Plate warming cupboards fetch £50,000 at Sworder’s auction

A pair of Georgian mahogany pedestal cupboards sold for a staggering £50,000 at Sworders’ Fine Art Auctioneers’ saleroom in Stansted.

The highly-decorated pedestal cupboards stand just over 1.3 metres high and are 42cm wide. It’s thought they would have been used in the dining room of a country house for keeping food and plates warm and placed either side of a serving table.

The pieces are believed to have once been part of a large suite of furniture from a typical country house at that time.

Sworder’s managing director, Guy Schooling said: “The age of the cupboards is significant as they are really the forerunner to the modern sideboard. They’re very unusual – a factor which clearly attracted a lot of attention in the auction room.”

During the sale, on Tuesday, November 19, a Victorian naval medal, awarded to mark action during the Battle of Trafalgar sold for £9,800. It was auctioned together with a miniature portrait of the sailor who received it and a photograph of him as a proud old man. Midshipman William Martin served on board HMS Minotaur during the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805.

His ship played a pivotal part in the defence of Nelson’s HMS Victory and contributed to the fleet’s defeat of the French and Spanish ships. William Martin, who was born in Cork, Ireland, was just 15 when he joined the navy and 21 when he served at Trafalgar.

Sworders’ Autumn Country House Sale also included a selection of significant paintings. An oil work by Camille Pissarro entitled ‘Stratford-Upon-Avon, Sunset 1906’, sold for a predicted £24,000. The signed painting was last exhibited in public in London in 1981 to mark the 150th anniversary of Pissarro’s birth.