20th Century Art & Design

20th Century Decorative Art & Design

Sworders conduct three specialist auctions a year which have quickly become an established part of the UK auction calendar. The Decorative Art and Design sale caters for all budgets with estimates ranging from £100 to £100,000. 

There are three distinct sections within the sale covering Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and Modern Design and Furniture.

Over the last few sales we have concentrated on growing the Scandinavian Furniture and Design element and now have a section solely dedicated to contemporary lighting, objects and design.

Past sale highlights include a piano designed by Charles Robert Ashbee for the Guild of Handicrafts sold for £10,400; a collection of Clarice Cliff totalling over £30,000; Finn Juhl's ‘Bwana’ chair selling for £2,200 and Barbara Hepworth's 'Two Rotating Forms II', selling for £250,000.

Read our Arts & Crafts guide: 

Antique Collecting Guide on Arts & Crafts Furniture co-written by John Black and Ivan Macquisten

Recent lots in the sale can be found in our archived sales on our Pinterest page.


Learn more

For further information on specific collecting areas, please visit the pages below:


Inviting Entries: 20th Century Design


We continue to invite entries for our 20th Century Design sale to be held on Tuesday 29 January 2019 - closing date Friday 14 December 2018

Recently consigned for sale, a pair of cold painted bronze and ivory figures by Pierre Le Faguays (1892-1962). Estimate £4,000-6,000.  

For more information about the forthcoming sale, or to discuss items for valuation, please contact: johnblack@sworder.co.uk or use our online valuation form below.





Carlo Bugatti (1856-1940), Throne Chair c.1900

In our October 10 auction of Art Deco and Modern Design - a Throne Chair, designed by Carlo Bugatti (1856-1940) was sold for £6,027 including premium. Stained wood, copper, bone and inlaid metal, with a vellum circular back and seat. Exceptional craftmanship and a truly iconic design inspired by Moorish, Japanese and Islamic cultures of the late 19th century. 




Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson (1876-1955)


The Yorkshire craftsman Robert Thompson (1876-1955) is better known by a single name – ‘Mouseman’. Born in Kilburn in 1876, the son of the village's jobbing carpenter and stonemason, Thompson was inspired by the splendid medieval carvings at Ripon Cathedral to create his own oak furniture in the British vernacular tradition.  He accepted his first of many ecclesiastical commissions in 1919 from the church at Ampleforth.

The use of the adze for shaping and smoothing surfaces gave his furniture its distinctive rippled appearance. However, it was through an engaging trademark - a rodent signifying 'industry in quiet places’ first used in 1920 - that Thompson is best remembered.

Some of these details can be seen in the remarkable ‘Mouseman’ commission created for the Horlick’s factory in Slough that was sold by Sworders Fine Art on Tuesday 9 October 2018.


Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson



Our specialists

Our specialists hold regular valuation days. Please contact us for more information, or complete the form below to enquire about the valuation of your items. 

John Black

John Black ASFAV
Director 20th Century Art & Design

John has a degree in Art History augmented by a one year course at Christies, and has 15 years auction room experience. An integral member of our team he has a broad knowledge of the decorative arts, however his principal interest lies in 20th Century Design. John runs our successful Decorative Art and Design sales, held three times a year.

T: 01279 817778
E: johnblack@sworder.co.uk

Request a valuation

If you're considering the sale of your items, we are happy to offer a free online valuation service. Please fill out the form and press the 'Submit' button below. Expect to hear from the appropriate valuer as soon as possible.

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Next Auction

20th Century Design
20th Century Design

Tuesday, 29th January 2019 10:00
Last consignment: Friday, 14th December 2018

20th Century Design
20th Century Design

Wednesday, 29th May 2019 10:00
Last consignment: Friday, 12th April 2019



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