditional mobile storage cabinet indigenous to Japan, was first recorded during the Edo period (1688-1704). This 19th century example (sold for £1,250) in coromandel came in three parts, the upper section with colourful sliding paper doors which revealed shelves and compartments. When opened and closed the central top short drawer played a tune from hidden wind pipes; investigation into the purpose of this device is still on-going with thief deterrence a possible contender. In line with Japanese minimalist aesthetics tansu were not often seen in the home and were invariably stored in warehouses, however, this lovely piece was clearly designed to be seen and used on a more permanent basis.

The private collection, ‘Property from a Berkshire Residence’, included a rich array of rugs and carpets, as well as furniture, lighting and soft furnishings. From many fine pieces, this Arts and Crafts inspired carpet after a design by C.A. Voysey (sold for £4,000) and the Turkish Khotan design rug (sold for £2,250) both demonstrate the influence of much-loved, traditional motifs in the creation of contemporary rugs and carpets on a grand scale.

This splendid Italian rosewood, brass and marquetry ‘Il Duce’ side cabinet from circa 1945 in the manner of Paolo Buffo, another of the auction highlights, sold for £1,500. The furniture designs of  Paolo Buffo (1903-1970) combined elements of Neo-classicism with those of streamlined Art Deco and he became one of the most sought-after designers of his era. He skillfully contrasted varying proportions and melded the familiar with the unexpected in his output. Taking its cue from Buffa’s ethos, the substantial side cabinet here – nearly 3 metres wide – is also highly elegant, supported on slender, tapering legs with brass feet.


Browse the auction results here

The next Design For Living auction will take place in Spring 2021 ● Contact us for an auction valuation

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One of a pair of late Victorian two-seater 'Portarlington' two-seater sofas, by Howard & Sons Ltd, both stamped 'HOWARD & SONS LTD, BERNERS ST' ● Sold for £11,250

Gino Sarfatti for Arteluce, rare table lamp, model 534/B designed 1951 ● Sold for £6,875

19th century Japanese coromandel tansu chest ● Sold for £1,250

Detail from a contemporary Arts and Crafts design carpet after a design by C. A. Voysey ● Sold for £4,000

Detail from a contemporary Turkish Khotan design rug ● Sold for £2,250

Italian rosewood, brass and marquetry 'Il Duce' side cabinet in the manner of Paolo Buffa circa 1945 ● Sold for £1,500