Specialists Top Picks - John Black - 20th Century Decorative Art & Design

With our first 20th Century Decorative Art & Design sale of 2018 coming up next week, we asked Sworders Director John Black to pick out his favourite lots in the sale and tell us what gives them their unique appeal.



Sworders’ specialist 20th Century design sales, held three times a year, have quickly become an established part of the UK auction calendar. The sale comprises of three distinct sections: arts and crafts, art deco and modern design and furniture. 

John Black talks to us about his top six lots in the sale:


1. Lot 46 - Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson dresser and coffer – estimate £2,000 to £3,000

“Two later pieces and based on his early designs. These date from the 1970’s, are produced from light oak and fit well into modern homes and interiors. These are good examples of the British Arts and Crafts tradition continuing from the 1920s through to the present day”.

Robert Mouseman Thompson dresser and coffer



2. Lot 96 - An Emor Model 200 globe radio - estimate £200 to £300

“This radio was designed in 1947 by Polish designer Mechal Rabinowicz for Emor Radio Company, it seems ahead of its time and looks to the future of space inspired design in the 1950s and 1960s. Part of its ingenuity is to tune it you turn the whole radio, the central lit register shows the band frequency. The V & A Museum has this radio in their collection – iconic.”

Emor Model 200 Globe Radio


3. Lot 165 - Hans Hansen ‘Hilda’ fork and spoon - estimate £100 to £150

“This shows us why Danish design is so great - through its simplicity and functionality. Hallmarked in London 1963 – Hans Hansen was well known for his jewellery as well as his flatware designs. I would love to use these every day”.



4. Lot 371 - Dan Bar designed by Hans Olsen - estimate £150 to £250

“A great piece of functional design, apparently removed from the Royal retiring room at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square – one could own the bar that served to their Royal Highnesses!”.


5. Lot 369Arne Jacobsen Desk Chair - estimate £1,500 to £2,000

“Based on the earlier Ant chair and designed by Arne Jacobsen - this desk chair used the same moulded plywood and tubular metal construction which suited high volume industrial design. It would have been made in different woods, but this one is veneered in Brazilian rosewood ‘Dalbergia Nigra’. It’s a design classic that and oozes sophistication, its comfortable and a must for a keen collector in today’s market.”


Arne Jacobsen Desk Chair


6. Lot 380 - Howard Keith ‘Diplomat’ sofa - estimate £700 to £900

“Howard Keith who set up the company said in 1933 ‘ We offer quality Originality and Design that are timeless but of its time’ One could not put it better – designed in the 1970’s by John Home it is totally wild and comfortable! Think platforms, collars and flares…”


Howard Keith Sofa

Our 20th Century Decorative Art and Design sale is open for viewing today until 5pm, Sunday 28 January 10am - 1pm, Monday 29 January 9am - 5pm and the morning of the sale from 9am.

Click here to view the full catalogue.








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