The Under The Hammer column with Tennants’ Auctioneers

A selection of quilts by Hannah Hauxwell will be included in the Costume and Textile sale on Saturday, February 9.
A selection of quilts by Hannah Hauxwell will be included in the Costume and Textile sale on Saturday, February 9.

As 2018 ended, so 2019 began in the blink of an eye here at Tennants Auctioneers.

We hardly had the joyous revelry of New Year’s Eve ended when the first Antiques and Interiors sale of the year burst open its doors and included the tremendously successful ‘Contents of Helperby Manor’.

A selection of quilts by Hannah Hauxwell will be included in the Costume and Textile sale on Saturday, February 9.

A selection of quilts by Hannah Hauxwell will be included in the Costume and Textile sale on Saturday, February 9.

Comprising the eclectic collection of the late Mr Chris Martins from his North Yorkshire home, this lovely array of traditional art and antiques was accompanied by all kinds of delightful bygone and vintage objects.

The collection achieved an almost 100% sold rate and attracted an eager crowd of private collectors and dealers, who on the day were willing to pay prices way above what had been expected.

The biggest surprise of the day came with a Victorian oak cased public clock made by the renowned Potts & Sons of Leeds, which soared past its estimate of £500-700 to achieve £1,500 (plus buyer’s premium) – thought by Tennants’ clock department to probably be a record at auction.

This sale was quickly followed on Saturday, January 12 by our widely admired Country House Sale, the tri-annual auction of art, antiques, curios and quintessential style that never fails to entice, excite and enthuse.

This Georgian agate cameo ring, signed by the gem engraver Nathaniel Marchant (1739-1816), sold for �39,000.

This Georgian agate cameo ring, signed by the gem engraver Nathaniel Marchant (1739-1816), sold for �39,000.

On the day, of all the myriad treasures on offer, it was a Georgian agate cameo ring, signed by the gem engraver Nathaniel Marchant (1739-1816) that topped the sale, rocketing up from the initial conservative estimate to sell for £39,000 (plus buyer’s premium) to a collector in the room. The next Country House sale will take place on Saturday April 27, closing for entries at the end of March.

Looking forwards, and very appropriate as the weather turns cold, we are delighted to announce the inclusion in the Costume, Fashion and Textile sale on Saturday, February 9 of a collection of Quilts from the Estate of the Hannah Hauxwell.

Hauxwell (1926-2018) was emblematic of the tough, resourceful upland farmers of North Yorkshire and County Durham.

Having run her family farm, Low Birk Hatt in Baldersdale, since the death of her parents and uncle when she was 35, she lived a life of unmodernised poverty and hardship.

This Victorian oak cased public clock, W. Potts & Sons, Leeds, sold for �1,500.

This Victorian oak cased public clock, W. Potts & Sons, Leeds, sold for �1,500.

With no electricity or running water, daily life was a struggle. Indeed, she said “In summer I live and in winter I exist”.

She was first ‘discovered’ in 1972, when Yorkshire television made a documentary about her daily life – ‘Too Long a Winter’. Broadcast nationally, she touched the hearts of many and became somewhat of a celebrity.

Donations flooded in and she was able to have electricity installed.

Many more documentaries and books were made about Hauxwell, following her first ventures to London and abroad until she left her beloved farm to move to nearby Cotherstone in 1988.

She was a hoarder, and her dilapidated farmhouse was packed to the rafters with the family quilts stored in a linen press, some appearing never to have been used.

All the women in her family were very accomplished seamstresses, and Hannah herself was very good with a needle.

Indeed, she had a mattress filled with straw that she had made from a unique patchwork of fabrics.

Most of the quilts have been made using the same pattern of quilting stitches – perhaps a family pattern – and interestingly they each have three rounded and one squared corner.

One quilt is initialed ‘E.B’, who is likely Hannah’s grandmother, Elizabeth Bayles, who worked the tapestry also included in the sale.

For further details please contact us on 01423 531661 or visit www.tennants.co.uk.