A unique collection of antique chairs – which have historic roots in Leeds – will be up at auction next week.
Lot 926 in the Cheffins Fine Art Sale in Cambridge is a set of 17 Hepplewhite mahogany dining chairs from around 1790 which were once used for committee meetings at the Leeds Coloured Cloth Hall.
The chairs were made specially for the Rotunda of the hall but were bought by Harold Storey in 1890 just before the hall was demolished.
His family have now brought them to auction – with a guide price of £15,000 to £25,000.
Leeds Coloured Cloth Hall opened in 1758 near the south end of Park Row and was designed to resemble a traditional street market, with cloth displayed either side of aisles. The octagonal building, the Rotunda, was added later. In its heyday, 2,500 stands were rented by individiual clothiers, but the industrial revolution saw a decline in use and led to the hall’s eventual demolition.
The Post Office was built on part of the site in 1896 and another part used for the development of City Square and later Cloth Hall Court. Mr Storey worked as an agent – looking after the estate – for Lord Harewood, Henry Charles George Lascelles, the 5th Earl of Harewood, and his wife Princess Mary, the Princess Royal, daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. It is understood that Queen Mary, who loved elegant furniture, made a special visit to see the chairs while staying with her daughter. In the same sale, another item of Mr Storey’s has put up for auction – a two-handled cup by John Langlands II from 1799, given as a thank you to him by Lord and Lady Harewood for his work involving a major fire which destroyed the stables on the estate.