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One of the favourite lots was a beautiful quarter-sawn oak and inlaid table cabinet, made by Arthur Simpson of Kendal and designed by the celebrated architect and designer C.F.A. Voysey.
It is an exquisite piece of design and craftsmanship and bears many of the hallmarks of Voysey’s design principals, namely the simplicity and perfectly judged restraint of the design and the close attention to every detail, right down to the key, especially made and designed for the cabinet, and a remarkable survival!
The cabinet was bought by the vendor at a small auction room for around £200 as he recognised something interersting about the piece – we were able to confirm his suspicions and realise a hammer price of £70,000.
Over the years I have been priviledged and delighted to offer many special items to the market for sale, from a magnificent tapestry panel by Morris & Co. the pre-eminent Arts & Crafts designers, to a wonderful collection of metalwork designed by the Victorian polymath Christopher Dresser. A collection which was particulary satisfying to sell was the collection of Donald and Eleanor Taffner, an American couple who were in show business and developed a lasting interest in the work of the Glasgow artists and designers of the late 19th century, in particular Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his circle. The Taffners were well known to auctioneers as they were enthusiastic and discerning buyers - in many ways helping to establish the market for Mackintosh through the late 1980s and 1990s when so much intersting material came onto the market and they were able to buy many masterpieces. Sadly both Eleanor and Donald have now passed away and we were delighted to be able to catalogue their remaining collection in New York and bring it back to Edinburgh for sale, stopping off along the way in London and at the Glasgow School of Art.
John Mackie, one of the founding Directors of Lyon & Turnbull, is a specialist in Decorative Arts: Design from 1860, European Ceramics & Glass, and Fine Furniture & Works of Art.
John has 25 years’ experience in the auction business, beginning his career at Phillips in Glasgow in 1989 after a career in agriculture. He initially ran the saleroom as the saleroom manager, and cut his teeth supervising house sales for the company including Knockdow in Argyll and Rowallan Castle in Ayrshire. In October 1993 he took over the Decorative Arts department for Phillips in Glasgow and Edinburgh before becoming Head of Antique Furniture and Associate Director of the firm in Scotland.
In 1999 John, along with four other colleagues from Phillips, was instrumental in the regeneration of the long-established auction house Lyon & Turnbull and is a founding director with responsibilities for brand management. Initially running both the Antique Furniture department and the Decorative Arts departments for Lyon & Turnbull, John now specialises in the Decorative Arts from 1860 to the present day.
He is an enthusiastic visitor to country houses, museums and galleries and exhibitions wherever he finds himself. Favourite places include Kettles Yard in Cambridge, Knole House in Kent and anywhere in the V&A in London. John is a committee member of the Edinburgh Art Fund as well as a member of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society and The Decorative Arts Society.