The Boat That Rocked

21st October 2019

“John Entwistle’s only real addiction was Harrods”. So once said his bandmate, Pete Townshend, of The Who’s former bassist, who died in 2002 of a cocaine-induced heart attack.

It’s a view with which the band’s singer, Roger Daltrey, concurs. In an interview with Classic Rock magazine in January of this year Daltrey joked that Entwistle “…lived in Harrods. He’d order anything just so the van could come up the drive for his neighbours.” The Rolls Royce Silver Shadow that Entwistle had customised to accommodate his Irish wolfhounds was also painted Harrods green – the musician went as far as taking a Harrods carrier bag to the paint shop to make sure the colour was exact.

Entwistle’s tastes were not just for expensive guitars, clothes and watches, however; he also had a keen eye for antiques. His home Quarwood, a hunting lodge on the outskirts of Stow, was full of unusual objects, furniture and exotic pets, many of which had been acquired from his favourite store, as well as from local antique dealers who always spoke highly of their loyal customer.

Among his Harrods’ purchases was a Scottish parcel-gilt silver model of a three-masted galleon that Entwistle bought from the Knightsbridge store in the 1970s, when The Who were at the height of their fame. The 2ft wide finely detailed model was made by Brook and Son in Edinburgh in 1912, and features two rows of cannon, wirework netting and fine wire rigging.

The ship has stayed in the Entwistle family since the bassist’s death in 2002 and now features in the Fine Silver and Objects of Vertu auction at Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury, where it carries a pre-sale estimate of £4,000-6,000.

“This is a really striking object, and it’s easy to see why it caught John Entwistle’s eye as he was browsing Harrods,” said Silver specialist, Rupert Slingsby. “It would have been a real statement piece in his home, and no doubt drew the attention of visitors to Quarwood.”

UPDATE: The galleon sold on 29th October for a premium inclusive £27,500; selling to a private buyer via Woolley'sLIVE.

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